Harassment Has No Place at Veterans Affairs Canada Bonuses for Harassers. Suffering for Workers.


February 1, 2021

“We have on-going and systemic harassment and far too many employees are getting injured. This has to stop.”

Virginia Vaillancourt National President Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees

The main union at Veterans Affairs Canada is calling for immediate action to address increasing harassment and deteriorating mental health among its employees. The Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees (UVAE) has been working for months trying to get management to address systemic issues at the department and according to union representatives, they have received little to no response.

UVAE surveyed its members this fall on their experience with harassment, discrimination and mental health concerns and found significant levels of problems with all three aspects. On harassment and discrimination, the number of complaints were far higher than reported in the Public Service Employee Survey and 48% of employees at Veterans Affairs Canada who were harassed or discriminated against said they were suffering mental health issues as a result of what had happened to them at work.

Even more disturbing in the survey results was the fact that 36% said that the harassment was on-going, despite the fact that they had made complaints to management.  Veterans Affairs Canada has a long history of rewarding bad behavior, says the Union, with the most senior offenders often being shuffled around from one job to another, instead of suffering any real consequences. Despite past assurances from the Department, this practice has not changed at all.

“This is completely unacceptable and is an example of how management protects their own when faced with a complaint from a worker. Employees are left to suffer serious psychological harm, often requiring long periods of leave with little to no support from the Employer, while the bullies are left to move on to the next victim.”

Virginia Vaillancourt National President Union of Veterans Affairs’ Employees

The union is publicly releasing the results of the membership survey because management has so far been reluctant to deal substantively with any of the underlying issues that is leading to this level of harassment and mental health issues at the workplace. They are also formulating a plan to help their members deal with the additional stress that these issues are causing at Veterans Affairs Canada.

“We would prefer to work in partnership with management to reduce the negative impact on employees who are working tirelessly to serve Canada’s Veterans, but we cannot wait forever to help employees who are suffering and to protect employees from harassment at work. We cannot provide effective assistance to Veterans and their families if we are just as psychologically injured”

Virginia Vaillancourt National President Union of Veterans Affairs’ Employees

Media Contacts

Mike Martin – 613-290-5836 mike54martin@yahoo.ca