Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 21, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Canadian Rangers struggle with reimbursement payments: ombudsman

Rangers in remote regions face lengthy delays in getting paid for damaged, lost equipment claims

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Sgt. Jarloo Kiguktak of the Canadian Rangers lashes crosspieces to a qamutik March 21 during NOREX 2015, a military training exercise held near Resolute Bay. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAF)
Sgt. Jarloo Kiguktak of the Canadian Rangers lashes crosspieces to a qamutik March 21 during NOREX 2015, a military training exercise held near Resolute Bay. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAF)

Canadian Rangers who live in remote regions face many problems getting reimbursed for losses and equipment damage suffered during Canadian Ranger operations, Gary Walbourne, the Department of National Defence ombudsman, said last week.

Walbourne conveyed this in the second “message” he’s issued as a result of his continuing investigation into DND’s treatment of Canadian Rangers.

“To date, there are concerns worth reporting about the delays in reimbursements of claims for loss of or damage to personal equipment. This is because the impact of the delays extends beyond the individual Ranger—it can be felt throughout the community,” Walbourne said.

“For example, when personal equipment is damaged or lost during an operation, a Canadian Ranger may not be able hunt or fish, activities often critical to their livelihoods.”

Walbourne said it’s DND’s policy to compensate Canadian Rangers for loss or damages if their equipment breaks down during approved activities.

But that compensation is often slow to arrive and hunters are often left waiting for many weeks.

The most common reasons, Walbourne said, are:

• delays in reporting when no authorized staff person is present;

• delays in obtaining quotes, which the ombudsman said is “very challenging takes an unreasonable amount of time for a Canadian Ranger;”

• delays in obtaining signatures when computers are not available; and,

• delays in reimbursements due to lack of access to staff and office locations.

Other problems include the lack of standard operating procedures for filling out and submitting claims and the complexity of some files, Walbourne said.

Walbourne also said he will provide updates on other specific issues that affect Canadian Rangers, including health care entitlements and the monitoring of medical fitness.

His first interim message, released last January, found that Canadian Rangers may not receive the medical and logistical support that they are entitled to as members of Canada’s Armed Forces.

His final report on the Canadian Rangers is to be published in the fall of 2017.

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