Veterans service slow since office closed, says volunteer
A P.E.I. man who has volunteered 22 years helping Island veterans is considering quitting because of struggles following the closure of the district office in Charlottetown.
The district office, which provided face-to-face access with case managers, was one of eight closed across the country at the end of January. That personal access for veterans was moved to Service Canada offices. Decision making for P.E.I. cases transferred to the regional office in Saint John.
Alban LeClair, a service officer with the Charlottetown Legion, said he deals with about 20 elderly Island veterans a month who can't get to Service Canada or Veteran's Affairs headquarters in Charlottetown, and aren't comfortable using DVA's automated telephone service.
Since the Charlottetown district office closed, said LeClair, he's had three cases take two to three months to solve, which is much longer than usual.
"This makes it so frustrating that it's come to the point that I am tired. I loved looking after veterans but when it makes it impossible for me to do my job then I cannot do it," he said.
"I hear the Minister of Veterans Affairs in the House of Commons and one of his messages are timely service, they'll never have to worry about timely service. Well, I have a message, if he could only fix up the timely service, maybe things would be better."
In an email to CBC News, Veterans Affairs responded that there are more than 1,000 federal public servants working at DVA on P.E.I., the home of the department's head office, and they're committed to supporting veterans and their families where and when they need it.
"As a result of the Service Canada partnership, some 50 Veterans or their families have been served by the dedicated Veterans Affairs employee over the past six months," the email said.
"This position is permanent and there to serve Veterans and their families."
Veterans from across Canada plan to protest for better service on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.
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