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Veterans Affairs Canada will maintain backlog staff until 2026


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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Veterans Affairs Canada will retain a whole bunch of short-term employees, employed in 2018 to clear the backlog of incapacity advantages functions, till at the very least 2026.

Since 2018, about 500 short-term workers have been employed by Veterans Affairs Canada to assist shorten wait occasions for incapacity profit functions. The phrases of many of those workers have been as a consequence of expire in March 2024, however the division continues to wrestle with rendering choices on these veterans’ advantages in a well timed method.

On Nov. 3, the division, whose headquarters is in Charlottetown, P.E.I., introduced the phrases of those workers can be prolonged to March 2026. The funding will broaden the variety of these short-term workers to 600. Some case managers and front-line employees will see their phrases prolonged to March 2027.

About 200 of those short-term workers are or can be based mostly in P.E.I.

16-week service commonplace

The associated fee to the division to increase these contracts can be $164 million, the division introduced in a launch.

“Incapacity advantages adjudicators and case managers are sometimes a veteran’s most necessary expertise with Veterans Affairs Canada. This funding will assist to retain present workers so we are able to proceed to enhance the companies that veterans and their households obtain and so rightly deserve,” Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor mentioned in a media assertion.

For years, the division has been beset by complaints of lengthy wait occasions to entry incapacity advantages, which regularly embrace an revenue alternative program for veterans injured throughout their army service. 

The Daniel J. Macdonald building in Charlottetown, headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire file
The Daniel J. Macdonald constructing in Charlottetown, headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire file

The division has a service commonplace that 80 per cent of incapacity profit functions have a choice rendered inside 16 weeks. These above this commonplace are thought of to be in a backlog.

The discharge famous the division has diminished the variety of veteran functions by 75 per cent since 2020. Nonetheless, as of June 2023, the latest figures out there, 5,547 veteran incapacity profit functions have been past the 16-week service commonplace.

Improve in functions

In recent times, VAC had mentioned it deliberate to scale back the backlog to lower than 5,000 functions by the summer season of 2023. This didn’t occur.

The division has additionally mentioned it has seen a 61 per cent enhance in incapacity profit functions since 2016.

The Union of Veterans Affairs Staff has known as on Veterans Affairs Canada to transition the five hundred workers from short-term hires to everlasting employees. A 2022 Auditor Basic’s report famous that 43 short-term workers left their jobs between November 2020 and September 2021 as a consequence of a scarcity of long-term job safety. The report famous that this lack of workers resulted in 5,000 fewer incapacity profit functions being processed throughout this 10-month interval.

SaltWire requested the division why it has chosen to retain the five hundred workers as short-term versus making them everlasting.

“Because the wants of purchasers evolve and we see variation in volumes, we’ll modify ranges of companies to enhance companies to veterans,” a division consultant wrote in an e mail.

“We proceed to search for methods to streamline profit software processes and handle service ranges whereas enhancing the standard of the companies and advantages for veterans and their households.”

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @stu_neatby.

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