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The Parade Square => VAC and other Soldiers' Benefits => Topic started by: Rifleman62 on December 11, 2017, 10:50:47

Title: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 11, 2017, 10:50:47
Rather than start a new thread for every VAC announcement/press release/news report.

http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/thousands-of-veterans-waiting-as-backlog-for-disability-benefits-explodes

Backlog for disability benefits explodes, leaving thousands of veterans waiting
- Lee Berthiaume -10 Dec 17
Veterans Affairs Canada says there were about 29,000 applications for disability benefits waiting to be processed at the end of November — a nearly 50 per cent increase since the end of March

Extracts: 1. Veterans Affairs Canada says there were about 29,000 applications for disability benefits in the queue waiting to be processed at the end of November — a nearly 50 per cent increase since the end of March.

Nearly one-third of those applications have been in the line for more than 16 weeks, which is also an increase since the spring and a sign that wait times are continuing to grow.

              2. Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan admitted the government needs to do better to ensure disabled veterans get the benefits they need and deserve and said action is being taken.

That includes hiring hundreds more staff, streamlining the way Veterans Affairs officials review files to speed up processing times and giving veterans more benefit of the doubt when it comes to approving benefits.

              3. But such promises have been made before and are starting to ring hollow as the problem continues to get worse, said Peter Stoffer, a former NDP MP and longtime veterans’ advocate.

“If you go back to (former minister) Fred Mifflin in 1997, he said the exact same thing,” Stoffer said.

“All 13 ministers since ’97 have said the exact same thing: ‘We have to do a better job, we’re speeding up the process.’ And it’s getting worse, to be honest with you.”


Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 11, 2017, 11:41:52
The inability to organize a gun auction at a prison break comes to mind. I wonder how many staff/hours/funds were expended by VAC for this.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/no-glory-for-canadians-who-travelled-to-vimy-on-anniversary

"SHAME SHAME ON YOU!" Hundreds of Canadians complain to Veterans Affairs about disorganized Vimy Ridge ceremony
- Tom Spears - 11 Dec 17

Extracts:1. “A total disaster”, “Appalling”, “A mosh pit and Woodstock combined.” These were among the withering reviews received by Veterans Canada this year to its hosting of 25,000 Canadians....  Concerts and sports events handle similar crowds all the time. They bus people in, open lots of gates, supply portable toilets and water, give clear directions and let everyone go home when the event is over.

             2. However, documents this newspaper obtained through an access-to-information request showed how visitors...........The visitors’ letters — 397 pages of them — tell of heat exhaustion, thirst, full bladders and fear. Here are some excerpts, with the senders’ names removed by Veterans Affairs.( At link)
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on December 11, 2017, 11:49:19
Same sort of planning that went into the Canada Day celebrations here in Ottawa.     :not-again:


Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on December 11, 2017, 12:13:20
Oh man... So October 2016, they held the damned stakeholders' conference at Casino Lac Leamy. Fill a room full of veterans, many with mental health issues, addictions, etc, and put them in a casino overnight for a couple days... Talk about poor thinking. They got a blast for that.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on December 11, 2017, 12:32:31
VAC really should hire some veterans into there planning and organization jobs. Then things might go a lot smoother.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Old Sweat on December 11, 2017, 13:58:32
I was at the Vimy event. It went as described but most people were in a good mood, if eventually strained after standing in mob mode waiting for a bus back to one of the debussing areas.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on December 11, 2017, 14:23:57
VAC really should hire some veterans into there planning and organization jobs. Then things might go a lot smoother.

When Cibeles Wilson (current CO 28 Fd Amb) was the stakeholder rep for minister O'Toole, things were going pretty smooth. O'Toole and Cibeles set a high bar for stakeholder engagement that has not since been matched.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Old Sweat on December 11, 2017, 14:36:46
To be fair to VAC, I believe some of this was because of conditions imposed by the French government. That there were going to be massive delays returning the spectators to where their own buses were located had to have been known before hand. A little bit of how do we make this as painless as possible would have helped.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: ArmySailor on December 11, 2017, 22:27:51
I was a guide for the 95th, and it was crazy. I could only imagine how that would have gone for the 100th.......
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 13, 2017, 11:24:24
http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-hey-veterans-affairs-canada-crowd-control-shouldnt-be-this-hard


Editorial: Hey, Veterans Affairs Canada – crowd control shouldn't be this hard - Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board - 12 Dec 17

Extract: 1. When Veterans Affairs Canada later surveyed its own staff about the day, reviews weren’t any more positive. The employees cited bad communication, lack of leadership and last-minute decisions. Students who worked as guides at the Vimy Monument had it particularly rough. They were alone, in uniform, and didn’t have radios to call for help from senior staff when problems or questions arose.

            2. The federal government, apparently, was oblivious to the problems that occurred last April 9, until Spears (Citizen’s Reporter)  followed up. VAC’s summary report for that day touts it all as a grand success, since the 152 VIPs on hand had a fine time. There was only minor reference to the problems everyone else faced; the report suggested a “small number” of critical comments. In fact, the file given to the Citizen contains 400 pages full of complaints. Officials are now saying things could have been done better.



http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/vimy-revisited-veterans-affairs-deeply-saddened-by-bad-experience-blames-french-toilets

Vimy revisited: Veterans Affairs 'deeply saddened' by bad experience, blames French toilets- Tom Spears -13 Dec 17

Extract: 1. A top official at Veterans Affairs says the department was unaware last spring of widespread problems at April’s Vimy 100 ceremony in France but now takes full responsibility. “I’m deeply, deeply sorry. I regret to hear all of it, you can be sure … I accept full responsibility for that,” said Mike Jorgensen, a retired brigadier-general who is director general of the Veterans Affairs office that organizes overseas events.

            2. Jorgensen’s comments are in contrast to a Summary Report and Lessons Learned document the department produced at the end of June, which in fact described Vimy 100 as a rousing success.“Despite the challenges” of high security and running events in a foreign country, “all events ran on time, on budget and virtually without incident,” that report says. The report was obtained through access to information.



http://thechronicleherald.ca/editorials/1528969-editorial-vets-squeezed-again-in-pension-holdup

EDITORIAL: Vets squeezed again in pension holdup - 13 Dec 17

Extract: 1. Peter Stoffer is right. Despite changes in government in Ottawa, and more than a dozen different veterans’ affairs ministers over the last two decades promising better, faster service, there continue to be unacceptable shortfalls in benefits programs for the men and women who put their lives on the line for this country, says the former NDP MP and longtime veterans’ advocate.

            2. The bureaucracy at Veterans Affairs, despite a drumbeat of criticism stretching back more than a decade, inexplicably continues to make life difficult for too many veterans.

            3. But the ruling (BC Appeals Court) by Justice Harvey Groberman, who said he had sympathy for the veterans, made it clear the decision was not necessarily endorsing the status quo. “All right-thinking Canadians would agree that they should be provided with adequate disability benefits. If that is not occurring, it is a national embarrassment,” wrote Justice Groberman.

            4. Liberal Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan has promised a new lifelong disability pension plan by the end of the year. Let’s hope veterans won’t be disappointed again.



https://www.hilltimes.com/2017/12/13/department-leaves-vets-financial-limbo-behind-half-targets/128223

Department leaves veterans in ‘financial limbo,’ behind on half its targets - 13 Dec 17

Extract: 1. Veterans Affairs missed 54 per cent of its targets last year, which opposition MPs called both 'breathtaking' and 'horrible.' More resources are needed, critics agreed, but the culture also has to change.

            2. Disability decisions and applications represented some of the department’s worst results. The vast majority of injured veterans are waiting more than four months to learn if they qualify for financial support. (See graphic at link)

            3. “We are looking at the entire disability application process, from intake to decisions, to expedite decisions and respond to Veterans’ needs more quickly,” said (VAC) spokesperson Marc Lescoutre. He said the average turnaround time on first applications is 106 days, for reassessment it’s 71 days and for a departmental review the average is 85 days. One veteran waited 1,007 days for a decision, due to “extensive time required” to assemble the documents in what Mr. Lescoutre said was a “unique” circumstance.

See link for the detailed report.

 
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Jarnhamar on December 13, 2017, 14:19:51
Why can't VAC get their crap together?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 14, 2017, 11:13:21
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/veterans-disability-benefits-injuries-government-1.4446485

29,000 veterans waiting to see if they get disability benefits - David Burke -13 Dec 17
‘They just give up, not realizing that if they persist they could be entitled to a benefit down the road'

Extract: 1. But the system is changing, according to Rick Christopher, the director general of centralized operations division for Veterans Affairs. "One of the things that we're doing is streamlining the process for making decisions on certain types of applications: hearing loss, post-traumatic stress disorder and musculoskeletal conditions. We're also adding additional resources and doing what we can to get more people working on these claims," said Christopher.

            2. He (Stoffer) would like to see all veterans' benefits and medical needs set up before they leave the military so they can easily continue to receive care. Until that happens, Stoffer would like to see Veterans Affairs hire workers to sit down with veterans and go through their application forms to make sure they're properly filled out.



 http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3594701

PRESS RELEASE: Sobering Stats: Veterans at consistently higher risk for suicide than general population - 13 Dec 17

Extract: 1. A federal study released last Thursday revealed that Canadian veterans are at significantly higher risk for death by suicide than the general population—and have been for the past 37 years. In fact, the study has even drawn criticism because because it ends in 2012, just as the veterans suicide crisis emerged. Over a period of just three months, a shocking eight veteran suicides were reported, beginning with three suicides over three days in November in 2013. According to some veterans, the study provides an incomplete picture of the true severity of the issue.

             2. Meanwhile, this is the Veterans Transition Network’s twentieth year in operation, offering specialized mental health services for 20 years to aid veterans in the critical time as they transition from military to civilian life. The research shows it’s working—the University of British Columbia has shown that the VTN's programs have a nearly 80 per cent reduction in suicidal thoughts, with nearly all veterans who entered the program actively suicidal continuing to no longer feel suicidal a full 18 months after participating in the program. In addition, 24% reported an increase in life satisfaction and 34% reported an increase in self-esteem.

             3. Read more about how the VTN has changed veterans’ lives here (see link), and for further information on the research data of the Veterans Transition Program, contact Dr. Dan Cox at dan.cox@ubc.ca.




           



Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 18, 2017, 11:38:18
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-december-14-2017-1.4446791/government-s-new-startup-aims-to-create-better-services-for-canadians-1.4446955

Government's new startup aims to create better services for Canadians
- 14 Dec 17

Extract: 1. Imagine if dealing with the government was as user-friendly as buying from Amazon, or streaming from Netflix. That's the goal for the newly-created Canadian Digital Service (CDS). The fledgling team of a couple dozen employees are a mix of digital developers, designers and some career bureaucrats. Their mandate is to help federal departments create better digital services for Canadians.
 
             2. Some of the digital initiatives that the CDS team are working on include developing an online app with Veterans Affairs Canada. The app aims to make it easier for veterans to sort out eligible benefits.



http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vets-pension-liberals-1.4451842

Disabled vets being 'dumped' from case management, says advocate
- Murray Brewster - 18 Dec 17
Move away from case managers 'doesn't make sense,' says veterans advocate

Extract: 1. A change to the way Veterans Affairs manages the cases of disabled veterans ...... intends to expand an existing pilot program launched in the fall of 2016 known as "guided support," .........case manager replaced by a service agent .......the plan is aimed at serving veterans entering the system who require a "moderate" amount of help navigating a system that many ex-soldiers describe as Byzantine.

            2. .......department defines "moderate needs" is key. Those who have left rehabilitation but are still receiving long-term treatment are being swept up in the changes and receiving lower levels of service.....



https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/12/18/ottawa-must-fulfill-sacred-obligation-to-injured-veterans-editorial.html

EDITORIAL: Ottawa must fulfill ‘sacred obligation’ to injured veterans - 18 Dec 17
The costs of the best possible care for our veterans should be built into any decision that puts soldiers in harm’s way.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 28, 2017, 14:10:48
http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/inquiry-announced-into-nova-scotia-murder-suicides-by-former-soldier

Inquiry announced into Nova Scotia murder-suicides by former soldier - CP - 28 Dec 17

Extract: 1. HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government has announced an inquiry into the deaths of a former soldier and his family nearly a year after the tragic murder-suicides sent shock waves across the country.

Dr. Matt Bowes, the province’s chief medical examiner, said Thursday he is recommending an inquiry into the Jan. 3, 2017, deaths in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.

Retired corporal Lionel Desmond shot his wife Shanna, 31, their 10-year-daughter Aaliyah and his 52-year-old mother Brenda, before turning the gun on himself.

The Justice Department said in a news release the inquiry’s terms of reference, and the judge who will oversee it, will be announced in the new year.

Desmond had been diagnosed with PTSD and post-concussion disorder after completing two difficult tours in Afghanistan in 2007.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 30, 2017, 10:42:10
http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/ottawa-to-work-with-n-s-on-desmond-inquiry-in-bid-to-prevent-similar-tragedies

N.S. inquiry into murder-suicides has 'national implications,' advocate says - CP - 29 Dec 17

Extract: 1. Nova Scotia’s inquiry into the shooting deaths of an Afghan war veteran and his family could have sweeping implications for ailing former soldiers, veterans’ advocates say. The province’s long-awaited decision Thursday to launch a fatality inquiry — and Ottawa’s commitment to provide its “fullest support” to the probe — will put a spotlight on how injured soldiers are transitioned to civilian life across the country. Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan said Friday the federal government will work with the province on the inquiry to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

            2. Westholm served as a sergeant major for the Joint Personnel Support Unit — an eastern Ontario unit which provides support and programs for ill or injured soldiers — before resigning in protest. He said the inquiry should examine how injured soldiers are prepared for civilian life and monitored once they’re released. “You’ve got the entire Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs, that’s tens of thousands of people and billions of dollars at your beck and call, and you can’t get a person transitioned out of the military correctly. There is no excuse except leadership.”
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on January 05, 2018, 10:26:31
Short opinion piece.

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-canada-should-establish-in-law-a-social-contract-with-veterans

Opinion: Canada should establish in law a social contract with veterans - Louis Cuppens - 4 Jan 18

The Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association, an all-veteran group, is gravely concerned about the current untenable legal situation in which Canadian vets are trapped.

Recently, a B.C. Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court concerning a class-action lawsuit by veterans. The court’s claim is that there is no legislation that creates a social contract between members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada. Their finding states in most simplistic terms — “the government has no obligation to care for its military and veterans.” This is indeed unfortunate and this finding will surely have a negative impact on recruitment and retention of our volunteer military and RCMP unless it’s redressed.

While citizens consider that such a social contract, also called the social covenant or the sacred obligation, exists, the reality is that our legislators have never passed legislation that defines the social contract with those who defend and serve our nation and willingly expose themselves to “harms way.” Those who serve expect that they’ll be cared for, but such legislation — the social contract — has eluded governments for years.

A historical review will reveal that such a contract exists in practice, but not in legislation, and this needs to change. Courts enforce legislation; legislators create the laws that govern us.

The Government of Canada’s support of vets began with the creation of a two-focused department, headed by a minister in 1928. In 1944, the government created the Department of Veterans Affairs by an act that has been amended over time. Neither contains a reference to the needed social contract. I contend that the creation of Veterans Canada is the fulfilment of the unstated social contract; however, successive governments seem to refuse to take responsibility for the affairs of veterans — witness the recent statements by Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan and the promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to create a lifelong pension for injured vets.


The legislation to enact the New Veterans Charter and supporting legislation came into being in 2006; however, improvements can and should be made. Veterans’ advocacy groups have made the government and citizens aware of such. Still no statement of a social contract has been placed into law. In 2007, the government enacted the Veterans’ Bill of Rights; again there is no mention of a social contract or obligation.

The courts don’t consider statements by elected officials as law; in fact, such are viewed as political rhetoric. Statements by ministers and the PM that “we support our veterans” are just that, with no basis in law. Surely a simple amendment to extant legislation that states clearly that there is a social contract, wherein the government and the people of Canada have the moral and social obligation to care for its vets, can be accomplished. Perhaps new legislation would fulfil this essential policy. Either would be welcomed by those who serve.

Our veterans, service personnel and RCMP stand between us and those who would do us harm. They expect that they’ll be cared for by the government and people they serve. Simply stated, “Remember the fallen, take care of the wounded.” Please encourage those you elect to office to enact this essential “social contract.”

Lt.-Gen. (retired) Louis Cuppens is the special advocacy adviser for the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and a former deputy commander-in-chief of NORAD
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on January 10, 2018, 11:16:16
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-fails-to-meet-veterans-expectations-regarding-the-re-establishment-of-lifelong-pensions-under-new-veterans-charter-668152793.html

Government fails to meet veterans' expectations regarding the re-establishment of "lifelong pensions" under New Veterans Charter - War Amps - 5 Jan 18 (long read, with good info)

Extract: 1. The National Council of Veteran Associations (NCVA) and The War Amps of Canada contend that Minister O'Regan's announcement regarding the long-awaited "lifelong pension" has failed to live up to the Liberal government's election commitment to address the inequities in the New Veterans Charter, and continues to ignore "the elephant in the room" which has overshadowed this discussion.

             2. However, the greater majority of disabled veterans will not be materially impacted by the Minister's announcement in that the new benefits under the proposed legislative amendments will have limited applicability – thus the financial disparity between the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter will continue for this significant cohort of disabled veterans in Canada."

             3. "It is totally unacceptable that we continue to have veterans' legislation in Canada which provides a significantly higher level of compensation to a veteran who was injured prior to 2006 (date of the enactment of the New Veterans Charter) when compared to a veteran who was injured post-2006. If applied to the Afghan conflict, we have veterans in the same war with totally different pension benefit results," said Mr. Forbes. Brian Forbes, Executive Chairman of The War Amps and Chairman of NCVA

             4. "It has been our recommendation to the Minister and the department that Veterans Affairs Canada should pivot completely from this lump sum payment evaluation for delivering the so-called lifetime pension option and instead look to the major conclusions of the NCVA Legislative Program and the Ministerial Policy Advisory Group report – both of these reports proposed that the combination of the best provisions of the Pension Act and the best provisions of the NVC would produce this form of lifetime pension in a much more realistic manner in order to ensure the financial security for those veterans who need this form of monetary support through their lifetime."


http://www.benefitscanada.com/news/new-lifelong-pensions-dont-resolve-financial-disparity-say-veterans-associations-108946

Financial disparity unresolved under new lifelong pensions, say veterans associations - 5 Jan 18 (short rehash of above, but word is getting around)

Extract: 1. “If the ‘one veteran — one standard’ philosophy advocated by Veterans Affairs Canada has any meaning, this glaring disparity between the Pension Act and New Veterans Charter benefits for the greater majority of disabled veterans required that the minister seize the moment and satisfy the financial needs of Canadian veterans and their dependants,” he added.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on January 10, 2018, 11:31:43
So now we know, from the Minister's mouth, that the Liberals lied during the election campaign.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/oregan-responds-critics-injured-veterans-pensions-1.4480013

Veterans Affairs minister responds to pension change critics
- CBC - 9 Jan 18
"I won’t go back to the Pension Act of 1919", says federal minister Seamus O'Regan

Veteran Affairs Minister Seamus O`Regan is in British Columbia this week to talk about the pension plan changes for veterans announced last month.

The federal government promised in the 2015 election to reinstate lifetime pensions for injured veterans.

Those were abolished in 2006 and replaced by lump-sum payments.

Under changes announced last month, former soldiers can still choose to receive a lump sum of up to $360,000 or they can choose to receive a lifetime pension instead of up to $1,150 a month.

The most severely disabled veterans can also get an additional monthly allowance of up to $1,500.

In an interview with On the Island guest host Khalil Akhtar, O'Regan responded to criticism of the new plan.

What's your response to the National Council of Veterans Associations' criticism the monthly pension for veterans remain lower than in 2006? (see post above)

The maximum monthly payment will indeed be slightly increased for those people with a 100 per cent disability.

We'd heard from veterans organizations that said, and that still say to me as I go around talking to people about this new pension-for-life proposal, that it was never really about the money, it was about the services.

"Now, we have all these services in place. The lump sum, though, was a real thorn in a lot of people's sides. Because it felt like they were being written off, written off the ledger, you know, here's your money, now go away.

What we're offering here is the ability to take that by the month at an increased and far more generous rate."

The NCVA says veterans with the same injuries receive different compensation levels if one fought before 2006 and one was injured after 2006: Up to $2,733 a month under the old pensions, compared to a maximum of $2,600 under the new plan. What do you make of that point?

It's an argument that was had in 2006, over the New Veterans Charter. We are building on an agreement that was made by all parties and many veterans groups back in 2006.

There is a short window there where you did have an overlap, where you had men and women who were fighting side-by-side in Afghanistan, some who would fall under the Pension Act of 1919 and some who would fall under the New Veterans Charter. That is absolutely true.

With the increased benefits that we're allowing right now, we're going back to those people who received those lump sum payments, 2006 and after, and we are going to calculate how much they would have received if they had those new benefits when they accepted that amount.

Then we subtract the lump sum that we've given them and give them the rest over monthly payments. I mean, for some people, this could be a substantial amount of money.

The new program won't come into effect until April 1, 2019. Why is it taking so long? Why not this year?

Partially related to another subject, and that's Phoenix (the federal government's troubled pay system). Laying out very specialized financial compensation to thousands of people we, you know, now know can be very complicated work. :rofl:

There's also a legislative agenda. We're already under the gun, I can tell you, to make sure this legislation gets drafted.

Some veterans who voted for the Liberals did so thinking the disparity between the old system and the new one would be adressed. What do you say to veterans who feel let down by your new plan?

I won't go back to the Pension Act of 1919.  It did not meet the needs of our veterans. That's what we heard in 2006.

That's why every political party in Parliament agreed to this. We focus on rehabilitative services. We focus on the ability of people getting back to meaningful work because I know first hand, in my own experience, that there is nothing better than meaningful work.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


IMHO ******* Lies from the Minister. "That's what we heard in 2006" What about everything "heard" and the legal case since 2006? What did the LPC campaign on last election - a return to life long pensions (LLP) because they "heard" from Veterans the LLP  was equitable and justified.

Add: Trudeau and the LPC had no intention of bring back LLP. It was just something to hit Harper on for the election. Trudeau has no intent now.

P.S. I have no dog in this fight.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: cowboy628 on January 10, 2018, 13:23:40
So a question for for anyone to ask a Lib politician.  So if a person is 70% under pre 2006 and 30% under the NVA. This = 100% in my books will that person be paid out at 100%. Has any one given that any though? Or is it a case of just suck it up.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: GAC on January 16, 2018, 11:01:36
So a question for for anyone to ask a Lib politician.  So if a person is 70% under pre 2006 and 30% under the NVA. This = 100% in my books will that person be paid out at 100%. Has any one given that any though? Or is it a case of just suck it up.
That doesn't mean much if the new monthly maximum for Pension for Life is set at $1150 a month. I get more than that now for less than 50%. So between now and then, any new diagnosed pensionable condition would not add any value to the new pension for life.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on January 16, 2018, 11:07:42
If anyone seriously believes the Liberals are going to turn back time and make a pension worth it, they're dreaming in Technicolor.  They're going to do themselves a favour, not us.  It's what they did with the NVC to begin with.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 03, 2018, 11:14:19
Short interview with Vet, Brock Blaszczyk, who questioned the PM in Edm.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4003755/injured-veteran-edmonton-town-hall-justin-trudeau/

Injured veteran that questioned Trudeau during Edmonton town hall says ‘enough is enough’ - 2 Feb 18



http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/02/02/seamus-oregan-accuses-tories-of-amnesia-while-taking-heat-over-veterans-pensions_a_23351510/

Seamus O'Regan Accuses Tories Of 'Amnesia' While Taking Heat Over Veterans Pensions
- 2 Feb 18  (Video at link)
Conservatives are charging Trudeau lied to vet families.

The treatment of Canada's disabled veterans is again sparking heated exchanges in the House of Commons — only now it is opposition Conservatives accusing governing Liberals of having lied to ex-soldiers.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan faced a grilling in question period Friday morning over some frank comments Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the night before.

At a town hall in Edmonton Thursday, Trudeau was asked by a former corporal, who lost a leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, why his government is fighting vets in court. In a response that elicited some jeers, Trudeau said that some veterans groups are "asking for more than we are able to give right now."

Earlier this week, a group of six disabled vets said they want to take a longstanding legal battle with the federal government to the Supreme Court. The group seeks a return to the kind of lifetime pensions for disabled vets that existed before 2006, when they were replaced by lump-sum payments and other services.

Liberals promised in the 2015 election to re-establish lifelong pensions as "an option" for injured vets. They say they are accomplishing that with changes unveiled in late December that include a monthly, tax-free payment for pain and suffering that maxes out at $1,150 and a new benefit for those with severe disabilities. The most severely disabled veterans will be paid a maximum of $2,650 a month.

Members of the veterans community say, however, that the changes are less generous than what existed before 2006. A veteran involved in the so-called Equitas lawsuit against the government called the Liberal plan "nothing more than a shell game."

'Did the prime minister of Canada knowingly lie to veterans?'

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole, a former veterans affairs minister, charged in question period Friday that Trudeau is blaming veterans for his own broken promise. The prime minister should just admit he lied to win their votes or didn't "cost, understand or care" about his pledges, he said.

O'Regan read from prepared remarks that the government has "delivered the goods" on a lifelong pension option, as promised.

"Now we know why veterans call the new minister the bad news reader," O'Toole said, a shot at O'Regan's previous career in TV journalism.

O'Toole suggested Trudeau knew all along that a return to the old pension system was never going to happen.

"Did the prime minister of Canada knowingly lie to veterans and Canadians or did he not care that he was making promises he couldn't keep?" O'Toole bellowed.

It was all too rich for O'Regan, evidently, who accused the Tories of suffering from amnesia.

"You would think that some foreign body or some alien species had been in government for 10 years," he said, highlighting how the previous government shuttered nine regional Veterans Affairs offices that Liberals have since reopened.

"We have delivered, finally, on a pension for life," O'Regan said.

John Brassard, the Tories' veterans affairs critic, then criticized Trudeau for suggesting vets were asking for too much when he "has no problem with billions in deficits, billions to the United Nations, billions more for his pet projects and handing $10-million to Omar Khadr."

O'Regan shot back that he wished he could only accuse his foes of "inaction" on the file.

"But I couldn't do that. Not when they cut budgets for veterans, not when they closed offices time and time again and not when they ignored the voices of veterans," he said.

O'Regan said Liberals have invested $10-billion in new money for veterans since coming to power.

After question period, O'Regan was asked by reporters if he thinks veterans groups are asking for too much. The minister said he did not feel that way and again trumpeted the spending Liberals have made to improve benefits for veterans.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 03, 2018, 11:59:18
Bottom line - don’t trust politicians or bureaucrats.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 06, 2018, 10:18:18
https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-under-fire-for-saying-some-vets-want-more-than-government-can-afford-1.3790495

Trudeau under fire for saying some vets want more than government can afford - CP - 5 Feb 17

Extract: While Trudeau promised at the time that veterans would not have to fight the government in court, the Liberals have spent the last two-plus years opposing a landmark legal case involving a group of veterans who want the government to reinstate lifelong disability pensions.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer questioned in the House of Commons why the Liberals are saying they don't have enough money for veterans when they have found the money for many other causes and initiatives.

Those include an out-of-court settlement with Omar Khadr, a new Chinese infrastructure bank, a loan to Bombardier and more than $200,000 for Trudeau's controversial trip to the Aga Khan's island in 2016.

But Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan says the Liberals have done more to boost benefits and services for veterans during their short time in power than the Conservatives did during their decade in government.



http://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-trudeau-in-a-fight-he-cant-win-with-veterans-and-his-frustration-shows

John Ivison: Trudeau is in a fight he can't win with veterans, and his frustration shows
- NP - 5 Feb 18
Trudeau was elected on a platform that raised expectations to infinity. To Blaszczyk, even the Tories look good right now. ‘At least we weren’t given false promises’

Extract: 1. You have to be pretty tone-deaf to tell a man who lost a leg in Afghanistan that the government is fighting veterans groups in courts “because they’re asking for more than we’re able to give right now.” Yet that’s exactly what the prime minister did at a town-hall in Edmonton last Thursday — a gaffe that has gone viral on social media and infuriated veterans.

            2. He asked Trudeau why his government is fighting a legal battle with veterans (the Equitas class-action lawsuit), even though the Liberal election platform said “no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation they have earned.” Further, he complained he was not eligible for the new lifetime pension option, yet the Liberals have found money to pay for the re-integration of ISIL fighters and the $10.5-million compensation payment for Omar Khadr. “What veterans are you talking about — those fighting for the freedoms and values you so proudly boast about, or those fighting against?” he said. “I was prepared to be killed in action. What I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, was Canada turning its back on me.”

            3. It was more devastating than anything Trudeau has faced in the House of Commons, by several degrees.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Halifax Tar on February 06, 2018, 10:45:30
https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-under-fire-for-saying-some-vets-want-more-than-government-can-afford-1.3790495

Trudeau under fire for saying some vets want more than government can afford - CP - 5 Feb 17

But Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan says the Liberals have done more to boost benefits and services for veterans during their short time in power than the Conservatives did during their decade in government.

So basically, ya we lied but we did more than the other guy so leave us alone ?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 06, 2018, 11:22:22
Some here may or may not be familiar with Canada Company.  This company was founded 5 years ago to assist both veterans to transition to civilian employment and companies to find the ideal employee from amongst the veteran community.  Over the years, have been successful in both endeavors with their Military Employment Transition Program.  VAC has, however contracted with HR firm to conduct transition services and therefore Canada Company will cease operations as of 31 Mar 2018. 

Canada Company have sent out a notice which you can find at the link.  I don't know how good this new thing will be   :dunno:

https://mailchi.mp/f6f40846d918/important-information-canada-companymetpathfinder-met-transition?e=a1d7466b61
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 06, 2018, 13:54:43
I find it ironic that the government thinks it can transition ISIS fighters back into good, hardworking, honest Canadian taxpayers, but they can't transition a wounded soldier back to civie street. :waiting:
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 06, 2018, 14:11:48
I find it ironic that the government thinks it can transition ISIS fighters back into good, hardworking, honest Canadian taxpayers, but they can't transition a wounded soldier back to civie street. :waiting:

But taking into consideration who is the sitting PM at this time, not at all surprising...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 06, 2018, 14:46:01
But taking into consideration who is the sitting PM at this time, not at all surprising...

Yeah. I won't go there.  8) Not here anyway. :D
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 08, 2018, 11:18:03
Long piece. Skipped the background which has been posted before. Also videos at link.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4010965/reality-check-liberals-veterans-pensions/

Reality Check: Are the Liberals turning their back on veterans?- 7 Feb 18

Extract: 1. Wait, didn’t the Liberals promise to help veterans?

In their 2015 election platform, the Liberals vowed to restore lifelong pensions as an option for injured veterans and laid out that as a specific goal for the Minister of Veterans Affairs in the mandate letter for that role.

The pledge in the campaign platform did not, however, specify a plan to restore the lifelong pension program to the full amount it had been prior to 2006.

In December 2017, Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan announced the plan to restore lifelong pensions through an injection of $3.6 billion into veteran benefits that will start in April 2019.

That announcement came on the heels of efforts by the government to tick off several other promises to veterans that they made in their campaign platform, including increasing the amount of the disability award and increasing the earnings loss benefit.

Both of those were announced in Budget 2016 and have since gone into effect.

But veterans say the plan for lifelong pensions does not live up to the promise the Liberals made to treat veterans with more respect and that it does little to make up the difference in compensation that was the core concern with the change to the lump sum payment in the first place.

Under the new lifelong pension option, veterans will have the option of either taking the lump sum payment or opting for a lifelong pension that would result in a maximum tax-free monthly payment of $1,150.

As well, those with severe or permanent disabilities can also get a new benefit worth between $500 and $1,500 each month, also tax-free.

Both are indexed to inflation.

However, only about 12 per cent of veterans are eligible for the maximum amounts and veterans’ advocates say most will not end up getting the same level of compensation and support that existed under the old lifetime pension program.

         2. The Conservatives have called on Trudeau to apologize for his remarks.

In response, Trudeau defended the charge that some veterans are asking for too much and said the government cannot go back to the old system because doing so would require clawing back money already invested in the support programs and additional benefits that were introduced under the New Veterans Charter and which will remain under the new Liberal plan, though in different packaging.

“We cannot return to the amount of money that was given before without accounting for the money invested in services for veterans,” Trudeau said.

“And what I know from veterans I’ve spoken to is nobody wants after having served their country with valour and honour and sacrifice to have their government say: Here’s your cheque. Now don’t bother us anymore.”

         3. What happens next?

There are several outstanding issues at play in the argument around whether the government could or should do more to help veterans.

First, a decision by the Supreme Court as to whether it will hear the Equitas case could set a standard to define exactly what is owed by a government to those who serve in its military: in essence, whether there is a social contract or a covenant for a standard of care after a soldier is injured in service to their country.

On average, it takes the Supreme Court roughly three months to decide whether to hear a case and given the Equitas appeal was filed just last week, it will likely be spring before a decision on that application is made.

From there, it takes about six months for the court to issue a ruling once it hears an appeal.

Second, Budget 2018 is expected to be unveiled in late February and it remains to be seen whether there will be any additional funding for veterans’ services announced in that.

A number of campaign promises on the veterans file are still outstanding, including pledges to invest $100 million each year to “expand the circle of support for veterans’ families” and cover the cost of four years of college, university or technical school for those who complete military service through an $80-million per year education benefit for veterans.

Both promises are marked as unmet on the non-partisan platform tracking website TrudeauTracker, while others such as re-opening the nine Veterans Affairs service offices that were closed by the Conservatives in 2012, have been completed.

Third, the April 2019 start date for the revamped lifelong pension option for veterans will be one to watch as veterans come forward with their experiences of either getting less money than they expected or more.

In short, comparing benefits from one program to the other is difficult given the variables between them. While the Liberals have outstanding promises — and in some cases, ones that they have broken outright — they have also met others and launched a large-scale overhaul of a program that reaches to the core of one of the most strained relationships the government has with some of its citizens.

In this case, the answer to whether veterans are better off under this government than they were under the last is very much one that may only be clear years into the future once the full scale of changes can actually be assessed.

SOUND OFF: What do you think of the argument that some veterans are asking for too much from the government? (at Link)

Note: We may use your response in this or other stories. While we may contact you to follow up we won’t publish your contact info.


Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 09, 2018, 10:44:27
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/bruce-moncur/heres-why-trudeaus-presence-at-military-events-is-an-insult-to-veterans_a_23354394/

Here's Why Trudeau's Presence At Military Events Is An Insult To Veterans
-Huffpost - 8 Feb 18
After years of neglecting the military community and disrespecting the values by which we live, Trudeau's hollow commemorations have grown disrespectful.

By: Bruce Moncur Former Soldier, PSW, B.A. History, Windsorite

I always knew that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be a poor choice to lead a country. I knew he was lying about what he would do if elected prime minister. The fact that he — someone born into privilege — had the audacity to suggest an injured veteran requesting a pension was greedy, shows just how out of touch he is with reality. What comes to mind is a man that is intrigued to see how the lower class people live, almost a curiosity with a world alien to his own.

From the day you enlist, every soldier considers that signature on the dotted line as a blank cheque — the ultimate sacrifice being one's life. Willing and able to lay down their last breath for Queen and country. This week, Trudeau looked in an amputee veteran's eyes and had the audacity to tell him that some veterans are asking for "more than we can give." A line has been drawn in the sand by the former white-water rafting instructor, and it is clear his privileged upbringing has skewed his perception of reality, leading him to take for granted the sacrifices made by so many.

Not surprising. His father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, hid behind his family's wealth during the Second World War, deferring service despite being of age and healthy. Meanwhile, my one grandfather was getting bombed in Malta every day for three years before losing his firstborn to pneumonia under starvation conditions. My other grandfather, at 16 years old, was under age. He had to be dragged out of the recruiting office by his mother.

Respect is earned the hard way, and it would be hard to argue that Trudeau has done anything close to that.

A leader lacking integrity

The 10 principles of military leadership are tantamount to gospel for those serving, and include taking pride in your integrity. In the military, you are only as good as your word. Respect is earned the hard way, and it would be hard to argue that Trudeau has done anything close to that.

Take for example Trudeau's broken campaign promise to fix the first-past-the-post system under which his Liberal Party came to power. Fact is, 39.9 per cent of the vote at a 63 per cent turnout means that only 26.1 per cent of Canadians voted for a party that has infected 100 per cent of the population — and thanks to Trudeau, this scenario will continue to play out. Then there is his trip to "family friend" the Aga Khan's private island, for which he has faced no legal consequences. The laws don't seem to apply to him. He is above it all.

Glossing over problems in Veterans Affairs

The issues were supposed to be fixed. There are even six committees and a stake holder summit held biannually. I belong to the service excellence committee, whose suggestions are ignored. The stakeholder summit has not held its last two meetings. Each of the six committees have now had multiple meetings in Ottawa travel, accommodations and per diem covered, and I am not aware of one suggestion implemented by the government.

Trudeau spoke of the services that come with the cost of the New Veterans Charter, but the fact is they have only gotten worse. The suicide report known as the Veteran Suicide Mortality Study (VSMS) is a collaborative study between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the Department of National Defence (DND) and Statistics Canada (STC), with the following aims: to enhance the understanding of factors associated with suicide in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans, to provide updates on suicide trends over time, to aid in the discussion of suicide prevention activities and to respond to the ongoing public expectation for timely reporting — the very same reporting that conveniently stopped at 2012, right before a rash of suicides the next year.

Events like the nine recent Veterans Affairs Canada office reopening ceremonies served to distract from the endemic rot within the department — glossing over the fact that it was the Liberal Party that upped the level of commitment in Afghanistan to appease the Bush administration, only to turn around and cut the pensions of those injured fighting their war. The only Canadians subjected to a lump-sum settlement are soldiers. Try doing that to border security, police forces, fire fighters, EMS, teachers, city workers, or any other public sector worker that has a union.

This should be a wake-up call for anyone thinking of serving or currently serving. Explore all other options, because it is not worth it. Those that think it won't happen to you — I thought the same thing. Then I got shot. Now I'm entering my 12th year without a pension.

It is a good thing the Liberals wear red; it will help hide all the blood they have on their hands.

Frankly, the prime minister is still not ready to lead, and never will be. I lost all use for him when he did one-armed push-ups with Invictus Games athletes, only to allow the Equitas lawsuits run out 12 days later. Think about how self-absorbed one must be to ask injured veterans for a favour, knowing full well that you were going to reopen a court case against re-establishing their pensions. Not only does Trudeau break campaign promises, he puts resources into making sure they stay broken.

Keep your wreaths

Personally, and for these reasons, I think that Prime Minister Trudeau should be no longer welcome at Remembrance Day events. After years of neglecting the military community and disrespecting the values by which we live, Trudeau's hollow commemorations have grown disrespectful and insulting.

My message to him: keep your wreath, and stay off the beaches at Normandy and Dieppe while you are at it. Stay away from military events in general. Stay on your side of the line. As for my sons, I am going to encourage them not to join the military — just like you and your dad. I will use your deceptions as examples of how they can become better men.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on February 09, 2018, 18:29:33
Ouch. Shot, over.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/bruce-moncur/heres-why-trudeaus-presence-at-military-events-is-an-insult-to-veterans_a_23354394/

Here's Why Trudeau's Presence At Military Events Is An Insult To Veterans
-Huffpost - 8 Feb 18
After years of neglecting the military community and disrespecting the values by which we live, Trudeau's hollow commemorations have grown disrespectful.

By: Bruce Moncur Former Soldier, PSW, B.A. History, Windsorite

I always knew that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be a poor choice to lead a country. I knew he was lying about what he would do if elected prime minister. The fact that he — someone born into privilege — had the audacity to suggest an injured veteran requesting a pension was greedy, shows just how out of touch he is with reality. What comes to mind is a man that is intrigued to see how the lower class people live, almost a curiosity with a world alien to his own.

From the day you enlist, every soldier considers that signature on the dotted line as a blank cheque — the ultimate sacrifice being one's life. Willing and able to lay down their last breath for Queen and country. This week, Trudeau looked in an amputee veteran's eyes and had the audacity to tell him that some veterans are asking for "more than we can give." A line has been drawn in the sand by the former white-water rafting instructor, and it is clear his privileged upbringing has skewed his perception of reality, leading him to take for granted the sacrifices made by so many.

Not surprising. His father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, hid behind his family's wealth during the Second World War, deferring service despite being of age and healthy. Meanwhile, my one grandfather was getting bombed in Malta every day for three years before losing his firstborn to pneumonia under starvation conditions. My other grandfather, at 16 years old, was under age. He had to be dragged out of the recruiting office by his mother.

Respect is earned the hard way, and it would be hard to argue that Trudeau has done anything close to that.

A leader lacking integrity

The 10 principles of military leadership are tantamount to gospel for those serving, and include taking pride in your integrity. In the military, you are only as good as your word. Respect is earned the hard way, and it would be hard to argue that Trudeau has done anything close to that.

Take for example Trudeau's broken campaign promise to fix the first-past-the-post system under which his Liberal Party came to power. Fact is, 39.9 per cent of the vote at a 63 per cent turnout means that only 26.1 per cent of Canadians voted for a party that has infected 100 per cent of the population — and thanks to Trudeau, this scenario will continue to play out. Then there is his trip to "family friend" the Aga Khan's private island, for which he has faced no legal consequences. The laws don't seem to apply to him. He is above it all.

Glossing over problems in Veterans Affairs

The issues were supposed to be fixed. There are even six committees and a stake holder summit held biannually. I belong to the service excellence committee, whose suggestions are ignored. The stakeholder summit has not held its last two meetings. Each of the six committees have now had multiple meetings in Ottawa travel, accommodations and per diem covered, and I am not aware of one suggestion implemented by the government.

Trudeau spoke of the services that come with the cost of the New Veterans Charter, but the fact is they have only gotten worse. The suicide report known as the Veteran Suicide Mortality Study (VSMS) is a collaborative study between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the Department of National Defence (DND) and Statistics Canada (STC), with the following aims: to enhance the understanding of factors associated with suicide in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans, to provide updates on suicide trends over time, to aid in the discussion of suicide prevention activities and to respond to the ongoing public expectation for timely reporting — the very same reporting that conveniently stopped at 2012, right before a rash of suicides the next year.

Events like the nine recent Veterans Affairs Canada office reopening ceremonies served to distract from the endemic rot within the department — glossing over the fact that it was the Liberal Party that upped the level of commitment in Afghanistan to appease the Bush administration, only to turn around and cut the pensions of those injured fighting their war. The only Canadians subjected to a lump-sum settlement are soldiers. Try doing that to border security, police forces, fire fighters, EMS, teachers, city workers, or any other public sector worker that has a union.

This should be a wake-up call for anyone thinking of serving or currently serving. Explore all other options, because it is not worth it. Those that think it won't happen to you — I thought the same thing. Then I got shot. Now I'm entering my 12th year without a pension.

It is a good thing the Liberals wear red; it will help hide all the blood they have on their hands.

Frankly, the prime minister is still not ready to lead, and never will be. I lost all use for him when he did one-armed push-ups with Invictus Games athletes, only to allow the Equitas lawsuits run out 12 days later. Think about how self-absorbed one must be to ask injured veterans for a favour, knowing full well that you were going to reopen a court case against re-establishing their pensions. Not only does Trudeau break campaign promises, he puts resources into making sure they stay broken.

Keep your wreaths

Personally, and for these reasons, I think that Prime Minister Trudeau should be no longer welcome at Remembrance Day events. After years of neglecting the military community and disrespecting the values by which we live, Trudeau's hollow commemorations have grown disrespectful and insulting.

My message to him: keep your wreath, and stay off the beaches at Normandy and Dieppe while you are at it. Stay away from military events in general. Stay on your side of the line. As for my sons, I am going to encourage them not to join the military — just like you and your dad. I will use your deceptions as examples of how they can become better men.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: ctran on February 12, 2018, 18:31:16
Hello,
I would like to know if I am qualified or not for veteran status
I was private, passed BMQ and SQ courses, but I changed trade twice and unsuccessful of trade training, and released under "Universal Service" 4 yrs ago.  Am I qualified for veteran status?  Thanks
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on February 12, 2018, 21:05:31
Hello,
I would like to know if I am qualified or not for veteran status
I was private, passed BMQ and SQ courses, but I changed trade twice and unsuccessful of trade training, and released under "Universal Service" 4 yrs ago.  Am I qualified for veteran status?  Thanks

Yes, Any member that has completed BMQ is considered a veteran.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 14, 2018, 10:59:54
As reported by jollyjacktar a week or so ago. I sent an email to the journalist who wrote this to ask him to dig into who are the principals in the company are and connected to who. It's the cynic in me.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/02/13/ottawa-picks-private-firm-over-charity-to-help-vets-find-work.html

Ottawa picks private firm over charity to help vets find work - BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH - 13 Feb 18
Charity winds down job hunting services for veterans after Ottawa gives the job to a private company — at a cost of $10 million.

OTTAWA—Veterans Affairs will spend upwards of $10 million to have a private company help veterans find work in the private sector, taking over a role that had been done by a charity.

The federal department awarded a three-year contract to Oshawa-based Agilec to provide career transition services starting April 1, prompting the charity Canada Company to wind down its own job placement program.

“A charity can’t compete against a publicly funded private company. We really don’t have an option,” said Blake Goldring, a Toronto businessman who is the founder and chairperson of Canada Company.

In recent years, the charity has run an employment transition program to assist personnel who are leaving the military find work in the private sector. It has been a two-pronged effort. It helps personnel with job-hunting skills, such as preparing resumes. And it educates employers on the talents that military personnel can bring to a civilian workplace.

The program has placed more than 3,000 personnel in jobs since its creation and has formed partnerships with more than 200 employers. The charity got $1.1 million in 2016 to develop a database to assist with job searches but the cost of its transition program has been covered by corporate donations and other sponsors.

Canada Company had submitted a joint bid with the March of Dimes and another organization for the contract but lost out to Agilec. As a result, Canada Company will stop offering transition services on March 31.

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan said the government was looking for “something more comprehensive.”

“It was an open and transparent process . . . Canada Company bid. Agilec won. As far as we know, this will mean a better service for veterans,” O’Regan said in an interview Tuesday.

He said the prime minister gave him clear “marching orders” when he took on the role. “Making that transition into civilian life is our top priority. And it has to be from the point of view from the veteran,” he said.

Mary Nicholson, director of rehab and income support services at Veterans Affairs, said the program to be delivered by Agilec is new, different than what was offered by Canada Company.

She says it resembles a previous career-transition program that was provided by the private sector for the department in 2006. That was subsequently replaced in 2011 by a $1,000 payment to veterans for career transition.

However, the 2017 budget signalled the government’s intent to redesign and improve the career-transition services provided to veterans and provide funding to make it happen.

Nicholson said the government sought a service staffed by individuals who had experience in employment and career counselling and an “extensive” knowledge of the civilian labour market.

“It will be offering a much broader set of services,” Nicholson said. “That is why the decision was made to go with a third-party contractor for this new program . . . not to say Canada Company didn’t have lots of expertise.”

“The government decided that something more robust around career-transition services needed to be offered,” Nicholson said.

An official with Agilec declined to comment on the contract and referred questions to Veterans Affairs. But Nicholson said the department is confident that the company has the skills needed for the job.

It’s expected the service will assist about 1,000 veterans per year over the next three years.

Goldring was reluctant to say much about the decision.

“The key is getting the very best solution for transitioning members of the military,” he told the Star in an interview. “I’m very proud of what Canada Company did in helping putting career transition services on the radar. I’m very happy that money has been made available to institutionalize something which is so critical.”

In an open letter on the organization’s website, Goldring said Canada Company’s program was a “catalyst for putting military career transition services on the national radar.”

“We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished . . . and the impact we have had on the lives of thousands of military families, coast to coast,” Goldring said in the letter. “We’ve played an important role in driving a supportive culture around helping military personnel obtain employment in the civilian workforce.”
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on February 14, 2018, 12:03:38
There was a similar article saying Aligec which is based in Oshawa ON has done a lot of work for the liberals. That sends shivers down my spine. Also In the e-mail from Canada Company they ask if they can send your info to other companies they have connections with that might be able to help you out. I suspect Canada Company has little faith in Aligec.

This article also states they wanted a company to replace the $1000 a vet that qualifies gets for career transition services. That $1000 was to cover career counseling and resume writing. I'm going to guess this is the same service a vet will get from Aligec. With Canada Company they actually built relationships with companies and hiring vets specifically. I just don't see the same level of service coming from this company but hopefully I'm wrong.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 14, 2018, 12:57:52
This just isn't passing the smell test.

Why do I get the idea that a conversation will go something like:

"Hello, Mr Jones. We have your placement. Our expensive computer setup provided by the government, has matched you within a 98 percentile for this type of  work. You start work next Monday at Bob's Cabinet Makers, a small carpentry shop in Duncan, B.C."

"Thanks, but I'm an electrician that lives in Ottawa?"

"Under our service contract with the government, if you refuse to even meet with the employer, you will cease to be a client. Thank you for your service and good luck in future endeavours."

I'm sorry, but this government has made me so jaded to promises from the crown, toward Veterans, that I'll believe nothing until I see it, and then with much trepidation anyway.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 14, 2018, 22:42:48
I gave the Journalists some links incl the one below and he said he would look into it.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/monica-kendel-ma-pcc-rrp-41babb1a/

Expand "Show More" and look at "Interests". Fits the PM's profile.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 14, 2018, 23:31:39
At least Canada Company was by Veterans, for Veterans.  I'm afraid I don't have the same warm and fuzzies about this new thing.  To be quite frank, l wasn't happy when the Conservatives were running the monkey show either. 

But, I am less so with the present, selfie loving, zoo keepers too.  Why do l feel I'll be thinking "it's Shameful O'Regan" not Seamus O'Regan, down the road..
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2018, 11:36:52
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veteran-ombudsman-studies-1.4534124

ANALYSIS 'The system is broken': Watchdog rips into endless grind of studies on veterans issues - Murray Brewster - 14 Feb 18
'We know what needs to be done,' says Gary Walbourne. 'We just need to do it.'

There's an old joke in Ottawa about crisis management. One bureaucrat asks another: How do you make bad news go away? The answer: Order a study.

Over the past few years, both the House of Commons defence and veterans committees have between them conducted 14 different studies on how to improve services, benefits and the lives of ex-soldiers, sailors and aircrew. Collectively, the all-party MPs committees have made a jaw-dropping 190 recommendations for improvements to those systems and services at both National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada. That total does not include reams of separate recommendations from the military ombudsman and the veterans ombudsman, who have built their own virtual cottage industry out of drafting reports.

The question preoccupying the veterans committee these days is: How can the federal government give soldiers a smoother transition from uniforms to civilian jobs? Gary Walbourne, the Canadian Forces ombudsman, almost seemed to wonder aloud why he'd been called to testify before MPs on Tuesday — and why the committee is still asking that question. "We do not need another study into transition," he said. "We know what needs to be done. We just need to do it." His exasperation was, at times, evident — and seemed to be shared by MPs both sides of the political aisle.

Shared angst


"No one will disagree with your essential point that we keep having reviews and nothing gets done," Liberal backbencher Bob Bratina said. Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall said Tuesday that one of the first questions she'd asked upon joining the committee was: Why are we studying this again? "I share your angst in regard to the fact so many studies have been done," she told Walbourne.

Asked at a recent town hall appearance why his government is still fighting veterans challenging Ottawa's pension policy in court, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the veterans are "asking for more than we are able to give right now" — a reply that probably generated more heat than light.

But the chief source of frustration for many veterans lies in the bureaucracy, not the courts — in the seemingly endless grind of reviews and examinations of what seem to be common-sense ideas which too often end up going nowhere.

Failed system

That hazy sense that nothing ever changes — or at least that nothing ever changes fast enough — is what's driving the ex-soldiers now camped out in protest in the parliamentary precinct in Ottawa.Trevor Sanderson and Dick Groot plan to stay until Thursday, when a larger veterans protest is expected to arrive. Sanderson and Groot say they feel disrespected by Trudeau, but the root of their frustration is what they see as the federal government's inability to deal with their benefit claims. "When I did go to the system, everything went crazy," Groot told CBC News earlier this week. "It failed utterly."

One the problems ex-soldiers like Groot face is the fact that Veterans Affairs Canada must weigh in with its own separate medical opinion on injuries that have been diagnosed by military doctors and attributed to their time in uniform. Walbourne has recommended more than once that the military medical opinion be the first and last word in such cases — something defence and veterans officials have neither ruled in nor ruled out. "I do not have a clear, concise response as to why it cannot be implemented," he told the committee. "I keep hearing legislation would have to change. I don't think so. I think we have an opportunity there that we don't have to do that, but if we do, then OK, let's do it."

Enormous backlog

The Canadian Press reported last fall that the number of veterans waiting to find out if they qualify for disability benefits has topped 29,000 — a 50 per cent increase since March of last year. Testifying last week before the same committee Walbourne spoke to on Tuesday, a senior veterans official was only able to offer vague assurances that claims would be processed within the mandated 16-week response window. The official, Elizabeth Douglas, said the problem did not fall within her authority. "However, again, we do recognize that there have been delays with the service standards, and there is work under way to ensure that is corrected," she said.

Walbourne said he's been talking about issues related to transition for almost eight years — first as the deputy veterans ombudsman, now as the military ombudsman. "It is my humble opinion that asking the government why accepted recommendations have not been implemented will bring timelier, more concrete results than doing an additional study," he said. "The current system is broken … I ask that we stop defending positions on the subject of transition that are indefensible."
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2018, 11:48:50
https://globalnews.ca/news/4025294/veterans-pensions-combat-trudeau-government/

Veterans say they are in ‘combat against our own government’ - 14 Feb 18

A group of Canadian veterans and their supporters is expected to show up on Parliament Hill on Thursday to protest what they call unfair treatment at the hands of the federal government. The event, organized by Canadian Forces veteran Colin Saunders, comes after a week of angry exchanges in the House of Commons between Conservative MPs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan. “There’s a lot of chaos growing in the veteran community … quite frankly they’re just tired of being left out in the cold.”

The Liberals recently announced a revamp of the pension system for Canada’s injured men and women in uniform. The long-awaited move was greeted with disappointment and anger in some quarters for failing to live up to what was promised. The government has argued that its approach is the right one for all Canadians veterans and their families.A change made in the pension system in 2006 means that injured soldiers receive two different levels of compensation (lifetime pensions versus lump-sum payments) depending on when they were hurt.

Saunders himself suffered a traumatic brain injury in Bosnia before 2006. He says it took more than three years before a cognitive test revealed the extent of the injury, and he’s had to overcome “roadblock after roadblock” to secure compensation.

A veteran in Edmonton, Brock Blaszczyk, recently confronted Trudeau directly on the issue of pensions for injured servicemen and women, leading the prime minister to explain that although Ottawa is moving to spread financial assistance out over veterans’ lifetimes and offering new programs, those who have taken the government to court “are asking for more than we are able to give right now.” Saunders called that response “very frustrating and upsetting.” “Because, quite frankly, we’re not buying it,” he told Global News. “You can look on television every day and (Trudeau’s) giving millions in aid to other countries, and yet our own veterans are struggling to get the help they need.

Veterans Affairs Minister O’Regan defended his government’s plan repeatedly in the House of Commons last week, citing examples of how it would apply in individual situations. “A corporal who served five years in the regular forces and suffered 100 per cent disability is entitled to nearly $6,000 a month in benefits, an additional $1,000 a month for caregiver support, nearly $72,000 through the critical injury benefit, and additional financial assistance to modify her vehicle and her home to meet her needs,” O’Regan said. “Our pension-for-life option … is very real and it is the least we owe our veterans.”

Saunders said he has spoken repeatedly with O’Regan’s office, and a staffer took notes and promised to pass along his message to the minister. It’s unclear if it was ever received. “In fact, (the staffer) hung up on me afterwards,” he said. “It’s funny that the Canadian Forces taught me to lead soldiers into combat, and it’s ironic that now, that combat is against our own government.”

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2018, 12:01:08
On 14 Feb 18: Private Members Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (fairness principles), was negatived following a recorded division of 137 yeas and 170 nays.

First Session, Forty-second Parliament,
64-65-66 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016-2017
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-378
An Act to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (fairness principles)

FIRST READING, October 23, 2017

SUMMARY
This enactment amends the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to require that, in exercising his or her powers and in performing his or her duties and functions, the Minister of Veterans Affairs take into account certain principles in relation to, among others, persons who have served in the Canadian Forces or merchant navy or in the naval, army or air forces or merchant navies of Her Majesty as well as in relation to their dependants or survivors.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

R.‍S.‍, c.‍V-1

Department of Veterans Affairs Act

1 Section 4 of the Department of Veterans Affairs Act is renumbered as subsection 4(1) and is amended by adding the following:

Principles

(2) In exercising his or her powers and in performing his or her duties and functions in respect of any person referred to in subparagraph (1)‍(a)‍(i), the Minister shall take into account the following principles:
(a) that the person, as well as their dependants or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;
(b) that the uniqueness of the person’s profession and of the obligations and sacrifices such a profession demands also impacts the experiences of their family; and
(c) that any decision regarding the care, treatment or re-establishment in civil life of the person and the benefits to be provided to them be made in a timely manner.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 15, 2018, 12:56:15
It warms the cockles of your heart to know that the sitting government has your back, doesn't it?    ::)
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 15, 2018, 13:37:33

Quote
Ottawa rescues military disability insurance plan with $622 million bailout

Cash injection follows $887-million settlement of veterans class-action lawsuit over disability payments

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-disability-insurance-1.4535867

I wonder who they'll dress up like the Energizer Bunny to march around and beat this drum and announce the news.

Quote
Trevor Sanderson was camping overnight this week beneath the walkway connecting the East and West Memorial Buildings on Wellington Street, ahead of Thursday's protest for better services for veterans.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-disability-insurance-1.4535867

You can bet he won't be getting a one on one meeting with the PM.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 19, 2018, 10:54:31
Quote
Re: VAC Return to Lifetime Pensions Discussion
« Reply #227 on: February 12, 2018, 09:28:30 »

Quote
Trudeau said his government's monthly pension amount is lower because it takes into account the cost of services offered by the federal government including post-traumatic-stress treatment and psychological care, support for caregivers and family members who look after wounded veterans and job training for those who can still get back into the job market.

I think this is all smoke and mirrors. First the new "pension" in 2019 is another promise before an election just like the other one. Why, why will it take two years to draft regulations and legislation? If Vets are such a priority it could be done in 12 months. Drop tools. do this.

All these other new benefits the PM/Minister are touting are budgeted at x million dollars and are added to the the total of what VAC is providing. Thus VAC big budget figures. The question is:are all these benefit budgets being expended? How easy are they to access?

If these benefits are not utilized then it's just a carrot not eaten and a method to say: Here voters, we gave Vets all this and they didn't use it, but we are giving Vets millions of dollars.


And now it starts. Watch you local newspaper for an op-ed or letter from the local Liberal MP stating how benifical the Liberal government is to Vets.


http://www.netnewsledger.com/2018/02/18/pension-life-plan-puts-canadas-veterans-families-first/

Pension for Life plan puts Canada’s Veterans and their families first
- Bob Nault MP - 19 Feb 18

The brave men and women of Canada’s military dedicate themselves to serving our country. Those in uniform serve and protect us, so it’s our responsibility to serve and protect them as they transition into life post-service. Our government’s mission is simple – provide Veterans and their families with the programs, services, and support they need as they transition to civilian life.

Every Veteran’s personal circumstances are different. However, the most successful transitions take place when our military personnel have a positive balance of financial, mental, physical, and social influences in their lives.

To make sure that this balance is met, the Government of Canada has introduced the Pension for Life (PFL). The PFL contains adjustments to the benefits already available to those who have served. It also includes three new elements to recognize and compensate Veterans for disability resulting from service-related injuries or illnesses.

The Pension for Life plan scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2019, contains three key pillars.

The first is a lifelong tax-free monthly financial benefit to recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related disability. The most severely disabled can receive a monthly payment of up to $2,650. Veterans can decide for themselves whether they would like to receive monthly payments for life or a one-time lump sum payout of up to $360,000.

There is also income replacement for Veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service. The income replacement would be set at 90 percent of their pre-release salary. In some circumstances, military personnel may be eligible for an additional increase.

The third pillar focuses on services and benefits to help in a wide-range of areas, including education, employment, and physical and mental health.

These new elements represent an additional investment of close to $3.6 billion to support Canada’s Veterans. When combined with other support programs already announced in previous budgets, investments since 2016 add up to nearly $10 billion. This will help ensure that Veterans and their families receive the supports, respect, and gratitude they’ve rightfully earned.

Since being elected, our government has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting our military personnel. In addition to the Pension for Life, we have reopened nine Veteran Affairs’ offices the previous government closed and we have even opened a brand new one. In order to provide better service to our Veterans and their families, more than 400 new frontline staff have been hired.

I’ve heard from Veterans that the system can be a source of frustration, and wait times for some benefits are too long. With the right balance of financial compensation, benefits and support services, Veteran Affairs will now be able to focus its attention on delivering excellent service.

I am proud that we are putting the needs of Veterans and their families first. They deserve nothing less.

Bob Nault MP
Kenora
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: dapaterson on February 19, 2018, 11:29:08
From the CBC: Governments of the past have been able to provide proper veteran care. So what's changed?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/veteran-pensions-1.4540946

...
By 1947, veterans benefits were twice the expenditures of national defence and 16 per cent of the federal budget. Canada invested 2.3 per cent of its entire GDP into assisting veterans. This investment in veterans, both economists and historians largely agree, contributed to Canada being one of the most successful post-war economies.

Since then, appreciation for Canadian veterans has markedly declined. We seem to have very little regard for what it means to wear a military uniform, to defend the freedoms and rights most Canadians take for granted while risking life, limb and soul for a government that treats sacrifice with condescending platitudes. Current spending on veterans represents a mere 1.2 per cent of the federal budget and 0.2 per cent of GDP. Is this really "far more than we are able to give right now?"
...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on February 19, 2018, 12:20:28
In order to provide better service to our Veterans and their families, more than 400 new frontline staff have been hired.

Too bad the front line staff help more people apply but do nothing to alleviate the horrendous delays in getting the actual work done.  As a retired Major HCA with 29 years of service, I found out through the recruitment process I wasn't deemed qualified to be one of these front line staff.  Heaven forbid they hire competent, knowledgeable staff to show compassion to those entering claims in the bureaucratic system.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 19, 2018, 12:32:46
Please, that's not a quote from me. It is a quote I posted from a Liberal MP.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Occam on February 19, 2018, 16:10:54
As a retired Major HCA with 29 years of service, I found out through the recruitment process I wasn't deemed qualified to be one of these front line staff. 

I hope to gawd you're kidding.  What were they looking for essential quals??
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on February 19, 2018, 17:36:54
No joke, actual rejection:

Dear candidate:

We regret to inform you that you have been eliminated from the
above-mentioned appointment process, as you did not obtain the required
pass mark on one or more essential qualifications.

External advertised processes do not have a requirement to provide
further detailed information regarding a candidate’s elimination from
consideration, therefore no further information or communication will be
provided.
       
Thank you for your interest in this appointment process.
       
Yours sincerely,
       
Human Resources, Veterans Affairs Canada
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 19, 2018, 17:43:21
From the CBC: Governments of the past have been able to provide proper veteran care. So what's changed?
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/veteran-pensions-1.4540946

...
By 1947, veterans benefits were twice the expenditures of national defence and 16 per cent of the federal budget. Canada invested 2.3 per cent of its entire GDP into assisting veterans. This investment in veterans, both economists and historians largely agree, contributed to Canada being one of the most successful post-war economies.

Since then, appreciation for Canadian veterans has markedly declined. We seem to have very little regard for what it means to wear a military uniform, to defend the freedoms and rights most Canadians take for granted while risking life, limb and soul for a government that treats sacrifice with condescending platitudes. Current spending on veterans represents a mere 1.2 per cent of the federal budget and 0.2 per cent of GDP. Is this really "far more than we are able to give right now?"
...

The CBC wrote that?! I guess the bloom is coming of the rose. Is the PMs own propaganda ministry turning on their benefactor?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 19, 2018, 18:46:31
The CBC wrote that?! I guess the bloom is coming of the rose. Is the PMs own propaganda ministry turning on their benefactor?

It’s an editorial by Sean Bruyea and Robert Smol. Both have a certain notoriety for being outspoken in veterans advocacy.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 19, 2018, 19:05:19
So like guest columnists? Not necessarily CBC policy or directive then
.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: jollyjacktar on February 19, 2018, 19:09:58
Surprisingly they've allowed comments too.  Usually they won't for stories that are taking the present government to task.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Piece of Cake on February 19, 2018, 22:55:13
Are the contracts awarded for OSI clinics public?  If not why? If so, where would I be able to locate?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on February 19, 2018, 23:51:07
Too bad the front line staff help more people apply but do nothing to alleviate the horrendous delays in getting the actual work done.  As a retired Major HCA with 29 years of service, I found out through the recruitment process I wasn't deemed qualified to be one of these front line staff.  Heaven forbid they hire competent, knowledgeable staff to show compassion to those entering claims in the bureaucratic system.

I recently went through the front line person and her supervisor to find out why one of my claims had gone from completed to stage 3. The front line person's first answer was the canned "Stage 3 means that you file has been sent for adjudication...." answer. When I replied that it had been at stage 3 for 3 months and was completed 2 weeks ago, she said "I guess it went to stage 4." WTF stage 4? So I went to the supervisor. The supervisor had no ability to see a) when it went to stage 3 b) any sort of timeline as to the movement of my file or c) why a file could be complete and then not complete. The only information they appeared to have was the exact same information I could see on MYVAC. To her credit, she followed up and called me back to explain that my file had adjudicated and "complete" then was sent for final review (stage 4?) where they discovered an error and had to resend it for another adjudication. Both of them received a substantial piece of my mind even though they had no ability to change anything (yet another problem) because quite frankly they were the only ones I could give it too. I hope they passed in on in same manner they received it.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 20, 2018, 05:05:07
I think every city/ regional office should have to hire 20 Veterans and the big places where we process. Winnipeg and Moncton?? Have to hire 100 each. Temporary 6 month contracts with option to stay on if the program flies. Every board, tribunal, adjudication, blah, blah, consists of an odd number with the weight going to Veterans members. Trade specialized military that know the difference in what their pain tells them and some crap bird  that try to match your explanation with a book definition. Hit all the boxes, your a winner. Tell them you hurt all over for the years spent in a steel box. Freezing, roasting, body in a constant, vibration heavy , loud crap that civies can't relate to. No matter how many books they consult.

Sorry all. Got ramblin' and wanderin'😶
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 20, 2018, 11:10:37
Quote
Simian Turner 

Re: VAC in the News « Reply #49 on: Yesterday at 15:36:54 »

No joke, actual rejection:

Dear candidate:

We regret to inform you that you have been eliminated from the
above-mentioned appointment process, as you did not obtain the required
pass mark on one or more essential qualifications.

External advertised processes do not have a requirement to provide
further detailed information regarding a candidate’s elimination from
consideration, therefore no further information or communication will be
provided.
       
Thank you for your interest in this appointment process.
       
Yours sincerely,
       
Human Resources, Veterans Affairs Canada

There is probably a measure for prior CAF service. If candidate has prior service a weighted average deduction is applied.

You could try an ATI for the format for VAC appointments and or your application. It would be interesting to see the generic VAC format.

Did you write your MP?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on February 20, 2018, 21:58:02
Don't feel too bad about being disqualified. I applied to literally 30-40 competitions before getting in. Just recently, I got disqualified from a competition just like you for not "fulfilling" essential criteria. Funny thing is, I'm in two other separate pools for exactly the same type of position. Sometimes it's just whoever is reading your application cannot properly match your cv to the essential criteria and sometimes they just have someone they want to hire in mind already and it's all a show to be "transparent".
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: HappyWithYourHacky on February 20, 2018, 23:37:25
sometimes they just have someone they want to hire in mind already and it's all a show to be "transparent".

This happens a lot.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on February 21, 2018, 21:39:17
Has anyone seen the PS population report ? I thought the Liberals said they've added a lot of new people to deal with backlog.

https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/human-resources-statistics/population-federal-public-service-department.html (https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/human-resources-statistics/population-federal-public-service-department.html)
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: dapaterson on February 21, 2018, 22:21:06
Odd.  You'd think that a reduction from 3400 to 2800 (+/-) would have been commented on. 

However, note that the data source is the pay system.  In other words, the data is from Phoenix.  So immediately I am suspicious of the '16 and '17 data.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 22, 2018, 11:04:25
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/veterans-fredericton-pension-changes-1.4544528

Seamus O'Regan in FrederictonVeterans take to microphone to express pension anxiety to federal minister - 21 Feb 18
Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O'Regan holds town hall meeting in Fredericton

Veterans in Fredericton got a first-hand look Tuesday night at Canada's proposed new "pension for life" during a town hall meeting hosted by Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan and deputy minister Walt Natynczyk. About 70 people sat through a presentation on the benefits plan for wounded veterans before the floor was opened up for questions.

"We didn't get answers," says Robert Read, who was medically released from the military in 2016. (Surprise, surprise)"I was expecting some more solid, a more solid foundation of answers from that." Robert Read is concerned about wait times for veterans once they are released from the military.

The government's plan to overhaul the pension system has sparked controversy across the country between veterans and government since it was announced in December 2017.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised during his election campaign that wounded veterans would be able to get a lifelong pension as an alternative to the lump-sum payments introduced in 2006.

Under the pension for life, veterans have to wait until April 1, 2019, when they can choose between taking the lump sum and a lifelong pension they say would be much less substantial than the one available before 2006.

Veterans showed their frustrations at the microphone for both the lump-sum system and the pension option.

"There's a lot of people suffering, waiting, anxious," said Danny Legace, who is concerned about the wait times for veterans once they've been released from service."Why are we waiting and playing this silly game?"

O'Regan says the pension for life created by the government is a product of discussions with veterans.

Frank Smith thanked the minister for holding the town hall but felt he was pitching information without details."There's no real action plan," Smith said. "This is one of the causes for anxiety."

O'Regan described the night as frank but said similar conversations helped build the groundwork for the pension overhaul. "Pension for life was born from listening to veterans."
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on February 22, 2018, 20:39:31
"O'Regan says the pension for life created by the government is a product of discussions with veterans."


Which veterans are they talking too? Not one person I have talked to thinks this an acceptable "return to lifetime pensions". And why is no one talking about the fact they deduct your earned pension and income from the 90% ELB?  If a soldier retires at 20 years and gets a new job making any where near what he made in the CAF,  he comes out significantly ahead of a soldier who is released medically at 20 years and can't work. Does that seem right? How about how it encourages fraud and/or not work the amount they are able. Say Cpl. Blogging can work 15 hours a week. Why would he work 15 hours a week and have that money deducted from his ELB when he can do nothing and get paid the same?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: fiddlehead on February 23, 2018, 07:17:36
several of us attended the events in Fredericton and Oromocto.....It seems like they took the same pig and used a different colour of lipstick on it...and gave it a new name.   We were not particularly impressed.... :facepalm:
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on February 23, 2018, 11:29:40
I don't think O'Reagan intends to come off sounding naïve or crash.  I think he and many other politicians/Ministers rely on their staff and read what the speaking notes say. They could know better but they see themselves as spokespeople and not accountable individuals.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 02, 2018, 10:33:17
Sounds like more Public Service people will be hired. As of March 31, 2016, there were 2,272 full-time employees (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/veterans-affairs-canada-still-understaffed-despite-liberal-pledge/article33543594/ ) now 3200??

https://globalnews.ca/news/4057111/trudeau-assist-disabled-veterans-federal-budget/

Trudeau government promising $42M to assist thousands of disabled veterans - CP - 1 Mar 18

The Trudeau government is promising a fresh infusion of cash to help Veterans Affairs Canada deal with a growing backlog of applications for services from thousands of wounded warriors. The new money, included in this week’s federal budget, amounts to $42 million over two years and is specifically earmarked to speed up the delivery of services to disabled veterans.

The injection of additional funds follows revelations that Veterans Affairs Canada had a backlog of 29,000 applications for disability benefits at the end of November – a nearly 50 per cent increase over the previous eight months. But the government won’t say exactly how the money will be used or why the increase has been limited to two years, given that demand for the department’s services is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future.

The union representing Veterans Affairs workers says the money will help fix some of the problems, but that much more is needed to both undo years of Conservative-era cuts and to address future demand.The Union of Veterans Employees says the department remains short hundreds of workers compared to before those cuts, and staff will face even more pressure when the Liberals’ new disability pension-for-life measure comes into force next year.



Interesting comments: Veterans Affairs Canada Employee Reviews  https://ca.indeed.com/cmp/Veterans-Affairs-Canada/reviews



No word on funding for gravestones for those who die waiting on VAC.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/federal-budget-promises-money-for-45-000-military-graves-in-need-of-repair-1.3822950

Federal budget promises money for 45,000 military graves in need of repair - 28 Feb 18

Extract: The Canadian Press reported last year that an internal report by Veterans Affairs Canada had identified a lack of money as the reason why more than 45,000 military graves across the country -- or nearly one in four -- were in need of repairs. The report said that at current funding levels, it would take 17 years to complete all the outstanding repairs, which include cleaning, restoring and replacing headstones.

But the federal budget aims to address the problem in five years by quadrupling the amount of money earmarked to maintain the 207,000 military graves in Canada -- $5 million a year, up from $1.2 million.

Veterans Affairs had previously been receiving about $5 million per year to maintain military graves in Canada, but that amount was slashed in 2003 because the department couldn't say at the time which graves needed work. The new funding largely applies to the graves of those veterans buried in Canada, including those killed in Afghanistan and on peacekeeping missions.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: George Wallace on March 02, 2018, 10:50:36
I wonder if Veterans will have first kick at applying for those jobs?

Or will it once again be primarily recent graduates of some Degree granting institution who have NO real life experience, let alone dealing with the needs of others in an efficient and compassionate manner?  Business graduates with only book learning and no actual experience, financial, managerial, etc.?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 07, 2018, 14:14:31
Veterans Ombudsman Hosts Facebook Live "Q&A with VAC on New Benefits" Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 6:00 PM ET

     
OTTAWA, March 7, 2018 /CNW/ - Canada's Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent will host a Facebook Live Q&A with Veterans Affairs Canada on new Veterans' benefits on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. EST.

"I've been listening to you, and I know you have questions, as I do", said Mr. Parent. "I want to ensure that the recently announced changes to the New Veterans Charter, under the umbrella of "Pension for Life," are fair for all Veterans and their families."  During the event you can post your questions to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VeteransOmbudsman/

Since the introduction of the New Veterans Charter in 2006, seven new benefits and 11 enhancements have been implemented, resulting in potentially greater support, but also additional complexity and confusion. "To help us understand the recent changes and answer questions on how they will impact Veterans and their families, I have invited Senior Veterans Affairs Canada subject-matter experts, Ms. Faith McIntyre, Director General, Policy and Research Division, and Mr. Paul Thomson, Director General, Service Delivery Modernization, to join us and answer our questions.

"So, join me live on Facebook Live on March 13. Let's ensure that all of Veterans' benefits are:

Adequate to support the needs of Veterans.
Sufficient to meet the needs of Veterans and their families.
Quickly and easily accessible to Veterans and family members."



Also note:

21 Mar 18  Town Hall in Winnipeg
- Hosted by Canada's Veterans Ombudsman

Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM
Clarion Hotel and Suites Winnipeg
1445 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3G 3P4

All Veterans, RCMP, Military, their families and interested parties are invited! On March 20th and 21st, 2018, my team and I will be in Winnipeg!

I’m hosting a town hall on March 21st at 6:30 PM, and you’ll be able to book a 20-minute consultation with an Intervention Officer from my team to discuss your file on March 20th and 21st.

Appointments for 20-minute consultations are available between 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on March 20th, and between 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on March 21st. Book your consultation before March 15th, 2018, by emailing us at communication@ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca. Let us know if you’re preferred time and we will confirm an appointment for you.

It’s first come, first served, so book your appointment today. See you soon!

PS. If it is the Intervention Officer locally based in Wpg she is SUPERB.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on March 09, 2018, 19:59:19
Has anyone seen the PS population report ? I thought the Liberals said they've added a lot of new people to deal with backlog.

https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/human-resources-statistics/population-federal-public-service-department.html (https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/human-resources-statistics/population-federal-public-service-department.html)

I emailed the ombudsman's office about that and haven't received a reply yet.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: AirDet on March 15, 2018, 13:42:27
I emailed the ombudsman's office about that and haven't received a reply yet.

Any update?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on March 20, 2018, 21:47:30
Any update?

As I mentioned in the other thread, I have received nothing back.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 17, 2018, 11:34:28
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-seamus-oregan-draws-from-his-own-personal-struggles-as-veterans/

Seamus O’Regan draws from his own personal struggles as Veterans Affairs Minister - 17 Apr 18

Seamus O’Regan grew up by the 5 Wing Goose Bay airbase in Newfoundland, has a brother in the navy, and a great-granduncle who fought and died at Beaumont Hamel in France during the First World War. Those were reasons Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave when he named Mr. O’Regan, a good friend of 16 years, as Minister of Veterans Affairs last summer.

But there was something else, too: an ability to empathize with those who served, as they return to civilian life. “The other thing he knew too was, having just gone through a period of depression and anxiety, that I would be sensitive to transition. Because I did not transition well,” Mr. O’Regan said in a recent interview. “To be kind of left on my own to figure things out, it broke me.”

Mr. O’Regan, a boyish-looking 47, left CTV’s Canada AM morning show in 2011 to pursue other opportunities. He went to New York, got an agent, even auditioned for 60 Minutes. But the work never came. “You don’t make the cut. You aim high … but there wasn’t much of a soft landing,” Mr. O’Regan said.

After a decade of structure, he didn’t know how to handle the change. He started drinking too much to cope. “I thrived on chaos at one point. I loved it. I don’t any more, I definitely don’t,” Mr. O’Regan said. He ended up running for the Liberals in the 2015 election. A few months after winning his St. John’s-area seat, Mr. O’Regan entered a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism, at the urging of family and friends including the Prime Minister. “ ‘You’re not running 100 per cent,’ ” he said Mr. Trudeau told him. “ ‘And I need you 100 per cent.’ ” Sitting with a Diet Coke on the table of his office beside Parliament Hill, Mr. O’Regan, looking relaxed in a grey tailored vest, said he hasn’t relapsed since completing his 40-day treatment in early 2016.

Now, Mr. O’Regan said he draws on his own personal struggles to relate to the 130,000 or so clients of Veterans Affairs, who are returning to a life they may not recognize. “I am just so grateful for this job and for this work,” Mr. O’Regan said. “As daunting as it is, it has purpose.”

But many outspoken veterans feel they’re not being heard – and that the Liberal government is failing to deliver on its pledge of better services. “There’s been a lot of deception, disappointment and a very clear failure to follow through on a campaign promise,” said Sean Bruyea, a veterans’ advocate. During the election campaign, Mr. Trudeau said the government would cover the cost of four years of postsecondary education for veterans. But it turns out that it will only be available to veterans who served after April, 2006, and those with less than six years of service will not qualify. Mr. O’Regan blames the New Veterans Charter, which came into effect in 2006, for the cutoff – a timeline Mr. Bruyea describes as “arbitrary.”

Mr. O’Regan also defends the government’s coming “pensions for life” plan, which is set to take effect next April. The plan includes a tax-free monthly pension payment, and a top-up for pain and suffering. The government is also amalgamating six pre-existing benefits for veterans, whose service-related health problems make it difficult to find work, into one taxable income-replacement benefit. Veterans groups say the lifetime pensions will pay much less than what was offered under the old Pension Act to military personnel who retired before 2006.

As part of the government’s pitch, Mr. O’Regan has been attending town halls across the country with veterans and their families. “I have work to do. I’m out there. I believe in this,” he said. Mr. O’Regan may also be facing an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner for failing to disclose as a gift his December, 2016, trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas. In a statement, Mr. O’Regan said he received a request from the ethics office for information for a preliminary review, and will co-operate fully. He called the trip a “personal vacation” and said he reported it to the commissioner’s office when he returned.

In an interview, Mr. O’Regan brushed off concerns about the trip. “He came, he went, he came back … that’s it.” Mr. O’Regan took the trip with the Prime Minister and his family, along with restaurateur Steve Doussis, whom Mr. O’Regan married eight years ago. He said that before he met his husband, he struggled with his sexuality “more than I knew.” “I realized in my time in therapy, that all of those years of hiding it or coming to terms with it, had also built up with me,” he said. “I was relieved to meet him, and then realize, right, it’s okay.”

Mr. O’Regan said he’s often approached by people who are experiencing anxiety and depression in their own lives. “My advice to them is, it doesn’t always have to be catastrophic. You’re not broken. It’s a bump and you’ll get through it.”

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: cowboy628 on April 17, 2018, 12:11:48
Give me a break, let’s try and soften up the public. !!!🤡
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on April 17, 2018, 13:19:03
"You’re not broken. It’s a bump and you’ll get through it.”

Couldn't have closed with a better line. That couuld be straight out of the VAC mission statement.😉
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 17, 2018, 16:17:07
I didn't comment on posting the article but I will now.

Puff piece that fails.

Got hopped up in his own ego (CTV AM), quit, subsequently failed to achieve anything in the US where his ego sent him to make his fortune, turned or returned to excessive drink. After 2 years of sparse/vague employment, decided to be a Liberal politician. Quote: " A few months after winning his St. John’s-area seat, Mr. O’Regan entered a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism....."

Quote: "Now, Mr. O’Regan said he draws on his own personal struggles to relate to the 130,000 or so clients of Veterans Affairs....."

Pathetic.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 19, 2018, 12:34:07
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/service-dogs-ptsd-standards-1.4625484

Plan to give service dogs to PTSD veterans rocked by federal agency's decision to pull out - Murray Brewster · CBC · 18 Apr 18
Canadian General Standards Board won't develop a nationwide code for training service dogs

The future of the federal government's bid to pair veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with service dogs was thrown into doubt Wednesday by the unexpected decision of a federal regulating agency to pull out of the project. The Canadian General Standards Board announced it will not develop a nationwide code of acceptable training and behavioural standards for the animals.

The little-known agency delivered the news in a letter to at least two of the organizations involved in the psychiatric service dog program. A copy of the letter was obtained by CBC News. The board did not provide any reasons and only said the decision was made "after careful consideration." Having an acceptable national standard was one of the conditions set down for turning a federal pilot program into a permanent fixture at Veterans Affairs Canada. A spokesman for the Veterans Affairs minister said the board was unable to reach a "consensus."

And while it is not going to develop a national standard for all service dogs, the department will move forward with its own rules for psychiatric service dogs, said Alex Wellstead in an email. That provides little reassurance for the groups that have tried for five years to convince the federal government to adopt this approach for troops suffering from the emotional aftermath of the Afghan war and other conflicts.

"We were quite shocked" by the decision, said Brad White, national executive director of The Royal Canadian Legion. "We were really close to having a set of guidelines." Phil Ralph, the national program director for Wounded Warriors Canada, was equally dismayed and said it "absolutely introduces uncertainty" into next steps by the federal government. Both organizations sponsor separate service dog programs and have set down their own guidelines, based upon best practices in other jurisdictions.

It is crucial there be some kind of national standard, said White. "I will hold to them to account that we are going to achieve some kind of standard," he said, because without one "I've a real concern that some veterans may not have an appropriately trained animal that may be harmful to them at some point in their rehabilitation." Wellstead suggested the government shares that concern and intends to forge ahead sometime later this year. "We're working to put in place standards, rapidly, so that veterans have access to properly trained psychiatric service dogs," he said.

The last federal budget introduced a tax credit for veterans using service dogs; Wellstead said that was an indication of the Liberal government's commitment and determination. In terms of research, policy and practice, Canada has been lagging well behind the U.S. in the adoption of 'comfort animals' for those suffering from PTSD. The first pilot program and study of the concept was launched by the Conservatives in 2015. A final report on the second phase of research, being led out of the University of Laval, is not expected until this summer.

Wellstead said the events on Wednesday will not affect either those ongoing efforts. Ralph said the implementation of the service dogs program has dragged on for an exceptionally long time and, for the moment, he's prepared to give the government the benefit of the doubt. "It all depends on what they come out with in their own standards," he said. "We have decided to lead in the area with our own program. It's pretty obvious what the standards will have to look like and if the government matches what we've put out there, we'll be very happy."
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: ModlrMike on May 03, 2018, 10:52:49
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-jobs-placement-program-1.4645674

Job placement program for veterans was a flop, audit finds
More than 300 vets applied for cost coverage. Only 40 got paid

Only a little more than three dozen ex-soldiers were reimbursed over a two-year period by the federal government under a highly-publicized program meant to help them find post-military jobs, says an internal Department of Veterans Affairs audit.

More at link.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on May 03, 2018, 13:48:07
I can attest that I was one of those who got reimbursed for resume writing assistance and that I am still looking for a full-time job 5 years later.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on May 04, 2018, 10:43:58
I can attest that I was one of those who got reimbursed for resume writing assistance and that I am still looking for a full-time job 5 years later.

Do you think you will try the new program they are putting in place? If so let us know what you think and the quality of jobs or the amount of hoops.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on May 04, 2018, 11:12:00
http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1567838-video-game-company-relocates-headquarters-to-sydney

Video game company relocates headquarters to Sydney - CHRIS SHANNON CAPE BRETON POST - 3 May 18
Cold Furnace Studios, started in New Brunswick, is currently developing first title

Photo Caption: Mark Wheeler, CEO and chief military adviser of Cold Furnace Studios, and Lori Shepherd, the studios’ chief creative officer, both moved to Cape Breton last week to run the company’s corporate office in Sydney. (CHRIS SHANNON / Cape Breton Post)


Mark Wheeler, CEO and chief military adviser of Cold Furnace Studios, and Lori Shepherd, the studios’ chief creative officer, both moved to Cape Breton last week to run the company’s corporate office in Sydney. (CHRIS SHANNON / Cape Breton Post)
SYDNEY — A gaming developer who helps Canadian Forces personnel integrate into a career post-military has relocated his company to Cape Breton.

Cold Furnace Studios, originally based in Fredericton, officially landed in Sydney last week. So far, the studio’s CEO Mark Wheeler and chief creative officer Lori Shepherd have made the move to the island. Wheeler, who’s originally from Halifax, called Cape Breton “beautiful, harsh and rustic,” a nod to the island’s scenery and wild swings in weather conditions.

Describing himself as a soldier and avid gamer, Wheeler served as an airborne gunner in the Canadian Forces and has been deployed on multiple tours to Afghanistan and the Balkans. He has 25 years in the army and currently serves as a combat arms warrant officer.

“I’ve always been interested in video games and who wouldn’t want to do that for a living?” he said. Although still employed with the military, Wheeler is preparing for his career transition to the gaming industry full time. As it stands now, he serves as the studio’s chief military adviser as his team works on its first video game title, Atrocity: Field of Hands.

There are several current and former military personnel on staff at Cold Furnace Studios. They all work remotely from various locations in North America and Europe, Wheeler said, but he also sees the military community in Cape Breton as possibly having a role to play in his company. He said the reason for hiring military advisers to his team is simple: “In the industry, most game companies don’t have an inherent in-house capability of military advisement. It’s something that they have to farm out or contract out,” he said.

“Because we’re focused on hiring veterans, we have that ability built in. Right now, in the production of our current title, we’re doing really well with having those advisers be able to help out with the developers, programmers, designers, as well as the artists, for realism purposes.” Through Veterans Affairs Canada, the company is registered with the rehabilitation services and vocational assistance program. It assists veterans to reintegrate into the civilian workforce before retiring or being medically released from the Canadian Forces. It allows military personnel to develop skills they’ll need to pursue their second career, Wheeler said.

When it comes to being as authentic as possible, using the proper military terminology, vehicles, uniforms, acrobatic moves and holds, and how weapons react in the real world are extremely important to launching a successful video game. Military advisers can explain small-unit tactics to developers to plan movement of enemy artificial intelligence in the game. And Wheeler’s team also spends time at the firing range to understand the handling and mechanics of a wide range of weapons. For example, the adviser can provide accuracy in how a firearm would react in a scene with a single person active shooter, said Wheeler. “How does the physics work, how is it affected by errors as opposed to most video games where it’s a laser beam effect.”

The other component to the business is consulting work with other companies in the entertainment industry seeking military expertise, specifically in historical and current warfare situations. For now, Wheeler doesn’t expect other members of his team to move to Cape Breton. Because the work can be done anywhere, he and Shepherd are working out of their home and are not worried in the short term about finding office space. Nova Scotia Business Inc. assisted with the move by explaining how to relocate employees to the province, provided access to funding partners, and the agency connected the duo to local game developers, Shepherd said.

There was no funding provided by NSBI, but it did explain the province offers a digital media tax credit which allows Nova Scotia companies to claim 25 per cent of total expenditures or 50 per cent of eligible labour expenditures. “(NSBI staff) helped the company with an overall compelling story about Cape Breton’s location and lifestyle advantages that are appealing to workers in this industry. All these are intended to help Cold Furnace when it comes time for recruitment,” NSBI spokesperson Emily Neil said in a statement.

Wheeler hopes the long-term investment pays off when his game is ready for launch sometime in either 2019 or 2020.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on July 31, 2018, 10:49:20
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-veterans-ombudsman-says-ottawa-is-ignoring-key-recommendations-making/

Veterans Ombudsman says Ottawa is ignoring key recommendations, making vets wait to have treatments covered - GLORIA GALLOWAY - UPDATED JULY 30, 2018

Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman says significant gaps remain in the financial security promised to men and women who retire from the Canadian Armed Forces, especially those who leave with a service-related injury. Guy Parent, who has served as ombudsman for nearly eight years, says successive governments have made real improvements to the way veterans are compensated since the New Veterans Charter replaced the old Pension Act in 2006. Ottawa, he said, has taken action on 46 of the 64 recommendations made by his office to address systemic problems at the Veterans Affairs department.

But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively.

“People may go a year without accessing treatment,” Mr. Parent said on Monday in a telephone interview. "Some of them may be in deteriorating health status because they don’t access treatment because they have to pay out of their own pocket.” That was not the case under the old Pension Act, he said. Before 2006, veterans with service-related injuries were reimbursed for their medical expenses from the time they applied for coverage.

Veterans Affairs says it does, in fact, authorize and reimburse rehabilitation benefits – notably on mental-health treatment – before a claim can be adjudicated. But the ombudsman’s office says the criteria for those payments is narrow. First, not all vets are eligible for rehabilitation. And second, only conditions that are deemed to be a barrier to rehabilitation are eligible for coverage before a claim is approved by Veterans Affairs.

If, for instance, a veteran who falls under the New Veterans Charter, which is now called the Veterans Well-being Act, has a back condition and needs physiotherapy, the ombudsman’s office says those costs will not be paid by the government until Veterans Affairs gives the green light, and there is no retroactive reimbursement.

Veterans Affairs pointed out that the ombudsman’s report card shows progress has been made in many areas. “Is there more to do? Yes, and that’s why we remain focused on the outstanding items in the mandate letter” that was given by the Prime Minister to Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan, said Alex Wellstead, a spokesman for Mr. O’Regan. “While we appreciate the work [Mr. Parent] does and give [his recommendations] every consideration, we also take into account voices from across the spectrum of the veteran community, especially veterans and their families, when making our priorities.”

The ombudsman’s report card points out a number of his recommendations that have been ignored, many related to financial security.
For instance, the military pays a death benefit to spouses and dependent children of members who die of a service-related injury or illness. But Mr. Parent said those benefits should also be available to the extended families of soldiers, sailors and aviators who die without a spouse or common-law partner and who have no offspring. “With Afghanistan, we have the experience of young members, victims of the conflict, who were looked after by siblings or parents and, in their case, if their loss of life was due to service, their death benefit is just lost,” Mr. Parent said. “We recommend that single members who are injured be allowed to identify some beneficiary.”

On dental benefits, members who retire after serving for 10 years have the option of joining the public-service dental plan. But if a veteran must leave the military before that time, they lose those dental benefits. And that can be especially hard on someone with young children who is forced out of the military because of an injury, Mr. Parent said.The Veterans Affairs department says it does not have any control over the public-service dental benefits and it is the military that required a decade of service before a retiring member is eligible for that plan.


Comments from readers at link.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on July 31, 2018, 11:54:13
"But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively."

I am confused by this statement, between Provincial health care, Veterans Public Service Health Care Plan and OSI clinics I do not know what type of treatment/therapy they would be foregoing?  Any suggestions?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on July 31, 2018, 11:55:22
The report:

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/reports/statistics-facts/2018-report-card

Status of Veterans Ombudsman Recommendations by Theme 2008-2018


https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/is-the-government-making-enough-progress-for-veterans-and-their-families-check-out-the-veterans-ombudsmans-2018-report-card-689624501.html

Is the Government Making Enough Progress for Veterans and Their Families? Check out the Veterans Ombudsman's 2018 Report Card - Veterans Ombudsman

OTTAWA, July 31, 2018 /CNW/ - Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent today released his 2018 Report Card on the government's response to 10 years of recommendations made by his Office. These evidence-based recommendations are aimed at improving services and support for Veterans and their families and originate in the numerous reports that the Office has released during that time span.

"Since my 2017 status update, some progress has been made," said Mr. Parent.  "To date, the Government has addressed, in some way, 46 of my recommendations, leaving 18 unresolved. That gives a final score of 46/64 or 72% of recommendations actioned."

From the Veterans Ombudsman's perspective, among the most important of these 18 recommendations are the following:

 - Ensure that the reimbursement of treatment expenses under the Veterans Well-being Act is retroactive to the date of the original application, as it is under the Pension Act.
 - Amend the Veterans Well-being Act to permit a single Canadian Armed Forces member with no dependent children to designate a family member to apply for and receive the Death Benefit.
 - Provide the same access to the Treasury Board Pensioner Dental Service Plan as provided by VAC under the Public Service Health Care Plan.

"I am committed to advocating for the fair treatment of all Veterans and their families. I work to ensure that adequate benefits are available, that they are sufficient to meet needs, and that benefits are quickly and easily accessible.  I will follow the government's actions closely on the remaining recommendations and keep you informed."



Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on July 31, 2018, 13:44:19
"But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively."

I am confused by this statement, between Provincial health care, Veterans Public Service Health Care Plan and OSI clinics I do not know what type of treatment/therapy they would be foregoing?  Any suggestions?

Medical cannabis for one. It takes VAC and Blue Cross forever. The typical Vet can't afford it out of pocket. You can get retroactive payment for it, but only if you get approval. If you dont, you're on the hook.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Wookilar on August 12, 2018, 12:26:17
Also, wrt the standard government health care plan, the $$ amounts covered for psychologists/physio/osteo etc. etc. run out pretty quick. If your injuries are not yet "pensioned" by the time of your release, then you will be paying out of pocket for everything not covered by provincial health care. In NS, physio and osteo are not covered.

And, not everyone has reasonable access to an OSI clinic. They wanted me to drive to the OSI clinic in Fredericton (6 hours one-way) as opposed to the OSI clinic in Halifax (1 1/2 hour one-way) because Halifax did not (at the time) have anyone that could write prescriptions. I do not know if that is still the case as I told them to go f#$% their hat.

Note: Not sure if this is common knowledge, the OSI Clinics are NOT operated by VAC. Fredericton and Halifax, at least, are operated by Horizon Health. They are just a contractor.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on August 12, 2018, 18:57:05
Note: Not sure if this is common knowledge, the OSI Clinics are NOT operated by VAC. Fredericton and Halifax, at least, are operated by Horizon Health. They are just a contractor.

There are OSI clinics and satellite OSI clinics: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/mental-health/understanding-mental-health/clinics  Who pays the bills, be it VAC or CAF/DND. determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND/CAF on a cost-recovery basis. I would not call Horizon Health or Royal Ottawa Hospital 'contractors', I would call me them host facilities, as they may also have CAF or VAC funded providers working on site.

The OTSSC and OSI clinics in Ottawa are located at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.  The Royal Ottawa Hospital hires staff to fill the jobs at the OSI Satellite Clinic in Kingston.  Who pays the bills VAC or CAF/DND determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND on a cost-recovery basis. 

For anyone still serving who has been authorized access to VAC-approved/funded treatments like chiro or massage therapy, theie treatment costs are billed back to DND/CAF through Medavie Blue Cross.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: upandatom on August 12, 2018, 23:15:41
There are OSI clinics and satellite OSI clinics: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/mental-health/understanding-mental-health/clinics  Who pays the bills, be it VAC or CAF/DND. determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND/CAF on a cost-recovery basis. I would not call Horizon Health or Royal Ottawa Hospital 'contractors', I would call me them host facilities, as they may also have CAF or VAC funded providers working on site.

The OTSSC and OSI clinics in Ottawa are located at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.  The Royal Ottawa Hospital hires staff to fill the jobs at the OSI Satellite Clinic in Kingston.  Who pays the bills VAC or CAF/DND determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND on a cost-recovery basis. 

For anyone still serving who has been authorized access to VAC-approved/funded treatments like chiro or massage therapy, theie treatment costs are billed back to DND/CAF through Medavie Blue Cross.

That's interesting because I was told the opposite in late 2014 and early 2015 that I was not eligible for the treatment that it had to go through a DND option, and that chiro was not eligible in the CAF. I did have treatment available through VAC but was told no, DND pays it, they chose.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: daftandbarmy on August 13, 2018, 01:09:49
They wanted me to drive to the OSI clinic in Fredericton (6 hours one-way) as opposed to the OSI clinic in Halifax (1 1/2 hour one-way) because Halifax did not (at the time) have anyone that could write prescriptions. I do not know if that is still the case as I told them to go f#$% their hat.

If more people follow your lead, then services will improve.  :nod:
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Simian Turner on August 13, 2018, 10:24:26
That's interesting because I was told the opposite in late 2014 and early 2015 that I was not eligible for the treatment that it had to go through a DND option, and that chiro was not eligible in the CAF. I did have treatment available through VAC but was told no, DND pays it, they chose.

I would ask again.  I know at least one clinic that has paid $16K+ for chiro so far this year and this was not incurred in previous years.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on August 16, 2018, 12:02:51
I betting the Minister will just happen to appear at events in Kelowna that conclude on Saturday, 18 Aug.


Public Service Announcement - Veterans Town Hall - Pension for Life (August 20, 2018)

Veterans Affairs Canada - Aug 15, 2018, 16:00 ET
   
KELOWNA, BC, Aug. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, invites Veterans and their families to participate in a Veterans Town Hall on Monday August 20 at 5:30 p.m. (PDT) at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #26 (1380 Bertram Street, Kelowna).

Veterans and their families will have the opportunity to hear more and ask questions about Pension for Life, and other Veterans Affairs Canada benefits and services, including new benefits which launched on April 1, 2018.

If you are interested in attending, please click here to register for the event. https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairsCanada/photos/a.1438390596409983.1073741828.1437398476509195/2116180535297649/?type=1&theater

Information about the Town Hall can also be found on the Veterans Affairs Canada Facebook page. All are welcome.

Please share this information.

Location:

Royal Canadian Legion Branch #26
1380 Bertram Street, Kelowna, BC

Time: 5:30 p.m. (PDT)

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on September 18, 2018, 09:13:41
https://globalnews.ca/news/4447716/trudeau-liberals-leave-372m-meant-for-veterans-unspent/    (Videos at Link)

EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau Liberals leave $372M meant to help veterans unspent since taking office - updated - 17 Sep 18

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government are doing what they damned Stephen Harper’s Conservatives for doing: leaving hundreds millions of dollars unspent at the Department of Veterans Affairs. David Akin reports.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has left more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families unspent since taking office in November 2015, Global News has learned. The news comes seven months after an Edmonton town hall at which Trudeau publicly admonished some veterans groups fighting the government for improved benefits, saying they were “asking for more than we are able to give right now.”

WATCH: Before becoming prime minister, Justin Trudeau slammed Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for leaving funding for veterans unspent

Yet according to documents obtained by Global News, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VAC) – under Trudeau’s leadership – has failed to spend all the money given to it in each of the past three years – something Trudeau and many other Liberals slammed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for when they were still in office. “[The Conservatives] fired hundreds of front line veteran support staff, they closed nine local service offices, making it harder and harder for veterans to get the support they so badly need,” said then Liberal leader Justin Trudeau at a veteran-themed campaign stop in August 2015. “They left unspent more than $1 billion that Parliament allocated for veteran support. Canadians know that this is wrong. A government led by me would make it right.”

But since toppling Harper and the Conservatives, Trudeau’s government has continued this trend. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, Trudeau’s first year in office, the Liberals left $80.9 million on the books at VAC. They then left another $143 million unspent in 2017 and $148.6 in 2018. Broken down annually, the unspent funds for vets under Trudeau’s leadership represented 2.2 per cent of VAC’s overall budget in 2016, 3.7 per cent in 2017 and 3.0 per cent in 2018.

ARCHIVE: Liberal Ralph Goodale says Conservatives ‘pocketed the cash’ meant for veterans

The department explains these discrepancies by saying funding at VAC is “demand driven,” meaning any veteran entitled to services will receive them, but if money is left over at the end of the year its because they “overestimated” demand. “Lapsed funding does not result in anyone receiving less than they should. It is simply an administrative process,” said Martin Magnan, a spokesperson for Veteran Affairs.

Liberals defend record

Seamus O’Regan, the current Minister of Veteran Affairs, is defending the Liberals’ record, saying there’s been “no stealing” from veterans under Trudeau’s leadership. “Much of what we do, in fact, about $4 billion of what we do, is statutory funding,” O’Regan said. “If something happens it means the government must find the money. And that obviously isn’t necessarily something you would find in the accounting books.” Since taking power, O’Regan says the Liberals have re-opened veteran affairs offices closed by the Conservatives, re-hired hundreds of front-line staff, improved benefits and increased overall spending for veterans by about $10 billion. The government has also committed an additional $42 million to help reduce the backlog of those waiting for disability benefits, he said. “There’s no stealing from veterans here,” O’Regan said. “All I can tell you, very simply, is we run the department on an extremely tight budget,” he said.

Pot calling the kettle black, say critics
Gord Johns, the NDP’s veteran affairs critic, provided Global News with the lapsed-funding figures for 2016 and 2017. He says it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Conservative or Liberal government in power, failing to spend money intended for veterans and their families is “immoral” and contrary to the will of Parliament. “When we allocate money for veterans we expect that that money is going to get spent,” Johns said. “These are people that put their lives on the line, made the ultimate sacrifice.”

WATCH: NDP Critic says is ‘immoral’ to leave funding for veterans unspent

While recognizing some money could always go unspent in any budget, the amount of funding meant for veterans that Conservatives and Liberals have left on the table is “unacceptable,” he says. “Just last year, where they didn’t spend $143 million, they seemed to find $37 million to fight veterans for the benefits they’re asking for… This is a big problem,” Johns said.

Meanwhile, Phil McColeman, Conservative veteran affairs critic, says this sort of “staggering hypocrisy” cannot go unchecked. And while O’Regan’s explanation may hold true in certain circumstances, he says, it’s “beyond belief” that Trudeau would publicly criticize the Conservatives for something and then do the same thing after being elected. “Where it becomes unacceptable is when we have the prime minister tell a veteran to his face that Canada does not have enough to give,” he said. “That’s the context.”

-With files from David Akin. © 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Halifax Tar on September 18, 2018, 10:20:08
Crickets from those ABC Vets groups... strange...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: cowboy628 on September 19, 2018, 00:51:55
What are they going to say, WE WERE WRONG . Lol. Let's stay on topic before we get in trouble.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Jarnhamar on September 19, 2018, 07:33:17
$372 million will go a long way towards lawyer fees to fight vets in court.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Jarnhamar on September 20, 2018, 15:57:06
Quote
An extensive study commissioned by Ottawa has determined service dogs can help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. But the Trudeau Liberals won't commit to funding the animals, and veterans are demanding to know why.



https://globalnews.ca/news/4463518/veterans-with-ptsd-denied-service-dogs-despite-positive-study/


That 372 million could buy almost 25'000 service dogs.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: comfortablynumb on September 20, 2018, 16:37:37
Service dogs are asking more than he can give us right now...

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on September 20, 2018, 16:40:59
Incidentally just the other day invitations went out for the next VAC stakeholders summit in Ottawa in October. It looks like the Mental Health Advisory Group at least still exists and is still being offered a seat at the table. Along with a couple of 'update' items (MH centre of excellence suicide action plan and tracking) I'm going to push to see the questions of service dogs raised, particularly in light of the new study that (I think contrary to VAC's expectations) validates psychiatric service dogs. In conjunction with some quality foreign research (the Dutch are really on the ball) that is an issue that should be getting pushed.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on October 10, 2018, 14:21:32
Could go here or VAC Wait Times.

The $42 million over two years, incl more staff,  has not solved the problem. Changing the service standard from 16 weeks to i.e. 30 weeks will probably just mean two years from now it will go from 30 weeks to i.e. 42 weeks. The union, of course, wants to " investing more resources" which means more people, more dues, more power.

Meantime the Second World War/Korea Vets are diminishing, Afghanistan Vet claims may be steadying. Obviously there is something disastrously wrong with the method VAC uses to process claims.

VAC could require a mandatory 12 hour work day/5 days a week until the backlog is cleared as long as it is an efficient work week which, who knows, if there is one now.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-ottawa-looking-at-longer-deadlines-for-answering-veterans-requests/

Ottawa looking at longer deadlines for answering veterans’ requests for service - 9 Oct 18

The federal government is looking to extend the amount of time that officials have to respond to veterans seeking various different types of benefits and support for their service-related injuries. The move follows years of criticism after Veterans Affairs Canada consistently forced former service members to wait months longer than promised to access support – or even find out whether they qualify. Those delays have been found to add further stress and frustration on injured veterans as they wait for medical or financial assistance.

Veterans Affairs Canada says it wants to give veterans a more “realistic” idea of when they can expect to hear back when they request assistance, and that many of the new timelines will be rolled out before the end of the fiscal year. But Virginia Vaillancourt, acting national president of the Union of Veterans Employees, said the solution isn’t to make veterans wait longer – it is investing more resources to keep them from having to wait in the first place. “With more staff in the office, it means that the veterans are actually going to get the service, the benefits and the care that they deserve – and that the government has promised them,” Ms. Vaillancourt said. “Whether you’re telling them it’s going to be eight weeks or 24 weeks, they still have that stress of waiting and not knowing if they will be approved for services and benefits.”

Veterans Affairs has struggled to provide timely benefits and support to former service members for years, in part because of Conservative-era budget cuts and layoffs from which the department still hasn’t fully recovered. Compounding the problem has been a sharp increase in demand for services in recent years, which has created a backlog of applications for disability benefits and slowed response times in the provision of support. The Trudeau Liberals promised during the last election to fix the problem by hiring more staff, and most recently committed $42-million over two years to address a backlog of applications for disability benefits that had reached 29,000 files.

But performance continues to lag; while injured veterans are told they can expect to know within 16 weeks whether they simply qualify for disability benefits, ombudsman Guy Parent found the average wait remains 23 to 29 weeks. The department has also consistently exceeded its own targets when it comes to providing veterans with quick access to long-term care, career training services, income-replacement benefits and rehabilitation services. And it has routinely failed to quickly respond to veterans’ phone calls within two minutes.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under Access to Information show officials have taken a close look at changing when the clock starts running on requests for some types of services – and extending the promised delivery times outright in others. A more realistic timeline than the current 16-week target for approving applications for disability benefits would be between 20 and 30 weeks, officials say in the documents, depending on the applicant’s medical conditions.

Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Emily Gauthier confirmed in an e-mail that the department is revising the timelines for various services, which she said was “to provide realistic timeframes for veterans and others we serve.” The department “continues to strive to provide faster, more efficient, higher-quality service,” she added. “We will review our service standards on a yearly basis and revise them when we’ve made significant improvements to our actual performance.” Mr. Parent indicated last month that he supported providing veterans with a more realistic assessment of when they can expect to hear from the department, which would ease their stress and frustration at being forced to wait.

But Ms. Vaillancourt disagreed with that assessment, saying veterans are applying for support because they require financial or medical assistance and that simply telling them that they can expect to wait longer won’t help address their needs. Afghan veteran Aaron Bedard, who led a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge against the government over lifetime disability pensions, blasted the department’s plan to ease its service targets, calling it a “step backwards.”

While providing timely access can be a challenge when it comes to veterans, it should always be a priority, said Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, which focuses on helping former service members with mental-health injuries.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure when an ill or injured member of the Canadian Armed Forces reaches out to access the help they deserve, that the access is timely,” Mr. Maxwell said. “That’s got to be the objective always.”
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on October 10, 2018, 14:33:35
Absolutely priceless.

They can't/ won't clear the backlog of 16 week waits. So their solution is to make it 30 weeks. Oh look, no backlog now. ::)

Even at 30 weeks, I'm currently 3 weeks overdue. 33 weeks behind if we follow the 16 week turnaround.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on October 10, 2018, 16:45:38
One possible option is to keep the 16 week deadline for deciding whether or not a claim is covered. This would allow people who need timely care to start getting it in a reasonable amount of time. Then set a second deadline, of say 30 weeks, for the decision on the disability award. I would prefer for them to sort their crap out but that may never happen.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on November 06, 2018, 08:44:04
Several times n the article the theme
Quote
" If money is left over at the end of the year, these unspent dollars should be transferred to the next year’s budget and targeted specifically to improve services and reduce wait times for veterans and their families".
appears, expressed in different ways. IMHO it sounds like an excuse to hire more Public Service pers to do the same foot dragging in an antiquated system of procedures without ramifications for failing to achieve results. Sleepy Hollow comes to mind.


https://globalnews.ca/news/4631459/ndp-veterans-benefits-motion/

Liberals and Conservatives confirm support for NDP plan to ‘end the theft’ of money meant to help veterans - 5 Nov 18

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says it’s time for the government to stop stealing from Canadian veterans. And both the Liberals and Conservatives agree — money meant to help veterans and their families should no longer go unspent.

In a motion put before the House of Commons Monday, Singh and fellow New Democrats proposed that all money allocated to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) in a specific year should be spent. If money is left over at the end of the year, these unspent dollars should be transferred to the next year’s budget and targeted specifically to improve services and reduce wait times for veterans and their families.

It’s a motion that both Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government say they will support.
“Over the past number of years money is promised to Veterans Affairs, that money has lapsed or not been spent,” Singh said. “That means veterans have been robbed of finances and resources for the services they need. This has to end.” The NDP proposal comes days before Canadians will mark Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

It also comes just six weeks after Global News revealed Trudeau’s Liberal government allowed more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families to go unspent at VAC since taking office in 2015, something then-Liberal leader Trudeau called “wrong” when campaigning to become prime minister. ”The Liberal government promised to address this,” Singh said. “They were standing up with us as New Democrats in opposition saying we cannot accept this treatment of veterans, but now they’re doing the exact same thing.” The $372 million Liberals left unspent at VAC is in addition to the more than $1.1 billion Stephen Harper’s Conservative government left unspent while in office.

If passed, the practice of allowing money to lapse at VAC would effectively end. The NDP plan would also mean about $124 million a year more for veterans and their families, NDP figures show. The money would be targeted toward improving services and reducing wait times and backlogs many veterans face when trying to access benefits. “Veterans have had our back, at a minimum Canada needs to take care of them,” Singh said.

“This [motion] would end the theft of financing and resources for Veterans Affairs and ensure that we actually see the adequate levels of care and response times for veterans who have given so much,” he said. Under the proposed plan, VAC funds left unspent at the end of the year will automatically be carried forward to the next year until the department meets its own prescribed service standards in 12 areas in which it is currently lagging behind. These areas include wait times for decisions on disability benefits, long-term care, career transition and other programs, review and appeal timelines, and what some veterans have described as inadequate response times for VAC’s telephone service.

According to NDP veteran affairs critic, Gord Johns, these improved services will come with no added costs. He says the NDP’s proposal is “non-partisan” and calls the decision to support the plan a “no-brainer.” “Thanking veterans and their families is not enough. Words must be backed by action,” Johns said. “This motion will dramatically improve the lives of veterans and their families at no additional costs to taxpayers,” he said. And while Conservatives had previously left more than a billion unspent at VAC, they announced their support for the plan Monday, with MP Cathay Wagantall saying all members of the Conservative party will vote in favour of the motion.

Meanwhile, Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan indicated the government would also support the motion, saying “we will always have the resources available for veterans.” “When it comes to any motions supporting our veterans, our government will be supporting that motion,” Sajjan said Monday. The government’s support of the plan was confirmed to Global News by VAC spokesperson, John Embury.

Benefits are ‘demand-driven’

When Global News first revealed Liberals had allowed $372 million to go unspent at VAC, a department official said lapsed funding is “simply an administrative process” and doesn’t result in anyone receiving less than they should. The department added that VAC funding is “demand-driven,” meaning that money left over at the end of the year is a result of overestimated demand. This was reiterated by Sajjan.

However, Trudeau previously slammed the Harper government for leaving veterans’ support funds unspent. To a room filled with veterans on the campaign trail in 2015, Trudeau said, “Canadians know that this is wrong. A government led by me would make it right.”

Since taking office, the Liberals have reopened nine Veterans Affairs offices and rehired roughly 470 front-line staff who work closely with veterans. This includes roughly 260 case managers, who serve as the first point of contact for many veterans as they work to access the benefits they need and deserve. The government also says it will invest an additional $10 billion more for veterans than the previous Conservative government had planned to spend. Much of this money will go toward enhancing services and creating new benefits, such as reinstating pensions for life and providing new educational opportunities, according to the government.

Still, with money left unspent each year at VAC, the NDP says it’s time the parties come together to support a plan that will see veterans receive the benefits they “need and deserve.” “And if the service levels were adequate, efficient and they were meeting their own standards then maybe the money wouldn’t need to be spent,” Singh said. “[But it] is not acceptable that veterans are promised funding and that’s effectively robbed from them, year after year.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


 
 


Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on November 07, 2018, 11:20:40
Follow-up to previous post.

At the end of the article,
Quote
The NDP says with unspent money at VAC now being carried forward, the number of front-line staff at VAC can increase dramatically, meaning shorter wait times and better outcomes for veterans.
[/b] means, IMO, hiring more unionized staff again, which didn't solve the problem with the previous hires. The funds will be squandered away by VAC administration (VAC administration masturbation, i.e. beating themselves and us to death with paperwork).

In the Act, the benefit of the doubt is to the Veteran. VAC should blitz all the backlogged files. If the claim looks reasonable, expeditiously approve. It may set precedent, but the backlog from January 18 to present will be cleared.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4635188/parliament-veterans-funding/

Parliament unanimously approves plan to stop leaving money unspent at Veterans Affairs Canada - 6 Nov 18

An NDP plan to end the practice of leaving money unspent at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) was unanimously approved by the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon, just five days before Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Proposed Monday and voted on Tuesday, the NDP motion says the government should “automatically carry forward all annual lapsed spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs to the next fiscal year, for the sole purpose of improving services for Canadian veterans.” The motion states that any money carried forward should be targeted toward VAC meeting its own standards in the 12 service areas where it is currently failing, including improving wait times for disability benefits, telephone services, vocational training and rehabilitation programs.

As Global News first reported in September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has allowed more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families go unspent since taking office in November 2015. This is despite promises from then-Liberal leader Trudeau, who in August 2015 said that leaving money meant for veterans unspent was “wrong,” that a government led by him would fix it.

Tuesday, Trudeau made good on that promise. “Our government is and continues to be committed to supporting and honouring Canada’s veterans and their families,” he said. “And of course we will be supporting the NDP motion.” This also follows more than $1.1 billion of unspent funding at VAC during the time Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were in power. According to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, this proposal will “end the theft” at VAC and stop veterans from being “robbed” of the resources they so badly need and deserve. “Over the past number of years money is promised to Veterans Affairs, that money has lapsed or not been spent,” Singh said Monday. “That means veterans have been robbed of finances and resources for the services they need. This has to end.”

While motions passed in the House of Commons are not binding — meaning the government has no legal obligation to stick to the plan — they carry significant meaning. Singh says this plan could mean as much as $124 million a year more for veterans. He also says it’s an important first step in ensuring veterans who’ve sacrificed so much have access to the benefits they need in a timely manner.

Since taking office, Trudeau’s Liberals have reopened nine veteran service offices closed by the Harper Conservatives. The government has also rehired roughly 470 front-line staff — including case managers — who work closely with veterans. The NDP says with unspent money at VAC now being carried forward, the number of front-line staff at VAC can increase dramatically, meaning shorter wait times and better outcomes for veterans.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on November 07, 2018, 16:27:50
Should note that this is non binding for the government. So they can easily walk away from doing this at any time.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: dunlop303 on November 07, 2018, 16:50:50
That's right, parliament need's to mandate that unspent funds be used - ideally to veteran's benefits / apply a annual excess funds top up ect. and not simply beef up their overhead.
All they have here is approval to hire should they have cash on hand to do so.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on November 07, 2018, 22:30:59
At the end of the article, means, IMO, hiring more unionized staff again, which didn't solve the problem with the previous hires. The funds will be squandered away by VAC administration (VAC administration masturbation, i.e. beating themselves and us to death with paperwork).

Nothing wrong with hiring more staff, nor is it the staff's fault that they're bound by imposed (and often redundant) process.

They tout their hiring, but they don't mention their attrition. VAC has lost a lot of front line workers and continues to. Part of the problem is that they hire public servants on term, which means no guaranteed job security once their term is up. Quite rightly when March comes and they haven't a guaranteed job for April, they go looking at other departments, reservists working full time for VAC take Class Bs, basically people take the considerable set of skills they build working in that environemnt, and they go elsewhere where they can count on their paycheck. It's a classic public service hiring problem.

As for the lapsing of funds- this is a manufactured issue. VAC lapses a couple percent a year, which is well within the 5% per annum that they are allowed to carry over. With that said, all federal spending comes under the FAA, and is subject to treasury board approval. VAC's budget includes estimates and expectations of statutory program spending. That's spending like disability claims, voc rehab, etc where every case *must* be fiunded and money will be available for it. They overestimate the number of cases / disability %s, they end up below their estimates, and some money is returned. At least they're budgeting more than enough for existing known demands- do we want that to change? Do we want them to budget tighter to avoid the bad but manufactured politics of funding lapses? I personally don't think so.

The backlog (VAClog? (tm)) needs to be tackled. They need more predictable hiring on an indeterminate basis. They need to reduce redundancy such as duplicate medical assessments. They need to knock down barriers to sharing medical files, etc. But approaches to that need to be realistic and nee to be based on how the government legally spends money.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: upandatom on November 19, 2018, 18:14:57
Follow-up to previous post.

At the end of the article, means, IMO, hiring more unionized staff again, which didn't solve the problem with the previous hires. The funds will be squandered away by VAC administration (VAC administration masturbation, i.e. beating themselves and us to death with paperwork).

In the Act, the benefit of the doubt is to the Veteran. VAC should blitz all the backlogged files. If the claim looks reasonable, expeditiously approve. It may set precedent, but the backlog from January 18 to present will be cleared.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4635188/parliament-veterans-funding/

Parliament unanimously approves plan to stop leaving money unspent at Veterans Affairs Canada - 6 Nov 18

An NDP plan to end the practice of leaving money unspent at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) was unanimously approved by the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon, just five days before Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Proposed Monday and voted on Tuesday, the NDP motion says the government should “automatically carry forward all annual lapsed spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs to the next fiscal year, for the sole purpose of improving services for Canadian veterans.” The motion states that any money carried forward should be targeted toward VAC meeting its own standards in the 12 service areas where it is currently failing, including improving wait times for disability benefits, telephone services, vocational training and rehabilitation programs.

As Global News first reported in September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has allowed more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families go unspent since taking office in November 2015. This is despite promises from then-Liberal leader Trudeau, who in August 2015 said that leaving money meant for veterans unspent was “wrong,” that a government led by him would fix it.

Tuesday, Trudeau made good on that promise. “Our government is and continues to be committed to supporting and honouring Canada’s veterans and their families,” he said. “And of course we will be supporting the NDP motion.” This also follows more than $1.1 billion of unspent funding at VAC during the time Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were in power. According to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, this proposal will “end the theft” at VAC and stop veterans from being “robbed” of the resources they so badly need and deserve. “Over the past number of years money is promised to Veterans Affairs, that money has lapsed or not been spent,” Singh said Monday. “That means veterans have been robbed of finances and resources for the services they need. This has to end.”

While motions passed in the House of Commons are not binding — meaning the government has no legal obligation to stick to the plan — they carry significant meaning. Singh says this plan could mean as much as $124 million a year more for veterans. He also says it’s an important first step in ensuring veterans who’ve sacrificed so much have access to the benefits they need in a timely manner.

Since taking office, Trudeau’s Liberals have reopened nine veteran service offices closed by the Harper Conservatives. The government has also rehired roughly 470 front-line staff — including case managers — who work closely with veterans. The NDP says with unspent money at VAC now being carried forward, the number of front-line staff at VAC can increase dramatically, meaning shorter wait times and better outcomes for veterans.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

That backlog, from Jan 18 to now, ALSO includes Departmental Reviews....that you should have a response within two weeks, Because they have all the information already.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: PuckChaser on November 19, 2018, 19:14:20
Front line staff isn't the problem, its the backlog of the adjudicators and folks who go through your file to approve the benefits. We could have 1 to 1 ratio of "Front line staff" to veterans, and still wait 16 months to hear back on benefits that are supposed to take a max of 16 weeks.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 11, 2018, 08:25:05
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/oregan-veterans-affairs-transition-1.4939878

Seamus O'Regan draws scorn for comparing his career arc to veterans' struggles
- 10 Dec 18  (Video at Link)
  'Good Lord, what a insensitive and inaccurate thing to say,' says veteran

When Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan left journalism, it was, he said, "a shock to his system" — a painful time in his life. And that — he told a roomful of soldiers and civil servants Monday — has given him insight into how members of the Canadian military feel as they take off their uniforms for the last time. O'Regan's personal recollection featured prominently Monday as his department and National Defence publicly announced another overhaul of the system that is supposed to guide retiring soldiers, sailors and aircrew back into the civilian world.

But his efforts to compare his own career arc to the problems facing many ex-military members struck a sour note with his intended audience. "Good Lord, what a insensitive and inaccurate thing to say," said Barry Westholm, a former master warrant officer and sergeant-major for the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) in Eastern Ontario. He resigned from the military to protest the deterioration of the unit that was supposed to help guide injured soldiers back to their jobs or out of the military. "It shows me he has no concept of what he is dealing with." The federal government — under both the Liberals and Conservatives — has struggled to find a way to make that transition smoother, less painful and confusing.

Details scarce

There have been multiple studies and recommendations on how to make it better, notably from the former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne. What O'Regan, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance announced Monday was a new transition system. They rolled out a series of online and training initiatives, but set aside the details of the new, more integrated and personalized system to further tinkering through a pilot program.

O'Regan told an audience of troops and civil servants assembled for the announcement that he can relate to the pain and confusion soldiers sometimes feel upon leaving the military because of his own emotions as he left an "extremely structured" job in TV journalism. "As many of you know, I had very difficult transition leaving journalism, but more importantly, leaving what I had for 15 years in a broadcast medium that was extremely structured," he told an assembled audience of troops and civil servants. It was a world where he "didn't have to worry about a thing, except maybe waking up for my shift, which was very early. I didn't have to worry about a whole heck of a lot."

O'Regan spent over 10 years as host of CTV's Canada AM and went on to do special correspondent assignments for the network before moving into radio and independent production in 2012. "And when I left, it was a shock to my system," O'Regan said, citing his battles with alcoholism. "I suffered with addiction. I suffered with depression. I did not transition well, and I felt I'd lost purpose in my life." He entered rehab in January 2016 and said the experience has taught him a lot. "I know enough about the military that I would never, ever say that I have, you know, an idea of what it's like to go through a transition [from] serving to becoming a veteran," O'Regan said. "But I got a peek into that window,"  Ever since Canada's Afghan war mission ended, more and more experts have linked rough transitions to civilian life with a spike in homelessness and even suicide among former soldiers. Westholm said that, even with the minister's qualification, he never thought he'd hear such a comparison.  Conservative MP and former veterans minister Erin O'Toole called O'Regan's comments "very inappropriate" and added that it's not the first time he's heard them from the minister.

"I'm upset by it," said O'Toole, a former air force officer, who said he heard a variation of the minister's story at a mental health breakfast last spring. "It makes veterans cringe because it shows him out of connection with veterans ... In his case he wasn't in uniform, and I don't believe he should compare leaving a television with the trauma of leaving the military with an injury."

O'Regan said his brother, a serving naval officer, has repeatedly underlined the necessity of fixing a system beset by delays in delivering benefits and services, as well as duplication. The Liberals made fixing that system a key commitment in both their election pitch to veterans and their defence policy, released 18 months ago. "We promised that you and your families would be better supported as you navigate the intricacies of military careers and to improve support to those of you who have served as you end your military career and transition to a life after service," said Sajjan. "And today we are delivering on those promises."

A Partial Fix

What the Liberals delivered on Monday, however, was a partial fix that includes a number of initiatives that put the burden on departing members to educate themselves and get ready for their new lives. One of the biggest changes involves allowing members to take their last month on the job to prepare themselves for civilian life, rather than doing their day-to-day military work. That prep time is crucial, given the dizzying array of paperwork and expectations. Failing to get that paperwork in on time contributes to backlogs in pension payments and benefits.

The federal government's planned major restructuring, which could include more personalized services for departing military members and personal assistance in navigating the system, will await the results of a pilot program that will take place at Camp Borden, north of Toronto. National Defence and Veterans Affairs are working together "to ensure there are no gaps in services offered to you as you transition out of uniform into your new status as a veteran," said Sajjan. Westholm pointed to a series of studies going back to the early 2000s, some done by the defence department itself, about the lack of transition services. "If they have to take five more years to institute a fully integrated approach, then they're really not serious," he said, indicating that by the time the trial is done, "we'll have had 15 years of trial and error."


See https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,84368.msg1556017.html#msg1556017  kratz's post, Resource: Military Career Transition Guide, at link re "A Partial Fix" in the last two paras of the above article.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: PuckChaser on December 11, 2018, 08:45:11
Man, O'Regan has to be the most tone deaf VAC Minister we've ever had. Which is saying something because Fantino was bad, but at least got fired.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on December 20, 2018, 10:30:37
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/health-care-delivery-part-of-new-veterans-ombudsman-future-focus-269568/

Health-care delivery part of new Veterans Ombudsman future focus - 19 Dec 18

Canada’s new veterans ombudsman says the office plans to steer its focus from benefits to other areas, like health-care delivery, in the coming months. Ombudsman Craig Dalton, a veteran himself, served alongside Canadian Armed Forces members both home and abroad for 25 years. Following his release in 2014, he served in a deputy minister capacity with the provincial governments of both New Brunswick and P.E.I. Dalton took over the veterans ombudsman position in November from Guy Parent, who has been in the office for the last five years.

During a one-on-one interview at Dalton’s office last week, he told The Chronicle Herald that since taking over the ombudsman position, he has been consulting with veterans, caregivers and advocacy groups as well as getting up to speed on the work of the previous ombudsman to see where the office’s focus is most needed.

“There was a general sense that a lot has been done on the financial compensation and benefits side over the last 10 years or so, and that conversation will likely continue over time, but there’s a sense that maybe there were some other issues that we might want to turn our attention to,” Dalton said. In fact, Parent’s final report as ombudsman, released in September, looked extensively at Veterans Affairs Canada’s handling of benefit claims. The scathing review slammed the government for forcing veterans to wait unreasonable amounts of time to find out if they qualified for disability claims and other supports.

One of the areas that Dalton said has repeatedly come up in conversations with veterans as needing attention has been health-care delivery, especially when it comes to mental health and PTSD, and ensuring different levels of government and government departments are working together to get veterans the care they need. “Mental health is a large component of health care and you see that conversation across not just ... the veterans population, but across Canada. It’s an ongoing conversation around a growing realization of the prevalence of mental health issues and how important it is to address them,” Dalton said. Beyond individual cases, Dalton said, the ombudsman’s office has yet to look in depth at mental health care delivery among Canada’s veterans. “It’s one of those issues that we’ve identified that we haven’t turned their attention that we need to consider looking at a little more closely going forward.”

As the new ombudsman and his team examine where to turn their focus next for the office’s next major report, Dalton said the wheels are already in motion on other files that they will continue to study in the coming months. “A good part of our focus is going to be on the transition to Pension for Life and making sure that we understand what those changes are going to mean for clients so that we’re in a position to add to the conversation about that,” Dalton said. A financial analysis of the return to a lifetime pension option for veterans, which was replaced by a lump sum award in 2006 with the controversial New Veterans Charter, is also in the works.

With a federal election on the horizon, no doubt many will be looking at past recommendations of the ombudsman’s office to gauge whether Trudeau’s Liberals (and the Conservatives before them) have done right by veterans and their families during their time in office. The annual report card issued by the Ombudsman’s office tracks the progress of the recommendations made by the ombudsman — Dalton said he plans to continue that tradition, and Canadians can expect a new one in the early summer. “I think that the report card approach is a good approach because there are 10 years of recommendations in there and it’s a way for us to continue to keep those issues in the public domain on the minds of policymakers makers,” he said.

Over the past 10 years, Dalton said, there have been 71 recommendations issued by the Veterans Ombudsman’s office across five main areas: financial security, transition planning, social integration (including employment and education), health care and service delivery. Of those, he said 74 per cent have been acted upon. “They’ve come a long way to making things better for veterans and their families. Will there be work to do going forward? Absolutely. But I think that speaks to progress,” he said.

Over the next few months, Dalton said his office will be continuing to engage with veterans in order make sure he has a personal understanding of the range of issues faced by veterans. This will include travelling around Canada to meet with veterans in person, and Dalton said he hopes to visit the Atlantic provinces in the near future. “One of the things I think that’s really good about this office and it’s critical is that we remain evidence-based and we do solid research and analysis,” he said. “Which is why we want to talk to as many people out there (as possible) to really get a sense for where we think we can make the biggest difference for veterans.”
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on February 12, 2019, 12:55:54
And now VAC is without a Minister. That didn't take long.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/jody-wilson-raybould-resigns-from-trudeau-cabinet-1.4293529 (https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/jody-wilson-raybould-resigns-from-trudeau-cabinet-1.4293529)

"OTTAWA – Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.

This comes amid ongoing questions about into whether Trudeau or anyone in his office tried to have Wilson-Raybould abandon the prosecution of a case against SNC-Lavalin when she was justice minister and attorney general."

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Jarnhamar on February 12, 2019, 13:07:25
Quote

"OTTAWA – Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.


We asked for more than she could give  ;D

But honestly pretty obviously she didn't give two shits about the veterans affairs appointment. At least she has the integrity to be honest about it and not offer insessent platitudes, hollow promises and crocodile tears.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 12, 2019, 13:14:01
Who, exactly, gets appointed to keep the chair warm at this point doesn't matter. As of the cabinet shuffle, VAC became a functionally autonomous bureaucracy under Walt Natynczyk. There's little that a new, uninitiated minister can or should be doing that has any real significance. And realistically I don't expect us to see much from either of the major contenders leading into this next election. VAC's gonna be tucked back away in the closet now that the NVC rewrite has been achieved and implemented.

The pressing issue in VAC for the next government is going to be wait times, but even that's primarily bureaucratic and the minister will be more a figurehead than anything.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 12, 2019, 13:24:38
There has been a lot of push from Veterans, this year, demanding a stop to the political football status that has plagued us all along. I'm seeing people being more vocal, over the issue, to the candidates.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 12, 2019, 13:44:55
There has been a lot of push from Veterans, this year, demanding a stop to the political football status that has plagued us all along. I'm seeing people being more vocal, over the issue, to the candidates.

Yup. Let's call it what it is: VAC is a minor portfolio whether we like it or not. It simply is. At best it's a distracting side show for the government that occasionally produces some embarassing stories.

Pick a suitably middling important member of the government, give them the portfolio, and tell them to expect to stay there. Then friggin' let them be so they can get familiar with the department, and can actually meaningfully work issues. MVA is actually one of the narrowest portfolios; a single governmental department that focus on a very small range of services and programs, though with a large client base. It's a portfolio that someone with adequate knowledge of how the government bureaucracy works) could get legitimately good at if left to do so. Ideally find someone with enough military experience to understand the culture they're coming into. O'Toole was a really good choice (I view his limitations as primarily having been the part in power and the economic times, not his capabilities, insight, or determination to do the job). McCrimmon could be as well.

Then once you have someone credible, someone with thick enough skin to deal with vets (because we eat our ministers alive given the chance), someone who knows the system well enough to do meaningful work within it, set them loose and let them work.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Navy_Pete on February 12, 2019, 14:11:41
I think if they really want to change, they need to put someone in charge who gives a damn, and probably shuffle off a number of the senior executives (and supporting peons).  They are running it like a drive through with service time targets and 'optimized outcomes' rather than a complex department with a ton of baggage.

VAC, PWGSC and INAC almost need to be burnt to the ground and restarted.

Glad the Minister resigned rather than marking time; she seems like she might be a rare politician with integrity.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 12, 2019, 14:13:04
Harjit Sajjan has been appointed as 'Acting' Minister of Veterans Affairs. I would read that to mean in addition to his MND portfolio. So yeah, placeholder.

Further thoughts: Sajjan is a key cabinet minister in defense. They've appointed someone who can duck into VAC as necessary to put out fires based on existing subject matter knowledge, but it will not be the chair he warms day to day.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Navy_Pete on February 12, 2019, 16:07:15
Harjit Sajjan has been appointed as 'Acting' Minister of Veterans Affairs. I would read that to mean in addition to his MND portfolio. So yeah, placeholder.

Further thoughts: Sajjan is a key cabinet minister in defense. They've appointed someone who can duck into VAC as necessary to put out fires based on existing subject matter knowledge, but it will not be the chair he warms day to day.

Honestly I think VAC should be a juniour minister that reports to MND (Vice Deputy MND?).  It's ridiculous that there is no common reporting on the two when they are so intertwined, and that way the polis always have skin in the game for the whole lifecycle of active/retired members.  Right now they can each pass the buck as things come up because there is no overlapping responsibility.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 12, 2019, 16:10:26
Honestly I think VAC should be a juniour minister that reports to MND (Vice Deputy MND?).  It's ridiculous that there is no common reporting on the two when they are so intertwined, and that way the polis always have skin in the game for the whole lifecycle of active/retired members.  Right now they can each pass the buck as things come up because there is no overlapping responsibility.

That's precisely why they moved to have MVA as the Associate Minister of National Defense. It's part of the strategy of interfacing the two departments for the 'closing the seam' initiative, likewise the whole shift in language from 'release' to 'transition'. There's a lot more work between the two departments than is immediately visible.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 13, 2019, 11:33:48
Seems that other agree with you.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/02/12/revolving-door-of-ministers-in-the-veterans-affairs-department-causing-worry.html

‘Revolving door’ of ministers in the veterans affairs department causing worry - 12 Feb 19

OTTAWA—In the political controversy engulfing Justin Trudeau’s government, advocates fear that the revolving door atop the veterans affairs department means that veterans and their priorities are getting short shrift. Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday announced her resignation from cabinet after serving barely a month as veterans affairs minister.

She quit cabinet amidst allegations that Trudeau’s office had pressured her in her former role as attorney general to mediate a settlement with SNC-Lavalin rather than pursue criminal charges. In the wake of her announcement, Trudeau said that Harjit Sajjan, who is the defence minister, would take on the role of veterans affairs minister too. He becomes the eighth minister to hold the position since 2010 and the fourth since the Liberals took office in 2015.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada. “Who can possibly effect the real substantive reforms needed in any ministry under these time frames. The answer, of course, is nobody,” he said. “Our message is that veterans and their families deserve better,” said Maxwell.

In the wake of Tuesday’s resignation, the Royal Canadian Legion called on the government to create one department to merge Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence to ensure seamless oversight of military personnel “from recruitment into retirement.

“We have witnessed several puzzling changes to VAC’s leadership in recent years, and we now question just how committed government is to Canada’s veterans,” the legion said in a statement. “On their behalf, we ask that the veteran portfolio overall be treated as a vital one, and that government take swift action so that critical issues related to our veterans’ well-being are dealt with immediately,” the statement said. Successive governments have faced criticism that the benefits provided to veterans fall short at the very time that government is faced with a wave of veterans suffering the mental and physical wounds from Canada’s extended mission in Afghanistan.

Kent Hehr was the first politician to hold the post in Trudeau’s government, followed by Seamus O’Regan, then Wilson-Raybould and now Sajjan. Each change means a steep learning curve for the minister and their staff as they get up to speed on the issues facing the department, the complex array of veterans benefits and get acquainted with stakeholders. That inevitably means delays. Sajjan at least comes into the portfolio with some familiarity with the issues, thanks to his time as defence minister and a veteran of the Armed Forces himself. But it still means that the job of veteran affairs minister is now a part-time role, held by a minister juggling two departments. Maxwell noted that a few ministers have stayed in their portfolios for a prolonged period, including Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Sajjan and questioned why veteran affairs doesn’t merit the same stability. “It’s time that it did and it needs to,” he said.

NDP MP Gord Johns, the party’s critic for veterans affairs, said that veterans have grown frustrated with “revolving door” of ministers for the department. He praised Wilson-Raybould as a “capable” minister and said expectations were running high that she could make headway on the issues facing the department. “I think a lot of veterans were very excited of her stature and her CV,” said Johns (Courtenay—Alberni). He met with Wilson-Raybould just last week and agreed to meet again to work together on veterans issues. “She was open and willing to work on issues with me,” Johns said. “Veterans are tired of rhetoric. They want a minister that is committed to working on their issues,” he said in an interview. “Veterans are really being lost in all of this.”

Even when she took on the post in a January cabinet shuffle, Wilson-Raybould had to push back on suggestions that the veterans affairs role was a demotion in the hierarchy of cabinet positions. “I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion,” Wilson-Raybould told reporters on the day of the shuffle. Trudeau himself declared that day that serving as veterans affairs minister is a “deep and awesome responsibility.”
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: daftandbarmy on February 13, 2019, 12:48:32
Even when she took on the post in a January cabinet shuffle, Wilson-Raybould had to push back on suggestions that the veterans affairs role was a demotion in the hierarchy of cabinet positions. “I can think of no world in which I would consider working for our veterans in Canada as a demotion,” Wilson-Raybould told reporters on the day of the shuffle. Trudeau himself declared that day that serving as veterans affairs minister is a “deep and awesome responsibility.”

The Veterans
 
By Rudyard Kipling


TO-DAY, across our fathers’ graves, 
  The astonished years reveal 
The remnant of that desperate host 
  Which cleansed our East with steel. 
 
Hail and farewell! We greet you here,         
  With tears that none will scorn— 
O Keepers of the House of old, 
  Or ever we were born! 
 
One service more we dare to ask— 
  Pray for us, heroes, pray,         
That when Fate lays on us our task 
  We do not shame the Day!

 
For shame.....  :tsktsk:

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2019, 09:23:10
Assuming anyone here who is pending Release is aware of this. Headline is a bit misleading. All VAC is proposing is delaying your application.

Note the other VAC articles at link:

- Veterans Affairs $165M gaffe headed to Federal Court in proposed class-action lawsuit
 - Anatomy of a blunder: How Veterans Affairs quietly buried a $165M accounting error
 - Ottawa short-changed more than 270,000 veterans on pensions, disability payments
 - Veteran launches proposed class-action lawsuit over disability benefit formula
 - Legal disputes involving veterans cost federal government almost $40 million over two years


IMO, seems VAC is thoroughly confused, disordered, damaged, or to use the slang vice the definition, ****ed-up.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-lifetime-pension-disability-lump-sum-1.5020335

Veterans get new option on pensions — and Veterans Affairs gets out of a cash crunch - 15 Feb 19
    Giving veterans the option of postponing disability claims helps VA cope with a deep backlog of applications

Wounded and injured soldiers — both serving and retired — have been given the option of postponing the filing of disability claims until after the Liberal government's pension-for-life plan is implemented on April 1, CBC News has learned. Those who file a disability claim before April 1 do not get to opt for a pension-for-life. They're entitled only to lump sum compensation. Holding off until the new budget year begins gives them that choice between the pension and the lump sum. And it turns out the delay also helps Veterans Affairs out of a budget jam, according to leaked Department of National Defence documents.


Deep backlog, shallow funds


One of those documents — an email dated Feb. 4, 2019 — stated there is a shortage of disability award funds "within VAC due to [the] increase of awards from [the application] backlog clean up." (So is VAC declining applications due to lack of funds and and/or declining for a later Appeal process by the Applicant? Article opens that distrust)

The bigger problem, according to a veterans watchdog group, is that the option to delay filing has not been communicated to the wider veterans community. According to the documents, the process change has been passed along to those still in uniform through the military chain of command and support centres. It's another example of a double standard at work within Veterans Affairs, said Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy. "There'd be many who would want to avail themselves" of the pension option, Blais told CBC News. "I'm very disappointed. It's supposed to be one veteran, one standard."

Blais praised National Defence for being proactive but said Veterans Affairs is missing in action. "It's not fair for Veterans Affairs Canada to come forward with a program that benefits those who are serving while excluding and denying veterans in the wider community," he said. A spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs, Emily Gauthier, said in an email there have been "communications" with the veterans community and the department has "designed a process so a current application could be suspended and transitioned" to the new system.

National Defence, it seems, went to extraordinary lengths to get the word out among those still serving. A spokesman, Maj. Travis Smyth, said late Thursday that 3,500 letters were sent in December to members who were scheduled to retire in the near future. Those letters were followed up with telephone calls and in-person interviews.  All of it, Smyth said, was supported by Veterans Affairs.

During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals promised to give injured military members the option of receiving either a lifetime pension or a lump sum disability award. The plan, which involved a complex redrawing of the benefits system, was unveiled in December 2017 with a scheduled implementation date of April 1, 2019. At the moment, military remembers are only eligible for a lump sum award to compensate for pain and suffering due to injuries. Those veterans whose applications are now in the system — and processed before March 31 — do not have the pension option.

"Please note that the VAC (service delivery) team has just released a new directive to deal with those (Canadian Armed Forces) members (who are) applying for a (disability award/disability benefit) but wish to wait (hold) on their approval until after 1 Apr 19 in order to receive a monthly payment vs. lump sum award," reads a Feb. 4, 2019 email obtained by CBC News, written by Lt.-Col. Trevor Campbell, a liaison officer to Veterans Affairs. "There has also been a lot of discussion here lately on temporary shutdowns and delaying of adjudication decisions until post [pension for life] implementation."

Veterans Affairs asked for more money

Part of the reason for offering veterans the option of delaying disability claims is the administrative and information technology changes the new pension-for-life will require. But the other — and more significant — reason for the policy shift is the budgetary crunch at Veterans Affairs created by an enormous backlog of disability applications.

As of last December, Veterans Affairs had 27,107 disability claims registered in the system. Of those, 15,421 — 57 per cent of the total — had been waiting in the queue for more than four months.

Veterans Affairs officials recently went before Parliament to ask for a budget top-up of $323.2 million. "The requested funds are to support increases in some programs which stem mainly from an increased number of veterans accessing support, such as the Disability Award and the Earnings Loss grant," say the supplementary budget estimates tabled Jan. 29, 2019.

Blais said the department should have had a better handle on the numbers. "I think they underestimated the ability of the community to get veterans to come forward, particularly on mental health (claims), and that their projections were woefully inadequate," he said. Gauthier insisted the department "has sufficient funds to meet disability award demands" in the current budget year.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on February 15, 2019, 10:17:16
I guess that's why I got an application sitting at Step 1 for about 3 1/2 months now.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2019, 11:36:07
It is an option. Did you request deferral?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on February 15, 2019, 12:22:47
... Veterans Affairs officials recently went before Parliament to ask for a budget top-up of $323.2 million. "The requested funds are to support increases in some programs which stem mainly from an increased number of veterans accessing support, such as the Disability Award and the Earnings Loss grant," say the supplementary budget estimates tabled Jan. 29, 2019 ...
More on that ask on page 10 here (http://bit.ly/2N6s034) (16 pg PDF)
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on February 15, 2019, 12:28:31
Perhaps it's just me. I have a sense of foreboding coming from that last paragraph. It sounds like this may be a sticking point when it comes to the budget and they are laying the ground work for a decision that might be unpopular.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on February 15, 2019, 12:30:55
It is an option. Did you request deferral?
I did not

Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 15, 2019, 12:34:10
Disability claims are a 'must pay'. VAC cannot 'run out of money' in such a manner as to result in those not getting paid out- statutorily they have to pay the claims if entitlement exists. Going to Parliament for a top up basically just means they didn't anticipate a surge of claims, but it should be a pretty routine thing to get the funds allocated.

Frankly this story gives me a bit of hope in that it means a lot of people who've been sitting there suffering for a long time are coming forward.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on February 15, 2019, 12:39:19
To add to milnews.ca graphic:

https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/blog/news/veterans%20benefits

The cost differential between three regimes of Veterans Benefits - 21 Feb 19

Posted by: Yves Giroux Posted in: Upcoming Reports
To be published.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 15, 2019, 12:45:26
To add to milnews.ca graphic:

https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/en/blog/news/veterans%20benefits

The cost differential between three regimes of Veterans Benefits - 21 Feb 19

Posted by: Yves Giroux Posted in: Upcoming Reports
To be published.

Thanks, I'll be interested to watch for that. I hope they show a comparison both of 'yearly' as well as 'lifetime' costs. I was annoyed a few weeks back when the stories were being spun about how VAC was 'saving money off the backs of vets' due to the move to PFL over the lump sum disability awards. It was simple accounting of 'smaller amount, all at once now' versus 'larger amount spread over time'. E.g. buying a home cash or getting a mortgage. Obviously moving to a 'spread over lifetime' system would mean less outlay in the near term five years, but I want to see honest numbers of 'dollars in pockets' over different spans of time.

Once a couple years pass I'd be interested to see who is electing up front lump sums versus monthly payments for life. I could definitely see both being advantageous for different people in different circumstances. I also wonder if the system will allow people to make a decision about monthly vs lump sum *after* eligibility for IRB and APSC is determined. Having that certainty on monthly cash flow woul dbe a big deal for deciding whether to take it all at once or monthly.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: blackberet17 on February 15, 2019, 12:52:46
Disability claims are a 'must pay'. VAC cannot 'run out of money' in such a manner as to result in those not getting paid out- statutorily they have to pay the claims if entitlement exists. Going to Parliament for a top up basically just means they didn't anticipate a surge of claims, but it should be a pretty routine thing to get the funds allocated.

Frankly this story gives me a bit of hope in that it means a lot of people who've been sitting there suffering for a long time are coming forward.

Hi folks,

Apologies for the lengthy silence.

FSA, the request to TB for a "top-up" is SOP. It's not that different from a unit allocating funds in its Op Plan per its allotment from higher, and then needing to go back to Bde/Div for more funds when it forecasts as shortfall in, ex., Cl A pay, O&M, etc., due to new pressures not forecast the year prior in developing said Op Plan.

In this case, as already in the media, VAC went through a number of steps to streamline adjudication processes, which resulted in faster processing times for certain claim types. This in turn led to more money going out the door in paid disability benefits, leading to the need to request a "top-up".

I'll block off some time over the coming weeks to go back through posts to see where I can help with info, etc. If there are any outstanding items folks think are within my wheelhouse, please feel free to PM me with a link to the post, and I'll do my best to respond to it as quickly as possible.

Cheers.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on February 15, 2019, 12:56:32
Hi folks,

Apologies for the lengthy silence.

FSA, the request to TB for a "top-up" is SOP. It's not that different from a unit allocating funds in its Op Plan per its allotment from higher, and then needing to go back to Bde/Div for more funds when it forecasts as shortfall in, ex., Cl A pay, O&M, etc., due to new pressures not forecast the year prior in developing said Op Plan.

In this case, as already in the media, VAC went through a number of steps to streamline adjudication processes, which resulted in faster processing times for certain claim types. This in turn led to more money going out the door in paid disability benefits, leading to the need to request a "top-up".

I'll block off some time over the coming weeks to go back through posts to see where I can help with info, etc. If there are any outstanding items folks think are within my wheelhouse, please feel free to PM me with a link to the post, and I'll do my best to respond to it as quickly as possible.

Cheers.

Offhand (eg anecdote vs data), what are you guys seeing internally with regards to backlogs and processing times? It has seemed to be slowly trending in the right direction from what I'm piecing together- though with a long way yet to go. What's it look like at the coal face?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: blackberet17 on February 15, 2019, 15:25:07
I can share what I've heard from friends at the coal face. They are seeing progress, but it's a hard slog. When you fall behind in a hockey game, it's not easy to claw your way back into it when the other team keeps scoring.

As for data, in terms of intake, there has been a marked increased in applications, close to 25% from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Even with the increase in applications, the Department is completing more than half of those applications in the 16 week service standard.

It's not the 100% solution, but with how complex some of these applications can be, plus delays in getting service docs, medical reports, etc....
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on February 15, 2019, 16:14:22
Perhaps it's just me. I have a sense of foreboding coming from that last paragraph. It sounds like this may be a sticking point when it comes to the budget and they are laying the ground work for a decision that might be unpopular.
What'll be interesting is if the government announces some "new" or "improved" initiative, say, a few days before the PBO's report coming out on the 21st, trying to head off the worst from the PBO report.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on February 19, 2019, 16:38:06
Offhand (eg anecdote vs data), what are you guys seeing internally with regards to backlogs and processing times? It has seemed to be slowly trending in the right direction from what I'm piecing together- though with a long way yet to go. What's it look like at the coal face?

I am getting the exact opposite impression. Based on what I see with my own claims, here, in the news and from talking to Vac and the OVO, it is taking longer and longer to finish a claim. That said, I can talk to two different people at VAC and get two completely different answers.  Hell, sometimes I get two different answers in the same email, so who knows. Hopefully the PBO report will shine a light on this.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: ArmySailor on February 20, 2019, 14:15:05
Offhand (eg anecdote vs data), what are you guys seeing internally with regards to backlogs and processing times? It has seemed to be slowly trending in the right direction from what I'm piecing together- though with a long way yet to go. What's it look like at the coal face?

I am seeing things go faster - certainly mental health.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 08, 2019, 10:36:03
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/03/07/nearly-40000-canadian-veterans-waiting-for-disability-benefits-as-backlog-keeps-growing.html

Nearly 40,000 Canadian veterans waiting for disability benefits as backlog keeps growing
- CP - 7 Mar 19

OTTAWA—Despite repeated promises to fix the mess, the number of veterans waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits has continued to grow, and there are fears the turmoil will only worsen in the coming weeks. New figures from Veterans Affairs Canada show nearly 40,000 veterans were waiting at the end of November to hear whether their applications for financial assistance would be approved — 11,000 more than the previous year.

And more than one-third of the total had been in the queue longer than 16 weeks, which was also an increase and a sign that veterans are waiting ever longer to find out whether they are entitled to assistance. That is despite the Trudeau government’s having moved to hire more front line staff and committing $42 million over two years in last year’s budget to clear up the backlog, which has been a source of concern for years. Revelations about the growing size of the backlog have prompted fresh shock and concern among veterans’ advocates who say long delays add stress and frustration to veterans already suffering from physical and psychological injuries.

And there are fears that the situation will only get worse as Veterans Affairs begins to roll out a new pension plan for disabled veterans next month, which will see staff using a new computer system to process a new package of benefits. “I’m surprised it’s grown that much,” said Jim Lowther, president of VETS Canada, which supports homeless veterans in communities across the country, adding when it comes to the new pension plan: “No one really knows how it going to unfold.” The government is blaming the explosion in waiting files on a 60-per-cent increase in the number of new applications over the past year that came with the introduction of several new benefits, resulting in demand outstripping the department’s ability to keep up.( If you introduce new benefits that require application processing/approval, don't you anticipate higher demand on resources?)

At the same time, Veterans Affairs Canada’s head of operations, Michel Doiron, said in an interview Thursday that the department has taken time to put the new money to use. “Staffing somebody in the public service is not done overnight, and here you’re looking at nurses and you’re looking at doctors,” he said. “So it takes some time to get there ... I’m not seeing the benefit of the surge up until probably now.”

As for the new pension system, Doiron acknowledged the uncertainties of implementing a new government computer system, particularly when many federal public servants are still suffering under the buggy Phoenix pay system, and that “April will be a difficult month.” But the new system has been well-tested, contingency plans are ready to ensure veterans aren’t unduly affected and the change isn’t nearly as complex as those demanded by Phoenix, he said. It also incorporates new technology that should speed processing of applications.

Many advocates as well as the union representing Veterans Affairs workers have long demanded the government hire more staff for the department, which was hit with deep cuts and layoffs under the Stephen Harper government. “With all of these changes, we feel that there is not enough staff,” said Virginia Vaillancourt, national president of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees, who said some staff have been under the gun to work overtime in recent months. (Only in recent months?) “There are huge concerns not only for our veterans but also for our employees with this whole aspect of doing more with less.” (VAC received "more front line staff and committing $42 million over two years in last year’s budget to clear up the backlog", so how is this doing more with less, granted there were more applications?)

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s spokesman Alex Wellstead admitted in a statement that more needs to be done without offering specifics. “Over the last three years we have improved the benefits and services for veterans and their families,” he said. “But we know we need to continue to improve in how we deliver those services.”

Doiron played down the importance of more staff, but didn’t rule it out, saying officials are first looking at whether the combination of surge-funding, innovations such as artificial intelligence in processing applications for aid, and other measures will address the problem. “I actually think the surge funding will help me get over this initial hump and we’re doing that analysis now to say with all this innovative stuff we’re bringing in, do we actually have the right number of people at the end of the surge funding?” he said. “And we’ve advised central agencies that we may, and I stress may, that we may come back with an ask.”


Same info, different take:

https://www.thepostmillennial.com/waitlist-for-disabled-veterans-benefits-balloons-to-almost-40000-under-trudeau/

Waitlist for disabled veterans benefits balloons to almost 40,000 under Trudeau
- 7 Mar 19

Almost 40,000 veterans were waiting at the end of November to find out whether their application for financial assistance would go through, according to Veterans Affairs Canada. That represents an increase of roughly 11,000 when compared to last year, and a new wait time more than 16 weeks. The original cause for much of this comes from the cuts made under the Harper government, but now three years into the Trudeau regime it seems the Liberal government has utterly failed on their promise to fix the growing mess.

This will likely continue to harm the current government’s relationship with the veteran community, something that is already under great strain. For example, the government currently faces a proposed class-action suit filed in federal court Friday the 25th, which states “the federal government knowingly short-changed hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans and RCMP members about $165 million in benefits.”

That lawsuit follows a calculation error the Liberal Jean Chrétien government made in 2002, which was caught in 2010. More than anything though, the continued game of musical chairs being played with the Minister of Veterans Affairs position cannot be helping the organization when it comes to moving forward.

What do you think about this story? Join the conversation by commenting below!

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 13, 2019, 11:55:56
Quote
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2018, 08:59:54 »
I sent an email to the journalist who wrote this to ask him to dig into who are the principals in the company are and connected to who. It's the cynic in me.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/02/13/ottawa-picks-private-firm-over-charity-to-help-vets-find-work.html

Ottawa picks private firm over charity to help vets find work - BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH - 13 Feb 18
Charity winds down job hunting services for veterans after Ottawa gives the job to a private company — at a cost of $10 million.

I guess The Star didn't bother.

Quote
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2018, 20:42:48 »

I gave the Journalists some links incl the one below and he said he would look into it.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/monica-kendel-ma-pcc-rrp-41babb1a/

Expand "Show More" and look at "Interests". Fits the PM's profile.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vets-job-placement-contract-1.5053335

Conservatives question politics behind veterans job placement contract - 13 Mar 19
      Losing bidders in vets contract competition included a company that already had been performing the service

Two of the three companies that competed for a federal contract to deliver job placement services for Canada's veterans were disqualified for "not having sufficient experience" — even though one of them was doing the work already for Veterans Affairs, CBC News has learned. The $10.4-million contract ended up going to an Oshawa, Ont.-based company, Agilec, which in its previous iteration had done a lot of work for the Ontario government under then-premier Dalton McGuinty.

CBC News has obtained a series of documents through access to information legislation and conducted a number of background interviews with current and former government officials to answer questions about how the tender went to a relatively unknown company with no national profile and no offices outside of Ontario. For over a year, officials at Agilec have refused repeated interview requests and directed all inquiries from CBC News to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Conservative MP and ex-veterans minister Erin O'Toole said he's had his own trouble getting information from and arranging a meeting with officials from the company, which is based in a riding adjacent to his own. He said there has been something "puzzling" about the contract since the beginning and asks whether there was political interference in the contract process. "I'd like that question to be answered," O'Toole said in an interview with CBC News. "I would like to see an examination of why the responses by the [competing] companies were rejected. I think the government needs to provide some clarity on what happened here."

Running into roadblocks


When the contract was awarded, O'Toole said he'd never heard of Agilec, even though he's well-connected with the Durham Region business community. When he couldn't get information about the company, he said, he showed up unannounced on their doorstep several weeks ago. "On a few occasions, I tried to to speak to them about their service offering and their background," O'Toole told CBC News. "I've run into roadblocks many times." Part of the reason O'Toole and others in the veterans community had never heard of Agilec is that, up until four years ago, the employment firm was operating regionally as Northern Lights Vocational Services or Northern Lights Canada. It was rebranded weeks after the 2015 federal election and held a series of contracts with the Ontario government. Provincial public accounts records show the company received at least $14.3 million in two separate contracts from two different departments in its last year operating as Northern Lights Canada.

The veterans department gave Agilec two thumbs up, saying it has dealt with a higher than expected number of veterans seeking job placement. "Agilec was, and continues to be, prepared to provide services to these clients," Alex Wellstead, a spokesman for Veterans Minister Lawrence MacAulay, said in an email. As of mid-January, more than 300 veterans had gone through the system out of the 1,250 that have been approved. Wellstead said the company has not had "any issues providing services to veterans and their spouses." What was not addressed in the government's email response was the question about the sort of qualifications and experience the company had in the first place.

The two companies that lost the federal bid were the non-profit charity Canada Company and Maxsys Staffing and Consulting, which is headquartered in Montreal. Unlike Agilec, both losing bidders operate national networks of offices. Sources with knowledge of the file, who were granted anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the procurement process, said the federal government didn't examine the costing proposals from either Canada Company or Maxsys before rejecting their bids.

Long track records

Canada Company had been working for Veterans Affairs over several years, helping to match retiring soldiers, sailors and aircrew with jobs in the private sector. The federal government appeared to be solidly behind the charity and invested $1.1 million in the group's online MetPathfinder system one year before the contract went to Agilec. That investment was lost when MetPathfinder was shut down in April last year. Maxsys has been around since 1993. It has a long track record of providing permanent and temporary employees to the public and private sectors. It also delivers consulting services.

At first, Public Services and Procurement Canada would not comment on the tender evaluations, but after repeated questions, a department spokesman confirmed the bids were rejected and suggested there were good reasons. "Both of the unsuccessful companies failed to demonstrate that they met all requirements of the solicitation," Pierre-Alain Bujold said in a recent, written response to CBC News.

"The bid from one of these companies failed on the program knowledge and service delivery component. The other company didn't describe their experience in sufficient detail. That company was provided the opportunity to clarify, but they still did not demonstrate that they met necessary requirements." Bujold did not name either of the companies or provide more specifics.

By the standards of federal procurement, this bidding process proceeded at lightning speed. The tender was issued in September 2017 and a winner was declared three months later, in December of the same year. But the federal government did not publicly announce which company had won until February of 2018, two months after the competition closed.

The tender stated that the winning bidder must have employment counsellors experienced in working with military veterans. Officials with Agilec refused to answer questions about the qualifications of their staff, but the company's online recruiting ad says counsellors should have only a "minimum 12 months experience" in the field and a bachelor's degree.

O'Toole said that's troubling because dealing with veterans is a specialized skill. Many studies have shown that a smooth transition from uniform to civilian life is necessary to prevent some of the most vexing social problems in the veterans community, including suicide and homelessness. "This is the most important thing that the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs together do," he said. "If you screw up, or make mistakes, or have gaps that people fall into … that person can have a failed transition. So this is an important contract. It is critical."



Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: comfortablynumb on March 13, 2019, 16:14:52
Maybe Gerald Butts will be my employment counselor. I can replace Justin. I'm more qualified.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 13, 2019, 17:44:32
Maybe Gerald Butts will be my employment counselor. I can replace Justin. I'm more qualified.

I have a DVD of a CT and another DVD of an MRI of my brain.

I bid that I can replace Justin. I'm more qualified.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: comfortablynumb on March 13, 2019, 17:51:24
 :rofl:

You might be overqualified by current LPC standards. Anyways, sorry to de-rail this...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 15, 2019, 10:36:11
Info on My VAC Account this morning.

Upcoming changes for April 1


Pension for Life
Pension for Life comes into effect on April 1 2019. It is a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support and stability to members and Veterans who experience a service related illness or injury. This new suite of benefits will empower Veterans and CAF members living with a service-related injury and/or illness to determine the form of compensation that works best for them and their families. Find out more.

•   The first day to apply for the new programs is April 1, 2019

•   The last day to apply in My VAC Account for programs that are changing or ending is March 30, 2019.

My VAC Account
To prepare for the new Pension for Life programs, we will be performing system updates to My VAC Account starting Wednesday, March 27.

•   March 27, 3 am to 9am ET - My VAC Account will be unavailable

•   March 27, 9 am to March 30 - My VAC Account will have limited service

•   March 31 - My VAC Account will be unavailable.

During the limited service period (March 27 -30), you can:

• Apply for programs Note: Guided web forms (including any saved drafts of applications) will not available during this period. To apply, you will need to download an application, then upload it once complete.

•   View your last 15 messages received from VAC Note: you will not be able to send or receive messages

•   View the last 15 letters and forms received from VAC

•   View your personal information

All other features will not be available during this period.

If you have any saved draft applications, they will not be accessible during the limited service and outage period (March 27– March 31). If it is for a program that is ending or changing on April 1, your saved application will not be accessible after March 26. Find out more.

Disability Award applications in process

If you have already submitted a Disability Award application and would prefer monthly payments instead of a lump sum award, we can hold your application until April 1, 2019 so it is processed under the Pain and Suffering Compensation. Please contact us if this is your preference.

If you have submitted your application through My VAC Account, we will put your application on hold and the ‘Track your application’ status for that claim will show as withdrawn or suspended. In this case, the status will direct you to contact the Department, however you do not need to contact us. On April 1, 2019, your status tracking will resume accordingly.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on March 15, 2019, 11:28:10
Disability Award applications in process
If you have already submitted a Disability Award application and would prefer monthly payments instead of a lump sum award, we can hold your application until April 1, 2019 so it is processed under the Pain and Suffering Compensation. Please contact us if this is your preference.

If you have submitted your application through My VAC Account, we will put your application on hold and the ‘Track your application’ status for that claim will show as withdrawn or suspended. In this case, the status will direct you to contact the Department, however you do not need to contact us. On April 1, 2019, your status tracking will resume accordingly.
.

Yes please hold my claim up for even longer. The conspiracy theorist in my want to believe that this was the plan in the first place, hold on to application until 1 Apr to get people to accept monthly payment.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on March 15, 2019, 11:55:40
Yes please hold my claim up for even longer. The conspiracy theorist in my want to believe that this was the plan in the first place, hold on to application until 1 Apr to get people to accept monthly payment.

Except they can still opt for a lump sum. There was a lot of people wanting the monthly and not wanting a lump sum so it's just an added option for people.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on March 15, 2019, 12:38:47
I got a claim sitting at step 1 since December. I guess it's the same thing as "Suspended"
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on March 15, 2019, 13:10:55
They say they are going to give us to the 30th to file under the old plan. But they're going to start playing with the computers on the 27th.

I'm going to suggest, if anyone is planning on filing, using the online MyVac before the 30th, that you do it by the 25th at the latest. Otherwise you might be licking an envelope.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on March 15, 2019, 13:16:56
I got a claim sitting at step 1 since December. I guess it's the same thing as "Suspended"

Nope. My last one took about a year, but it eventually got done. I just did a bone scan and I'm shot through with osteoarthritis. I can apply for each joint individually or use their 5 locations and over injury claim. I have ten locations to file for back, neck and major joints. I expect once filed, either way, I won't see anything on it for a very long time. I'm fortunate I'm not strapped and can wait.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: kalobis on March 15, 2019, 20:49:57
So, I reached out to VAC to let them know I wanted my current application (which was made in May 18) to be adjudicated as a monthly benefit under the old system as opposed to a lump sum under the new system. They said sure, but your SSSD moves to 1 Apr and you have to start the process again. My interpretation is that they want to subtly 'encourage' vets to take the lump sum because it is cheaper and easier for them to administer. I don't really mind the wait because I am not in financial hardship but that means an extra ~6 months without treatment, benefits, etc.

Am I reading this wrong?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on March 18, 2019, 12:51:27
So, I reached out to VAC to let them know I wanted my current application (which was made in May 18) to be adjudicated as a monthly benefit under the old system as opposed to a lump sum under the new system. They said sure, but your SSSD moves to 1 Apr and you have to start the process again. My interpretation is that they want to subtly 'encourage' vets to take the lump sum because it is cheaper and easier for them to administer. I don't really mind the wait because I am not in financial hardship but that means an extra ~6 months without treatment, benefits, etc.

Am I reading this wrong?

I don't understand your post. So you want a monthly payment but under the old system? So basically you want the lump sum spread out over a set amount of time rather than a monthly sum for life. This would give you less money than if you took the new PFL monthly payment. I can understand wanting monthly payments vs lump sum but you are basically asking for the worst of both worlds.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: kalobis on March 18, 2019, 17:27:18
It isn’t the worst, it’s the best of both worlds. Is it not?

I’m in my 30’s, so if they give me 20% under the old system that would be $800 a month for the next 50-ish years which is more than the new system or a lump sum for 20% which is only $72k ish.

Or am I way off?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on March 18, 2019, 17:52:14
It isn’t the worst, it’s the best of both worlds. Is it not?

I’m in my 30’s, so if they give me 20% under the old system that would be $800 a month for the next 50-ish years which is more than the new system or a lump sum for 20% which is only $72k ish.

Or am I way off?

Oh man. By 'old system' you're referring to the Pension Act, I think. Yeah, no, that's not in play at all. Nobody applying after 2006 has had access to that.

If you're applying now and you want a monthly payment, it's very much in your interest to choose the new 'pension for life' option versus the 2006-2019 New Veterans Charter disability award. But you wont be seeing $800 a month unless your disability assessment is up around 75% or so.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Kokanee on March 18, 2019, 19:23:54
Yeah, I'm around 55% between a few claims and I've been told to expect $450-$500/month, also in my mid 30's.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: kalobis on March 18, 2019, 20:12:06
Hmmm, I am new at this but the disability pension rates for a married person with two kids in $823.80

Am I not looking in the right place?
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on March 19, 2019, 12:49:38
Hmmm, I am new at this but the disability pension rates for a married person with two kids in $823.80

Am I not looking in the right place?

yeah that's the old one pension act tables that haven't been in use since 2006.  The new (soon to be old system) is a one time lump sum award based on a 360,000 maximum. So you would get X percent of that maximum with X corresponding to the percentage of disability applied to you by. For example, 25% would be a 90,00 lump sum payment. The new PFL, as far as anyone can tell, is a monthly payment up to a maximum of 1150 and you would get X percent of that. So for 25% you would get 287.50 per month. You can now see why so many vets were annoyed with the move to the NVC and why they are PISSED that the Liberals didn't restore the pensions for life they instead created a new Pension For Lifetm.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Teager on March 19, 2019, 16:34:27
Hmmm, I am new at this but the disability pension rates for a married person with two kids in $823.80

Am I not looking in the right place?

Here's the new system starting April 1st. Lots of reading to do.

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/resources/pension-for-life
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on March 19, 2019, 21:38:46
Budget 2019 vet mentions attached ...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 20, 2019, 10:07:17
https://www.federalretirees.ca/en/News-Views/News-Listing/March/Seniors-a-key-demographic-in-Ottawa-2019-budget?_cldee=cmlmbGVtYW42MkBzaGF3LmNh&recipientid=contact-f16ff70052ebe411b98500505601097b-5d248d5c13f648d7b4593418c311d864&esid=a7f7c2aa-584a-e911-a989-000d3af3d307

Seniors a key demographic in Ottawa’s 2019 budget - 19 Mar 19

Extract from National Association of Federal Retirees letter on Budget 2019

Support for veterans and their families

The 2019 budget delivers on a long-standing election promise and mandate letter commitment to veterans and their families – better financial supports available to veterans who married over the age of 60 and their spouses. Budget 2019 commits $150 million over five years to VAC starting in 2019-20, to set up the new Veterans Survivors Fund. The federal government will work with the community and stakeholder groups to find impacted survivors, process their claims and ensure those survivors have access to the benefits and financial support they need.

“Considering the average survivor pension is around $14,245 for survivors of veterans, there’s clearly work to be done on their income security and this is a welcome budget commitment for some of our members. But this also impacts the RCMP, and the federal public service in a slightly different way — so we’re anxious to get more details and understand how this will impact all of our members,” notes Sayward Montague, Federal Retirees’ director of advocacy.

In the ongoing struggle to address veterans’ grievances, the budget plans to expand access to support from the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group to ensure all CAF members — and not just those who are ill or injured — benefit from personalized support services.

Training will be enhanced for transitioning to civilian life. Service to departing members will be improved by making information sharing by Veterans Affairs and National Defence simpler and more streamlined.

Also planned is the launch of a personalized transition guide, available through a service member’s My VAC account to enable better navigation of the entire process. A new online questionnaire will be launched to help Veterans Affairs identify members facing a difficult transition.

“We know that the Canadian Forces new transition group is poised to do some great work, so seeing funds attached to ensuring that work is expanded on and accessible to more serving members, veterans and families, is good news,” says Jean-Guy Soulière.

To bolster resources, the budget would provide Veterans Affairs and National Defence with $135.1 million over six years, effective in the current fiscal year ended March 31, and with $24.4 million a year ongoing.

Budget 2019 will establish a Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain Research to help address the high rate of chronic pain experienced by veterans, which is almost double that of the general Canadian population. The initial funding is $20.1-million over 5 years, starting in 2019-20, with an additional $5-million per year going forward.

The federal budget touched on the new “pension for life” option – an approach to income replacement that ended around 2006 with the New Veterans Charter, which many experts have said provides less income security for disabled veterans. Advocates have been concerned at the scant detail available on pension for life, and there is division on whether the new option will meet the financial needs of veterans and their families. The program launches in just weeks, on April 1, 2019.



https://ipolitics.ca/2019/03/19/budget-2019-government-adds-150-million-over-five-years-to-better-process-veterans-claims/

Budget 2019: Government adds $150 million over five years to better process veterans claims
- 19 Mar 19

The federal government is dedicating $150 million over five years to better process veterans’ claims, as part of several multi-million-dollar projects it unveiled in its pre-election budget, putting emphasis on a file its been criticized of neglecting since taking control of the House of Commons in 2015. Former military members were recognized in a title subsection of this year’s budget, something they didn’t receive in last year’s edition.

Issues like several unsatisfactory Veterans Affairs ministers and a growing backlog in veterans’ claims have been constantly criticized by advocates. Other major financial commitments targeting veterans in this year’s budget include $136 million over the next five years, split between Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence, which the government anticipates as the cost for its already-announced transition service for troops.

Another is a one-time $30 million investment to recognize the contribution of Métis veterans in the Second World War.

The budget also revealed several smaller commitments. It’s putting $30 million over five years toward supporting veterans’ health, of which a significant portion will go towards creating a Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain Research. They will also provide $25 million, spread over 10 years beginning in 2020-21, for the operations of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research.

The government is also adding $2.9 million over three years to plant trees along the Highway of Heroes in southern Ontario. It has already planted 90,000 of the two million trees it wants to erect between the stretch of highway that runs from Trenton to Toronto. It’s goal is to plant a tree to recognize the service of each Canadian soldier since Confederation.

The government also renewed its funding for the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France, which pays homage to Canadians that served in the Second World War. The budget outlines $2.5 million over five years to be put towards the centre.

A proposed legislative change in the budget seeks to expand the eligibility for the Education and Training Benefit so that members of the Supplementary Reserve can access it. Veterans can receive up to $80,000 toward their education through the program.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on March 20, 2019, 12:22:16
It's not worth the paper it's written on. They are just words that will never materialize in that order again.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on March 29, 2019, 11:36:45
Wishing no ill to the Minister, how enlightening would it be if the injury wasn't minor and he was eligible to put a claim into the VAC system?

https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/veterans-affairs-minister-injured-while-touring-submarine-in-victoria/

Veterans Affairs Minister injured while touring submarine in Victoria
- 28Mar 19
      Minister Lawrence MacAuley evacuated after sustaining minor knee injury

Canada’s minister of Veterans Affairs was injured during a tour of a submarine in Esquimalt Thursday, confirms Canadian Armed Forces. Minister Lawrence MacAuley was touring HMCS Chicoutimi when he had to be evacuated from the Victoria-class long-range patrol submarine after sustaining a minor knee injury.

“He’s fine. They took precautions and are getting it checked out by a doctor,” said the minister’s press secretary, Alex Wellstead. “He will probably be walking a bit slower, but he is expected to head to Vancouver as planned tomorrow.” The longtime MP was touring CFB Esquimalt in his new role as veterans-affairs minister, a position he stepped into earlier this month as part of a minor cabinet shuffle after the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on April 01, 2019, 15:15:58
Budget 2019: Government adds $150 million over five years to better process veterans claims - 19 Mar 19

The federal government is dedicating $150 million over five years to better process veterans’ claims, as part of several multi-million-dollar projects it unveiled in its pre-election budget, putting emphasis on a file its been criticized of neglecting since taking control of the House of Commons in 2015. Former military members were recognized in a title subsection of this year’s budget, something they didn’t receive in last year’s edition.

Issues like several unsatisfactory Veterans Affairs ministers and a growing backlog in veterans’ claims have been constantly criticized by advocates. Other major financial commitments targeting veterans in this year’s budget include $136 million over the next five years, split between Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence, which the government anticipates as the cost for its already-announced transition service for troops.

Another is a one-time $30 million investment to recognize the contribution of Métis veterans in the Second World War.

The budget also revealed several smaller commitments. It’s putting $30 million over five years toward supporting veterans’ health, of which a significant portion will go towards creating a Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain Research. They will also provide $25 million, spread over 10 years beginning in 2020-21, for the operations of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research.

The government is also adding $2.9 million over three years to plant trees along the Highway of Heroes in southern Ontario. It has already planted 90,000 of the two million trees it wants to erect between the stretch of highway that runs from Trenton to Toronto. It’s goal is to plant a tree to recognize the service of each Canadian soldier since Confederation.

The government also renewed its funding for the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France, which pays homage to Canadians that served in the Second World War. The budget outlines $2.5 million over five years to be put towards the centre.

A proposed legislative change in the budget seeks to expand the eligibility for the Education and Training Benefit so that members of the Supplementary Reserve can access it. Veterans can receive up to $80,000 toward their education through the program.

The question that should always be asked of any government spending is how much is being spent next year.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 02, 2019, 11:43:16
Trust me, VAC is here to help.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/post-traumatic-stress-veterans-canada-1.5079910

New federal questionnaire making it harder for PTSD veterans to get help, critics warn - 2 Apr 19
      Veterans Affairs says the shorter form will be more efficient. One doctor says it could lead to more suicides.

A key psychological questionnaire for veterans about post-traumatic stress disorder was quietly rewritten late last year by Veterans Affairs Canada, CBC News has learned — a move experts say will make it harder for suffering veterans to qualify for disability benefits.
The form, which is filled out by doctors treating veterans with PTSD, was revised in December by Veterans Affairs Canada. The changes came as a shock to many psychologists and advocates who help former soldiers, sailors and aircrew with mental illnesses navigate the complex benefits system. The Liberal government's new pension-for-life option for veterans came into effect on Monday — but the net effect of the changes to the questionnaire could be that fewer people qualify for PTSD benefits, and for the lifetime pension offered to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Joel Fillion, director of mental health at Veterans Affairs Canada, said the questionnaire was stripped down to improve the efficiency of forms processing "while ensuring that our veterans are better cared for and that veterans in need get access to their treatments faster." But Dr. Kris Rose, a clinical psychologist in Calgary, said the shorter form will end up thwarting efforts to get ex-soldiers the treatment they need. He said he has been "vibrating" with frustration since discovering the new form while treating a patient recently. He told CBC News the rewritten psychological/psychiatric form essentially has been stripped of almost all specific questions related to PTSD symptoms.

More suicides?


The effect on veterans, Rose said, could be devastating. It could lead to longer waits for treatment as the department demands more information from people who are already fragile, he said. It could even lead to more soldiers killing themselves, he warned.

"In essence, Veterans Affairs Canada is no longer doing evaluations for post-traumatic stress disorder," he said. "They've taken the substantive part for the psychological injuries from the form." Rose said the questions on the new form are so vague and generic, many doctors won't be able to answer all of them — meaning they'll be forced to leave a number of pages blank. "There's hardly anything on here that's actually going to fit the presentation for what we see in terms of psychological injuries from military and RCMP personnel," said Rose, who has treated soldiers and RCMP members with mental health issues for a dozen years.

Officials at Veterans Affairs have revised the questionnaire on three other occasions — most recently in 2016 — since PTSD was recognized as a disability by the department in the 1990s. The goal of those revisions in the past has been to make the questionnaire more accurate and better able to distinguish between PTSD and other psychiatric ailments. Those revisions also made the job of processing claims swifter and less complicated.

The short form

That changed in December, when the questionnaire — which used to be 16 pages in length — was cut back to eight pages. Specific questions about PTSD and references to its symptoms — such as nightmares, flashbacks and emotional 'numbing' — have been dropped. What remain are more general questions about what the form refers to as "delusions, hallucinations, depersonalization, homicidal thoughts" and even "homicidal attempts." Rose said he's never checked off any of those symptoms for his military patients — particularly the one about homicide attempts, as he said that's not a common symptom of PTSD.

Retired soldier Barry Westholm, who has helped injured members find the necessary forms and get them to doctors, said the vague, irrelevant questions on the revised form will give Veterans Affairs more latitude to question and deny claims.

'An evil thing to do'

Veterans will have to fight harder to prove psychological injuries, he said. "It's an evil thing to do," said Westholm, a former master warrant officer and sergeant-major for the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) in Eastern Ontario. He resigned from the military to protest what he saw as the deterioration of the unit that was supposed to help guide injured soldiers back to their jobs or out of the military. He said the new form risks "piling on ... pressures on somebody that's fragile to begin with.

"This particular document seems to me a sinister thing to do. It'll bring a person down and bring them down deeper to the point where they might just give up and commit suicide." The net effect will be to delay approval of benefits applications because the department won't have enough information, he added. "They deny, deny, deny, and then review and review. Months turn into years, and years, for some people, turn into a decade. And then they say, 'OK, we have enough information.'"

According to 2017-18 federal Public Accounts records, PTSD is ranked as the third most commonly cited cause of disability award payments issued by Veterans Affairs (tinnitus and hearing loss are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively). The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on veterans' PTSD claims, and 96 per cent of those claims are accepted on first application. As of the end of November, there were roughly 40,000 disability applications waiting to be processed by Veterans Affairs, according to a recent report by The Canadian Press.

Less paperwork?

A spokesman for Veterans Minister Lawrence MacAulay insisted the changes made to the form were intended for the health and well-being of former soldiers and police officers. "The changes included modifying and streamlining the questionnaire to help reduce the size and to ease the paperwork burden on physicians and to improve turnaround times for completion," said Alex Wellstead in an emailed response. 

"The key objective in these changes is to ensure veterans get the services and benefits they need." He said the revised questionnaire was developed to complement that department's disability table, which sets out criteria for assessing injuries. "The provided medical information represents only a part of the disability assessment and is utilized along with other pertinent submitted medical information," said Wellstead.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Hamish Seggie on April 02, 2019, 14:15:22
It’s a mean and downright dirty attempt to be under budget. Unfortunately few outside the veteran community will care.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on April 02, 2019, 22:21:29
It’s a mean and downright dirty attempt to be under budget ...
... or an attempt to make things quicker & easier with a shorter form to shorten processing times gone tremendously south because someone in the food chain thought brevity was more important than accuracy  :facepalm:
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: meni0n on April 03, 2019, 11:24:16
If they made the forms shorter but no changes on how they're processed and adjudicated, then it would result in a lot of claims being denied.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on April 03, 2019, 11:33:48
... or an attempt to make things quicker & easier with a shorter form to shorten processing times gone tremendously south because someone in the food chain thought brevity was more important than accuracy  :facepalm:

It's time to quote my favourite axiom, Hanlon's Razor. "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."  There is a version which fits very well when dealing with a bureaucracy such as VAC. It says "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence or apathy".
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on April 03, 2019, 11:38:48
If they made the forms shorter but no changes on how they're processed and adjudicated, then it would result in a lot of claims being denied.
I'm just guessing/speculating, but someone in the system may have thought, "hey, if the form's shorter, it takes less time to process through the sausage machine, therefore more forms/people processed in a given period of time."  Again, ZERO inside knowledge here, and playing speculative devil's advocate.
... "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence or apathy".
I like!
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Rifleman62 on April 03, 2019, 12:44:34
What you think now Tony?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-affairs-ptsd-benefits-1.5081991

Advisory committee kept out of the loop on veterans' controversial new PTSD form - 3 Apr 19

A committee that is supposed to advise the Veterans Affairs minister on mental health issues was kept in the dark about changes to an important disability questionnaire meant to document post-traumatic stress disorder claims by former soldiers. One member of the committee, Aaron Bedard — a former combat engineer who served in Afghanistan — said he only learned about the changes through CBC News on Tuesday. "There were no emails, no teleconferences to discuss this. It came out of nowhere," said Bedard. "Our job is to advise them on any changes to do with mental health and veterans. Our job is to provide input to make sure whatever they're doing is thorough."

Some mental health professionals who treat soldiers and police officers with PTSD worry the newly streamlined form will lead to delays in treatment and disability awards. Veterans Affairs has a long history of demanding precise information before approving claims. It's feared the new, more generalized form will trigger unnecessary requests for clarification from veterans who are already fragile.

'In hindsight ...'

The veterans minister's mental health advisory committee includes both physicians and veterans. Michel Doiron, assistant deputy minister of service delivery at Veterans Affairs, confirmed the panel was not consulted about the changes and was vague when asked why it was left out of the loop. "In hindsight, maybe" they should have been told, Doiron said in an interview with CBC News. He insisted, however, that the revisions were put before another advisory panel responsible for ensuring the department delivers better services.

The operational stress injury clinics that deal with troubled soldiers also were consulted, as were members of the medical community who have been clamouring for shorter, more simplified forms. "The reality is the form that we did put out was based on comments from doctors and a lot of complaints we had from health professionals when we do town halls, or when we go to medical associations," Doiron said. "They come back and tell us our forms are too long, too complicated, we're asking too much information. Doctors, you know, they're busy and filling out a lot of forms and long forms is not always very positive for them."

The department has no intention of engaging veterans in back-and-forth information requests because the new "form provides us all the information we need" and the department trusts the medical diagnoses, Doiron said. Critics say that remains to be seen. The federal government's own diagnostic criteria are quite specific. Physicians often receive letters from the feds that tell them that "recording the frequency of symptoms is very important in determining the extent of the disability" and "failure to provide the frequency of symptoms or the treatment information may result in the disability assessment being delayed."

'No discussion. No consultations'


The fact an end-run took place around the advisory committee spoke volumes to former veterans minister Erin O'Toole, who said the department seemed determined to ram through the changes as a way to deal with the enormous backlog of claims before the department. "It shows that they don't take the concerns of veterans seriously," he said. "No discussion. No consultations. And already physicians are worried that veterans will not get the benefits they need because of this form. They should halt it immediately and come in [to the House of Commons veterans committee] and explain why the changes were made."

New Democrat veterans critic Rachel Blaney said she is skeptical of the department's claim that the shorter form will lead to faster service for veterans. "Perhaps the intention is to try to make this process simpler," she said, "but what we're seeing clearly is that the impact could be very detrimental to the people who served our country." Blaney said the department should take a step back and reflect on the criticism it has heard, because lives are at stake.

Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Brihard on April 03, 2019, 13:16:31
The mental health advisory group includes, among others, at least two vets with PTSD, and six clinical researchers including a couple who are very highly placed in the mental health world. The latter in particular would likely have been very well placed to compare old form to new and say “from a medical side, here’s what we see being the significance and impact of the changes in questions and our ability to provide VAC with assessment information”.

I can 100% confirm that this advisory group wasn’t consulted in any way- and has, for that matter, basically been dead in the water for well over a year.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Tcm621 on April 03, 2019, 13:25:42
What you think now Tony?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-affairs-ptsd-benefits-1.5081991

Advisory committee kept out of the loop on veterans' controversial new PTSD form - 3 Apr 19

A committee that is supposed to advise the Veterans Affairs minister on mental health issues was kept in the dark about changes to an important disability questionnaire meant to document post-traumatic stress disorder claims by former soldiers. One member of the committee, Aaron Bedard — a former combat engineer who served in Afghanistan — said he only learned about the changes through CBC News on Tuesday. "There were no emails, no teleconferences to discuss this. It came out of nowhere," said Bedard. "Our job is to advise them on any changes to do with mental health and veterans. Our job is to provide input to make sure whatever they're doing is thorough."

Some mental health professionals who treat soldiers and police officers with PTSD worry the newly streamlined form will lead to delays in treatment and disability awards. Veterans Affairs has a long history of demanding precise information before approving claims. It's feared the new, more generalized form will trigger unnecessary requests for clarification from veterans who are already fragile.

'In hindsight ...'

The veterans minister's mental health advisory committee includes both physicians and veterans. Michel Doiron, assistant deputy minister of service delivery at Veterans Affairs, confirmed the panel was not consulted about the changes and was vague when asked why it was left out of the loop. "In hindsight, maybe" they should have been told, Doiron said in an interview with CBC News. He insisted, however, that the revisions were put before another advisory panel responsible for ensuring the department delivers better services.

The operational stress injury clinics that deal with troubled soldiers also were consulted, as were members of the medical community who have been clamouring for shorter, more simplified forms. "The reality is the form that we did put out was based on comments from doctors and a lot of complaints we had from health professionals when we do town halls, or when we go to medical associations," Doiron said. "They come back and tell us our forms are too long, too complicated, we're asking too much information. Doctors, you know, they're busy and filling out a lot of forms and long forms is not always very positive for them."

The department has no intention of engaging veterans in back-and-forth information requests because the new "form provides us all the information we need" and the department trusts the medical diagnoses, Doiron said. Critics say that remains to be seen. The federal government's own diagnostic criteria are quite specific. Physicians often receive letters from the feds that tell them that "recording the frequency of symptoms is very important in determining the extent of the disability" and "failure to provide the frequency of symptoms or the treatment information may result in the disability assessment being delayed."

'No discussion. No consultations'


The fact an end-run took place around the advisory committee spoke volumes to former veterans minister Erin O'Toole, who said the department seemed determined to ram through the changes as a way to deal with the enormous backlog of claims before the department. "It shows that they don't take the concerns of veterans seriously," he said. "No discussion. No consultations. And already physicians are worried that veterans will not get the benefits they need because of this form. They should halt it immediately and come in [to the House of Commons veterans committee] and explain why the changes were made."

New Democrat veterans critic Rachel Blaney said she is skeptical of the department's claim that the shorter form will lead to faster service for veterans. "Perhaps the intention is to try to make this process simpler," she said, "but what we're seeing clearly is that the impact could be very detrimental to the people who served our country." Blaney said the department should take a step back and reflect on the criticism it has heard, because lives are at stake.

I don't think there is any evidence to suggest that this is a willful attempt to deny services. However, VAC (under this government in particular) do not want too much veteran input because they know their service standards are a steaming pile of dog excrement and it is easier to claim good intentions if they don't have anyone telling them their changes are bad. In particular, they seem to have an apathy to any veteran who has served any time since the Korean war. The PFL debacle is a good example. They knew damn well what people meant when they said they was a "return to the pension for life". Instead they gave us a new pension for life which any idiot could tell you is not what was asked for.

Incidentally, I have a very nice letter drafted to Ms. Blanely, who is my MP, and I didn't even know she was the Veterans critic. I need to make sure I send that today. I helpfully included a table which shows the dramatic drop off in service since the Liberals took over.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: milnews.ca on April 03, 2019, 13:37:16
What you think now Tony?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-affairs-ptsd-benefits-1.5081991

... "The reality is the form that we did put out was based on comments from doctors and a lot of complaints we had from health professionals when we do town halls, or when we go to medical associations," Doiron said. "They come back and tell us our forms are too long, too complicated, we're asking too much information. Doctors, you know, they're busy and filling out a lot of forms and long forms is not always very positive for them."

The department has no intention of engaging veterans in back-and-forth information requests because the new "form provides us all the information we need" and the department trusts the medical diagnoses, Doiron said ...
Thanks for the link - very intriguing, indeed.

Based on the new info, I think 1)  there's some truth to someone having thought "shorter is easier & better," and 2)  the system REALLY needs to reassess whose needs (stakeholders vs. clients/recipients) are considered (as well as consequences) when making changes to things. 
... this advisory group wasn’t consulted in any way- and has, for that matter, basically been dead in the water for well over a year.
Niiiiiice ...
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: blackberet17 on April 03, 2019, 13:56:21
The form went from more than a dozen pages (I think it was 16 pages?) down to eight. It still has check boxes and comment boxes for doctors to add more information. And nothing is stopping doctors from providing a written report to add to their assessment of a patient, if they find the form lacking in space. It also covers the areas required to assess a condition based on Chapter 21 of the Table of Disabilities.

Here's a link to the new form: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/forms/document/549
Chapter 21 here: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/health-support/physical-health-and-wellness/compensation-illness-injury/disability-benefits/benefits-determined/table-of-disabilities/ch-21-2006

From previous roles I've had, one consistent concern raised by Veterans is the sheer amount of paperwork required for an application. I've also heard Veterans state their doctors refused to complete some forms because they were so lengthy.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: Fishbone Jones on April 03, 2019, 14:18:28
The form went from more than a dozen pages (I think it was 16 pages?) down to eight. It still has check boxes and comment boxes for doctors to add more information. And nothing is stopping doctors from providing a written report to add to their assessment of a patient, if they find the form lacking in space. It also covers the areas required to assess a condition based on Chapter 21 of the Table of Disabilities.

Here's a link to the new form: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/forms/document/549
Chapter 21 here: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/health-support/physical-health-and-wellness/compensation-illness-injury/disability-benefits/benefits-determined/table-of-disabilities/ch-21-2006

From previous roles I've had, one consistent concern raised by Veterans is the sheer amount of paperwork required for an application. I've also heard Veterans state their doctors refused to complete some forms because they were so lengthy.

bb17, I understand what you are saying and I'm not denying that it may be true.

Here's the problem.

Given the track record, at VAC, of our current government, every little thing is suspect, every change, every nuance. Every change has to be delved into to separate every minutia detail to ensure no poison pills have been inserted to steal more money or resources from Vets. This is VACs & the governments fault.

Every client has a legal right to expect fairness, but VAC clients know different. It's just the nature of the beast that VAC and the government, created this mistrust all on their own with no input from anyone, especially the clients.

You're comments are appreciated, as someone that works within that bureaucracy. Please understand our skepticism of VAC in the same token.
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: 211RadOp on April 05, 2019, 14:30:32
Ooops.

Quote
Veterans Affairs sent condolences to 'widow' of still-living veteran

Murray Brewster         7 hrs ago
 
It was a surreal moment for Truman Tremblay.

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.

"My initial thought was, 'Wow! My God, how in the hell did such an error happened?'" Tremblay, 48, told CBC News.

"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."

That jaw-dropping gaffe happened just a few weeks after Tremblay transitioned from Veterans Affairs' more personalized case management system to the less direct, more generic service agent system.

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 treatment.

What frustrates Tremblay about the letter, he said, is the seeming indifference he's faced while trying to find out how and why it happened, and what Veterans Affairs is doing to make sure similar mistakes don't happen to veterans who may be in more fragile psychological conditions.

Veterans Affairs apologizes

He said he's spoken with three different people at Veterans Affairs, including 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.

"I know that if someone was to make an error and change an offender status from living to deceased, they would likely have their employment terminated," said Tremblay.

"So I could just not imagine how someone made such an error. It just arrived and there were no phone calls. No one calls to check on me and see if such a thing even occurred in the first place."

'Immediate action'

A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs said the department is still investigating and has tried to make amends.

"Veterans Affairs Canada is deeply sorry for this mistake," said France Bureau, the department's director of public affairs. "As soon as we became aware of the mistake, we reached out and a letter of apology has been sent. As in all circumstances when errors happen, immediate action has been taken to review the issue and avoid future mistakes."

She said there is protocol in place to verify reports that a veteran has passed away, but in this circumstance there was "human error."

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/veterans-affairs-sent-condolences-to-widow-of-still-living-veteran/ar-BBVDST0?ocid=ientp (http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/veterans-affairs-sent-condolences-to-widow-of-still-living-veteran/ar-BBVDST0?ocid=ientp)
Title: Re: VAC in the News
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 05, 2019, 15:14:07
From previous roles I've had, one consistent concern raised by Veterans is the sheer amount of paperwork required for an application. I've also heard Veterans state their doctors refused to complete some forms because they were so lengthy.

Meanwhile, anyone in Canada can do their taxes fully online.