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VAC Area Director abuses position

kratz

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Reference: The Chronicle Herald

These situations do not assist Veterans in having any faith with VAC or building any trust in the system.

Veteran's wife asking why official ordered to stay away kept viewing husband's PTSD claim files
Nicole Munro
Published: 7 hours ago  | Updated: 1 hour ago

Kim Davis is baffled that the acting area director for Veterans Affairs Canada in Halifax has accessed her husband’s information 15 times since he was asked to stay out of the files.

On behalf of her husband Blair, Kim filed a request in December 2014 with Veterans Affairs that Robert (Doyle) Safire, the supervisor of Blair’s case manager at the time, no longer have access to his file.

Blair served in the Canadian military as a cook for almost 11 years and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The veteran had asked to have a new case manager and supervisor in August 2014, after he felt they didn’t have his best interests in mind.

“(Safire) said ‘You won’t get anything, it’ll be the same,’ ” recalled Kim in Halifax on Wednesday. “So all trust was gone.”

Blair has been banned from going into the Halifax office by his doctors, in case he sees Safire and ... it triggers his PTSD, said his wife.

But in 2016, the Lawrencetown couple who have been married for 24 years, discovered Safire had been accessing the file.

“We even had my husband’s file moved to Cape Breton so he wouldn’t have access,” said Kim.

Although this was a cause for concern, it was more alarming when they discovered Safire was the deciding factor in the VAC Emergency Assistance Fund Blair applied for earlier this year.

“He should have (recused) himself from this since he knows he’s not allowed to have access,” said the veteran’s wife.

Kim filed a privacy breach and Access to Information and Privacy request for verification through documents.

Fed up, Kim voiced her frustrations to Canada’s banished veterans, a Facebook group.

“Doyle Safire is in breach of my husband’s file. He was knowingly investigating a benefit my husband applied for and put the poor VAC staff member in a difficult position,” she wrote in May. “Today we learned he was leading the committee to decide on this benefit. I’m done!”

That post would soon lead to Kim receiving a letter from David Coles of BoyneClarke LLP.

“Mr. Safire maintains that on each occasion his job has required that he deal with a matter in respect to your husband’s file, that he discharged his duties entirely properly, and in full accordance with Veterans Affairs Canada’s Policies and Guidelines,” wrote the lawyer.

“My client will not accept your publication of untrue statements which falsely impugn my client’s character,’ wrote Coles, citing the Facebook post. “We are instructed to require that you cease further defamatory publication.”

During the time Safire accessed the files, Blair was already deemed permanently impaired and didn’t require a case manager.

“I’m like ‘what are you doing?’” asked Kim.

A week later, Kim received logs from the federal Access to Information and Privacy co-ordinator’s office that confirmed Safire has accessed Blair’s file 15 times since December 2014.

“A thorough review has been completed, and it has been determined that Mr. Safire did access your account after you had requested that he not be involved with your file,” states the letter. “You are entitled to bring a complaint regarding the handling of your personal information to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.”

Kim has since filed a complaint but she hasn’t been told if Safire has faced repercussions or is no longer allowed to access Blair’s file.

“He’s more than happy to poke the bear of any veteran with PTSD, not caring what the consequences are,” said Kim of the acting director.

David Coles, Safire’s lawyer, said he is unable to discuss information regarding the case due to privacy reasons.

Veterans Affairs Canada did not respond by deadline.
 

brihard

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The intro to the article suggests the individual in question had been ‘ordered’ not to touch the file, but I see no substantiation for that. Basically it looks like she doesn’t want her husband’s case manager’s boss touching the file; I don’t see anything indicating that she is entitled to that or that there is anything mandating him not to? It would seem to me that as the supervisor of a case manager with what appears to be at least a somewhat contentious file, he would have a justifiable oversight role in this. Is there something I’m missing that changes that picture? I see nothing stronger right now than she doesn’t want him to and is upset not to have her way on it.
 

MJP

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Brihard said:
The intro to the article suggests the individual in question had been ‘ordered’ not to touch the file, but I see no substantiation for that. Basically it looks like she doesn’t want her husband’s case manager’s boss touching the file; I don’t see anything indicating that she is entitled to that or that there is anything mandating him not to? It would seem to me that as the supervisor of a case manager with what appears to be at least a somewhat contentious file, he would have a justifiable oversight role in this. Is there something I’m missing that changes that picture? I see nothing stronger right now than she doesn’t want him to and is upset not to have her way on it.

My first thought reading the article is that there are always two sides to a story.
 
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