Charlottetown Guardian: Union says Veterans Affairs’ $560 million contract could mean longer wait times

The union representing Veterans Affairs Canada staff says a $560-million contract awarded to private medical providers should be halted and that it could cause delays in benefit applications for veterans.

The contract, which will extend over five years, was awarded to a joint venture of two private companies – WGC International and Lifemark Health Group – in June 2021.

Virginia Vaillancourt, national president of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees, says it amounts to outsourcing of federal services for veterans.

Asian Heritage Month

Did you know?

  • This year marks 20 years since the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.
  • Almost half of the immigrant population in Canada was born in Asia.
  • From 2017 to 2019, 63.5 percent of newcomers to Canada were born in Asia (including the Middle East)
  • In 2016, the South Asian and Chinese groups were the two largest visible minority groups in Canada, each with a population exceeding 1 million.

Filipinos were the fourth-largest visible minority group. Similar to the Arab population, the number of Filipinos almost doubled in 10 years.

Canadian Multiculturalism

On November 13, 2002, the Government of Canada designated June 27 of each year as Canadian Multiculturalism Day by Royal Proclamation.  It is a weeklong celebration ending with Canada Day on July 1st

June 21                  National Indigenous Day

National Aboriginal Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated annually on 21 June.

United Nations observes August 9th as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day recognizes and celebrates the valuable and distinctive identities of Indigenous Peoples around the world. 

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day. This date is an opportunity to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian Residential School system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada, and which still does today.

June 24                  Saint-Jean Baptiste Day

A national holiday in the Canadian province of Quebec and celebrated by French Canadians worldwide, especially in Canada and the United States, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, June 24,  honors the traditional feast day of the Nativity — or birth — of St. John the Baptist. The religious nature of the holiday has been de-emphasized for civic events, and “la St-Jean” is now mainly a celebration of francophone culture and history filled with public events, parades, barbecues, picnics and fireworks

June 27                  Canadian Multiculturalism Day

This national holiday is a celebration of Canada’s unique tapestry of the backgrounds of its citizens. Through its many cultures, nationalities, and religions, Canada is one of the leading countries for pushing multicultural acceptance on a government level. For example, while most Canadian citizens are of French or British descent, close to 40% are of a different national origin.

July 1           Canada Day

Canada Day is the anniversary of only one important national milestone on the way to the country’s full sovereignty, namely the joining on July 1, 1867, of the colonies of CanadaNova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation).[8] Canada became a “kingdom in its own right” within the British Empire commonly known as the Dominion of Canada

How to Support a Co-worker Experiencing Mental Health Issues

Public Safety Personnel (PSP) can experience extremely high levels of job-related stress. Their exposures to job-related stressors can increase their risk for developing mental health symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

This fact sheet is from the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment.

Register for listening sessions for a more inclusive and racism-free workplace!

To all UVAE Members

I am writing to all UVAE Members to encourage you to register for one of the Listening Sessions noted below which is being put on by VAC’s Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force. Let’s all work together to create a more inclusive and racism-free workplace. This will take all members working together to help effect the changes that are needed within VAC. I have copied below the email that was sent on the VAC email system on February 22, 2022, by your Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force. Please register and be part of the change needed.

VAC’s Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism Task Force wants to thank everyone who attended our February 9th meet and-greet and shared their valuable feedback with us. We are committed to listening, engaging and involving equity-deserving employees, in keeping with the Clerk’s Call to Action, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.

We are now inviting people from the Black, Indigenous, Racialized, Persons with Disabilities and LGBTQ2+ communities, to register for one of our upcoming listening sessions. Our goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for you to share your lived experience so that we can address issues of racism, discrimination and inequity in our workplace. Your feedback will be critical in helping us develop recommendations for the Deputy Minister.

Sessions will run between March 1 and April 7, 2022. The first group of session are as follows:

Black employees : March 1 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)
• Racialized employees : March 3 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)
• Indigenous employees : March 8 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)
• Intersectional session : March 10 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)
• Persons with Disabilities: March 29 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)
• LGBTQ2+ community: March 31 at 11:00 am AST (French) and 2:00 pm AST (English)

Format and participation:

• Each session will last two hours with 10-15 participants. If you identify with more than one group, you can attend an intersectional session. To register, reply to this email by February 28 indicating which session you would like to participate in.

• If you don’t wish to give feedback in a group setting, we can meet with you separately or you can reply to this email with written feedback.

• Your participation, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.

We understand this topic and these conversations can be challenging. Support is available at any time through the Employee Assistance Program, a free and confidential service.

We really look forward to your participation and input.

Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Task Force Members
Narinder Dhillon
Junli Feng
Quentrel Provo
Liza Jamani

Virginia Vaillancourt
National President