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Thursday, February 16, 2012

NDP calls for judicial inquiry of Veterans Board

NDP calls for judicial inquiry of Veterans Board
OTTAWA –Peter Stoffer, Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs has called for an independent judicial inquiry into the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) in response to the privacy breaches against Board member Harold Leduc.

“It is unacceptable that once again, Canadians are hearing that the confidential medical files of a veteran have been improperly accessed for political reasons,” said Stoffer. “Mr. Leduc’s private medical information was allegedly shared with other board members and departmental officials with the intent to discredit his advocacy work on behalf of veterans.”

“It is shocking and shameful that individuals would stoop this low and violate the privacy of Mr. Leduc,” said Annick Papillon, Deputy Veterans Affairs Critic. “While the Minister claims that the problems with privacy violations have been fixed, this revelation suggests that the Department has not fully dealt with the problem.”

Stoffer also noted that Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is in the process completing an audit into how Veterans Affairs Canada handles its clients’ privacy protection, and that report cannot come soon enough. Last year, she concluded that the Department of Veterans Affairs broke the law when it breached the privacy of veterans’ advocate Sean Bruyea.

“Since the Conservative government has failed to live up to their promise to revamp the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, it is now time to disband the Board and launch an independent judicial inquiry into these privacy breaches,” he concluded.

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