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Letter National President for the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees

Letter National President for the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees

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Published by natoveteranscnd
The department wants to reduce their workforce by 800 positions by the end of 2015
The department wants to reduce their workforce by 800 positions by the end of 2015

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: natoveteranscnd on Oct 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/17/2015

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 October 18, 2012
Good day Mr. Moore,My name is Yvan Thauvette. I am the National President for the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees.With Veterans week fast approaching I think 
that it’s important that I share some information with you.
Please understand that the Union is supportive of Veterans Affairs Canada in the transformation of thedepartment to enable Veterans to better access and receive their benefits. Unfortunately, this initiative isnot only hampered, but crippled because of the 2012 budget cuts announcement. As the department isalready cut to the bone, there is no way that they will be able to make further reductions withoutnegatively impacting client service delivery.Job Cuts to Veterans AffairsThe department wants to reduce their workforce by 800 positions by the end of 2015. They intend toclose 9 District Offices. The VAC ADM, Keith Hillier, announced that Senior Management is embarking on
an “aggressive workforce management initiative” in the coming months. The number
of reductions (fulltime employees) is targeted at 780. So far, just over 130 jobs have been eliminated
 –
the worst is yet tocome. At the present time, no top management positions at the EX levels have been eliminated.The average case load for a Client Service Agent (CSA) was at 800. After budget cuts, the average caseload for a CSA has now increased to an average of 1200 to 1400 files each. In some offices where
surplus employees left the department, the average is as high as 3600. It’s impossible for
them to keep
up with this case load. We are very worried with what’s next. The employer is working on reducing the
number of Case Managers as well. The impact could be huge.Our members are finding that the emotional fallout from the process has been immense and staff is stillreeling from the impacts. I want you to know that VAC has been asked by Treasury Board to reduce theirworkforce. What the government is not telling you is that in fact the money is distributed differently.Instead of allowing VAC to use more staff, they are contracting out part of the work our members areperforming, and this is not in your best interest and it is not cost effective for tax payers.Contracting Out
 
Last January, the department contracted out general calls to Service Canada who then sub- contractedthat back to a private company called Quantum. These general calls from veterans were previouslyanswered by our experienced analysts from the department call centres. In the beginning, 85% of thecalls going through Service Canada were transferred back to our Call Centres because their staff was not
able to answer the clients’ questions. That has since been reduced to 60% because their voice mailmessage was changed, but I don’t see why those numbers would go down.
 
- 2 -T
he private company doesn’t know our programs and the services we deliver. Most of the time, they give
the wrong information and we have proof of that. That also means that you and I are paying for thesame service twice. How will they be able to handle your private information if that private company has
access to your change of address, notification of death and direct deposit? Those questions weren’t
answered by the department when we asked the question. They are still working on it was their answer.Can
we rely on the Minister’s announcement when he said:
 “We are pursuing the highest standards
in privacy protection so that all Veterans can be confident their personal information is safe and
their rights are being fully respected.” 
 
The department also contracted some of our
members’ work to a private company, Medavie Blue Cross.
The cost of that contract was over a $100M in 2002. Because the department is giving them additionalwork, it will most likely double in 2012/2013. The department wants veterans to be seen as any otherregular citizen from now on. They only want veterans to receive their benefits from an insurancecompany. We believe that there are no measures that have been put in place to ensure quality servicesfrom the private company.Impacts on VeteransWhile, Prime Minister Harper and Minister Blaney have smilingly assured Canadians that Veterans will seeless red tape and now have over 600 service locations across Canada, sadly, this is far from the truth.In fact, what follows is a prim
e example of what doesn’t work: Recently a 92 year old Veteran client
attended the Service Canada Office in Kelowna where our VAC office is co-housed. The Veteran stood inline with his walker for 40 minutes to be told by Service Canada that he can no longer access the VACstaff in the same building. He was led to a computer terminal and given brief instructions on how toapply for benefits. At 92 years old, it's no surprise that this gentleman wasn't able to comprehend whatthe agent was telling him and requested that she assist him. She apologized and advised the client thatshe is not authorized to assist in this manner. This War Veteran then returned to his vehicle and madethe lengthy commute back to his home where he called the toll free number and started his enquiry all
over again. The story doesn’t tell me if he
received a reply from Veterans Affairs or Service Canada. Howappalling that our War Veterans and our elderly are being treated so poorly.
It won’t be any different with the younger Veteran
s in the near future. Who will you rely on if you have
concerns or questions about your own file if there is very few staff left within the department? It’s great
to have access to a computer, but Veterans deserve a live body to guide them through the systems andtell them what type of benefits they are entitled to receive.District Offices ClosureIf you look at the numbers, how can the department close 9 District Offices without having an impact onservices? Those offices are located in Sydney, Corner Brook, Charlottetown, Windsor, Thunder Bay,
Brandon, Saskatoon, Kelowna and Prince George. According to the department’s numbers, those offices
deal on an average with 2800 to 4200 clients, including veterans, spouses, and RCMP. This department isslamming the door on Veterans.

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