The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees (UVAE) have launched a campaign calling for the federal government to stop contracting out services to veterans and hire more permanent case managers.
On the heels of a damning report from the Auditor General on backlogs and delays at Veterans Affairs Canada, the department has announced a new $500 million private contract for rehabilitation services that will cost Canadians more, reduce services for veterans and further overload a system that already cannot meet their needs.
Instead of relying on trained and professional public service employees, Veterans Affairs Canada is contracting out the work of serving veterans with rehabilitation needs to a large corporation that values profits over people.
“Our Veterans are already facing delays and holdups on their services, and this new contract will only add to already stressful and anxiety inducing situations,” said Virginia Vaillancourt, National President of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees.
PSAC and UVAE are calling on the federal government to delay the implementation of the new rehabilitation contract until a full public review can be completed.
“Our government should be treating veterans with the utmost care and respect for their service to our country,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward. “Yet they refuse to address the chronic issues at Veterans Affairs Canada that are making life harder for veterans and the workers who support them.”
UVAE and PSAC have written to Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay asking for a meeting to discuss the contract for rehabilitation services and staffing shortages at VAC. Unions have also urged the government to cancel the contract unless VAC can prove that this contract will not do any harm or cause further delays to Veterans. The government has not yet responded.