Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

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Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by 6608 on Thu 28 Apr 2016, 23:39

Article from the Guardian...............

Department of Veterans Affairs

A few weeks ago, The Guardian published an editorial asking why many senior level management jobs at Veterans Affairs headquarters in Charlottetown are apparently being filled by people in Ottawa. It's curious the department hasn't responded, nor has an inquiry with VAC communications been answered. We can only conclude that senior level jobs are in fact moving to Ottawa.

Kent Hehr, the new minister of Veterans Affairs, and all of his senior level team recently assembled in Charlottetown for meetings. Neither the minister nor any of his senior staff made any public appearances while on P.E.I.

Why the secrecy? Why was there no public comment by Mr. Hehr about the future of Veterans Affairs? Why was there no effort to allay fears being raised about downsizing? Was there a meeting with our premier, city mayor or MPs to reinforce that all is well at VAC? Why did the minister avoid media questions?

Maybe there is a reason. It appears that Mr. Hehr and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould recently entered into an agreement to dismantle the VAC stand-alone, legal services unit - in existence since the department was formed. It appears they agreed to transfer responsibility for providing VAC legal services to a federal department in Ottawa - Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

A Guardian inquiry on this transfer has gone unanswered. New lawyers from Ottawa are taking calls and attending meetings that used to be handled by lawyers working in Charlottetown. Two senior lawyer positions at VAC are now held by lawyers who live and work in Ottawa.

The trend seems clear. First, senior management jobs quietly migrate to Ottawa; then IT Services and the entire HR division are relocated to Miramichi, N.B.; and now legal services is dismantled. The era of blaming the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper is over. The deserving finger is being pointed at the new Liberal government and Mr. Hehr.

The type of law that lawyers at ESDC practice is quite different from what Veterans Affairs lawyers would practice. Does this change in dealing with veterans and VAC legal issues mean they will be handled like EI claims - very litigious and aggressive?

Why would Mr. Hehr agree to surrender in-house legal services to ESDC, that serves more than a dozen other federal departments and has an unknown skill set for the needs of veterans. Did the two ministers inform fellow cabinet minister Lawrence MacAulay? Or the justice minister's own parliamentary secretary Sean Casey, the MP for Charlottetown?

Three major VAC units have been taken over by ESDC, which is responsible for paying benefits, Employment Insurance, Age Security, CPP and more. While VAC still pays disability pensions and benefits, doesn't it seem reasonable that its entire benefit payment component is the next to go?

What would be left here - a small department that could easily be absorbed by national defence? ESDC has no commitment to veterans or loyalty to Islanders. The federal government appears to be shirking its obligations to P.E.I. and to veterans. And no one seems to care.


http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/section/2016-04-28/article-4511559/Downsizing-at-Department-of-Veterans-Affairs-Charlottetown%3F/1







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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Teentitan on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 01:10

This is not good. The rumors, speculation and outrage of Charlottetown residents is going to be crazy if Mr. Hehr remains silent.
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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Dannypaj on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 05:57

and there is absolutely nothing we can do.  The institution and the back room people have no idea what stress this causes and reading newspaper articles makes it worst.
Stand on guard for they, my Ass!
Take orders from the top! From the same guys that pad their pockets!
Let me see a politician so I can make them feel as unease as I feel as my days tick by.
SOBs, I do not like liars and it seems to me that they outright lied to us Veterans.
The old boys club in Ottawa, I know how it works, I guarded politicians and I would of risked my life for one, but from what I know now, never....crock of brain washing people crap and their speeches of how great of a Nation we are.
The back in forth showcase volley in Parliaments means Jack!
I would never OF VOTED knowing politicians were all a bunch of corrupt liars voting on raises and refugees, but yet keep stepping on that privates (soldiers) back !
It hurts every day and I never forget the pain I am in for my country.
The arrogance of the Liberal SELFIE Government is out of hand.
Who is going to take the helm? Apparently they think we are a joke!
The Veteran's file is made up of real people and behind those case number decisions are real families.
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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 06:18

If this is true , where is the transparency ?

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Dannypaj on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 06:45

Trooper, the best way for us to find transparency is through looking at who is saying what and where it is coming from and how that information is being obtained and why is it being shared little at a time, don't forget VAC has an educated media relations department, hence cooling down the hen house.
Maybe they are making it easier, who knows?
This is why I am frustrated
I see my distant past roommate on Facebook in his mess kit. Now he is a W.O and has a chest full of medals, I, an injured body and mind full of envy and jealousy seeing what I could of been to what I am now due to my injuries.
Yet! I am still fighting with VAC for fair compensation, makes me ANGRY, yes, can things be better, yes!
They kept me in limbo for my life and have treated me like garbage that should of been taking to curb and gotten rid of along time ago, but yet I am still here as a thorn in their side as I sit on no ones side lines.
DND+VAC merging, why is my question?
They have all my records and not the musical ones

I lost a lot and would of given so much, for what?
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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 09:23

I remember I was posting this for years, NDHQ will take over VaC , it's coming , My old case worker was worried about their jobs years ago because of rumours like this. Bottom line this will save money, end of, it's always been about money! I find it too funny that for years a lot of these VAC employees treated veterans like crap and all of a sudden when their jobs are on the line , they love us again, lol, too much, I for one love the fact that VAC might be merged with DND because when DND says your disabled and need to be released how can VAC argue against giving you benefits , it's a good thing

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 09:25

I'd rather have a soldier, sailor or airman in uniform deciding my benefits than some civilian or insurance rep!

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 10:01

Navrat wrote:I'd rather have a soldier, sailor or airman in uniform deciding my benefits than some civilian or insurance rep!

Great comment Navrat, couldn't agree more.

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 10:21

I try meck. 1033, I try!

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Guest on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 11:00

To a certain point Navrat , there could be a flip side to this theory , if one is to solely rely on the forces be it medical staff to determine the extent or entitlement to benefits , the Veteran only stands one chance.

With the civilian actors in play , the Veteran has one more avenue to take to address their entitlements.
In other words if the med docs or release docs don't support any entitlements , the civilians be it doctors , specialist and VAC give the Veteran a chance to have their application looked at with an outside process making it a better or fairer playing field for all medically released Veterans.

I think that the civilians would be a better option for conditions that are progressing and for conditions that warrant consequential action.
And as stated above the civilians would give the Veteran a second option if you will , this I think works in the favor of medically released Veterans.

JMO

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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by Teentitan on Fri 29 Apr 2016, 11:34

This has nothing to do with VAC merging with DND. It's about the BPA moving to Ottawa.

The Libs are doing a lot of merging. PSAC is having problems with the new payroll system as it was merged with another gov't dept. The BPA moving to Ottawa to merge with EDSA is the Libs centralizing all legal gov't complaints/appeals into 1 department.

If anything this is the time for us vets to completely abolish VRAB by pushing Hehr for peer review of medical records (there is a proper name but I forget it at this time). Maybe, and I can't believe I'm saying this, Trudeau is trying to fix a problem that was created by a former Liberal gov't.....the creation of VRAB.

Another problem JT might be fixing is one of Father's greatest screwups is moving gov't departments all over Canada. The first one to be done was VAC and for some reason it stopped right there.

Oh and in no way would VAC and DND merge. The DND has enough problems of their own to have a whole department (read branch) of injured vets that can walk/wheel their way into a base HQ to see a clerk about their benefits. The optics would make healthy military members wonder why am I in uniform. Even worse a vet getting the run around sitting down and having a coffee with the boys. Yeah not gonna happen IMO.
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Re: Downsizing at Department of Veterans Affairs Charlottetown?

Post by 6608 on Tue 03 May 2016, 14:26

Veterans Affairs on P.E.I. to stay

Minister says federal government unwavering in support for department in Charlottetown
I can say with great conviction that the Government of Canada remains unwavering in its commitment and support to Veterans and to Prince Edward Island.

Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Charlottetown headquarters affords unique opportunities and advantages. We rely on an extremely talented pool of individuals, nation-wide, who all work hard to ensure the needs of Veterans and their families are being met. I am grateful for their commitment and hard work and I am proud of all they accomplish. I also understand the importance our headquarters in Charlottetown has on P.E.I.’s economy.

While the editorial entitled “Downsizing at VAC?” indicates that I did not make public appearances during my recent visit to the Island, I was fortunate enough to attend several such events. For example, I joined Premier MacLauchlan and Mayor Lee at the Charlottetown Cenotaph to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, I met with the students at Colonel Gray High School, and I had the opportunity to meet with my caucus colleague Wayne Easter.

Both March 22 and April 28 editorials indicate that VAC is moving senior management positions from Charlottetown to Ottawa. In fact, none of the 39 senior management positions located in Charlottetown have been transferred to Ottawa since I have been Minister.

Veterans Affairs Canada’s headquarters is and will continue to be in Charlottetown and I am firmly committed to a base number of full-time employees that will always exceed 1,000. In fact, the Department has recently hired approximately 185 additional staff across the country, as well as more than 50 staff in Charlottetown.

Canada’s Veterans and their families deserve our care, compassion and respect. Re-opening offices, including one in Charlottetown, and hiring new staff will provide better in-person services and care for the well-being of Veterans and their families.

While the Legal Services teams of VAC and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have recently merged in order to improve efficiencies and provide added flexibility for how resources are used, there has been no change to the size of the legal team in Charlottetown. These changes will have absolutely no impact on how Veterans receive services and benefits.

The editorial also mentions that Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR) functions have also been taken over by ESDC. This is not the case. While elements of both IT and HR in all Government of Canada departments have been consolidated to Shared Services Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada, respectively, VAC continues to have IT and HR Divisions in Charlottetown. During my recent visit to the Island, I met with these dedicated folks.

In addition, the editorial states that your inquiry to the Department went unanswered. After the Department received your request, the journalist was contacted by phone twice - messages were left but our calls were not returned. The Government of Canada is committed to openness and transparency and Veterans Affairs Canada responds to all media enquiries.

The federal government is not shirking its obligations to veterans or to P.E.I.

I share the passion that you show for Islanders and veterans. I look forward to a positive and productive dialogue with The Guardian. I will do my part to ensure that happens.


By Kent Hehr (guest opinion)


http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2016-05-03/article-4517160/Veterans-Affairs-on-P.E.I.-to-stay/1





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