Author Topic: Military, Veterans Affairs won’t pay for Air Force officer’s prosthetic leg  (Read 8538 times)

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Offline kratz

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CBC.ca

She lost her court challenge today.

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Capt. Kimberly Fawcett has been embroiled in a prolonged battle with the Canadian Armed Forces, which denied her compensation and reimbursement for a prosthetic limb. The CAF determined she was not on duty at the time of the accident and that her injuries were not attributable to her military service.

A series of grievances, internal reviews and legal actions led up to this week's Federal Court of Appeal ruling that sided with the CAF and the Attorney General of Canada.


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Offline Blackadder1916

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Offline Navy_Pete

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Glad that the MND and other Liberal MPs that pledged to sit down with her and sort it out kept the court case running.

Yes, this is a complicated case, but aside from the direct costs of the 10 year legal saga and all the previous staff work, do the big giant heads not think the PR form this will be really bad for their push to get women in uniform?  They'll happily throw millions for commercials for that though.  Way to be pennywise, pound foolish.  :not-again: Way to turn a potentially good news story into a giant kick in the crotch.  All over what, a limited VAC settlement, and ongoing physio and similar support?

Even if there is no legal requirement, they could have settled it out of court, called it a 'special circumstance' and sorted it out for her.  Every admin case is decided on a 'case by case' basis, so this seems like such a massive waste of time and money to avoid a non-issue. Brutal.

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Glad that the MND and other Liberal MPs that pledged to sit down with her and sort it out kept the court case running.

Yes, this is a complicated case, but aside from the direct costs of the 10 year legal saga and all the previous staff work, do the big giant heads not think the PR form this will be really bad for their push to get women in uniform?  They'll happily throw millions for commercials for that though.  Way to be pennywise, pound foolish.  :not-again: Way to turn a potentially good news story into a giant kick in the crotch.  All over what, a limited VAC settlement, and ongoing physio and similar support?

Even if there is no legal requirement, they could have settled it out of court, called it a 'special circumstance' and sorted it out for her.  Every admin case is decided on a 'case by case' basis, so this seems like such a massive waste of time and money to avoid a non-issue. Brutal.

I wonder if the government took the stand they did to prevent "slippery slope" precedent.

FWIW I don't think her case had a leg to stand on, it is pretty clear to me that was a separation of on/off duty.  We aren't special because we have to go to or from work, like every other Canadian.

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Offline exCAFguy

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The CAF likely spent more fighting it than the prosthetic would have cost.  While I agree she wasn’t on duty and therefore isn’t necessarily entitled to it.......on top of the legal fees the government accrued, what would the monetary cost of the terrible PR be?  Likely pretty high.

Pretty sad

Offline Navy_Pete

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Precedents are for court cases; every admin issue is looked at in a case-by-case basis. There isn't a big CAF database of admin decisions you can reference when working on something, so aside from your personal experience from previous things you've worked on, you go with what happened and the set of policies and rules in place at the time. Also, this is an incredibly specific and unique circumstance, so odds of a reoccurence are pretty astronomical.

This has a bunch of direct staff and lawyer costs to DND, even more indirect costs, really bad PR, and the pension wouldn't even be a DND line item!  Don't need to be a bean counter to see the really poor cost-benefit here.

Offline OceanBonfire

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'I am prepared to fight': After losing bid for compensation, air force captain takes on Bill Blair

Capt. Kimberly Fawcett lost a legal bid for disability benefits following accident that killed her infant son

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: May 01, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago


Capt. Kimberly Fawcett, an air force officer, trains in Ottawa near Parliament Hill. She lost her son and a leg in a tragic roadside accident in 2006; now she's running for the federal Conservatives this fall. (Studio G. R. Martin Photography)

For Capt. Kimberly Fawcett, the personal is now political.

The soon-to-be former air force officer — who last week lost a court challenge of the military's refusal to pay disability benefits for a 2006 traffic accident that claimed the life of her infant son — is now confirmed as the nominated federal Conservative candidate in the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough Southwest.

She said she's jumping into the political fray to help protect other Canadian Forces members from going through what she did.

"I went to Bill Blair three years ago to ask for his help and he turned me away," Fawcett told CBC News. Blair, the Trudeau government's border security minister, represents Scarborough Southwest.

"If he is not prepared to fight for someone like me or anyone else in our riding, then I am prepared to fight him for the job."

Fawcett, who sheds her air force uniform in June, is at a personal and professional crossroads.

The Federal Court last week rejected her challenge of the military's refusal to pay her disability benefits for the accident that claimed the life of her nine-month-old son, Keiran, and left her an amputee.

For more than a decade, Fawcett has fought a pitched battle with the defence and veterans departments. The federal government claims the tragic accident on Highway 401, just outside of Kingston, Ont., did not occur while she was on duty — even though the trip was sanctioned by her commanding officer and part of an approved military-mandated family care plan.

Over a decade ago, Ottawa refused to cover the cost of her prosthetic limb. Fawcett still returned to duty after learning to walk again. She even deployed to Afghanistan for a second time in 2008.


Federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

She said she asked Blair to look into her case and to act as an information "conduit" with the federal government while the matter was before the chief of the defence staff.

She said she was subsequently ignored and then told nothing could be done because the matter was before the courts.

CBC News asked Blair for comment but the minister said he would not discuss the specifics of Fawcett's case.

"Out of respect for the privacy of my constituents, I do not comment on individual cases that are brought forward to me," he said. "As the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Southwest I always strive to make myself available to constituents to assist them with their concerns."

Fawcett said her desire to run is rooted more broadly in dissatisfaction with the Liberal government's treatment of veterans and military programs. Fawcett questions the fiscal sustainability of some of the Trudeau government's spending decisions and said she suspects those in uniform will be among the first to suffer in the event of budget cuts.

Her candidacy is a little ironic in light of the fact the Liberals rode to power in 2015 partly on the dissatisfaction of veterans who saw themselves being run over by the former Conservative government in its drive to balance the budget.

Fawcett acknowledged the political grievances of the past but said the Conservative Party has learned from them and is moving forward.

"It doesn't matter who, or what party, is in charge of veterans. I want to see that the department does right by veterans," she said.

Fawcett took her fight to Federal Court after her internal grievances were denied. Shortly after the accident, she was told that she qualified for disability benefits, but the decision was overturned and upheld all the way up to the chief of the defence staff.

"My grievance started because I asked for an explanation. And to do this day, I still do not have an explanation," she said.

"We hoped, at the end of the day, our chain of command was supportive. It was a difficult pill to swallow that they didn't and that [the decision] was very arbitrary."

It's that sort of inconsistent treatment that Fawcett said she wants to fight from inside the government.

She's currently weighing whether to fight the Federal Court decision all the way to the Supreme Court. She's also considering a further appeal of her denial of benefits to the federal Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/kimberly-fawcett-bill-blair-air-force-disability-compensation-1.5117176
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Offline Tcm621

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The CAF likely spent more fighting it than the prosthetic would have cost.  While I agree she wasn’t on duty and therefore isn’t necessarily entitled to it.......on top of the legal fees the government accrued, what would the monetary cost of the terrible PR be?  Likely pretty high.

Pretty sad

 The government doesn't care about cost. I have seen way too many decisions where the more expensive route was taken because the book didn't say you could do it the cheaper way. They also can't bend to PR just because. I feel for the Capt and I would gladly donate to a go fund me for a new running blade but you have to draw the line somewhere and actually working is a good line.

DAOD 5044-1 actually states :

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5.9 While an FCP is the responsibility of the member and is not approved by the unit, the member may seek the advice of unit authorities on the preparation of the FCP and the completion of the form, Family Care Plan Declaration. The form submitted by the member may be reviewed by unit authorities for completeness only.

It is pretty cut and dried. In addition, she isn't hobbling along on a peg leg, she has a prosthetic and wants VAC to pay for a running blade. The press on this seems to be ignoring that fact, either deliberately or otherwise.

Offline Navy_Pete

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On the flip side, the CAF deployed her with a prosthetic, and requires all members to be physically fit. Does it not make sense if you are going to continue to employ someone for a decade, you would pay for something to let them participate in a common PT activity like running if they are able to?  :dunno:

And they do stuff for PR that costs far more time and money all the time, so why not pony up and tie it with their running news stories about supporting injured members and all the other things they've been selling over the last few years. This directly undermines all of that effort, so once again, the Big Giant Heads come across as words, not deeds (which would be a pretty funny April fools prank to set up as a upper level command slogan).

Offline Tcm621

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On the flip side, the CAF deployed her with a prosthetic, and requires all members to be physically fit. Does it not make sense if you are going to continue to employ someone for a decade, you would pay for something to let them participate in a common PT activity like running if they are able to?  :dunno:

And they do stuff for PR that costs far more time and money all the time, so why not pony up and tie it with their running news stories about supporting injured members and all the other things they've been selling over the last few years. This directly undermines all of that effort, so once again, the Big Giant Heads come across as words, not deeds (which would be a pretty funny April fools prank to set up as a upper level command slogan).

My understanding is DND did pay while she was in uniform. The issue is now with VAC who are not all that concerned with PR apparently.

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She didn't just lose her leg. Her infant child was killed on the side of the highway in an accident that occurred after she made arrangements to be ready to activate the FCP, in accordance with a conversation she had with her superior just minutes before. She lost a limb and a life, recovered, and continued to serve in an inspiring and meaningful way. Those are facts that make this whole issue unconscionable, stupid and comparatively petty, regardless of the type of prosthetic or reason why she wants it.   
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Offline Tcm621

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She didn't just lose her leg. Her infant child was killed on the side of the highway in an accident that occurred after she made arrangements to be ready to activate the FCP, in accordance with a conversation she had with her superior just minutes before. She lost a limb and a life, recovered, and continued to serve in an inspiring and meaningful way. Those are facts that make this whole issue unconscionable, stupid and comparatively petty, regardless of the type of prosthetic or reason why she wants it.

The fact that her child died is horrible and nothing will ever make up for it. However, it has no bearing on the situation. The FCP isn't something you activate it is merely an administrative tool to ensure members have a plan. To see how there is no liability from the forces, turn it around. If she had been at fault and the other driver injured, would the CAF  have been liable? No because she was taking her kids to daycare not working.

Here are the relevant facts:

Was driving her children to daycare because husband, who normally does it, had to prep for deployment.
Calls her boss and says she is "activating her FCP", (Boss likely replied, "Uh....Ok?")
On the way to daycare, get in a terrible accident loses her leg.
Military pays for all her health care costs, including prostetics.
She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

Offline PMedMoe

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The fact that her child died is horrible and nothing will ever make up for it. However, it has no bearing on the situation. The FCP isn't something you activate it is merely an administrative tool to ensure members have a plan. To see how there is no liability from the forces, turn it around. If she had been at fault and the other driver injured, would the CAF  have been liable? No because she was taking her kids to daycare not working.

Here are the relevant facts:

Was driving her children to daycare because husband, who normally does it, had to prep for deployment.
Calls her boss and says she is "activating her FCP", (Boss likely replied, "Uh....Ok?")
On the way to daycare, get in a terrible accident loses her leg.
Military pays for all her health care costs, including prostetics.
She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

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Offline PuckChaser

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She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

Politicians write VACs rules. They're not some omnipotent organization above the will or Parliament.

She didn't like what the rules were, tried to get enough public pressure to have them changed. The current government doesn't care, so shes running for office to get it changed from the inside. Probably exactly what someone should do? At least she put her money where her mouth is and stepped up to run herself.

Offline Jarnhamar

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By 2014 Veterans Affairs returned over  $1,000,000,000 dollars that went unused.

2018-"Trudeau Liberals leave $372, 000,000 meant to help veterans unspent since taking office.


Veterans Affairs should have just bought her a new running leg.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 20:34:15 by Jarnhamar »
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Offline PPCLI Guy

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Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

Agreed.  No amount of what-aboutism will change that
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Offline Tcm621

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Politicians write VACs rules. They're not some omnipotent organization above the will or Parliament.

She didn't like what the rules were, tried to get enough public pressure to have them changed. The current government doesn't care, so shes running for office to get it changed from the inside. Probably exactly what someone should do? At least she put her money where her mouth is and stepped up to run herself.

That Is exactly what she should do and I wish her all the best. While I disagree with her argument here, hopefully she will be able to affect positive change at VAC, which clearly needs it.

Offline Tcm621

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By 2014 Veterans Affairs returned over  $1,000,000,000 dollars that went unused.

2018-"Trudeau Liberals leave $372, 000,000 meant to help veterans unspent since taking office.


Veterans Affairs should have just bought her a new running leg.

Or... You know... Spend that money so we can pay out to people who have legitimate claims in a timely manner. We have entered a time where 1-2 years is a pretty normal waiting time. Based on the information, I'm getting from VAC it will be at least 16 months (probably closer to 20) until I get a decision on my latest application.

I hope she gets what she needs and if anyone has a link to a GoFundMe or something I would love to donate some cash to help but this is just one of those times when no matter how much it might suck, she just isn't entitled.