Evidence of meeting #27 for Veterans Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was rcmp.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Thank you.

Mr. Gidley, you indicated in your opening remarks that as part of the stakeholders committee, there have been 500 recommendations made, and just three have been adopted. If you were to bring those three up to five, what would be the top two for you out of that committee? Which ones are most in need of adoption?

4:05 p.m.

Executive Director, RCMP Veterans' Association

William Gidley

Well, it's actually the Canadian Forces; I'm on their committee.

I would say that they would be faster service—a quicker service by VAC—and also an improvement to the award as far as increasing it is concerned. They're finding that usually the injured person is quite young; that person may lose a foot, and they're given $60,000 for that foot. That $60,000 is sometimes soon gone, so they're looking to increase the award.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Okay—

4:05 p.m.

Executive Director, RCMP Veterans' Association

William Gidley

I wouldn't say those were the top two, but they're close. I'm really not sure what the top two would be.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

All right.

It's my understanding that at the time of the adoption of the new Veterans Charter, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had the opportunity to opt in and decided against it. Here we are six years later. If you had it to do all over again, what would you do?

4:05 p.m.

Executive Director, RCMP Veterans' Association

William Gidley

We'd stay with the pension act, as it is now. We would still stay with the pension act.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Then you feel that your members are better served under the pension act than they would be if they were treated the same as our veterans under the new Veterans Charter?

4:05 p.m.

Executive Director, RCMP Veterans' Association

William Gidley

I would say definitely so. I know a lot of improvements are being looked at for the new Veterans Charter, but as it is today, sir, no. We'll stay with the pension act, as we decided in 2006.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

We hear that from a lot of veterans as well.

Monsieur Dubeau, you referenced priority hiring in your comments. Last month, when I had the opportunity to have a round table with a group of veterans in Bedford, Nova Scotia, I heard some terrible things about priority hiring, but that was from the perspective of a forces veteran. From your seat with the RCMP, is it working?

4:05 p.m.

A/Commr Daniel Dubeau

It's working, sir. However, since we don't medically discharge many people from the organization, we often accommodate them in serving functions, and we bundle tasks differently. We don't have many medically discharged members with disabilities; when they are discharged, it's usually at the end of their service or they've come to a point where they want to discharge them and they're retired.

So yes, it's working. I believe we've had nine referred, but we don't get many referrals, because most of our members, when they do retire, have reached the end of their service and are ready to retire. It is working only because we're not medically discharging our people; we're taking care of them in the organization as much as we can.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Greg Kerr

Thank you very much, Mr. Casey.

We now go to Mr. Harris for five minutes.

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and folks, thanks for coming and giving us this insight into how the system works or doesn't work for yourselves.

Listening to your presentations, I'm really getting the idea that it is very difficult for retired RCMP members who have transitioned out of service with an injury or who later develop an injury that can be traced back to service. It's hugely difficult for them to find out where to go to inquire about what services are available to them. Am I reading this right? Is this a huge problem?

4:05 p.m.

Executive Director, RCMP Veterans' Association

William Gidley

Part of what's behind it is that lot of times, when you go back in a member's file—a member of my vintage or older—you'll see that a lot of these places where people were stationed were small centres with no doctors. Some of them were hurt—I hope I'm answering the question—and their doctor was their wife or someone else. There's no real record of their falling down that crevasse, or falling into the water, and that sort of thing.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Apart from information in that respect being difficult to get to make assessments, is there a problem for these members trying to find out where they go to get a process started with their case in the first place? You mentioned that your organization has 4,600 members, but there are another 16,500 who have retired.

4:10 p.m.

S/Sgt Abraham Townsend

To help with an answer, of the 16,000 retired members, 4,600 are connected to the RCMP Veterans' Association, so they have their own network. That leaves another 10,000 retired members who are just out there. Some may have some knowledge of Veterans Affairs; others may not.

Traditionally we haven't had the transition interviews, so there wasn't that opportunity when they severed from the force to even learn about VAC. Some may know just by virtue of local awareness, but I can't help but think there are many out there—many, many—not unlike our serving members, who have a minimal awareness of Veterans Affairs and what services they may be able to offer to serving and retired members.