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Submission to Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Study on Disability Claims Backlog

November 24, 2020 – Further to recent developments, we are posting herewith The National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada (NCVA)’s written submission to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in relation to the study the committee is currently carrying out with respect to the “Backlog of Disability Benefit Claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

As you will note, the substance of this submission is largely extracted from the NCVA 2020 Legislative Report and recent articles we have placed in the national media.

NCVA continues to call for dramatic and innovative steps to be taken by Veterans Affairs Canada to address the current unacceptable backlog and turnaround times experienced with respect to veterans’ disability claims.

We remain of the strongly held position that VAC must accelerate the Department’s present plan of action to combat the backlog conundrum through the adoption of fast track protocols and an automatic entitlement strategy for outstanding veterans’ claims as set out in our submission to the Committee.

As a fundamental tenet of our position, we have emphasized the need for systemic change within the administration/adjudicative structure of VAC as being absolutely essential to resolving the current intolerable situation.

Momentum is building to establishing a new systemic regime within VAC to cure this longstanding problem which has only been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a political matter, the government really has no option, in our judgement, but to move in this direction, given the history of the various financial programs rolled out this year to assist Canadians in combatting the consequences of COVID-19.

In this context, the Royal Canadian Legion has issued a statement this week also requesting that the federal government grant to veterans automatic entitlement to disability benefits as an immediate means of decreasing the ever-growing backlog of applications to Veterans Affairs.

In accord with our position, the Legion has emphasized that automatic entitlement would equal the expeditious way our government has provided COVID-19-related benefits to Canadians during the pandemic with errors to be corrected later – concluding that veterans deserve the same treatment.

Canada’s veterans should be entitled to nothing less!

Read the Submission to Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Study on Disability Claims Backlog here.

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