Author Topic: VAC in the News  (Read 21357 times)

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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #75 on: April 17, 2018, 15:17:07 »
I didn't comment on posting the article but I will now.

Puff piece that fails.

Got hopped up in his own ego (CTV AM), quit, subsequently failed to achieve anything in the US where his ego sent him to make his fortune, turned or returned to excessive drink. After 2 years of sparse/vague employment, decided to be a Liberal politician. Quote: " A few months after winning his St. John’s-area seat, Mr. O’Regan entered a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism....."

Quote: "Now, Mr. O’Regan said he draws on his own personal struggles to relate to the 130,000 or so clients of Veterans Affairs....."

Pathetic.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2018, 11:34:07 »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/service-dogs-ptsd-standards-1.4625484

Plan to give service dogs to PTSD veterans rocked by federal agency's decision to pull out - Murray Brewster · CBC · 18 Apr 18
Canadian General Standards Board won't develop a nationwide code for training service dogs

The future of the federal government's bid to pair veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with service dogs was thrown into doubt Wednesday by the unexpected decision of a federal regulating agency to pull out of the project. The Canadian General Standards Board announced it will not develop a nationwide code of acceptable training and behavioural standards for the animals.

The little-known agency delivered the news in a letter to at least two of the organizations involved in the psychiatric service dog program. A copy of the letter was obtained by CBC News. The board did not provide any reasons and only said the decision was made "after careful consideration." Having an acceptable national standard was one of the conditions set down for turning a federal pilot program into a permanent fixture at Veterans Affairs Canada. A spokesman for the Veterans Affairs minister said the board was unable to reach a "consensus."

And while it is not going to develop a national standard for all service dogs, the department will move forward with its own rules for psychiatric service dogs, said Alex Wellstead in an email. That provides little reassurance for the groups that have tried for five years to convince the federal government to adopt this approach for troops suffering from the emotional aftermath of the Afghan war and other conflicts.

"We were quite shocked" by the decision, said Brad White, national executive director of The Royal Canadian Legion. "We were really close to having a set of guidelines." Phil Ralph, the national program director for Wounded Warriors Canada, was equally dismayed and said it "absolutely introduces uncertainty" into next steps by the federal government. Both organizations sponsor separate service dog programs and have set down their own guidelines, based upon best practices in other jurisdictions.

It is crucial there be some kind of national standard, said White. "I will hold to them to account that we are going to achieve some kind of standard," he said, because without one "I've a real concern that some veterans may not have an appropriately trained animal that may be harmful to them at some point in their rehabilitation." Wellstead suggested the government shares that concern and intends to forge ahead sometime later this year. "We're working to put in place standards, rapidly, so that veterans have access to properly trained psychiatric service dogs," he said.

The last federal budget introduced a tax credit for veterans using service dogs; Wellstead said that was an indication of the Liberal government's commitment and determination. In terms of research, policy and practice, Canada has been lagging well behind the U.S. in the adoption of 'comfort animals' for those suffering from PTSD. The first pilot program and study of the concept was launched by the Conservatives in 2015. A final report on the second phase of research, being led out of the University of Laval, is not expected until this summer.

Wellstead said the events on Wednesday will not affect either those ongoing efforts. Ralph said the implementation of the service dogs program has dragged on for an exceptionally long time and, for the moment, he's prepared to give the government the benefit of the doubt. "It all depends on what they come out with in their own standards," he said. "We have decided to lead in the area with our own program. It's pretty obvious what the standards will have to look like and if the government matches what we've put out there, we'll be very happy."
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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #77 on: May 03, 2018, 09:52:49 »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-jobs-placement-program-1.4645674

Job placement program for veterans was a flop, audit finds
More than 300 vets applied for cost coverage. Only 40 got paid

Only a little more than three dozen ex-soldiers were reimbursed over a two-year period by the federal government under a highly-publicized program meant to help them find post-military jobs, says an internal Department of Veterans Affairs audit.

More at link.
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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #78 on: May 03, 2018, 12:48:07 »
I can attest that I was one of those who got reimbursed for resume writing assistance and that I am still looking for a full-time job 5 years later.
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Offline Teager

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #79 on: May 04, 2018, 09:43:58 »
I can attest that I was one of those who got reimbursed for resume writing assistance and that I am still looking for a full-time job 5 years later.

Do you think you will try the new program they are putting in place? If so let us know what you think and the quality of jobs or the amount of hoops.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #80 on: May 04, 2018, 10:12:00 »
http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1567838-video-game-company-relocates-headquarters-to-sydney

Video game company relocates headquarters to Sydney - CHRIS SHANNON CAPE BRETON POST - 3 May 18
Cold Furnace Studios, started in New Brunswick, is currently developing first title

Photo Caption: Mark Wheeler, CEO and chief military adviser of Cold Furnace Studios, and Lori Shepherd, the studios’ chief creative officer, both moved to Cape Breton last week to run the company’s corporate office in Sydney. (CHRIS SHANNON / Cape Breton Post)


Mark Wheeler, CEO and chief military adviser of Cold Furnace Studios, and Lori Shepherd, the studios’ chief creative officer, both moved to Cape Breton last week to run the company’s corporate office in Sydney. (CHRIS SHANNON / Cape Breton Post)
SYDNEY — A gaming developer who helps Canadian Forces personnel integrate into a career post-military has relocated his company to Cape Breton.

Cold Furnace Studios, originally based in Fredericton, officially landed in Sydney last week. So far, the studio’s CEO Mark Wheeler and chief creative officer Lori Shepherd have made the move to the island. Wheeler, who’s originally from Halifax, called Cape Breton “beautiful, harsh and rustic,” a nod to the island’s scenery and wild swings in weather conditions.

Describing himself as a soldier and avid gamer, Wheeler served as an airborne gunner in the Canadian Forces and has been deployed on multiple tours to Afghanistan and the Balkans. He has 25 years in the army and currently serves as a combat arms warrant officer.

“I’ve always been interested in video games and who wouldn’t want to do that for a living?” he said. Although still employed with the military, Wheeler is preparing for his career transition to the gaming industry full time. As it stands now, he serves as the studio’s chief military adviser as his team works on its first video game title, Atrocity: Field of Hands.

There are several current and former military personnel on staff at Cold Furnace Studios. They all work remotely from various locations in North America and Europe, Wheeler said, but he also sees the military community in Cape Breton as possibly having a role to play in his company. He said the reason for hiring military advisers to his team is simple: “In the industry, most game companies don’t have an inherent in-house capability of military advisement. It’s something that they have to farm out or contract out,” he said.

“Because we’re focused on hiring veterans, we have that ability built in. Right now, in the production of our current title, we’re doing really well with having those advisers be able to help out with the developers, programmers, designers, as well as the artists, for realism purposes.” Through Veterans Affairs Canada, the company is registered with the rehabilitation services and vocational assistance program. It assists veterans to reintegrate into the civilian workforce before retiring or being medically released from the Canadian Forces. It allows military personnel to develop skills they’ll need to pursue their second career, Wheeler said.

When it comes to being as authentic as possible, using the proper military terminology, vehicles, uniforms, acrobatic moves and holds, and how weapons react in the real world are extremely important to launching a successful video game. Military advisers can explain small-unit tactics to developers to plan movement of enemy artificial intelligence in the game. And Wheeler’s team also spends time at the firing range to understand the handling and mechanics of a wide range of weapons. For example, the adviser can provide accuracy in how a firearm would react in a scene with a single person active shooter, said Wheeler. “How does the physics work, how is it affected by errors as opposed to most video games where it’s a laser beam effect.”

The other component to the business is consulting work with other companies in the entertainment industry seeking military expertise, specifically in historical and current warfare situations. For now, Wheeler doesn’t expect other members of his team to move to Cape Breton. Because the work can be done anywhere, he and Shepherd are working out of their home and are not worried in the short term about finding office space. Nova Scotia Business Inc. assisted with the move by explaining how to relocate employees to the province, provided access to funding partners, and the agency connected the duo to local game developers, Shepherd said.

There was no funding provided by NSBI, but it did explain the province offers a digital media tax credit which allows Nova Scotia companies to claim 25 per cent of total expenditures or 50 per cent of eligible labour expenditures. “(NSBI staff) helped the company with an overall compelling story about Cape Breton’s location and lifestyle advantages that are appealing to workers in this industry. All these are intended to help Cold Furnace when it comes time for recruitment,” NSBI spokesperson Emily Neil said in a statement.

Wheeler hopes the long-term investment pays off when his game is ready for launch sometime in either 2019 or 2020.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #81 on: July 31, 2018, 09:49:20 »
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-veterans-ombudsman-says-ottawa-is-ignoring-key-recommendations-making/

Veterans Ombudsman says Ottawa is ignoring key recommendations, making vets wait to have treatments covered - GLORIA GALLOWAY - UPDATED JULY 30, 2018

Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman says significant gaps remain in the financial security promised to men and women who retire from the Canadian Armed Forces, especially those who leave with a service-related injury. Guy Parent, who has served as ombudsman for nearly eight years, says successive governments have made real improvements to the way veterans are compensated since the New Veterans Charter replaced the old Pension Act in 2006. Ottawa, he said, has taken action on 46 of the 64 recommendations made by his office to address systemic problems at the Veterans Affairs department.

But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively.

“People may go a year without accessing treatment,” Mr. Parent said on Monday in a telephone interview. "Some of them may be in deteriorating health status because they don’t access treatment because they have to pay out of their own pocket.” That was not the case under the old Pension Act, he said. Before 2006, veterans with service-related injuries were reimbursed for their medical expenses from the time they applied for coverage.

Veterans Affairs says it does, in fact, authorize and reimburse rehabilitation benefits – notably on mental-health treatment – before a claim can be adjudicated. But the ombudsman’s office says the criteria for those payments is narrow. First, not all vets are eligible for rehabilitation. And second, only conditions that are deemed to be a barrier to rehabilitation are eligible for coverage before a claim is approved by Veterans Affairs.

If, for instance, a veteran who falls under the New Veterans Charter, which is now called the Veterans Well-being Act, has a back condition and needs physiotherapy, the ombudsman’s office says those costs will not be paid by the government until Veterans Affairs gives the green light, and there is no retroactive reimbursement.

Veterans Affairs pointed out that the ombudsman’s report card shows progress has been made in many areas. “Is there more to do? Yes, and that’s why we remain focused on the outstanding items in the mandate letter” that was given by the Prime Minister to Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan, said Alex Wellstead, a spokesman for Mr. O’Regan. “While we appreciate the work [Mr. Parent] does and give [his recommendations] every consideration, we also take into account voices from across the spectrum of the veteran community, especially veterans and their families, when making our priorities.”

The ombudsman’s report card points out a number of his recommendations that have been ignored, many related to financial security.
For instance, the military pays a death benefit to spouses and dependent children of members who die of a service-related injury or illness. But Mr. Parent said those benefits should also be available to the extended families of soldiers, sailors and aviators who die without a spouse or common-law partner and who have no offspring. “With Afghanistan, we have the experience of young members, victims of the conflict, who were looked after by siblings or parents and, in their case, if their loss of life was due to service, their death benefit is just lost,” Mr. Parent said. “We recommend that single members who are injured be allowed to identify some beneficiary.”

On dental benefits, members who retire after serving for 10 years have the option of joining the public-service dental plan. But if a veteran must leave the military before that time, they lose those dental benefits. And that can be especially hard on someone with young children who is forced out of the military because of an injury, Mr. Parent said.The Veterans Affairs department says it does not have any control over the public-service dental benefits and it is the military that required a decade of service before a retiring member is eligible for that plan.


Comments from readers at link.

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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #82 on: July 31, 2018, 10:54:13 »
"But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively."

I am confused by this statement, between Provincial health care, Veterans Public Service Health Care Plan and OSI clinics I do not know what type of treatment/therapy they would be foregoing?  Any suggestions?
The grand essentials of happiness: something to do, something to love, something to hope for.  Allan K. Chalmers

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #83 on: July 31, 2018, 10:55:22 »
The report:

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/reports/statistics-facts/2018-report-card

Status of Veterans Ombudsman Recommendations by Theme 2008-2018


https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/is-the-government-making-enough-progress-for-veterans-and-their-families-check-out-the-veterans-ombudsmans-2018-report-card-689624501.html

Is the Government Making Enough Progress for Veterans and Their Families? Check out the Veterans Ombudsman's 2018 Report Card - Veterans Ombudsman

OTTAWA, July 31, 2018 /CNW/ - Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent today released his 2018 Report Card on the government's response to 10 years of recommendations made by his Office. These evidence-based recommendations are aimed at improving services and support for Veterans and their families and originate in the numerous reports that the Office has released during that time span.

"Since my 2017 status update, some progress has been made," said Mr. Parent.  "To date, the Government has addressed, in some way, 46 of my recommendations, leaving 18 unresolved. That gives a final score of 46/64 or 72% of recommendations actioned."

From the Veterans Ombudsman's perspective, among the most important of these 18 recommendations are the following:

 - Ensure that the reimbursement of treatment expenses under the Veterans Well-being Act is retroactive to the date of the original application, as it is under the Pension Act.
 - Amend the Veterans Well-being Act to permit a single Canadian Armed Forces member with no dependent children to designate a family member to apply for and receive the Death Benefit.
 - Provide the same access to the Treasury Board Pensioner Dental Service Plan as provided by VAC under the Public Service Health Care Plan.

"I am committed to advocating for the fair treatment of all Veterans and their families. I work to ensure that adequate benefits are available, that they are sufficient to meet needs, and that benefits are quickly and easily accessible.  I will follow the government's actions closely on the remaining recommendations and keep you informed."



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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #84 on: July 31, 2018, 12:44:19 »
"But, Mr. Parent said in a report card to be released on Tuesday – a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail – there are still long-standing issues that create significant hardships for former members of the armed forces. At the top of the list, he said, is the fact that some injured veterans are forgoing treatment in the first months after their retirement because the costs are not paid by the Veterans Affairs department until the therapy has been approved by bureaucrats. The decisions can take up to 50 weeks, he said, and the medical services are not covered retroactively."

I am confused by this statement, between Provincial health care, Veterans Public Service Health Care Plan and OSI clinics I do not know what type of treatment/therapy they would be foregoing?  Any suggestions?

Medical cannabis for one. It takes VAC and Blue Cross forever. The typical Vet can't afford it out of pocket. You can get retroactive payment for it, but only if you get approval. If you dont, you're on the hook.
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Offline Wookilar

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #85 on: August 12, 2018, 11:26:17 »
Also, wrt the standard government health care plan, the $$ amounts covered for psychologists/physio/osteo etc. etc. run out pretty quick. If your injuries are not yet "pensioned" by the time of your release, then you will be paying out of pocket for everything not covered by provincial health care. In NS, physio and osteo are not covered.

And, not everyone has reasonable access to an OSI clinic. They wanted me to drive to the OSI clinic in Fredericton (6 hours one-way) as opposed to the OSI clinic in Halifax (1 1/2 hour one-way) because Halifax did not (at the time) have anyone that could write prescriptions. I do not know if that is still the case as I told them to go f#$% their hat.

Note: Not sure if this is common knowledge, the OSI Clinics are NOT operated by VAC. Fredericton and Halifax, at least, are operated by Horizon Health. They are just a contractor.
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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #86 on: August 12, 2018, 17:57:05 »
Note: Not sure if this is common knowledge, the OSI Clinics are NOT operated by VAC. Fredericton and Halifax, at least, are operated by Horizon Health. They are just a contractor.

There are OSI clinics and satellite OSI clinics: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/mental-health/understanding-mental-health/clinics  Who pays the bills, be it VAC or CAF/DND. determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND/CAF on a cost-recovery basis. I would not call Horizon Health or Royal Ottawa Hospital 'contractors', I would call me them host facilities, as they may also have CAF or VAC funded providers working on site.

The OTSSC and OSI clinics in Ottawa are located at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.  The Royal Ottawa Hospital hires staff to fill the jobs at the OSI Satellite Clinic in Kingston.  Who pays the bills VAC or CAF/DND determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND on a cost-recovery basis. 

For anyone still serving who has been authorized access to VAC-approved/funded treatments like chiro or massage therapy, theie treatment costs are billed back to DND/CAF through Medavie Blue Cross.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 18:01:09 by Simian Turner »
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Offline upandatom

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #87 on: August 12, 2018, 22:15:41 »
There are OSI clinics and satellite OSI clinics: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/mental-health/understanding-mental-health/clinics  Who pays the bills, be it VAC or CAF/DND. determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND/CAF on a cost-recovery basis. I would not call Horizon Health or Royal Ottawa Hospital 'contractors', I would call me them host facilities, as they may also have CAF or VAC funded providers working on site.

The OTSSC and OSI clinics in Ottawa are located at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.  The Royal Ottawa Hospital hires staff to fill the jobs at the OSI Satellite Clinic in Kingston.  Who pays the bills VAC or CAF/DND determines whether it is a labelled as an OSI or OTSSC.  The VAC clinics that also serve CAF soldiers bill DND on a cost-recovery basis. 

For anyone still serving who has been authorized access to VAC-approved/funded treatments like chiro or massage therapy, theie treatment costs are billed back to DND/CAF through Medavie Blue Cross.

That's interesting because I was told the opposite in late 2014 and early 2015 that I was not eligible for the treatment that it had to go through a DND option, and that chiro was not eligible in the CAF. I did have treatment available through VAC but was told no, DND pays it, they chose.
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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2018, 00:09:49 »
They wanted me to drive to the OSI clinic in Fredericton (6 hours one-way) as opposed to the OSI clinic in Halifax (1 1/2 hour one-way) because Halifax did not (at the time) have anyone that could write prescriptions. I do not know if that is still the case as I told them to go f#$% their hat.

If more people follow your lead, then services will improve.  :nod:
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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2018, 09:24:26 »
That's interesting because I was told the opposite in late 2014 and early 2015 that I was not eligible for the treatment that it had to go through a DND option, and that chiro was not eligible in the CAF. I did have treatment available through VAC but was told no, DND pays it, they chose.

I would ask again.  I know at least one clinic that has paid $16K+ for chiro so far this year and this was not incurred in previous years.
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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #90 on: August 16, 2018, 11:02:51 »
I betting the Minister will just happen to appear at events in Kelowna that conclude on Saturday, 18 Aug.


Public Service Announcement - Veterans Town Hall - Pension for Life (August 20, 2018)

Veterans Affairs Canada - Aug 15, 2018, 16:00 ET
   
KELOWNA, BC, Aug. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, invites Veterans and their families to participate in a Veterans Town Hall on Monday August 20 at 5:30 p.m. (PDT) at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #26 (1380 Bertram Street, Kelowna).

Veterans and their families will have the opportunity to hear more and ask questions about Pension for Life, and other Veterans Affairs Canada benefits and services, including new benefits which launched on April 1, 2018.

If you are interested in attending, please click here to register for the event. https://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairsCanada/photos/a.1438390596409983.1073741828.1437398476509195/2116180535297649/?type=1&theater

Information about the Town Hall can also be found on the Veterans Affairs Canada Facebook page. All are welcome.

Please share this information.

Location:

Royal Canadian Legion Branch #26
1380 Bertram Street, Kelowna, BC

Time: 5:30 p.m. (PDT)

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 11:36:39 by Rifleman62 »
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #91 on: September 18, 2018, 08:13:41 »
https://globalnews.ca/news/4447716/trudeau-liberals-leave-372m-meant-for-veterans-unspent/    (Videos at Link)

EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau Liberals leave $372M meant to help veterans unspent since taking office - updated - 17 Sep 18

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government are doing what they damned Stephen Harper’s Conservatives for doing: leaving hundreds millions of dollars unspent at the Department of Veterans Affairs. David Akin reports.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has left more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families unspent since taking office in November 2015, Global News has learned. The news comes seven months after an Edmonton town hall at which Trudeau publicly admonished some veterans groups fighting the government for improved benefits, saying they were “asking for more than we are able to give right now.”

WATCH: Before becoming prime minister, Justin Trudeau slammed Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for leaving funding for veterans unspent

Yet according to documents obtained by Global News, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VAC) – under Trudeau’s leadership – has failed to spend all the money given to it in each of the past three years – something Trudeau and many other Liberals slammed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for when they were still in office. “[The Conservatives] fired hundreds of front line veteran support staff, they closed nine local service offices, making it harder and harder for veterans to get the support they so badly need,” said then Liberal leader Justin Trudeau at a veteran-themed campaign stop in August 2015. “They left unspent more than $1 billion that Parliament allocated for veteran support. Canadians know that this is wrong. A government led by me would make it right.”

But since toppling Harper and the Conservatives, Trudeau’s government has continued this trend. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, Trudeau’s first year in office, the Liberals left $80.9 million on the books at VAC. They then left another $143 million unspent in 2017 and $148.6 in 2018. Broken down annually, the unspent funds for vets under Trudeau’s leadership represented 2.2 per cent of VAC’s overall budget in 2016, 3.7 per cent in 2017 and 3.0 per cent in 2018.

ARCHIVE: Liberal Ralph Goodale says Conservatives ‘pocketed the cash’ meant for veterans


The department explains these discrepancies by saying funding at VAC is “demand driven,” meaning any veteran entitled to services will receive them, but if money is left over at the end of the year its because they “overestimated” demand. “Lapsed funding does not result in anyone receiving less than they should. It is simply an administrative process,” said Martin Magnan, a spokesperson for Veteran Affairs.

Liberals defend record

Seamus O’Regan, the current Minister of Veteran Affairs, is defending the Liberals’ record, saying there’s been “no stealing” from veterans under Trudeau’s leadership. “Much of what we do, in fact, about $4 billion of what we do, is statutory funding,” O’Regan said. “If something happens it means the government must find the money. And that obviously isn’t necessarily something you would find in the accounting books.” Since taking power, O’Regan says the Liberals have re-opened veteran affairs offices closed by the Conservatives, re-hired hundreds of front-line staff, improved benefits and increased overall spending for veterans by about $10 billion. The government has also committed an additional $42 million to help reduce the backlog of those waiting for disability benefits, he said. “There’s no stealing from veterans here,” O’Regan said. “All I can tell you, very simply, is we run the department on an extremely tight budget,” he said.

Pot calling the kettle black, say critics
Gord Johns, the NDP’s veteran affairs critic, provided Global News with the lapsed-funding figures for 2016 and 2017. He says it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Conservative or Liberal government in power, failing to spend money intended for veterans and their families is “immoral” and contrary to the will of Parliament. “When we allocate money for veterans we expect that that money is going to get spent,” Johns said. “These are people that put their lives on the line, made the ultimate sacrifice.”

WATCH: NDP Critic says is ‘immoral’ to leave funding for veterans unspent


While recognizing some money could always go unspent in any budget, the amount of funding meant for veterans that Conservatives and Liberals have left on the table is “unacceptable,” he says. “Just last year, where they didn’t spend $143 million, they seemed to find $37 million to fight veterans for the benefits they’re asking for… This is a big problem,” Johns said.

Meanwhile, Phil McColeman, Conservative veteran affairs critic, says this sort of “staggering hypocrisy” cannot go unchecked. And while O’Regan’s explanation may hold true in certain circumstances, he says, it’s “beyond belief” that Trudeau would publicly criticize the Conservatives for something and then do the same thing after being elected. “Where it becomes unacceptable is when we have the prime minister tell a veteran to his face that Canada does not have enough to give,” he said. “That’s the context.”

-With files from David Akin. © 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #92 on: September 18, 2018, 09:20:08 »
Crickets from those ABC Vets groups... strange...
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Offline cowboy628

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #93 on: September 18, 2018, 23:51:55 »
What are they going to say, WE WERE WRONG . Lol. Let's stay on topic before we get in trouble.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #94 on: September 19, 2018, 06:33:17 »
$372 million will go a long way towards lawyer fees to fight vets in court.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #95 on: September 20, 2018, 14:57:06 »
Quote
An extensive study commissioned by Ottawa has determined service dogs can help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. But the Trudeau Liberals won't commit to funding the animals, and veterans are demanding to know why.



https://globalnews.ca/news/4463518/veterans-with-ptsd-denied-service-dogs-despite-positive-study/


That 372 million could buy almost 25'000 service dogs.
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Offline standingdown

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #96 on: September 20, 2018, 15:37:37 »
Service dogs are asking more than he can give us right now...


Offline Brihard

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #97 on: September 20, 2018, 15:40:59 »
Incidentally just the other day invitations went out for the next VAC stakeholders summit in Ottawa in October. It looks like the Mental Health Advisory Group at least still exists and is still being offered a seat at the table. Along with a couple of 'update' items (MH centre of excellence suicide action plan and tracking) I'm going to push to see the questions of service dogs raised, particularly in light of the new study that (I think contrary to VAC's expectations) validates psychiatric service dogs. In conjunction with some quality foreign research (the Dutch are really on the ball) that is an issue that should be getting pushed.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #98 on: October 10, 2018, 13:21:32 »
Could go here or VAC Wait Times.

The $42 million over two years, incl more staff,  has not solved the problem. Changing the service standard from 16 weeks to i.e. 30 weeks will probably just mean two years from now it will go from 30 weeks to i.e. 42 weeks. The union, of course, wants to " investing more resources" which means more people, more dues, more power.

Meantime the Second World War/Korea Vets are diminishing, Afghanistan Vet claims may be steadying. Obviously there is something disastrously wrong with the method VAC uses to process claims.

VAC could require a mandatory 12 hour work day/5 days a week until the backlog is cleared as long as it is an efficient work week which, who knows, if there is one now.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-ottawa-looking-at-longer-deadlines-for-answering-veterans-requests/

Ottawa looking at longer deadlines for answering veterans’ requests for service - 9 Oct 18

The federal government is looking to extend the amount of time that officials have to respond to veterans seeking various different types of benefits and support for their service-related injuries. The move follows years of criticism after Veterans Affairs Canada consistently forced former service members to wait months longer than promised to access support – or even find out whether they qualify. Those delays have been found to add further stress and frustration on injured veterans as they wait for medical or financial assistance.

Veterans Affairs Canada says it wants to give veterans a more “realistic” idea of when they can expect to hear back when they request assistance, and that many of the new timelines will be rolled out before the end of the fiscal year. But Virginia Vaillancourt, acting national president of the Union of Veterans Employees, said the solution isn’t to make veterans wait longer – it is investing more resources to keep them from having to wait in the first place. “With more staff in the office, it means that the veterans are actually going to get the service, the benefits and the care that they deserve – and that the government has promised them,” Ms. Vaillancourt said. “Whether you’re telling them it’s going to be eight weeks or 24 weeks, they still have that stress of waiting and not knowing if they will be approved for services and benefits.”

Veterans Affairs has struggled to provide timely benefits and support to former service members for years, in part because of Conservative-era budget cuts and layoffs from which the department still hasn’t fully recovered. Compounding the problem has been a sharp increase in demand for services in recent years, which has created a backlog of applications for disability benefits and slowed response times in the provision of support. The Trudeau Liberals promised during the last election to fix the problem by hiring more staff, and most recently committed $42-million over two years to address a backlog of applications for disability benefits that had reached 29,000 files.

But performance continues to lag; while injured veterans are told they can expect to know within 16 weeks whether they simply qualify for disability benefits, ombudsman Guy Parent found the average wait remains 23 to 29 weeks. The department has also consistently exceeded its own targets when it comes to providing veterans with quick access to long-term care, career training services, income-replacement benefits and rehabilitation services. And it has routinely failed to quickly respond to veterans’ phone calls within two minutes.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under Access to Information show officials have taken a close look at changing when the clock starts running on requests for some types of services – and extending the promised delivery times outright in others. A more realistic timeline than the current 16-week target for approving applications for disability benefits would be between 20 and 30 weeks, officials say in the documents, depending on the applicant’s medical conditions.

Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Emily Gauthier confirmed in an e-mail that the department is revising the timelines for various services, which she said was “to provide realistic timeframes for veterans and others we serve.” The department “continues to strive to provide faster, more efficient, higher-quality service,” she added. “We will review our service standards on a yearly basis and revise them when we’ve made significant improvements to our actual performance.” Mr. Parent indicated last month that he supported providing veterans with a more realistic assessment of when they can expect to hear from the department, which would ease their stress and frustration at being forced to wait.

But Ms. Vaillancourt disagreed with that assessment, saying veterans are applying for support because they require financial or medical assistance and that simply telling them that they can expect to wait longer won’t help address their needs. Afghan veteran Aaron Bedard, who led a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge against the government over lifetime disability pensions, blasted the department’s plan to ease its service targets, calling it a “step backwards.”

While providing timely access can be a challenge when it comes to veterans, it should always be a priority, said Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, which focuses on helping former service members with mental-health injuries.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure when an ill or injured member of the Canadian Armed Forces reaches out to access the help they deserve, that the access is timely,” Mr. Maxwell said. “That’s got to be the objective always.”
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: VAC in the News
« Reply #99 on: October 10, 2018, 13:33:35 »
Absolutely priceless.

They can't/ won't clear the backlog of 16 week waits. So their solution is to make it 30 weeks. Oh look, no backlog now. ::)

Even at 30 weeks, I'm currently 3 weeks overdue. 33 weeks behind if we follow the 16 week turnaround.
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