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5-6 Oct 2016 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Summit: Mark Campbell's Perspective

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5-6 Oct 2016 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Summit: Mark Campbell's Perspective

Post by Guest on Fri 21 Oct 2016, 19:10

5-6 Oct 2016 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Summit: Mark Campbell's Perspective.

Mark Campbell

Co-Chair MVA Policy Advisory Group

Hi Everyone!
Some of you may have noticed that I've been low-key since the most recent Veterans' Summit, held in Gatineau, PQ on 5 and 6 October. I've held off commenting on the Summit, as I did not want to fall into the trap of having to explain the content of the various Advisory Group presentations. All of that is now available on-line at the VAC web-site under Reports/Stakeholder Engagement. Heres: the link to all of the presentations given at the Summit:…/about-us/stakeholder-engagement

Note that this area of the VAC site is also where you will find the lists of who is on each of the Advisory Groups, their Terms of Reference, and the Record of Decisions from each of their meetings. Hate to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, but none if it is secret. As a result of the most recent Summit, everything that has been recommended to the Minister for action is now on public record - and indeed is provided at the link above. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology you are now as up to date as I am! Here is the link to the Advisory Group memberships for those like me who are web-navigation challenged:

So how did the Summit go? From my perspective as Acting Co-Chair of the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) and co-briefer of our Recommendations to the Minister, it went better than expected. I had honestly expected some "push-back" regarding our recommendations, and in particular our support for the moderate increase to the Disability Award. As it turned out, perhaps it was the fact that we presented late in the day, but there were very few questions and nothing contradictory. Speaking to many folks of all political stripes and interests after the fact, it seemed that what we had to say was well received on the whole. You will never please all of the people, we know that. Still, it is good to know that your (hopefully) common-sense approach to the issues are satisfactory to the majority and I think that we hit that mark. It was a lot of work leading up to the summit, to the point that my Wife (Donna) complained about the time I was spending on my "voluntary duty" with VAC! Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I am inherently lazy. So for Donna to complain about me working too hard is a rare occasion indeed!
Speaking in general terms about the other briefings, I thought that the Advisory Group work was well-received for the most part. Bearing in mind that the Groups are at differing stages of their work (some having only met once or twice), the recommendations that they put forth seemed to resonate positively with the assembled Stakeholders. As an aside, people on the internet always ask "who are these so-called Stakeholders representing Veteran interests"? Well, there's a group photo floating around the internet that shows the majority of those who attended the Summit. Those are the Stakeholders, plain and simple. Most represent specific Veterans Organizations, including the traditional groups as well as the newer on-line communities which are recognized by VAC. There is also a small group of "dissenters" (for lack of a better term) who attend of their own accord in order to "stir the pot" or ensure that the proceedings are acceptable by their particular standards....

The CDS Gen Jon Vance gave what I thought was a pretty honest and even impassioned Lunch speech wherein he explained in no uncertain terms why the Transition Seam between the CAF and VAC must be closed. In effect, failure to provide a smooth and transparent transition from soldier/sailor/airman/airwoman to civilian/veteran will erode the CAF's ability to effectively compete at the front end for the best and brightest recruits within the Canadian job market. Nobody is going to join an organization that does not take care of them at the back end should they become disabled on the job, plain and simple.
The VAC Staff gave some useful briefings on Departmental Processes as well as Feedback received to date from VAC's "Have Your Say" public input program. Of particular use was the briefing that discussed the long process that a Policy idea must endure to become eventual, Legislated Guidance and Regulation. It is a very long road, fraught with potholes and off-ramps, that a good idea must travel to become law. Often the Recommendations that even survive the "meat grinder" of Bureaucracy and Government bear no resemblance to what they looked like going in. Something that we must be cognizant of, and extremely vigilant to ensure that it does not happen to our ideas, on our watch. At least as best we can...
Missing from much of the Summit discussion was the subject of Reinstated,Life-Long Pensions for the Disabled. The bottom line is that we think we've cracked the nut regarding the most seriously disabled - those declared "Dimished Earning Capacity" (DEC) who qualify for Earnings Loss Benefit and the suite of other Benefits that the PAG recommended in our briefing. Although final modelling must be conducted to validate the recommendations, we are confident that those who are DEC will receive more Net Financial Compensation under the proposed suite of benefits that they would under the former Pension Act. Where the PAGs future work lies is in validating the DEC model, while developing a suite of recommendations for dealing with those whose disability falls short of DEC status. These are the vast majority of folks with a disabilty, who are expected to make a successful transition to the civilian work force. They are entitled to compensation for their Pain and Suffering, as well as the Economic Loss of Job Opportunity with the CAF (due to medical release). The Pain and Suffering component is straight-forward, as this will be the Disability Award of up to $360K non-taxable (2016 dollars). The amount of the Economic Loss of Job Opportunity is a more complex problem to address. It is based at least in part, on Loss of Projected Career Earnings due to missed pay raises and promotions (based on average ranke progression in trade). In that regard, some form of the Career Impact Allowance (formerly Permanent Impairment Allowance) would likely apply. At the end of the day, the Net, Combined Pain and Suffering and Economic Job Loss Compensation must be Greater than what the member would have received under the Pension Act, and must continue for life (not age 65), Full-Stop.
I am counting on the Equitas Court Case to hold the Government of Canada's (GOC) feet to the fire with regard to crafting Legislation based on our various Advisory Groups' Recommendations. We have been told to expect the BC Appeal Court Judges to render their Decision regarding the GOC Appeal some time within the next several weeks leading up to Remembrance Week. This may or may not occur until the annual recognition surrounding Remembrance Week dies down. It all depends on your personal conspiracy theory! In any case, once we receive that decision we will know whether or not we are headed to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). Chances are good that we will prevail, which means that the 6-year journey (to date) will continue without an end in sight. I am up it, actually I'm quite looking forward to it! Hopefuly my fellow Plaintiffs feel the same. In my honest view, I firmly believe that it was the Equitas Lawsuit that got us the majority of the concessions promised in the Minister's Mandate Letter. Equitas got us the ELB increase to 90% and it definitely got us the increase in the Disability Award to $360K retroactive to 2006. Based on what has transpired to date, I remain convinced that the Class Action Lawsuit is the one threat hanging over the GOC that keeps it honest and forthcoming in its dealings with Veterans. We will continue to apply pressure on the legal front for as long as we are able.
Well, that's about all for now. As we head into this year's Remembrance Week I wish you all the very best. To those who have worn a uniform at home and/or abroad, I thank you for your service. Remember, if your thoughts get you down this time of year that is natural. There are plenty of folks to talk to, including myself if you feel the need, so please never hesitate to reach out. It works wonders - ask me how I know!


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Re: 5-6 Oct 2016 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Summit: Mark Campbell's Perspective

Post by Guest on Sat 22 Oct 2016, 20:12


same old song and dance .

what a waste of time and money .

well at least on the public opinion front the GOC will look good .



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Re: 5-6 Oct 2016 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Summit: Mark Campbell's Perspective

Post by Teentitan on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 13:14

To bad the NVC didn't go thru the proper bureaucratic meat grinder, as Mark states, because it sure as hell wouldn't have made it.  Which begs the question

"How in the hell did it make it thru the system?"

I still don't understand how a plaintiff of a class action lawsuit against the GoC is a consultant on the very issues he is suing for? I said it before I will say it again...conflict of interest. What do you think will happen if Don Sorochan say's one statement on a recommendation that was in the final report to the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO)? Mistrial and the Equitas lawsuit starts all over again. If I'm wrong will a lawyer please step in and explain where I am wrong in my statement?

One thing Mark needs to stop saying is "conspiracy theorists".  It's demeaning and insulting to veterans who only want what was promised by this gov't....transparency.

Just went thru the links Mark provided and yes the info is there....of the meetings. What seems to be missing is the final report the PBO has in there possession. That is the info we want to see Mark. Those are the reports that will resonate for or against veteran improvements with the PBO. But we are not allowed to see them because they are under Parliament Law and cannot be released for the public to read.

If your recommendations you submitted to the PBO are not revealed in Budget 2017 are you going to let us know? Will you be willing to break your confidentiality clause?
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