|Veterans Affairs says
|“One national contract for all vital services “will cut the administrative burden on case managers, allowing them to spend more time with their veteran clients and less time on the paperwork.”
|They are removing the core of CM duties that gives them meaningful contact with their Veterans and maintaining the case loads at 30-40, even 50 cases. So, no less paperwork and a hollowed-out job as a Case Manager. They will become admin service providers to the contractor.
|“The government’s new contract will improve the delivery of rehabilitation services for veterans and will mean fewer steps for veterans and the case managers that serve them, allowing for more time to focus on the rehabilitation itself.”
|What we see are major changes, a major learning curve, new technologies, different parties involved looking to achieve different goals that will lead to duplication of work and more challenges for Veterans to overcome.
|“There will be no impact on jobs as a result of the contract.”
|There will be a direct impact on the job of every Case Manager and every VSA and other staff who support them. This is a definite downgrade in terms of responsibilities and once that it is reflected in the new classification structure, there will be pressure to red-circle existing jobs and lower the classification for new hires.
|“The contract in question will also not impact the department’s plan to address disability benefit wait times, as “the two items are unrelated, and the government has used external service providers since 2006 to support veterans’ rehabilitation.”
|Yes, the government has used external service providers to support veterans’ rehabilitation but under the previous contract it was the Case Managers who was the driver of veterans needs\file. Now the Case Manager will be providing support to the contractor who’s first objective is being profitable and second how to meet mandate requirement. The Veteran is far from being the number 1 priority in this scenario.
|“The procurement process began in June 2019, and included consultations with veterans, their families, and departmental employees, who had the opportunity to provide feedback and influence each step of the process.”
|The contract was tendered and awarded before the Union and the vast majority of Case Managers knew what was happening. Focus groups with select Case Managers were established after the fact to get input and the union appointees to working groups were ignored and not invited to many meetings. The department has never provided any answers about how this new system will work despite many, many questions by Case Managers. This is not consultation.
|When asked whether the government plans to hire more full-time case managers within the federal government rather than on temporary contracts VAC says “we always ensure that we are hiring full-time and temporary case managers to maintain our capacity, and provide veterans with case management support.”
|We are still waiting for the promised relief to come. There are vacancies in Case Management positions in every region of the country. It is not getting better. It is getting worse.
|“We have improved our staffing and onboarding processes to accelerate and facilitate the recruitment of case managers.”
|See answer above. If the end result is the same, then how can you say that your staffing and onboarding processes have improved?
|In response to questions around wait times, a VAC spokesperson said “the government welcomes the AG’s report and its recommendations, is making progress in reducing wait times, and has reduced the backlog by more than 30 per cent since September 2021.”
|Did they read the Auditor General’s Report? The AG said that the problem wasn’t getting any better and that they had no staffing plan to deal with the backlog. They can play games with statistics, but on the ground the system is backlogged and Veterans continue to wait for the services they need.
|“We are committed to working with central agencies to explore options for long-term resources to help us make more timely decisions and permanently solve this issue.”
|They have no plan and nothing they have tried has worked. They are still trying to make a temporary fix to a long-term problem. The solution is to ask Case Managers and other staff for their suggestions and to have enough staff on duty to actually serve the existing needs of Veterans and their families.