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Veterans Affairs Canada
Assistant Deputy Minister Policy, Communications and Commemoration PO Box 7700 Charlottetown, C1A 8M9
Anciens Combattants Canada
Sous-ministre adjoint Politiques, Communications
CP 7700 Charlottetown (i.-P.-E) C1A 8M9
DEC Z Z 2011
Ron Griffis National President Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping 2246 Brow Mountain Road RR#5, Berwick, Nova Scotia BOP 1EO 0 r~ff' Dear M r/"" IS:
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I am writing to you today as a follow up to the October 24, 2011 Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder Committee meeting. As agreed to at the meeting, I am pleased to provide you with an update about the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Transformation Plan and how the department is investing in information technology for the purpose of "Cutting Red Tape". You will find enclosed twelve (12) copies of "The Road to 2015-2016". The publication outlines the initiatives underway to improve service to Veterans, including those based on information technology investments. I encourage you to discuss this information with Veterans and others who are interested in initiatives underway to improve service to Veterans.
James Gilbert Enclosures (12)
Improving Service to Canada's Veterans
There are several change initiatives underway at Veterans Affairs Canada. These initiatives are about improving service to Veterans. Our vision is to become equipped to serve Veterans and their families better, faster and in more convenient and modern ways. We will be more responsive to the changing needs of Veterans by ensuring: relevant policies and programs; fast and simple access to benefits and services; service from competent employees who understand the military experience; and a seamless transition from military to civilian life. We are significantly changing the way we do business, with a new pace of work. It is important to remember that improvements take time, but progress will be steady. First and foremost, Veterans Affairs Canada will ensure it has the right people in the right places to get the job done. That said, some of our offices are going to get smaller while some offices are going to get bigger. Over time, our front-line staff will be positioned where the needs are greatest, which will be determined by Veteran demographics. This will not happen right away or all at once-we are strategically working within a five-year timeframe.
The foundation for change has been laid. We have made progress toward streamlining many of our processes and business practices, however, it will take time to see the full benefits of these changes.
We begin to see improvements in the way we deliver services and in the technology available to assist in our day-to-day tasks.
Direct deposit; reduced turnaround times; increased delegation of decision-making to front-line staff; New Veterans Charter enhancements; strengthened stakeholder engagement; enhancements to My VAC Account; digitized health and service records; elimination of subsequent preauthorizations. By the end of the year, Veterans will start to see a commitment to change. Decisions on disability benefits are already made one-third faster. Rehabilitation Program decision turnaround times are already cut in half, and Veterans will see the start of more self-serve and automated technology. Through the VAC-DND integrated personnel support centres, Veterans will be engaged sooner. Veterans' organizations and stakeholders will be invited to interact with the Department more directly and more often than in the past.
Improved disability benefits and health care policies and practices; online access to policies; improvements to case management; centralized mail; introduction of mobile technology.
Veterans will see:
By the end of the year, Veterans will see further use of modern technology to better meet Veterans needs and improve service. Veterans Affairs Canada's expanded electronic services will give Veterans immediate access to information about their applications and benefits, and open up the lines of communication between Veterans and the Department.
We see the benefits of our new technological capabilities and will have made substantial progress in attaining new workforce requirements with respect to tools, size, skills and location.
Expansion of My VACAccount to include Veterans Independence Program (VIP) tracking; disability benefits decisions within 12 weeks.
As we complete the building of our infrastructure, we start seeing cost savings and the benefits of multichannel service points will become evident.
Veterans Affairs Canada is even more responsive and efficient department capable of providing services and benefits to Veterans in the method of their choice.
Electronic transfer of records from National Defence; a re-aligned organizational structure that has the right people in the right places; implementation of technology initiatives.
Veterans Affairs Canada will have modernized health care programs, and will continue to refine its policies and processes to provide optimal services to Veterans.
By the end of the year, Veterans will use the service of their choice with a call, click or visit. They will have more self-serve options in My VACAccount. The Department's digital imaging technology and other reengineering initiatives, including a more effective transmission of required information, will reduce disability benefits decisions to 12 weeks. Policies wi II be publicly accessible online for all to review and understand.
By the end of the year, Veterans will find services easier to navigate. Changes will be more evident as Veterans access more services online and receive help for more complex needs from highly trained case managers.
By the end of the year, Veterans will be able to connect with Veterans Affairs Canada through multiple communication channels, know the Department will identify their needs as they release from service and experience a smooth transition. Veterans also will be able to apply online, receive decisions in a timely manner, and access treatments without delay and from preferred and approved providers. Moreover, they will also have electronic access to details on treatment benefits, complete only one application for benefits and services, and deal with staff who are empowered to make decisions.
Fast Facts on Service Improvements Progress
Turnaround times for decisions on Disability Benefit first applications have been reduced by one-third. Veterans have to complete less paperwork when applying for changes under the Veterans Independence Program (VIP), which currently supports 107,000 Veterans and their survivors. Veterans have much less paperwork to complete for many of the health benefits provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. Most benefits only require pre-authorization the first time a Veteran accesses the benefit. Veterans now have the option to receive reimbursements for the Veterans Independence Program and treatment benefits via direct deposit. Already, 45,000 Veterans have signed up for this service. The standard turnaround time, upon receipt of completed applications for rehabilitation eligibility, has been cut in half. Our National Client Contact Network continues to improve response times to meet the two-minute service standard as a result of technology enhancements. Since November 2010, Veterans Affairs Canada has visited 19 Canadian Forces bases to speak to more than 6,000 Canadian Forces members on the benefits and services available to them.
For more information on VeteransAffairs Canada programs and services,please visit veterans.gc.ca or call 1.866-522-2122.
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