Author Topic: Media Advisory - Union to hold press conference on cuts at VAC  (Read 1923 times)

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Media Advisory - Union to hold press conference on cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada

VICTORIA, Dec. 6, 2011 /CNW/ - The Union of Veterans' Affairs Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, will hold a press conference to raise awareness on the negative impact cutbacks at Veterans Affairs Canada will have on services VAC employees provide to veterans and their families.

Union leaders will make an announcement and answer questions at a press conference scheduled at 10AM.

When: 10AM, Wednesday December 7th, 2011

Where: Saltspring Room, Grand Pacific Hotel, 463 Belleville Street, Victoria


    * Yvan Thauvette, Union of Veterans' Affairs Employees National President
    * Bonnie Heidt, UVAE National Vice-President, Western Region

Background - Budget Cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada

The Conservative government has asked all federal departments, including VAC, to participate in a strategic review of spending. In this review, all 68 departments have been asked to come up with scenarios that reduce 5-10% of total program spending. These cuts will be reflected in the next federal budget.

As a result of the last spending review, conducted under former Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, Veterans Affairs Canada already intends to cut 500 jobs between now and 2015.

This exercise is not part of scenarios that may be brought forward.

The quality of service to veterans and their families are already under stress at VAC.

    * The number of new clients "on hold" has increased. In Quebec, for example, 140 files are pending.
    * The amount of call center positions has decreased, while the amount of overtime by workers at VAC has increased - this has negative impact on the quality of service.
    * The amount of time it takes to make a decision regarding a client's needs has decreased, but the amount of time it takes a veteran to actually receive physical or mental health care has not decreased.
    * In 2010-2011 only 50% of the service standards were achieved at VAC.

A further reduction of the workforce and spending at VAC will negatively affect veterans and their families.

Expected demographic changes to veterans are not expected to account for the reduction in positions - VAC projects a decline of 5.6% in clients over the next four years, while the loss of 500 positions represents a 12% reduction.

The federal government must do much more to provide better programs and services for veterans, RCMP members, and their families, and ensure they are properly cared for from the moment they sign up to the moment they pass away.

About the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees

The Union of Veterans Affairs Employees (UVAE) represents about 2,400 employees of Veterans Affairs Canada and its affiliated agency, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

The UVAE is a Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents more than 180,000 members country-wide, primarily in the Federal Public Service.

UVAE members in the Welfare Programs (WP) group advise veterans and members of their families who apply for benefits and interpret for them the provisions of acts and regulations to determine which benefits these people are entitled to.

Clerical and Regulatory (CR) group members are employed in the benefit delivery system and central registries at Veterans Affairs offices throughout the country.
For further information:

Patrick Bragg, PSAC Communications Officer, cell: (778) 889 3486

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