The Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees (UVAE) is calling on the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs to immediately order an independent and external review of Case Manager workloads at Veterans’ Affairs Canada. UVAE also pledged its support for this initiative.
“Veterans are not getting the services they need, and Case Managers are getting sick,” said Virginia Vaillancourt, National President of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees. “It’s time to finally deal with this issue in a thorough and comprehensive manner.”
The union makes this call in response to public comments by the Minister who promised more resources but was vague on exactly how and when that would happen. He did say that the government remains committed to its 2015 campaign promise of having only 25 Veterans to one Case Manager.
In a survey of its members earlier this fall only a handful of Case Managers had less than 30 Veterans to manage and the average caseload for Case Managers in their office was between 40- 45, with some Case Managers reporting over 50 Veterans on their list. 74% Case Managers reported that they cannot handle their current caseload and provide quality care to Veterans.
“The time for more promises is over and the time for action is now,” said Vaillancourt who noted that promises to get to the” 25:1” ratio had been going on since 2015. “In April 2015 this same Minister announced that VAC would reduce Case Manager (CM) caseloads to an average of 30
Veterans each. They further promised in Budget 2016, the caseload for Case Managers would be reduced further to 25:1.”
Since then, there have been calls for a reduction in caseloads by the Office of the Veterans’ Ombusdman, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and many Veteran’s advocacy organizations.
“The situation has only deteriorated in that time. Veterans are tired of waiting for action. Our members demand it,” said Vaillancourt.
The union’s specific demands are detailed in a letter to the Minister. They include a formal review of the Case Managers’ caseload to be carried out within two months. The union wants to be a full partner in this review with input into the process, the selection of consultants and the interaction with their members.
They are also asking for expedited staffing in all areas where the caseload is over 35 Veterans and assigning of support staff to all Case Managers who can assist with data processing and administration to immediately improve service to Veterans and their families.