HomePoliticsVeteran lives at stake with new rehab contract, feds warned

Veteran lives at stake with new rehab contract, feds warned


Case managers at Veterans Affairs Canada are warning that lives might be at stake as the federal government presses forward with plans to vary the best way bodily and psychological rehabilitation providers are supplied to in poor health and injured ex-soldiers.

The warnings have been delivered in emotional testimony earlier than the House of Commons veterans affairs committee Monday, the place three case managers stated they and their purchasers weren’t prepared for the deliberate adjustments.

“The unwell veteran is who we are going to lose and who will fall through the cracks,” Angela Aultman stated as she fought again tears. “This is where lives are at stake. And this is what keeps me up at night.”

The problem revolves round a $570-million contract not too long ago awarded to an out of doors group, Partners in Canadian Veterans Rehabilitation Services, to supply bodily and psychological assist providers for Canada’s most at-risk veterans.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay and departmental officers have defended the contract as vital to enhancing providers for former service members struggling with service-related accidents and diseases.

That contains easing the burden on Veterans Affairs case managers, most of whom proceed to battle with extreme caseloads regardless of repeated guarantees from the Liberal authorities since 2015 to handle the issue.

Even although the contract with PCVRS is scheduled to take impact Tuesday, the case managers informed committee members that neither they nor their purchasers had been correctly educated or ready for the transition.

“Since June, we have asked questions about the implementation of the new contract only to be told that this information is forthcoming,” stated Amanda Logan, who can be president of the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees native in Saint John, N.B.

“We have not been properly trained on this new rehabilitation contract. It is very challenging to know what to share with our veterans to prepare them for these changes when we do not know ourselves.”

All three case managers have been testifying as members of UVAE, which has known as for MacAulay’s resignation.

Retired grasp corporal Kelly Carter, one in all 15,000 veterans at the moment working with a case supervisor to recuperate from his accidents and ease the transition to post-military life, testified that he was additionally at midnight about what the contract means for him.

“We have not been consulted at all on this change,” Carter stated. “I am very deeply concerned that this has not been discussed, rolled out or implemented properly. And when the switch turns to ‘on,’ it may become an utter failure.”

The division has stated it consulted with case managers earlier than and after the contract with PCVRS was awarded, and that it’ll free them from some administrative duties to allow them to spend extra time working immediately with veterans.

Officials have additionally stated it is not going to result in a discount within the variety of case managers employed by the division.

Veterans Affairs at the moment employs about 475 case managers. That contains round 50 who’ve been employed on short-term contracts to assist scale back the general caseload, and almost 100 who’re off on sick depart or in any other case not working.

The three case managers didn’t mince phrases as they mentioned the big variety of veterans assigned to them, with every stating that they’re typically pressured to juggle 40 or extra information regardless of repeated Liberal guarantees to scale back the common caseload to 25 to 1.

“With upwards of 40 files, our process becomes diluted and we are more susceptible to making mistakes,” Logan stated.

“This has consequences on our health and well-being. Quite frankly, it keeps us up at night. We worry if something has been missed, and what kind of impact that could have on our veterans and their families.”

The staff additionally expressed issues the new contract would result in an eventual discount within the position and variety of case managers within the division whereas including one other layer of forms with which in poor health and injured veterans should contend.

“Privatizing these services will only serve to further isolate our veterans from their government, their community, and from the public service employees who have their best interests at heart,” stated case supervisor Whitney McSheffery.

“I’m left with a feeling that the department is using this contract to further distance themselves from the veterans and their families.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 21, 2022.



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