Archive > Vigil for Veterans - 13h30 Nov 8th 2012 Parliament Hill

Vets' services to be lost: NDP


Vets' services to be lost: NDP

OTTAWA - Critics say Veterans Affairs Canada is cutting services to former soldiers by shuttering a third of its district offices across Canada and laying off staff.

But the department maintains its belt-tightening won't affect veterans and it's "just a phone call away" through telephone and online access.

"They will still get the same services and we'll still be there when they need us," says Codie Taylor, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney.

On Tuesday, New Democrat veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer, flanked by Veterans Affairs union president Yvan Thauvette, called the move Tuesday "blatant ignorance" by the department.

Face-to-face help for Veterans Affairs services is always be better than completing an online form or dialing a 1-800 number, he maintained.

"This is an opportunity to sit down before someone who is actually breathing and talk to them about complex problems," he says.

District offices in Sydney, N.S., Charlottetown, Corner Brook, N.L., Windsor, Thunder Bay, Ont., Brandon, Saskatoon, Sask., Kelowna and Prince George, B.C., are slated to be closed. About 75 staff positions will be cut across the country.

Michelle Bradley, a client service agent with the St. John district office, says closing the offices means many rural vets, retired RCMP officers and war widows will be forced to drive for hours to meet a front line worker.

"I'm the person they come in to see when they need to come in to talk to us about what we're eligible for and how they can obtain services," she says.

The department is planning on cutting $36.9 million, or 1.1% of its budget.

Sylvain Chartrand CD:
233 VAC Employees Receive Their Notice ? Nine VAC District Offices To Be Cut

Source: 233 VAC Employees Receive Their Notice ? Nine VAC District Offices To Be Cut

SHERRI BORDEN COLLEY of the Chronicle Herald is reporting that the union that represents Veterans Affairs Canada employees has confirmed that 233 employees received letters that their jobs are being cut.
 Those letters arrived on Thursday.
Nine of 30 Veterans Affairs district offices across Canada are slated for closure, she reports.


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