HALIFAX, July 17, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today reinforced Veterans Affairs Canada's (VAC) commitment to providing more mental health support and service excellence for Military Veterans and former RCMP members.
Minister O'Toole announced a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to establish and operate an operational stress injury (OSI) clinic in the Halifax area. The new OSI clinic will be part of a network of clinics across Canada which provides full assessment, diagnosis and treatment services for Military Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), current and former members of the RCMP, and their families, who are living with operational stress injuries. The recruitment process of the clinic mental health specialists has begun and training is to begin immediately after hires are complete. This clinic will initially be established at 40 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in October until the permanent location opens.
The Minister also announced a total of 146 new hires by the end of March 2016 in Atlantic Canada including 34 case managers and 52 disability benefits staff. These new hires will reduce VAC's case manager ratio to no more than 30 individuals for every case manager. This will give case managers more time to address the complex needs of Military Veterans' and former RCMP members.
- Adding the Halifax area clinic will bring the total of operational stress injury clinics across Canada to 11. These include 10 current outpatient clinics. In addition, satellite services were expanded in eight locations throughout the country, and a ninth is set to open in Montréal in December 2015.
- Funded by VAC, all of the outpatient clinics are operated in partnership with provincial health authorities.
- VAC and DND, together, will have a network of 27 specialized mental health clinics.
- Military and RCMP Veterans, and their families, can receive immediate mental health counselling with a professional over the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling, toll free, 1-800-268-7708.
- VAC is hiring 45 new employees in the Halifax area by the end of March 2016, including 13 case managers and 26 disability benefits staff.
- Yesterday, Minister O'Toole announced 61 new hires in Charlottetown by the end of March 2016.
- VAC will have a total of 309 new hires across Canada by 2020.
"The new operational stress injury clinic in the Halifax area will bring highly specialized and customized outpatient treatment options closer to home for Canada's East Coast Military Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, current and former members of the RCMP and their families. We are expanding the network of mental health services available to Veterans and their families and will continue to review and evaluate services to ensure Veterans' needs are met. These initiatives are evidence of the Government of Canada's commitment to ensuring Military Veterans and their families are treated with care, compassion and respect."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"Nova Scotians have a very close relationship with the proud men and women who have fought on behalf of our country and our values, and that have kept us safe. The fabric of our communities is very much intertwined with the presence and work of the members of the CAF and the RCMP. Today's announcement clearly illustrates our Government's commitment to supporting our Veterans of the CAF and of the RCMP across the province, but also across the country, and helping to ensure they and their families have resources they can turn to."
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"The health and safety of Canada's Veterans is critical, both during and after times of service. Today's announcement ensures that our Government will continue to provide our Veterans and their families with the benefits and services that they require."
Robert Goguen, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice
"I am very pleased to see our Government moving forward on its commitment to making significant investments in programs and services to ensure Military Veterans and their families receive the care and support they need, now and in the future. Minister O'Toole's announcement today allows VAC to put more frontline resources where they are needed most and to continually improve and advance the care and benefits for those injured in the service of our great country."
Gerald Keddy, Member of Parliament for South Shore–St.Margaret's
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Martin Magnan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468; Media Relations, Nova Scotia Health Authority, 1-844-483-3344