Colonel (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine became the new Veterans Ombudsman (VO) on 23 November 2020. Now that Nishika has a number of weeks under her belt, it's time to learn a bit more about her, what she brings to the role, and what she would like to accomplish.
What do you hope to bring to the job as new Veterans Ombudsman?
"I would say there are three things I bring to the job as VO. First is my 37 years of service in the CAF and my (and my family’s) experience of military life. Next would be my personal leadership philosophy of prioritizing the welfare and well-being of the people I work with. And finally, I’m an action-oriented person with a strong work ethic – I am all about getting things done that need to be done."
Why did you want to be the Veterans Ombudsman?
"It’s quite simple: to be of service to my community – the Veteran community."
Since you started, what have you learned about the Office that you’d like people to know?
"How deeply impressed I am with the individual professionalism and dedication of each person in this Office! This team feels to me like it’s running on all cylinders, and is deeply inspired by the important work we do, and that is reflected as well in the mutual respect and sense of teamwork that everyone seems to have."
What issues will be your biggest priorities while you are the Ombudsman?
"I can’t answer that definitively today, but I am very much looking forward to setting those priorities over the course of the next few weeks. Our plan is for me to meet as many Veteran stakeholders and advocates as possible to hear first-hand their perspectives. These will form our deliberations to prioritize the areas where we should focus our investigations over the next year and beyond."
Can we expect changes to the way we submit complaints to your Office?
"It’s extremely important to us that Veterans and their families both know what we do and how to get in touch with us, so everything we can do to be more accessible to them is what we should naturally strive to do. If we identify new ways to promote and provide access to our services, then we should absolutely look to do that."
Source: Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, Canada