Report critical of Veterans Affairs buried as ombudsmen investigate

Veterans Affairs was told almost a year ago it has all the tools needed to make significant improvements in lives of soldiers as they return to civilian life, but the department has yet to act on recommendations of that independent report.

OTTAWA — Veterans Affairs was told almost a year ago it has all the tools needed to make significant improvements in lives of soldiers as they return to civilian life, but the department has yet to act on recommendations of that independent report.

Hitachi Consulting Government Solutions delivered a draft report last March, but a spokeswoman for the department says the document has yet to be finalized, even though its findings are germane to a joint investigation being conducted by the veteran and military watchdogs.

Veterans ombudsman Guy Parent says he’s not seen the draft, let alone a final version of the report, but wants one.

Many advocates believe the issue of transition is critical to addressing both an increasing number of suicides and rising homelessness among former soldiers and RCMP members.

But spokeswoman Janice Summerby says the preliminary report’s recommendations don’t differ significantly from what the auditor general and the House of Commons veterans committee have said and that the department is already taking steps, including hiring more frontline staff.

However, Hitachi Consulting notes in the report itself that it was hired in September 2014 to evaluate whether Veterans Affairs was making the transition to civilian life as seamless as possible in light of what was said by the committee and other reports.

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