Veterans minister halts privacy breach investigation by vets ombudsman

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Newly released documents show an investigation by Canada's veterans ombudsman into a privacy breach was quietly shut down last year on the instructions of the veterans affairs minister.

Steven Blaney asked the ombudsman to discontinue a probe that his predecessor had ordered in January 2011, when the department was reeling from the Sean Bruyea scandal.

Confidential details from a psychiatrist's letter were stitched into a ministerial briefing note while Bruyea, an outspoken critic, was complaining about an overhaul of veterans benefits in 2006.

Revelations about how Bruyea and other advocates were treated prompted former veterans minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn to ask the veterans ombudsman to investigate.

But in a July 4, 2011, letter to ombudsman Guy Parent, Blaney — who took over the portfolio after Blackburn suffered electoral defeat — responded to a request for information by asking that the probe be halted.