OTTAWA, April 15, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, today announced a new initiative to broaden engagement with stakeholders. Six ministerial advisory groups are being put in place as part of his commitment to improve transparency and support consultation to address important Veterans' issues.
The six advisory groups will focus on policy, service excellence, mental health, families, care and support and commemoration. Each group will be comprised of up to twelve members, and participants will appoint a chair from their membership. A senior departmental official will also be selected to co-chair each group and a representative of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman will be invited to attend the meetings as an observer. Current members' names will be updated as the advisory groups are established and their membership confirmed.
The overall goal is to engage with stakeholders, work toward common goals and seek advice and input on new and existing initiatives to support Veterans. The six advisory groups will help inform policy and program development as well as service delivery at Veterans Affairs Canada. This will ensure all areas reflect the changing needs of Veterans and their families. Records of discussion of these meetings will also be posted as they become available.
A Ministerial stakeholder summit with broader representation is planned for May 9-10, 2016, in Ottawa. The summit will provide an opportunity to collaborate, share views and gather information on topics that are important to Veterans and their families. This is a follow-up to the December 2015 Stakeholder Summit whose record of discussion is posted online.
- Advisory groups provide an opportunity for early and ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and serve as a sounding board for the development of Veterans Affairs Canada's policies, programs and services.
- Advisory group members are selected in consultation with stakeholder groups and based on their interests and involvement within the Veteran community. Membership of these groups is still being finalized and will be made public once confirmed.
- Veterans Affairs Canada will continue to listen to all interested and engaged stakeholders regardless of their involvement in any of these groups.
- Stakeholder Summits are large, in-person events to discuss stakeholder priorities. Representatives from nearly 30 stakeholder groups attended the last Stakeholder Summit on December 2, 2015.
"Through our new initiative, I want to create a space and forum for stakeholders to give me their advice and suggestions. It is not our position to tell Veterans and their families what they need—we want to hear from them. Our new strategy, including the six advisory groups, will help us build stronger relationships with Veterans and the organizations that represent them."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister for National Defence
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468