Update: Funding for Departmental Wait Time Plan
and COVID-19 Update for Veterans
DATED 14 July 2020
Dear Stakeholders and Advisory Group members,
As a follow-up from our recent update when we shared the Department’s plan to address wait times, we are providing you with additional information regarding the injection of new funds for Veterans Affairs Canada included in Economic And Fiscal Snapshot 2020 presented by Finance Minister Bill Morneau on July 8th. As part of the fiscal update, Veterans Affairs Canada will receive $96 million in 2020-21 and $96 million in 2021-22, for a total of $192 million over two years towards reducing the Veteran Disability Benefit backlog. More specifically, this funding will extend case management and disability adjudication resources provided in Budget 2018 to keep pace with incoming applications, innovate adjudication processes, and hire new teams dedicated to reducing the backlog.
For more information on the fiscal update please visit: Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020 and the details of VAC’s plan is Timely Disability Benefit Decisions: Strategic Direction for Improving Wait Times.
Additionally, as we enter month four of operating in a pandemic environment with nearly 3,000 VAC employees empowered to perform their duties virtually, we wanted to share this infographic that we recently published outlining key COVID-19 information and assistance for Veterans and their families. We continue to work remotely to make as many decisions as possible on treatment and benefits while quickly issuing payments to Veterans.
Your support in helping us inform the Veterans community and your advocacy on their part is much appreciated.
Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Team
Veterans Affairs Canada
NVOC Friends – the DM VAC held a monthly ZOOM video conference on Friday 26 June. There have been several new advocate additions to this event. The DM typically gives us all an overview and we are given an opportunity to ask questions make comment. Of the 3700 VAC staff they have about 98% working offsite and will gradually return to Buildings/Office spaces. They continue to get about 10,000 “In Box” telephone/emails/letters each week and are responding. The main issue from advocates is the rate of disability claims being processed and the time it takes. The back logs and the turnaround times are taking far too long and this is an opportunity to fast track “protocols” – simplify and reform?
Understandably, the Department is working differently – with a huge focus on staff health and safety. They continue to provide service to veterans [and their families. NOTE the family is now included in briefings to us as a normal concept. This was not always the case!]. Ted Bransfield has included the Veterans Emergency Fund in his weekly Friday reports. The fund had high demands in April – mostly food related. The demand is back to “normal”.The Legion has made requests for financial help – I have sent you the Legion letter to the PM and there will be Legion Branches that will not survive past August. They are talking several hundred Branches – out of some 1380 Branches that functioned prior to the virus.
The big news is that Treasury Board has approved [not yet released] $79 million for an additional 300 staff to fill out the teams doing the disability claim adjudication/processing. Staff take time to hire and to train.[It takes five years to get a staff member with five years experience!!! That is not always understood].
The email from the Minister gives considerable information. The Ministers Advisory Groups were briefed on this today. Well worth a read.
From: Engagement (VAC/ACC)
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 4:10 PM
Subject: Link to Departmental plan to address wait times / Lien vers le plan ministériel visant à réguler les temps d’attente
Dear Stakeholders and Advisory Group members,
As you have heard me say before, tackling the backlog is my top priority. With that in mind, I am pleased to share with you the Department’s plan to address wait times: Timely Disability Benefit Decisions: Strategic Direction for Improving Wait Times. This plan focuses on the tactics and initiatives in progress to improve wait times for Veterans applying for Disability Benefits.
I wanted to share this response directly with you, our stakeholders and advisory group members, so you can see exactly how we plan to address this issue, including the concrete steps we will be taking in the coming months.
There is no one single initiative that will reduce wait times. This is why our plan includes hiring, digital solutions, innovation, all in an integrated approach. In the plan you will see details on initiatives like our Veterans Benefit Teams—integrated teams that will serve as one-stop-shops for all applications, reducing the potential wait time at each step of the process.
Minister of Veterans Affairs and
Associate Minister of National Defence
An article for the Comox Valley Record about NVOC and how we
assist Veterans on a National Level
14 June 2020
A Tribute to Col Jarrott W. Holtzhauer
at Chapel Hill Retirement Residence on Wednesday 13th May 2020.
From : Veterans Affairs Canada
Ottawa, Ontario - 08 May 2020, the Honorable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense, and the Honorable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defense, issued the following statement on the occasion of 75 th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day:
“Victory in Europe Day - May 8, 1945 - marked the official end of the Second World War in Europe. Crowds celebrated this victory in Canada, Europe and allied countries around the world.
Over one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force during the conflict. Over 45,000 lost their lives, 55,000 were injured, and thousands returned home with persistent mental injuries. Twelve thousand others went to sea with the merchant navy. Millions more supported the war effort on the home front.
We remember Major-General George Kitching, one of the youngest generals in the Allied armies of the Second World War. He helped organize the German arms depot in the Netherlands. Major-General Kitching was also present at the surrender ceremony in the Dutch town of Wageningen in May 1945.
We pay tribute to Annie (Goode) McNamara, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Corps as a performer in a traveling military variety show. M me McNamara has witnessed the horrors of war: often, the artists also visited the wounded, including children, in hospitals in England, and she went to the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.
We pay tribute to Chief Petty Officer 1 st Class George Edward (Ted) Jamieson of the Upper Cayuga Six Nations, who was a member of the sea cadets in his early teens and who, a few years later, became bugle from the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. During the Second World War, he served as a 2 nd Seaman on the East Coast naval bases HMCS Stadacona and HMCS Cornwallis . He also served at sea aboard the minesweeper HMCS Drummondville during the Battle of the Atlantic.
Today, we express the gratitude of a nation to all Canadians who have served in the defense of peace and freedom. In this unprecedented period, as we reflect on this milestone anniversary, let us take the time to honor their contribution, their achievements and their sacrifice.
See Link below for PSHCP Rate Changes
Redesigning our website with you in mind
Site Web remanié en fonction de vos besoins
(Le français suit)
Dear Stakeholders and Advisory Group members,
Following the successful redesign of the services content on our website, veterans.gc.ca, I am pleased to inform you that we have done the same for our commemorative content.
The redesigned website follows a human-centered design approach built from user-testing, research, and analysis. It provides Veterans, their families and the general public with clear, user-friendly access to our content.
There are a couple of key differences about the redesigned website. The first is the language we use. Information is now easier to read and understand for users of all ages. We have also changed the format and layout to reflect the Department’s new look and feel. This means it’s more visually appealing with consistent flow from one page to the next and has a stronger focus on what the user is looking for. One of the key things we heard during testing is that visitors wanted to read more about those who served. We will make sure these stories are told.
I encourage you to explore the new website and to promote and share it within your organization and/or networks. Check out the Department’s social media channels for more information and posts to share.
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
Cher(e)s intervenant(e)s et membres des groupes consultatif,
Après le remaniement réussi du contenu de la section sur les services de notre site Web, veterans.gc.ca, je suis heureux de vous annoncer que nous avons également remanié le contenu de notre section sur la commémoration.
Notre site Web a été remanié en suivant une approche de conception centrée sur l’humain et fondée sur des essais auprès des utilisateurs, des recherches et des analyses, de manière à offrir aux vétérans, à leur famille et au grand public un accès clair et convivial à notre contenu.
Il y a quelques différences importantes entre l’ancien site Web et le site remanié. La première différence touche le langage que nous utilisons. L’information est maintenant plus facile à comprendre pour les utilisateurs de tous âges. De plus, le format et la disposition ont été modifiés afin de tenir compte de la nouvelle présentation du Ministère. Le passage d’une page à l’autre est donc plus facile et le contenu porte davantage sur l’information recherchée par l’utilisateur. L’un des principaux commentaires que nous avons reçus dans le cadre de nos essais auprès des utilisateurs est que ceux‑ci souhaitent en apprendre davantage sur les personnes qui ont servi. Nous nous sommes donc engagés à faire en sorte que leurs récits soient racontés.
Je vous invite à explorer le nouveau site Web et à le promouvoir au sein de votre organisation et de vos réseaux. Consultez les médias sociaux du Ministère pour obtenir d’autres renseignements et des publications à partager.
L’honorable Lawrence MacAulay
Ministre des Anciens Combattants et ministre associé de la Défense nationale
Research Participant Recruitment
Dr. Eric Li and his research team is currently conducting semi-directed interviews with survivors of Veterans to the financial well-being of survivors who married or entered into a common-law relationship with a Veteran who was aged over 60. These interviews are designed to address specific questions while allowing the participants to provide additional information and perspectives voluntarily. In this stage of the research study, we seek to explore the social condition of Veterans and survivors of Veterans from multiple viewpoints. This project is funded by the Canadian Institute for Military Veteran Health Research.
The research team appreciates your help to reach out to different Military Veteran groups/associations for recruiting participants. Please pass on the recruitment materials attached to this email to qualified individuals. By agreeing to pass on the recruitment materials to qualified individuals, you understand that you are not responsible for any further action. Please direct all questions or concerns to the researcher. Please do not send the individuals’ names to the research team directly in order to protect participants' privacy.
The qualified individuals must directly contact the UBC researcher to set up the interview. The UBC research team will coordinate the interview schedule. Since participants will be recruited across the country, the researcher will let the participants choose whether they would prefer an interview over the phone or a face-to-face interview.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Li, Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, UBC-Okanagan. Contact information: (+1) 250-807-8853 (office) and email@example.com (email)
Co-Investigators: Dr. Keith Culver, Professor, Faculty of Management
Mr. Patrick Gall, Research Network Facilitator, UBC STAR Survive & Thrive Applied
Research, Ms. Dilsora Komil-Burley, Ph.D. Candidate, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies
Ms. Ariele Parker, Masters Student, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, UBC-Okanagan
Dilsora Komil-Burley. Ph.D. candidate, UBC Okanagan
Alternatively, if you have any concerns or complaints about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, contact the Research Participation Complaint Line in the UBC Office of Research Services toll free at 1-877-822-8598 or the UBC Okanagan Research Services Office at 250-807-8832. It is also possible to contact the Research Complaint Line by email (RSIL@ors.ubc.ca) and reference the study number (H19-03955) when contacting the Complaint Line so the staff can better assist you.
Media Report 6 March 2020
Media Report 28 Feb 2020
VETERANS DESERVE GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION
Proposal for Canadian Military Volunteer Service Medal, (CMVSM)
Tiny homes in Calgary provide transition space for Veterans
Media Report 21 Feb 2020
There are several new concepts that should be highlighted.
Build new, purpose-built accessible and affordable housing units, with a full range of health, social and employment supports for Veterans who need extra help. NVOC Presidents comment: this gives the Department opportunities to get into the “bricks and mortar” construction which has not been possible previously. Homeless veterans [ 3000 to 5000 estimated] need a place to live off the streets.;
Deliver a higher standard of service and care, and ensure that a “one Veteran, one standard” approach is upheld. NVOC Presidents comment: We have long advocated for the one veteran standard.
Media Report 14 Feb 2020
Media Report 07 Feb 2020
Media Report 31 Jan 2020
Media Report 17 Jan 2020
On Tuesday our national President Mr Randy StowelI and Ken Richardson our National Treasurer and met with Executives working the “Veterans House” project - Suzanne Le, executive director of Multifaith Housing Initiative, noted that veterans make up somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 vets who have been reduced to living on the street after having given so much of themselves for their country. [The current edition of the Legion magazine describes this project] – and we presented a donation of $1500.00. The donation was approved at the November Board of Directors meeting. We met at the site – the old Rockliffe PMQ patch is long gone – lots of ongoing construction of upscale town homes. Andy Carswell was a WW II RCAF – Canso Pilot and POW. Canada's first residence for homeless vets in Ottawa named in honour of hero pilot. https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/canadas-first-residence-for-homelessvets-in-ottawa-named-in-honour-of-hero-pilot-353084/ QUOTE “ Veterans' House: the Andy Carswell Building is Canada’s first community house built for homeless veterans. This pioneering project specifically targets the needs of the rising number of homeless veterans who are “living rough” in Ottawa and combines safe housing with essential on-site rehabilitation services. Our vision is to create a unique unit-style community where each of our 40 homeless or at risk veterans will have immediate access to support services from a variety of partner agencies. This supportive “Housing First” model will give our veterans on-site recovery from health, mental health and addiction-related issues. Not only does the supported housing model improve the overall quality of life but it does so in recognition of crucial and unbreakable experience of military bonds that exist for all in the military community from veterans to their families. The Multifaith Housing Initiative has other residential facilities in Ottawa – this Veterans House project is a special effort. They were particularly pleased with support from a Veterans Organization.
Media Report 10 Jan 2020
Media Report 3 Jan 2020