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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On April 1, 2006, the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act (the New Veterans Charter) came into force. The New Veterans Charter (NVC) was designed to give Canadian Forces (CF) Veterans and their families access to services and programs that would meet their individual needs. The suite of programs includes: rehabilitation; financial benefits; group health insurance; career transition services; disability award; and support to families.

The evaluation was conducted from April 1, 2009 until October 29, 2010 and consisted of three phases. Phase I focussed on the relevance and rationale of the NVC and its programs. Phase II focussed on outreach, the application process and service delivery framework. Phase III focussed on the success in achieving desired outcomes. The findings from these studies are intended to improve the design and delivery of the NVC programs, and will fulfill a departmental commitment to Treasury Board (TB). Additionally, a separate evaluation comparing the Disability Award (DA) Program to the Disability Pension (DP) Program was conducted concurrently with the NVC evaluation, and was finalized in August 2010.

Phase III of the NVC evaluation examined the following outcomes: recognition, health, community integration, employment and income.

NVC programs were intended to recognize Veterans for their service to Canada. The DA is the only program that includes recognition as an outcome and yet it is neither communicated to CF members, Veterans, families, nor staff. Evidence to date indicates that Veterans do not feel recognized by the DA Program.

The findings for health indicate that the current Rehabilitation Program does not effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the entire population. Information from the Life After Service Study (LASS): Survey on Transition to Civilian Life (STCL) found recipients of VAC programs, and NVC recipients in particular, tended to have complex physical, mental and social health issues. Additionally, system coding issues and incorrect data entry does not allow for adequate reporting and forecasting.

Community integration is directly impacted by a variety of issues such as an individual’s physical and psychosocial well-being, income and employment status.

The Career Transition Services (CTS) workshops demonstrate value for money, and appear to fill the need for non-medically releasing CF members who are seeking employment. The other two components, career counseling and job finding assistance are not well attended, and do not demonstrate value for money. Additionally, forty-five percent of individuals who applied to the CTS Program suspended their participation in order to maintain their eligibility status. There has been a 13 percent completion rate for the vocational services component of the Rehabilitation Program.

Veterans who became rehabilitation recipients had a noticeable decrease in income post release compared to their pre-release income and were identified as being at greatest risk of low income. The lack of employment and income data for individuals who have completed the vocational components of rehabilitation prevents a determination on the success of the program in assisting individuals to have adequate income to meet basic needs. Preliminary results of recipient’s salary upon completion of the CTS Program are inconclusive.

In conclusion, the findings of NVC Phase III are consistent with, and further reinforce findings from earlier report phases. More data is necessary to measure attribution of program participation and/or completion to achievement of program outcomes. The intended family focus of the NVC suite of programs has not been fully achieved and changes are required in the design of the Rehabilitation Program to more adequately reflect the mix of recipients. There are also opportunities to reassess the delivery of the CTS and Vocational Rehabilitation within VAC.

Recommendations:

  1. It is recommended that the ADM, Service Delivery, clarify if recognition should be measured under the NVC. Appropriate logic models and measurement tools will need to be developed or revised. (Essential)
  2. It is recommended that the ADM, Service Delivery, lead the development and implementation of a strategy to address the needs of rehabilitation participants requiring long—term maintenance. (Critical)
  3. It is recommended that the ADM, Service Delivery appropriately revise systems, such that participant progress can be properly determined, and total expenditures for rehabilitation can be accurately allocated and forecasted. (Critical)
  4. It is recommended that the ADM, Service Delivery, in advance of retendering associated with the Career Transition Program (CTS), confirm the needs of the target population and, if necessary, analyze options for program design and delivery. (Essential)

Additional information on the risk rankings can be found in Appendix A.

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