Questions, concerns, focus of CAF Ombudsman’s outreach

CAF Ombudsman Gregory Lick

CAF Ombudsman Gregory Lick

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer
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Last week, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Ombudsman completed a series of virtual outreach sessions and town hall meetings at CFB Esquimalt and Maritime Forces Pacific.

Ombudsman Gregory Lick and his staff met with approximately 540 military members and civilian staff in 16 different virtual meetings held mostly via video conferencing from May 24 to 31. 

“This visit was an opportunity for military members and civilian staff to raise questions and concerns over issues affecting themselves and their families,” said Lick. “We also provided information to constituents about what the office of the Ombudsman does.”

The CAF Ombudsman investigates complaints and serves as a neutral third party on matters related to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces for serving and former military members. It acts independently of the chain of command with the Ombudsman reporting directly to the Minister of National Defence.

The Ombudsman’s office is also a direct source of information, referral, and education for military members and civilian DND employees. It helps individuals get access to existing channels of assistance or redress when they have a complaint or concern.

Issues of Concern

Key issues raised were the increasing cost of living expenses and the need for the Treasury Board to update the criteria and rates for the Post Living Differential (not updated since 2008); relocation issues with government-contracted Brookfield Residential Property Services; sexual misconduct and abuse of authority concerns; and access and wait times for health care.

Other concerns raised included the CAF mandatory retirement age of 55, quarantine requirements, and mental health issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s outreach by the Ombudsman was also part of an ongoing systemic investigation into issues surrounding compassionate postings and families with special needs children.

Lick says military members must be mobile and always able to deploy, but that exceptions may arise that temporarily limit a family’s ability to move. In these often-challenging personal circumstances, special consideration may be granted following a specific administrative approval process.

“It is important that the policy and process in place to support members during these challenging times does so to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

Read Their Findings

Lick and his staff will consolidate their findings and send them to the Base Commander and Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. Direct concerns from members will remain anonymous.

The letters will be published on the Ombudsman’s website in four to eight weeks.

This year’s outreach sessions have also included CFB Valcartier and CFB Trenton, with travel to CAF Northern Area headquarters and CFB Yellowknife on the horizon.   

Lick encourages anyone who feels they have been unfairly treated, has questions about the recent base outreach, or needs more information about the CAF Ombudsman to visit their website at http://www.ombuds.ca or call them at 1-888-828-3626

Who is Lick?

Lick assumed the role of CAF Ombudsman in 2018. He served over three decades in the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and 17 years as a Naval Reservist, retiring as a PO2. He has worked closely with the DND, CAF, and Joint CCG-CAF operations in policy development and vessel procurement. His marine career started with the Naval Reserve in 1981, where he dedicated his efforts to improving training. He spent time at sea and at Canadian Forces Fleet School (Pacific).

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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