Veteran Affairs Canada Broke Law Handling the Case of a Veteran
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard says that Veterans Affairs broke the law in the handling of the case of Jean Bruyea.
Jennifer Stoddard investigated the Department of Veterans Affairs Canada on a complaint of Sean Bruyea, a veterans case handled by the Department. In her findings she concluded that information was shared openly among members in the Department without a need to know basis. She concluded that Veterans Affairs broke the law.
Bruyea has been a strong advocate for Veterans over the past five years. His medical and financial information was contained in briefing notes, prepared for then Minister of Veterans Affairs in 2006. "What we found in this case was alarming," Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard said in a news release.
"The veteran's sensitive medical and personal information was shared – seemingly with no controls – among departmental officials who had no legitimate need to see it. This personal information subsequently made its way into a ministerial briefing note about the veteran's advocacy activities. This was entirely inappropriate."
Veterans Affairs has been under fire recently for their handling of Veterans cases. Colonel (Retired) Pat Stogran has also made allegations that his records had been accessed at least 400 times. He was concerned that his struggle with PTSD would be used against him. His contract was not renewed.
Stogran had several news conferences, in which he put the blame square on the bureaucracy for the maltreatment of Veterans.
In a press conference this morning Minister Blackburn said that the Privacy Commissioner would have full access to investigate the Department and that all her recommendations would be adopted.
Sean Bruyea, who held a separate press conference was visibly upset with the treatment, as he asked both Minister Blackburn and Prime Minister Harper for an apology.
He called a complete revamp of Veteran Affairs, as he felt no amount of redecorating would fix the systemic problem rampant in the Department.
He thanked Canadians for having taken up the cause of Veterans, especially in the past three months.
Hopefully the findings of the Privacy Commissioner and subsequent investigation will move the Department in a different direction.
A country that sends its soldiers to war, must be prepared to look after them when they return, no matter how broken they are.
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Redwater, Alberta, Canada