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Minister Blaney Announces New Appointments to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board

Sunday, October 21, 2012 2:00 PM


Four new appointees all hold military or health care experience

OTTAWA, Oct. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, fulfilled today another pledge to Veterans by announcing four new highly qualified appointments to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB), effective November 19. Three highly qualified reappointments were also announced.

"With these appointments, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board now has among the highest amount of members with military, medical, and police experience in its history," said Minister Blaney. "The Veterans' community has specifically asked for the membership of the Board to be composed of more professionals with this kind of experience, and we are delivering."

In announcing these appointments, Minister Blaney is honoring a commitment made to Veterans and Veterans' organizations to increase the number of Board members with military and medical backgrounds. The appointees announced today all hold either Canadian Forces (CF) or medical backgrounds, and between them, they have a combined 72 years of Canadian Forces experience and 35 years of health care experience.

  • Ms. Denise Dietrich, a nurse with more than 35 years of health care experience, has also worked as a vocational and medical rehabilitation consultant. She possesses extensive experience as a decision maker on regulatory bodies, including the College of Nurses of Ontario, and she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Master's Degree in Health Studies from Athabasca University. A Practical Nursing graduate, she also holds a Diploma in Addiction Studies from McMaster University.
  • Mr. Richard Frenette served in the Canadian Forces for 27 years, retiring with the rank of Brigadier-General. Throughout his career, he has held many senior roles within the CF, including that of commanding officer of Canadian Forces Bases Farnham and Valcartier. He has also held the position of commander of the 35 Brigade Group and has served as deputy commander of the Quebec Area Land Forces.
  • Mr. Colin Reichle served for 22 years in the Canadian Forces, beginning as an infantry private and retiring with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He has held multiple senior command positions in the CF, which include serving as the deputy commanding officer (DCO) of the North Saskatchewan Regiment, and as the Command Officer of the 20th Field Artillery Regiment. Mr Reichle also has extensive involvement with St John's Ambulance, having served as the director of its Alberta Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University.
  • Mr. Richard Rennie has served for 23 years in the Canadian Forces, retiring with the rank of Major. He served both as a logistics officer and as a lawyer with the Judge Advocate General. Mr. Rennie holds a Bachelor's Degree of Commerce from the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Victoria, and a Master of Public Administration from Carleton University. He has also spent 10 years as the assistant to the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria, where he taught law and ethics courses for more than 20 years.

All of these appointments were made in accordance with VRAB's merit-based selection process.

Also reappointed today to three year terms were:

  • Mr. Ted Giraldeau, who served in the Canadian Forces for more than 30 years, retiring with the rank of Major. His military career includes more than 27 years in the Regular Force as an infantry officer, including the commanding of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Parachute Company. He was decorated for meritorious service by the Government of France with the Bronze Medal of National Defence for overseas service.
  • Mr. John Morrison who has a strong administrative tribunal background and extensive experience in the interpretation and application of federal and provincial legislation and jurisprudence. He has also served as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, as vice-chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal of Ontario, and as a disability determination adjudicator under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario, and is also certified by the University of Windsor Faculty of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Ms. Joan Walsh, who possesses more than 30 years of diverse experience in the field of health care, has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Saint Francis Xavier University, as well as a Master of Science Degree with a clinical specialty in Mental Health Nursing from Boston University.

"I commend the Minister for listening to the Veterans' community and providing 65 years of nursing experience, and over 100 years of military experience to the Board," said Ron Cundell, Co-Publisher VeteranVoice.info. "These members will understand military culture. I also want to commend the Minister for seriously listening to the recommendations of the OVO report, "Veterans Right to Fair Adjudication." I salute these new and returning Board members for stepping up to change the culture of the current VRAB, and I look forward to a more Veteran-friendly environment in the future."

"The Royal Canadian Legion supports the addition of new Board members possessing military and nursing backgrounds to enhance the credibility of the VRAB," said Gordon Moore, Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion. "The Legion and other Veterans' organizations have been strong advocates that VRAB members reflect the make-up of the Canadian Forces with current and relevant operational experience."

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board is the independent appeal tribunal for the disability pension and disability award programs administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. It also provides the final level of appeal for War Veterans Allowance applications.

The Board's objective is to ensure that Veterans and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled. To achieve this, the Board conducts hearings that give applicants the opportunity to appear in person and present new information and arguments in support of their application for disability benefits.

The Board operates at arm's length from the Minister of Veterans Affairs to ensure a fair appeal process for applicants.

For more information on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, please visit www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada

Media inquiries: 
Danielle Gauthier
Head of Communications
Veterans Review and Appeal Board
902-566-8575

Niklaus Schwenker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
613-996-4649

All other inquiries: information@vac-acc.gc.ca

(Source: CNW )
(Source: Quotemedia)

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