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Minutes of February 8 and 9 VASC Meeting

Minutes of February 8 and 9 VASC Meeting

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Minutes of February 8 and 9 VASC Meeting
Minutes of February 8 and 9 VASC Meeting

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Published by: Canadian_Veterans_Ad on Apr 09, 2012
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Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Committee Meeting Minutes, February 8 and 9, 2012
ATTENDANCE
Veterans’ organizations
 
Lorne McCartney (Member)Louise Richard (Observer)Patricia Varga (Member)Gordon Moore (Observer)Brian Forbes (Member)Ron Griffis (Member)John Stuart (Observer)Ray Kokkonen (Member)John Eggenberger (Observer)Gordon Jenkins (Member)Jarrott Holtzhauer (Observer)Don Leonardo (Member)Sean Bruyea (Observer)Michael Blais (Member)Joseph Clark (Observer)Reno St-Germain (Member)Bill Gidley (Member)Perry Gray (Member)Ron Cundell (Observer)
 
Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in CanadaRoyal Canadian LegionNational Council of Veteran AssociationsCanadian Association of Veterans in United NationsPeacekeepingCanadian Peacekeeping Veterans AssociationNATO Veterans Organization of CanadaVeteransofCanada.caCanadian Veterans AdvocacyVeterans UN-NATO Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’
AssociationVeteranVoice.info
 Advisors
Muriel WestmorlandBruce HenwoodVictor MarshallJoe Sharpe
 Observers
Gary Walbourne
 –
Office of the Veterans OmbudsmanCharlie Cue
 –
Office of the Veterans OmbudsmanCommander Lucille Boettger
 –
Casualty SupportManagement, DNDBenjamin Woodman
 –
Office of the Minister of VeteransAffairs
Departmental Representatives
Suzanne Tining
 –
Deputy MinisterJames Gilbert
 –
Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy,Communications and CommemorationBernard Butler
 –
Director General, Policy
Support to Committee
Colleen Soltermann
 –
Director, Outreach, Consultationand EngagementKaren Rose
 –
Special Projects Coordinator, Outreach,Consultation and EngagementRichard Roik
 –
Manager, Communications
Presenters
Mary Chaput
 –
Associate Deputy MinisterKeith Hillier
 –
Assistant Deputy Minister, Service DeliveryDr. David Pedlar
 –
Director, ResearchMitch Freeman
 –
Manager, Strategic InitiativesTerry Dunsford
 –
Manager, Program PolicySandra Williamson
 –
Director, Long Term Care
 
 
# Agenda Topic Discussions MotionsPage 2
Day 1 - February 8, 2012
1. Welcome andOverview of AgendaSuzanne Tining,Deputy MinisterJames Gilbert, ADM,Policy,Communicationsand Commemoration
Attachment # 1Agenda for February 8 and 9 
Suzanne Tining, Deputy Minister, made welcoming remarks and reviewed theagenda for the two-day meeting. She spoke to the current fiscal environment andthe government-wide review of all operating and program spending. Sheacknowledged the work of organizations in their advocacy roles. She referenced anumber of key departmental initiatives and the updates from the Department thatwere sent to committee members since the last meeting including: Helmets toHardhats, the creation of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the program policymanual on CD, and the brochure - Road to 2015-2016.James Gilbert, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Communications andCommemoration, provided an update on the recent announcement of support for theHelmets to Hardhats program. VAC contributed to this program along withTransCanada Corporation and the Province of Alberta. The program will provide theapproximately 5,000 releasing CF members per year with opportunities for jobs andapprenticeships in the construction industry using telephone and web-based job-matching. He also updated the members on the Agent Orange ex-gratia paymentthat ended December 31, 2011, and the 3,000 files reviewed for payment in theweeks leading up to December 31.
Summary of Discussion
Concerns with respect to Committee processes
 –
including format and timing ofreception of minutes of meetings, progress reports, decision making and a needto focus on fewer agenda items in order to allow for a more thorough discussion.VAC agreed to address these concerns by developing a set of procedures forCommittee meetings.Concerns with the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP), potential impacts onVAC programs and services, and the lack
of engagement of Veterans’
organizations in determining proposals and options to meet objectives of theexercise. VAC indicated that all departments were asked to identify DRAPsavings. As has been previously communicated, there will be no cuts toVeteran
s’ benefits.
Members encouraged each other to continue their efforts to publicly make theirviews and concerns known about reductions to VAC programs and services.Discussion with respect to H2H focused on transition to civilian workplaceincluding: employment, training, priority hiring, access to post-secondaryeducation and support for self-employment. VAC agreed to provide additionalinformation on access to post-secondary education in the context of the
Motion by Ray Kokkonen,passed by stakeholders
 –
 That next meeting wouldinclude a presentation fromDon Leonardo onrehabilitation and transition.
 
# Agenda Topic Discussions MotionsPage 3rehabilitation program and case plans.With respect to Agent Orange, members were concerned that the ex-gratiaprogram had ended given that it is unknown how exposure to Agent Orange willmanifest itself in the future. The Department noted that the initial deadline forAgent Orange ex-gratia payments was extended and that throughout the courseof the program more than 5,000 applications were approved and paymentsissued totaled more than $100 million.A motion was made that Don Leonardo make a presentation at the next meetingon rehabilitation and transition. (See motion)2. Record of Decisions Members agreed to discuss this item as part of next steps at the end of Day 2. See#133. Transformation
 –
 Road to 2015 -2016Mary ChaputAssociate DeputyMinister
Attachment # 2 
Mary Chaput, Associate Deputy Minister, provided an update on transformation andthe numerous initiatives underway, organized under five key themes
 –
reducingcomplexity; overhauling service delivery; strengthening partnerships with DND/CFand others; sustaining the New Veterans Charter; and aligning the Department withVeteran demographics. She spoke to the brochure - Road to 2015
 –
2016(distributed to the members in December) which was created in response to therequest for more information on the full picture of transformation by providing a year-over-year snapshot of the key initiatives. She spoke to transformation governanceincluding the Field Operations/ Advisory Committee (FOAC) that is made up of frontline workers who provide advice and guidance on the impact of proposed initiativeson day-to-day operations.
Summary of Discussions
Concerns were raised about reductions in budgets, cutting staff, the currentworkload of Case Managers and the use of Service Canada. VAC indicated thatthe approach to using Service Canada is gradual and its role would be theprovision of general information and not the determination of eligibility forprograms.Members identified a need for more assistance for Veterans to completeapplications and gather documents to support their claims. VAC agreed thatconsideration will be given to engaging Veterans in their local areas to helpothers in preparation of applications for VAC benefits and the gathering ofdocuments/evidence. The Legion provided information about the role of ServiceOfficers across the Country in supporting Veterans and others in accessing VACservices and benefits.There was support for re-engineering but the members wanted to see more

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