This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #37 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 transformation.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Guy Parent  Veterans Ombudsman, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
Keith Hillier  Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you very much.

I'll continue, Mr. Parent, on your presentation on sustaining the new Veterans Charter. You mentioned the department should do more to proactively educate the veteran community about the full spectrum of benefits available so that one can believe that there will be better options in the future than remaining in the present.

Now, do you have any specific recommendations? We have heard in our travel and doing our committee work that there is a problem with the information, the right information, getting to veterans. We understand there is a lot of work in this respect done by the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs. What else should be done to get that information to veterans?

I will ask Mr. Hillier, of course, to comment on this as well.

4:50 p.m.

Veterans Ombudsman, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Guy Parent

Thank you. It's another good question.

Obviously, over the years the program was never well explained. It's a new concept to go from dependency to transition without barriers to psycho-social and medical.... It's a new concept and very hard to understand. People have had a tendency over the years to pick one aspect of the program and to argue that particular aspect without looking at the full spectrum. This was from not understanding the program. Communications were weak from the start, and communications need even now to improve so that people understand what it's all about from start to finish.

Another confusing thing about the new Veterans Charter is that there are programs that are available on both sides of the fence, from DND and from Veterans Affairs Canada. In a lot of cases there is no harmonization of those programs. Very often, there's confusion as to which program should be beneficial to the individuals. Should it start before he leaves the forces? Or should it start after he becomes a veteran? All these confusing aspects of the program are also leading to misinformation for the veteran.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

Thank you very much.

That is the time. I know we have a little business. I want to just explain where we're going in a minute. I do want to thank our witnesses very much. It was very informative. I appreciate it. You get along great, and everything worked very well. Thank you very much for being with us.

Having said that, we're just going to do a little business, then we'll try to wrap up. Say a quick goodbye, then we're going to deal with a little business here, please.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

For the next two weeks, by the way, we have witnesses set up. We're looking at maybe not having meetings the last week, unless we really push it. I want you to think about that for next week. Certainly the last Thursday before we wrap up, we don't want to have a meeting.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Do you know what day we're going to rise?

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

No, I don't. All I'm saying is that it may or may not be the Thursday. I wouldn't want to count on it is all I'm saying.

Mr. Storseth, I think you had your hand up.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Chair, I'd like to inform the committee of a motion that I'd like to put forward. The motion reads:

That the Committee recognize and commend the recent decision by the Government of Canada, particularly the Ministers of National Defence and Veterans Affairs to not appeal the Federal Court's May 1, 2012 decision regarding the offset of Pension Act disability benefits from the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP); and that the Committee commend the Government for demonstrating its continued commitment to serving members and veterans by also taking action to harmonize disability benefits at Veterans Affairs to reflect the planned changes to SISIP; and that this be reported to the house.

Mr. Chairman, I'd like to seek unanimous approval from the committee to move forward with this motion.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

There's a notice of motion. Is there unanimous approval?

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

It's my understanding that if we have unanimous consent, we could pass this motion right now.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

Okay, hands up.

4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

The motion is moved.

Mr. Lobb, you had your hand up.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Chair, as per custom on the veterans affairs committee, I move that we now go in camera to discuss this issue further.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

That's non-debatable.

(Motion agreed to)

We'll go in camera, so would all those who are not attached to the committee or to the members, please excuse themselves from the room.

[Proceedings continue in camera]