The issue of budget cuts and office closures from Veterans Affairs Canada has come to the forefront in the news this week. However, the issue is far from new and the Legion has been on it since Day 1. Since Veterans Affairs Canada first announced budget cuts in 2011, the Legion has been proactively and persistently advocating on Veterans’ behalf to ensure their care would not be compromised.
The following is a quick overview of key activities to date.
- The Legion made 4 appearances before government committees between 2010 and 2013, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, the Senate Committee and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. In each of these, the Legion conveyed our concerns on proposed and approved budget cuts and stated our position and recommendations to ensure continued care.
- The Legion Veterans, Service and Seniors (VSS) Committee brought forth concerns and recommendations regarding the VAC District Office closures 4 times between 2012 and 2013. The VSS Committee is mandated with ensuring that still serving Canadian Forces members, Veterans, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, spouses and dependants receive the full benefit of programs and services delivered through Veterans Affairs Canada. The VSS Committee continues to consult with government officials, and advocate for change through the Legion resolutions process, Parliamentary and Senate briefings, and other means.
- The Dominion President issued statements to Veterans Affairs Canada on the cuts and office closures 3 times between 2011 and 2013 at both VAC Deputy Minister meetings and a bilateral meeting between VAC and the Legion.
- The Legion released statements to the public on the budget cuts and VAC District Office Closures 5 times to ensure our position was understood. Here’s a sample of some of the statements made:
In addition to these formal opportunities to present the Legion’s position and recommendations, we take every opportunity informally to present our concerns and seek a resolution.
Stay tuned… we will be providing more detail on these activities early next week.