27-Aug-05 Hello Everyone, All quiet on the western front but work continues on many topics related to C-45. Still we are in the dog days of August and so not much appears happening in Ottawa or PEI. It has been a month since our C-45 Committee, local members, met with VAC representatives here in Victoria. After the meeting on the 27 July our Committee met on 3 August to again review what we had received from VAC prior to and at the meeting on the 27 July. After the meeting I sent VAC our collective observations on job placement and rehabilitation. The comments were additional to those that we provided at the actual meeting, both verbally and in writing. IE Seanís detailed assessment on the VAC proposed approach to rehabilitation. We have provided VAC with reasoned and reasonable input in the form of observations and criticism on both job placement and rehabilitation. What happens to our input remains to be seen. The draft papers on job placement we saw in July were early drafts and dealt with only two of the six categories of the Charter. VAC now has to develop a final draft version on job placement and rehabilitation regulations, hopefully one that acknowledges our input. They then need to present the new draft to us and our colleagues in the other veteranís organizations to gain acceptance. Then they can proceed to the Justice Ministry for final drafting, legislative review, and finally promulgation of the regulations. We are in the early days of this venture. Thus when we next meet with VAC the plan is for them to present for our review the new draft of the proposed regulations on job placement and rehabilitation. This meeting was originally scheduled for mid August; it then slipped to mid September and now is scheduled for 28 September. The second part of the meeting will likely deal with compensation and benefit issues. I have asked Ken Miller, to provide us with the draft documents as soon as possible so in turn we can get them out to you for review. Because of our concerted efforts to respond responsibility with the first round of documents, I feel they appreciated our efforts and will give us as much time as they can. VAC has chosen a deadline of the end October when key implementation elements must be in place if we are going to see full implementation of the New Veteranís Charter on 1 Apr.06. What with the slippage on dates so far and the approaching VAC deadline we are either going to see a huge burst of activity shortly or an amended plan of implementation. The end of October was chosen by VAC as being critical to them going to the market place and calling for tenders from firms to implement various portions of the New Charter commencing 1 April 06. They obviously need the regulations in final form on say job placement before they can call for tenders. As I see it VAC is caught between the well known rock and a hard place. To be honest I fully expected that we would be much further along in the process than we are. Undoubtedly a good deal of hard work and concurrent activity is underway in VAC. If, however, the consultation process that the Minister is committed to with us is to have any meaning then we are either going to have a hectic autumn, a delayed implementation date for the New Charter, or a partial implementation next April. To date, I think it fair to say that we have been favourably impressed with VACís apparent effort to recognize some of our concerns and work with us to find common ground. Some issues they simply will not move on because said issues are now written into C-45. C-45 is now law and whether we like it or not it is what we have to work with. That being said VAC, we perceive, are consciously being reasonable during our consultation process and that in itself is comforting. If not agreeing to adopt or incorporate some of our concerns in the regulations they appear at least to recognize our concerns. At our meeting with VAC staff in July we all came with a good feeling. Additional to the above I have continued to work with our president on the Veteranís ombudsman issue. It is now fair to say that we have four and perhaps five of six veteranís organizations on side or will have in early September. To date we have not had any acknowledgement of our Presidentís letter to the Legion on this subject. This is disappointing but not surprising given the Legionís oft stated position that they fill, at least in their own eyes, the role of ombudsman for Canadian veterans. Our position is clear and while we would like very much to go forward with the Legion on side we will go with the majority and without them. Our letter to the Minister of VAC is about finished and as soon as our colleagues have their meeting in September it will be sent to her. It has long been my concern that a senior CF representative was not present at our plenary sessions with VAC. This is especially true when dealing with the New Veteranís Charter since it applies mainly to serving CF members. I have written to Vice Admiral Jarvis, on this and other subjects related to our work with the new charter. He in turn has responded and we have established a solid communications link. I am confident that if we identify an issue that relates to serving CF members during our work we can pass it to him for action. Two of our Committee members felt that a possibility exists for considerable duplication with the existing CF job placement programmes and what VAC envisages in the new regulations. This observation has been sent to Admiral Jarvis.