On March 23, the former RCMP officer and military reservist — who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder — had just arrived home in Kamloops, B.C. from a spring break vacation. In his mailbox he found an official-looking letter addressed to his wife.
Moments later, his speechless wife Allison showed him the letter — expressing Veterans Affairs Canada’s sympathies regarding the death of her husband and offering to help out the newly-bereaved widow.
The letter didn’t specify when or how I died. It just said that they wanted to send their condolences and that if she needed any assistance to contact them, and also to contact the Last Post Fund for burial benefits and things of that nature, and it was signed by a veteran’s service agent.”
Now a federal parole officer, he served in the RCMP for four years in B.C. in the late 1990s and developed PTSD after witnessing gruesome accident scenes. He was formally diagnosed in 2012 and is still receiving treatmen
Veterans Affairs apologizes
He said he’s spoken with three different people at Veterans Affairs, inclVeteransuding a staffer in the deputy minister’s office.
The department has launched an investigation but Tremblay said the only thing he’s been told so far is the obvious — that the letter was sent in error and the department is sorry. He’s also been told that the mistake happened when a case manager transferred his file.
The department did write a letter of apology and posted it to Tremblay’s online Veterans Affairs account.
Tremblay said that what bothers him most is the fact that no one at the department tried to confirm that he was actually dead. He said he wonders whether the error represents a systemic problem.
He also wants to see someone held accountable for the emotional upset — which is what would happen, he said, if someone in his parole office made a similar mistake.