Language selection

Schedule "T" - VAC web-portal notice

If you are a survivor of sexual misconduct in connection with your military service in the Canadian Armed Forces you should read this notice.

Veterans Affairs Canada (“VAC”) has updated several policies to clarify its approach to claims for disability arising in whole or in part from sexual assault and harassment connected to military service.

This notice summarizes the changes that have been made to VAC's policies relating to injuries arising from service, which include clarification that:

  1. the occurrence of sexual trauma may be established on the basis of the claimant’s own evidence, without the need for corroborating evidence; and
  2. a claim for sexual trauma will not be rejected solely on the basis that it occurred off CAF property or at an event that the claimant was not required to attend.

This Notice also contains information about how you can apply to VAC for review or reconsideration if you have already been denied VAC benefits in relation to past claims arising from sexual assault or sexual harassment connected to your military service.

I. Policy clarification - Claims for disability benefits involving military sexual trauma

As a result of the settlement of the CAF sexual misconduct class action, VAC has updated the following three policies to provide clarifications regarding the revised approach taken by VAC in recent years when adjudicating applications for disability benefits involving claims of Military Sexual Trauma (Sexual Trauma), which is defined by VAC as including sexual assault or sexual harassment. These policies include the following changes:

  1. clarification that, when determining a claim for benefits involving an injury or disease resulting from sexual trauma, the occurrence of the sexual trauma may be established on the basis of the claimant’s own testimony; and,
  2. additional clarification that, for the purposes of determining a claim for benefits, an injury or disease resulting from an incident of sexual trauma involving CAF members will not be rejected solely on the basis that it occurred off CAF property or at an event that the claimant was not required to attend. It is acknowledged that each decision as to whether or not an injury or disease is connected to military service is made by VAC having regard to all relevant contextual evidentiary factors.

The specific changes are in the following policies:

VAC has also updated its internal “Adjudication Manual” to reflect and facilitate these policy clarifications.

II. Available options for reconsideration and review of past VAC decisions

Veterans and CAF members who applied for disability benefits and received an unfavorable decision prior to April 3, 2017 (the date VAC last revised its approach to these cases) are encouraged to identify themselves to VAC or, where possible, submit an application for departmental review to VAC. Where possible VAC will review these decisions, taking into account the revised approach for adjudicating applications for disability benefits involving claims of sexual trauma. VAC is able to revisit past decisions in the following limited circumstances:

  • Where the initial decision contains an error with respect to a finding of fact, or the interpretation of any law (including where a decision is contrary to the revised approach), and VAC’s decision has not been reviewed by the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB);
  • On application, where new evidence is provided in support of the claim (note that for disability award entitlement decisions, there is a limit of one such application for departmental review), and VAC’s decision has not been reviewed by the VRAB;
  • If VAC’s decision has been reviewed by the VRAB, where the applicant has obtained the VRAB’s permission to return the application to VAC. Please visit the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Web site for more information on how to apply to VRAB to have your claim referred back to VAC for reconsideration; or
  • Where the Entitlement Review Panel of the VRAB refers the matter back to the Minister for reconsideration.
Date modified: