Government of Canada committed to doing more for Veterans
YELLOWKNIFE, NT, Aug. 31, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, joined Veterans and their families in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to announce that as of today, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) will provide an enhanced level of service and outreach to Veterans and their families in the territories and other northern communities.
Frontline VAC staff will travel to meet face-to-face with Veterans and their families and share information on benefits and services with those who may not be aware.
The Department is continuing to hire up to 400 new employees to help ensure that Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, RCMP personnel, and their families are provided with the best possible services when and where they need them. Hiring new employees will permit the Department to reduce case managers' caseloads to a maximum of 25 Veterans.
As part of today's announcement, Minister Hehr reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to do more for Veterans. Budget 2016 committed $5.6 billion to improve Veterans' benefits and services, including increased payments under the Disability Award and the Earnings Loss Benefit, and expanded access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance. Veterans Affairs Canada has also expanded its Commemorative Partnership Program to allow funding for the building of new war memorials, and increased the survivor estate cash exemption under the Funeral and Burial Program.
"I am extremely proud to confirm we will be doing more for Veterans and their families in the territories and other northern communities across Canada. Starting today, our frontline staff will visit the area every month, based on the needs of Veterans and their families. We will also do more to make sure everyone who might be eligible for our services is aware. Veterans from the North selflessly answered the call to serve our country, and now we are answering their call by enhancing financial benefits, restoring and enhancing access to critical services, and hiring more frontline staff. This was part of our commitment to Canadians, and we stand by this promise.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- Starting on August 31, 2016, VAC staff will begin travelling to the territories and other northern communities every month to meet with Veterans and their families.
- The cities of Yellowknife, NWT; Whitehorse, YT; and Iqaluit, NU; will be the first areas visited.
- The Department will continue to work with Service Canada to enhance its presence and services in the North.
- VAC is creating a proactive outreach plan to ensure that all Veterans and their families who might be eligible for benefits and services from the Department are made aware in a format that suits them.
- By May 2017, offices will reopen in Charlottetown, PE; Sydney, NS; Windsor and Thunder Bay, ON; Saskatoon, SK; Brandon, MB; and, Prince George and Kelowna, BC. A tenth office will open in Surrey, BC, and outreach will be expanded to Veterans in the territories.
- Reopening the nine Veterans Affairs offices that closed is a top priority in the Minister of Veterans Affairs' mandate letter.
- The Veterans Affairs Office in Corner Brook reopened to Veterans on July 5, 2016.
- As of May 2016, more than 250 new frontline employees have been hired.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468; Rob Rosenfeld, Director of Communications and Issues Management, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649