Veterans Review and Appeal Board
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to respond to this important Call to Action.

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board (“VRAB”, “the Board”) is a federal, quasi-judicial tribunal providing redress to Veterans and RCMP who are dissatisfied with disability benefit decisions rendered by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). 

The Board is a small organization as federal agencies go, comprised of 24 Members and 73 employees. Given our size, Human Resources services are provided through VAC’s Human Resources (HR) division under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding. For our own staffing matters, we therefore work very closely with VAC HR on the development and implementation of Government of Canada staffing practices and initiatives aimed at countering systemic racism and greater inclusion and diversity. 

The Board supports career development and talent management of all employees and the same approach applies with respect to racialized employees, recognizing talent and helping to prepare employees for leadership roles. The Board does this through mentoring, through both formal and informal training, and through knowledge transfer from senior leaders within the organization to their employees.   

It is very important to us that all Veterans coming to us for redress see themselves reflected in the Board. The Board currently has six employees who self-identify as racialized (this represents eight per cent of our staff). Among our Members, 12 per cent self-identify as visible minority, LGBTQ2, and Indigenous. We are proud of this diversity as it makes us stronger as an organization and we continue to strengthen our efforts to bring diverse staff and Members to the Board.

Results of the most recent Public Service Employee Survey showed that 84% of those surveyed reported that they thought the Board respects individual differences (culture, work styles, ideas and abilities) and 80% reported that at the Board, every individual is accepted as an equal member of the team. Further, 81% reported that they would feel free to speak about racism in the workplace without fear of reprisal, and 86% responded that they would feel comfortable sharing concerns about issues related to racism in the workplace with a person in authority. 

Of the nine actions in the Call to Action, the VRAB has focused on:

In order to further these goals, we took the following steps:

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to provide information on how the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is responding to this Call to Action.

Best regards,

Christopher J. McNeil, Chair
Veterans Review and Appeal Board

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