Posted: July 17, 2012
Written by: Karen Poetker
In recent months, Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent, has questioned the manner in which the Veterans Review and Appeal Board handles hearings, noting that there are “systemic” problems in the way in which the Board makes decisions. In numerous cases, the Federal Court found that the Board failed to act in accordance with its legislated mandate and breached the principles of procedural fairness. Despite being guided by the Federal Court in numerous decisions, “Court judgments point to the same errors over an extended period of time.” The Ombudsman’s full report can be found here.
Hall v. Attorney General (Canada) 2011 FC 1431 is an example of a Board decision being overturned by the Federal Court. Mr. Hall first joined the Canadian Forces in 1960, and a few years later, he was ordered to attend for UV treatments at the local military hospital on account of a medical condition. The UV treatments continued for about 18 months. Years later, it was discovered that the UV treatments caused Mr. Hall to develop skin cancer. He received a disability payment on account of his skin cancer. However, when a second condition – solar elastosis – arose, also caused by the same UV treatments, Mr. Hall was denied a disability payment. The Board concluded that the condition was not a “service-related injury”, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Hall had already received payment on account of his skin cancer, which arose under identical circumstances. The full text of the case can be found here.
The Federal Court overturned the Board’s decision, finding that the test it applied was not consistent with the “broad and liberal interpretation” of the applicable legislation. The matter was sent back to the Board for reconsideration to be “guided by the present reasons.”
I acted for Mr. Hall in this case. Please contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions about this case, or any other legal matters.