VRAB moves the goal post for vets making claims


Moving the Goal Post: Lawlessness at Its Worst 

By Murray Scott 

The phrase, Moving the Goal Post, is derived from various sports that use goal posts, such as football and soccer.

“Fifteen Years I have been saying this and finally…finally someone brought the problem to light,” says Peter Stoffer, NDP Opposition Critic of Veteran Affairs Canada.

Unfortunately, when the same phrase is fast-forwarded to the present to describe our Veterans’ experience in dealing with the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB), Moving the Goal Post becomes a common technique used to destabilize individual Veterans or Advocacy Groups by bullying them and alludes to the unfairness practised in changing Veteran’s requirements midway through hearings already started. This is often carried out without even telling our Veterans.

For our first go-around, we found it long, difficult and frustrating waiting for our Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) decision, only to find our initial claim denied. We were disappointed, hurt and devastated; after all, had we not turned over our life to our Country? Had our Country not vowed that we would be treated with respect, honour and dignity?

What still rings in our ears is Canada’s promise to award fair compensation and first-class treatment when we are injured in the line of Duty and Service to our Country.

Instead, one of the more common and discouraging answers we receive from VAC is that we did not have a confirmed diagnosis from a Specialist or Accredited Doctor. This comment leaves the new applicant with the impression that all they have to do is get the Confirmed Diagnosis from either a Specialist or an Accredited Doctor and they will have met VAC’s requirements.

The next step is to either resubmit our application to VAC to review the new material or to have a Veterans Review and Appeal Board rule on the new evidence submitted (as requested) confirming our Diagnosis.

This is the point where Veterans butt heads with VAC and the VRAB. The Veterans Review and Appeal Board do not care where we served or if we were Regular Forces or a Reservist. Ironically, this is also the point where we discover both VAC and the VRAB treat all injured Veterans with one standard. Theirs. 

But, the interpretation between VAC and VRAB’s “one standard” and the slogan – one veteran, one standard – that the Canadian Veterans Advocacy (CVA) upholds is quite different. The CVA wants fair and equitable treatment for all Veterans, whereas the government bases its treatment of Canada’s injured Veterans on one priority: to deny or slow down the process to compensate Veterans fairly for service-related injuries.

The question then becomes by what process VRAB carries out this covert contempt for our injured Veterans. The answer is so simple we tend to overlook the technique.

In the Criminal Justice System, the term “Piling On” occurs when the Police or Crown Prosecutor place as many charges against an individual hoping that at least one of them will stick. In all reality, it simply means that the Crown has a very very weak case and the only way it can be sure of the win is to change the play of the game to favor the Crown’s position.

VRAB applies a similar strategy to its hearings of Veterans’ claims. It’s called “raising the bar” or Moving the Goal Post. VRAB dismisses evidence presented by our Veterans in response to meeting the requirements of their initial rejected claim(s) and demands some other, often greater and more demeaning, un-provable evidence. This is an abusive game VRAB has perfected.

In other words, after an attempt has been made (by the Injured Veteran) to score a goal, the goalposts are suddenly moved (by VRAB) to exclude the Veteran’s original attempt for Pension Entitlement. This VRAB ploy leaves the impression that the Veteran’s argument had a fair hearing while actually reaching a preordained conclusion set by the Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board (VRAB).

The targeted Veteran loses all hope as the more imposing requirements can never be met.

Moving the Goal Post is used by VRAB for one simple reason. It works! It implies Bad Faith on the part of the VRAB by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial requirements are about to be met by the Injured Veteran.

For those of you who may not have heard the expression, Moving the Goal Post, then perhaps the more contemporary meaning could be “Bait and Switch” or “Setting Up to Fail.”

It is my belief that Bad Faith underlies every unfavourable and demeaning decision that comes out of Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. This Bad Faith practice of Moving the Goal Post needs to be removed from VRAB’s tool of choice as it goes against the intent of all Canadians and the treatment of all Canadian Veterans.

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan vets, Canadian Armed Forces, federal government, Homecoming Vets, social workers, veterans' affairs, veterans' assistance programs, VRAB and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to VRAB moves the goal post for vets making claims

  1. This is just terrible, yet the government keeps showing up in the press, patting itself on the back.

  2. timvance says:

    I know EXACTLY what is being said here! At the first hearing, the board ‘agreed’ with the evidence presented, and accepted the doctor’s findings, but had to refuse because there was ‘no initial accident report on file’!?
    So we had to take it to Charlottetown to explain what a CF 98 was…
    Needless to say, the board again completely ignored everything that was presented, and instead focused on a statement written on a sick parade report by a doctor BEFORE the initial diagnosis and treatments were made!
    They completely ignored specialist reports and diagnosis made by people who had the time and resources to test, examine, and diagnose the injury, and instead take a sick parade doctors scribbled speculation on what he thought it might be, without doing any x-rays, tests, or anything else!
    I hope that when these people need the governments assistance with anything, they run up against people who have received the same instructions and training they did!

  3. Wayne DeHaan says:

    This article fits my experience with VRAB to a “T”. I would have given up on attempting to get compensation if a fellow soldier hadn’t made me treat the process like a hobby. Go at it until your tired & frustrated, than put it away for awhile! It worked but took 7 years to get my pocket change from the gooberment!
    Hatch.

  4. dognaut says:

    Hello Veterans Review and Appeal Board personnel, I just wanted for you to see a peek at my campaign that I have been circulating to all the media coast to coast, such as television, newspapers and grass roots anti-VRAB groups.

    There is great suspicion now that VRAB’s poor decision making is purely to generate for financial gain amongst it’s members and that now our soldiers have come home seeking assistance that your intentions to deny and delay are only to grasp the last fleeting dollars you can get.

    Sounds very plausible, if people review your previous job descriptions and now find out you have been making $104,300.00 to $122,600.00 a year since 2005 with the potential for more intentional back logged time lines, many believe there would be Hell to pay, and I am guessing there will be Hell to pay.

    20 MARCH 2012

    Hello Veterans and supporters,

    Here is something that may be old news, but it’s the beginning of my nightmare until a decision is made and likely taken to court after a claim denial. I have served all around the world for 17 years, the last in Afghanistan. I hope this information sheds some light on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board :

    Shame to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board!
    Here are some statistics taken from the Veterans Review and Appeal Board webpage:

    Q. How much are Members of VRAB paid?
    A. Members’ salaries are fixed by an Order-in-Council upon appointment and paid within a salary range of $104,300 to $122,600.

    Q. How long are Members’ appointment terms?
    A. Terms range from 1 to 10 years and may be eligible for reappointment. All Members serve on good behaviour.

    The link is:
    http://www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca/Employment-Emploi/FAQs-Selection-Process-FAQs-Processus-de-selection-eng.cfm

    Veterans Review and Appeal Board
    http://www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca

    GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS

    GiC Appointments > Federal Organizations > Veterans Review and Appeal Board
    Here is the breakdown of the Members of the Veterans Appeal and Review Board appointments:

    1995=1
    2005=12
    2006=4
    2007=9
    2008=1
    2009=1
    2010=2
    2011=2

    Calculating 12 members at annual pay rate, before expenses, such as food and hotels, is $104300.00 (lowest pay rate) equals $1,251,600.00.
    Calculating 12 members at annual pay rate , before expenses , such as food and lodging is $122,600.00 (highest pay rate) equals $1,471, 200.00.

    This is the link for their terms:
    http://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca/prflOrg.asp?OrgID=AVC&type-typ=1&lang=eng

    The Veterans Review and Appeal Board consists of not more than twenty-nine permanent members to be appointed by the GiC and such number of temporary members who may be appointed by the GiC whenever, in the opinion of the GiC, the workload of the Board so requires.

    A permanent member shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding ten years and is eligible to be reappointed.

    A temporary member shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding two years and is eligible to be reappointed for one additional term.

    The GiC shall designate a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson from among the permanent members.

    NOTE: This guide reflects the composition and distribution of the current membership. Vacancies for temporary member positions are not shown since appointments are only made as required depending on the workload.

    The Chairperson is the chief executive officer of the Board and has supervision over and direction of the work of the Board, including the allocation of work among its members, the conduct of its work, the management of its internal affairs and the duties of its staff.

    If the Chairperson is absent or unable to act or if the office of Chairperson is vacant, the Deputy Chairperson shall act as Chairperson.

    If both the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are absent or unable to act or both offices are vacant, a member designated by the Minister shall act as Chairperson.

    A person who has resigned or otherwise ceased to hold office as a member may, at the request of the Chairperson, at any time within eight weeks after that event, make or take part in the disposition of any appeal, review, reference or other matter in which the person became engaged while holding that office, and a person performing those duties is deemed to be a temporary member of the Board.

    Where a person to whom the above applies or any other member by whom a matter has been heard is unable to take part in the disposition of the matter or has died, the remaining members, if any, who heard the matter may make the disposition and, for that purpose, are deemed to constitute the Board.

    Chairperson/Member

    Larlee, John D.
    Fredericton, New Brunswick
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2009-04-27
    2015-04-26 GCQ-6

    Deputy Chairperson/Member

    MacPhee, James
    Montague, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-01-29
    2013-01-28 GCQ-4
    Permanent Member

    Arsenault, Jean-Paul
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-08-30
    2013-08-29 GCQ-3

    Bonin, Richard
    Québec, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-09-29
    2014-09-28 GCQ-3

    Champagne, Pierre
    Warwick, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2009-03-30
    2012-03-29 GCQ-3

    Cowan-McGuigan, Joanne
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-09-04
    2015-09-03 GCQ-3

    Desjardins, Pierre
    Longueuil, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-03-14
    2016-03-13 GCQ-3

    Dionne, Lise
    Verdun, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-10-28
    2013-10-27 GCQ-3

    Giraldeau, Edward
    St. Albert, Alberta
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3

    Langille, Roger
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-02-03
    2016-02-02 GCQ-3
    LeBlanc, Bernard Thomas

    Charlettown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-08-01
    2015-07-31 GCQ-3
    Leduc, Harold Ovila
    P
    arksville, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-11-07
    2012-11-06 GCQ-3

    Maher, Edmond Fraser
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-03-03
    2016-03-02 GCQ-3

    Martel, Serge
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-11-14
    2014-11-13 GCQ-3

    Morrison, John H.
    Toronto, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3

    O’Keefe, Dorothy
    St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-08-23
    2015-08-22 GCQ-3

    O’Kurley, Brian
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-03-19
    2015-03-18 GCQ-3

    Riley, Ellen
    North Vancouver, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3

    Small, Bonita Mary
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-08-07
    2013-08-06 GCQ-3

    Taylor, Brent
    Stratford, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-02-26
    2015-02-25 GCQ-3

    Vautour, Angela
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-02-05
    2015-02-04 GCQ-3

    Walsh, Joan
    Watervale, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3

    Watson, Rick
    Delta, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3

    Woodfield, Richard
    Stratford, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-03-05
    2015-03-04 GCQ-3
    5 Vacant Positions GCQ-3

    Total vacancies: 5
    Date Modified: 2012-02-28

    Is this what we soldiers deserve after coming home injured?

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  5. carrie says:

    Maybe,, if we all got together and made one giant lawsuit case against DND for the injuries, if VRAB keeps turning us down, someone might start squealing like a pig in response…

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