Government of Canada committed to doing more for Veterans
KELOWNA, BC, Aug. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, joined Veterans and their families in Kelowna, British Columbia, today to announce that the previously closed Veterans Affairs Canada office will reopen in November 2016.
The new Kelowna office will be located at 1st floor, 471 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna, BC, and once opened, will employ approximately nine staff who will serve approximately 3500 Veterans. Staff at the Kelowna office will answer questions about VAC services and benefits; arrange pension medical examinations; and, assist Veterans to complete and submit applications and receipts. Case-managed Veterans will also be able to meet with their case manager.
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 be reopening doors that were previously closed to Veterans and their families here in Kelowna. They have selflessly answered the call to serve our country, and now we are answering their call by enhancing financial benefits, restoring and expanding access to critical services, expanding service in British Columbia and the territories, 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
- Reopening the nine Veterans Affairs offices that closed is a top priority in the Minister of Veterans Affairs' mandate letter.
- The office in Kelowna will reopen November 2016 at 1st floor, 471 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna, BC.
- Until the Kelowna office is opened, Veterans and other clients can receive in-person services at the Service Canada location at 471 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna, BC.
- The Veterans Affairs Office in Corner Brook reopened to Veterans on July 5, 2016.
- 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.
- 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; Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649