Local News

Union says Veterans Affairs’ $560 million contract could mean longer wait times

The union representing Veterans Affairs Canada employees says a $560-million contract awarded to non-public medical suppliers ought to be halted and that it may trigger delays in profit purposes for veterans.

The contract, which is able to lengthen over 5 years, was awarded to a three way partnership of two non-public firms – WGC Worldwide and Lifemark Well being Group – in June 2021.

Virginia Vaillancourt, nationwide president of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Workers, says it quantities to outsourcing of federal companies for veterans.

Her union, which represents about 1,000 employees on the VAC workplace in P.E.I., has begun a public marketing campaign calling for the contract to both be cancelled or subjected to a overview to make sure it doesn’t enhance wait instances for veterans.

“This new contract is definitely taking work and that relationship between the case supervisor and the veteran away,” Vaillancourt stated.

“That relationship is so paramount. However we see that the change to that relationship goes to trigger stress. There may be going to be lack of engagement, and our worry is that (will trigger) final hurt to the veterans.”

Case managers are at the moment tasked with creating rehabilitation plans in addition to serving to veterans enrol in vocational coaching applications. A media assertion posted on the web site of Lifemark Well being Group in July 2021 stated the 2 non-public suppliers can be chargeable for delivering these companies.

Virginia Vaillancourt of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees says a $560-million contract with a health-care provider is “poorly-designed” and will create “chaos” for veterans who are applying for rehabilitative benefits. Contributed - Stu Neatby
Virginia Vaillancourt of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Workers says a $560-million contract with a health-care supplier is “poorly-designed” and can create “chaos” for veterans who’re making use of for rehabilitative advantages. Contributed – Stu Neatby

In an e mail to SaltWire, Veterans Affairs Canada senior communications officer Marc Lescoutre stated the brand new contract will streamline the method of accessing rehabilitative companies for veterans and can assist alleviate workloads for case managers.

“There might be no impression on jobs because of the contract,” Lescoutre stated in an e mail.

“It should mark the primary time that the medical, psycho-social and vocational streams of rehabilitation are provided by the identical service supplier thereby eliminating a few of the administrative burden on VAC’s case managers and permitting them to spend extra time with their purchasers.”

Case managers have beforehand taken on the function of coordinating totally different contracts of a number of care suppliers on behalf of veterans. Lescourtre stated the nationwide contract with one supplier would imply “fewer steps for veterans and the case managers that serve them”.

Veterans Affairs case managers have spoken publicly for years about unsustainable workloads, which they are saying prevents them from providing help to veterans.

Veterans Affairs Canada Minister Lawrence MacAulay pledged final fall to rent extra case managers. Vaillancourt stated this has not occurred.

The union has launched a digital pressure campaign centered on the contract and might be taking out adverts on billboards and buses in Charlottetown, Ottawa and Victoria.

The Daniel J. MacDonald building in Charlottetown, which houses the headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada. The union representing Veterans Affairs Canada staff says it is concerned a contract with a rehabilitation services company could cause further delays in benefit applications for veterans. - Stu Neatby
The Daniel J. MacDonald constructing in Charlottetown, which homes the headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada. The union representing Veterans Affairs Canada employees says it’s involved a contract with a rehabilitation companies firm may trigger additional delays in profit purposes for veterans. – Stu Neatby

Requires steady workforce

The launch of the union marketing campaign follows a report from the federal auditor basic that discovered that Veterans Affairs Canada failed to cut back general wait instances for incapacity advantages for veterans, regardless of hiring over 500 further employees for this function.

The audit discovered that the division took a median of 39 weeks to course of a primary utility for incapacity advantages – far above its service commonplace of 16 weeks.

Veterans Affairs Canada has employed over 500 further employees to handle the backlog of incapacity advantages beginning in 2018 however these employees have been employed on short-term contracts. About 225 are based mostly in P.E.I.

As a result of the contracts had been short-term, 43 employees left the division between November 2020 and September 2021, leading to 5,000 fewer purposes being processed, in accordance with the report.

The auditor basic discovered that VAC lacked a long-term staffing plan to handle wait instances and really helpful one be put in place.

Veterans Affairs Canada initially deliberate to cut back the backlog to five,000 purposes by March 31, 2022. As of June 3, the backlog stood at 10,433 purposes.

Vaillancourt stated the Lifemark and WGC contracts, whereas indirectly associated to the problem of backlogs for incapacity advantages purposes, symbolize one other instance of “band-aid fixes” in lieu of long-term employees planning by VAC.

“Our veterans are usually not short-term. So why will we hold placing short-term fixes to the state of affairs?” Vaillancourt stated.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button