On May 18, 2021, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board issued an Interpretation Decision (I-3) regarding the Bureau of Pensions Advocates’ Chief Pensions Advocate’s question of:
Whether a disability was attributable to service, arose out of service, was directly connected with service and/or is service-related where the disability is the result of:
- Medical or dental treatment provided or authorized by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) health care services; or
- A lack of medical or dental treatment provided or authorized by CAF or RCMP health care services;
- And whether a disability, resulting from medical negligence by or on behalf of the CAF or RCMP, and/or an inability to obtain appropriate treatment, is a disability that is service-related.
The Interpretation Decision (I-3) Panel found that both the CAF and RCMP Members may be eligible for disability benefits arising from a service-related treatment injury. Each claim must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether there is a significant relationship to service, without holding applicants to a requirement of establishing negligence.
In its written decision the Panel noted that the weighing of factors calls for a holistic view of the evidence in the unique and specific circumstances of each case; negligence is not necessary for establishing service relationship and does not easily fit in legislation designed to be accessible and expeditious.