Author Topic: "Veterans Ombudsman calls for Overhaul of Transition Process"  (Read 646 times)

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From the Vets Ombudsman's page ...
Quote
(Abridged Remarks to the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, March 29, 2017)

Wholesale change is needed to make the transition process from military to civilian life meet the needs of our Veterans and their families. The time for tweaking is over; it’s time for reengineering.

Today, there are over 10,000 releases per year from the Regular and Reserve Force, of which there are approximately 1,600 medical releases yearly.  That’s a lot of people transitioning.

Transition is often a confusing and frustrating experience for Veterans and their families. There are, for example, multiple players from separate organizations – in fact, at least 15 – involved in the transition process. Each has its own accountability framework, mandate and processes.  The result? Duplication of effort, gaps and inconsistencies across groups and geographic regions.

I’ve been working with Veterans who successfully transitioned to determine what contributed to their success. Above all, they tell me, it is a sense of purpose.

One Veteran said “I joined the army at age 19.  Before that, I was in high school.  I was never really a civilian adult.  I don’t feel that I am transitioning ‘back’ to civilian life, but becoming a civilian for the first time.”  That’s a huge jump to make and it takes a sense of purpose to do it.

General Vance, the Chief of Defence Staff, has stated that the transition process needs to be professionalized, like the recruiting process. It has: 

    Recruiting centers and detachments located across the country.
    A single online portal for both Regular and Reserve Force members that is easy to use and comprehensive.
    A highly structured, clearly sequenced and personalized process.
    A single point of contact (online or face-to-face).  Someone who answers your questions, arranges your interviews, gives you a sequenced list of steps to follow and provides help at any-time.
    An interview and testing to determine strengths and interests, and ultimately, a career path – individualized for each member.

Once recruited, you sign a contract which clearly defines your terms of service and you are not enrolled until all the approvals are in place. You receive an ID card that you carry on your person your entire career – it’s your new identity. You are excited about what the future holds. And, as part of this onboarding process, you develop social networks that remain in place during and after your career. This network provides support, encouragement and comradery.

From the member’s perspective, at the end of the recruitment process, you truly feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself, and that you have a future.  This is because the recruitment process transforms a civilian into a Canadian Armed Forces member and gives them a sense of purpose. 

I envision a transition process for all releasing Canadian Armed Forces members, Regular and Reserve, which would have similar elements to the recruiting process, such as:

    Release centres across the country, accessible through a single on-line portal, and under one single authority;
    All benefits in place at release;
    A single point of contact assigned to both Regular and Reserve Force members – a Navigator – who would: 
        help fill out forms and submit a single application for benefits;
        help plan the member‘s release and set up required appointments;
        provide advice in relation to possible third-party organizations that may offer support; and
        follow-up after release at pre-determined intervals to ensure evolving needs are met;
    Dedicated support to help injured members back to work.  If they can’t return to work and their case is too complex, the Integrated Personnel Support Centre would help coordinate their release in conjunction with the release centres;
    There would be only one program for vocational rehabilitation and long term disability to reduce complexity and confusion;
    A professional counsellor to help determine the education, training or employment needs of the member, as well as assisting them find their new purpose in life, tailored to their attributes and desires; and
    A Veterans ID Card issued to every releasing member that not only recognizes their service, but also allows Veterans Affairs Canada to proactively follow-up with them after release.

The system needs an overhaul. We need to support our Veterans and their families with their transition when and where they need it. It is what they deserve, and it is a question of national security.

Full text: http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/media/speeches/post/22
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: "Veterans Ombudsman calls for Overhaul of Transition Process"
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 20:32:51 »
And a new HQ's established for this authority.

Quote
I envision a transition process for all releasing Canadian Armed Forces members, Regular and Reserve, which would have similar elements to the recruiting process, such as:

    Release centres across the country, accessible through a single on-line portal, and under one single authority;
    All benefits in place at release;
    A single point of contact assigned to both Regular and Reserve Force members – a Navigator – who would:
        help fill out forms and submit a single application for benefits;
        help plan the member‘s release and set up required appointments;
        provide advice in relation to possible third-party organizations that may offer support; and
        follow-up after release at pre-determined intervals to ensure evolving needs are met;
    Dedicated support to help injured members back to work.  If they can’t return to work and their case is too complex, the Integrated Personnel Support Centre would help coordinate their release in conjunction with the release centres;
    There would be only one program for vocational rehabilitation and long term disability to reduce complexity and confusion;
    A professional counsellor to help determine the education, training or employment needs of the member, as well as assisting them find their new purpose in life, tailored to their attributes and desires; and
    A Veterans ID Card issued to every releasing member that not only recognizes their service, but also allows Veterans Affairs Canada to proactively follow-up with them after release.
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Editor, The Devils' Blast, the Annual Chronicle of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles

http://www.royalwinnipegrifles.com/regimental-association/the-devils-blast/

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Re: "Veterans Ombudsman calls for Overhaul of Transition Process"
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2017, 10:22:22 »
http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/injured-troops-will-stay-in-uniform-until-pension-vet-benefits-in-place-sajjan-1.3454887

Injured troops will stay in uniform until pension, vet benefits in place: Sajjan - Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press  - Published Monday, June 12, 2017 2:06PM EDT

OTTAWA -- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says sick and injured soldiers will be allowed to stay in the military until their pensions and veterans' benefits are in place.

The commitment comes as part of the Trudeau government's new defence policy, which the Liberals unveiled last week with promises to better care for Canada's men and women in uniform.

It is also a direct response to complaints from numerous ill and injured military personnel who say they were forced out of the Armed Forces too fast and left to fend for themselves.

That includes having to wait months for their first pension cheques to arrive, and struggling to access the benefits and services owed them by Veterans Affairs.

"No member is going to be released until all of their benefits are in place, that their pension cheque is ready to go," Sajjan told reporters following an event in Halifax on Monday.

"This is something that we as a government and the Canadian Armed Forces takes very seriously."

Approximately 1,800 service members are forced out of the military every year because of medical conditions that have made them unable to fulfil their duties.

Many are struggling with psychological injuries sustained while in uniform; documents obtained by The Canadian Press last year showed PTSD as the top diagnosis for those at risk of being forced to release.

Veterans advocates say the challenges many of those men and women have faced in getting benefits, services and even their pension after leaving the military have made their move to civilian life even harder.

One of those is military ombudsman Gary Walbourne, who in the past three years has received hundreds of complaints from ill and injured troops.

Walbourne has been pressing the federal government and military for years to hold onto personnel until their pensions and benefits are lined up, and was cautiously optimistic about the commitment.

But he said he wants to see the specifics, including a directive from the military's top brass making the commitment an order.
"What I haven't seen is a policy suite or a directive to put that in force," Walbourne said. "I see a lot of positive things, but the devil is in the details."

Maj.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, deputy commander of Military Personnel Command, said the Forces has already started holding onto some ill and injured personnel to stop people from "falling through the gaps."

But more work needs to be done as part of an overall improvement to the way service members transition from the military to civilian life, he said, within some of the limitations that exist.

Those include the fact pension cheques can't flow until a service member retires, Eyre said, and much of the work setting up services for injured members involves provincial health care systems.

"So there's some challenges there," Eyre said.

The Liberal government's new defence policy promises $62 billion in additional spending on the military over the next 20 years, including a 70 per cent increase in annual funding over the next decade.

While most of that money will be spent on equipment, including 88 fighter jets and 15 warships, the government has also promised to improve services and support for military personnel and their families.

Walbourne said such improvements are necessary if the military, which has struggled in recent years with recruitment and retention, is to remain strong and capable of fulfilling its mandate.

-- With reporting from Michael MacDonald in Halifax.
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Editor, The Devils' Blast, the Annual Chronicle of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles

http://www.royalwinnipegrifles.com/regimental-association/the-devils-blast/