Author Topic: VAC in the News  (Read 31119 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Tcm621

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 11,895
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 727
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #100 on: October 10, 2018, 15:45:38 »
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.

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #101 on: November 06, 2018, 07:44:04 »
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.


 
 


Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #102 on: November 07, 2018, 10:20:40 »
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.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 18:14:24 by Rifleman62 »
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline Teager

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 40,515
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 854
    • Canada For Victory
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #103 on: November 07, 2018, 15:27:50 »
Should note that this is non binding for the government. So they can easily walk away from doing this at any time.

Offline dunlop303

  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • 1,250
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 88
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #104 on: November 07, 2018, 15:50:50 »
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.

Offline Brihard

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 205,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,480
  • Non-Electric Pop-Up Target
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #105 on: November 07, 2018, 21:30:59 »
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.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline upandatom

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • 6,545
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 439
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #106 on: November 19, 2018, 17:14:57 »
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.
I am McLovin

Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 919,220
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,163
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #107 on: November 19, 2018, 18:14:20 »
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.

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #108 on: December 11, 2018, 07:25:05 »
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.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 08:32:24 by Rifleman62 »
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline PuckChaser

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 919,220
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,163
    • Peacekeeper's Homepage
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #109 on: December 11, 2018, 07:45:11 »
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.

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #110 on: December 20, 2018, 09:30:37 »
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.”
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 09:35:41 by Rifleman62 »
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline meni0n

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 21,595
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 884
  • Soldier of leisure
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #111 on: February 12, 2019, 11:55:54 »
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

"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."


Offline Jarnhamar

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 286,936
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 10,723
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #112 on: February 12, 2019, 12:07:25 »
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.

There are no wolves on Fenris

Offline Brihard

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 205,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,480
  • Non-Electric Pop-Up Target
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #113 on: February 12, 2019, 12:14:01 »
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.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Fishbone Jones

    MSC -5620.

  • "Some people will only like you if you fit inside their box. Don't be afraid to shove that box up their ass."
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Myth
  • *
  • 276,762
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 18,579
    • Army.ca
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #114 on: February 12, 2019, 12:24:38 »
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.
Corruption in politics doesn't scare me.
What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

Offline Brihard

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 205,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,480
  • Non-Electric Pop-Up Target
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #115 on: February 12, 2019, 12:44:55 »
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.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Navy_Pete

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 24,205
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 746
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #116 on: February 12, 2019, 13:11:41 »
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.

Offline Brihard

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 205,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,480
  • Non-Electric Pop-Up Target
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #117 on: February 12, 2019, 13:13:04 »
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.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 13:28:32 by Brihard »
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Navy_Pete

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • 24,205
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 746
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #118 on: February 12, 2019, 15:07:15 »
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.

Offline Brihard

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 205,135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,480
  • Non-Electric Pop-Up Target
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #119 on: February 12, 2019, 15:10:26 »
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.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #120 on: February 13, 2019, 10:33:48 »
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.”
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline daftandbarmy

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 236,025
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 13,431
  • The Older I Get, The Better I Was
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #121 on: February 13, 2019, 11:48:32 »
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:

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #122 on: February 15, 2019, 08:23:10 »
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.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 08:28:45 by Rifleman62 »
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression

Offline meni0n

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 21,595
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 884
  • Soldier of leisure
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #123 on: February 15, 2019, 09:17:16 »
I guess that's why I got an application sitting at Step 1 for about 3 1/2 months now.

Offline Rifleman62

    Retired.

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 97,780
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #124 on: February 15, 2019, 10:36:07 »
It is an option. Did you request deferral?
Never Congratulate Yourself In Victory, Nor Blame Your Horses In Defeat - Old Cossack Expression