Minister Blaney Announces Historic Appointment to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board

Parkhouse to Add Years of Military Experience and OSISS Expertise to the Board

OTTAWA, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, today announced a new and highly qualified appointment to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) in Veteran Owen Parkhouse, CD, MA. In addition to his duties as a Member, Mr. Parkhouse will also serve as the Board's Vice Chair. This marks the first time in the history of the Board that a member with his military credentials has held a senior leadership position.

The appointment was made in accordance with VRAB's merit-based selection process. Through this appointment, Minister Blaney is continuing to honor his commitment made to Veterans and stakeholders' organizations to increase the number of Board members with military backgrounds.

"With the appointment of Owen Parkhouse, we are adding 25 years of military experience to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board," said Minister Blaney. "I have heard Veterans' organizations loud and clear in their desire for the Board to have additional members with military expertise and we are continuing to deliver for them."

Owen Parkhouse began his career in the military within the ranks, eventually receiving a commission before retiring as a lieutenant-commander. Following his military career, Mr. Parkhouse was employed within the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program as a project coordinator, development officer and peer support coordinator. In these roles, he created and delivered numerous professional development presentations and developed social support programs for Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans affected by operational stress injuries.

"This is exactly what we want to see as Veterans. You couldn't have a better person on the Board than somebody with this kind of military and OSISS experience. I applaud the Minister," said Jim Lowther, CD, President and Founder of Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada (V.E.T.S. Canada).

"It is encouraging to see Minister Blaney has responded to Veterans' pleas with regards to appointments to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board," added Michael L. Blais, CD, President and Founder of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy.  "The appointment of an experienced senior officer and Veteran familiar with the mental health issues Veterans of all eras are confronting is a positive development."

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board is the independent appeal tribunal for the disability pension and disability award programs administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. The Board's objective is to ensure 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 applications for disability benefits.

The Board operates at arm's length from the Department and 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

For further information:

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


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