Saskatoon Veterans Affairs office closure sparks criticism
Public Service Alliance of Canada is speaking out against the closures
The Public Service Alliance of Canada is speaking out against the coming closures of Saskatoon's Veterans Affairs office at the end of January.
The group says veterans in Northern Saskatchewan will be left without the face-to-face services they deserve.
Marianne Haldun, the Alliance's Regional Vice President, says that she understands the government's need to conserve funds, but maintains that Veterans Affairs is not the place to cut.
"We need to remember it is not just veterans from World War I and II. It is veterans from current day events," Haldun says. "We are talking [about] veterans in their 30s and their 40s and their 20s who are suffering from PTSD. Travel for them may not be an option."
After the changes, veterans in Saskatchewan who want to speak with a case worker in person will have to travel to Regina's Veterans Affairs office.
Additionally, much of the work that is typically done by Veterans Affairs workers will be taken over by Service Canada employees.
Haldun says the move is not in the best interest of Canadian veterans because workers at the Veterans Affairs offices receive specialized training in dealing with soldiers who had been at war. Service Canada employees do not have this type of training, she says.
Haldun says the closures have sparked an outcry from veterans.
"Veterans across the country have been very clear that they expect more from their government. They feel let down, they feel betrayed. They feel that everything they have given to this country is forgotten and lost," Haldun explained.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada plans to hold a demonstration in Saskatoon against the closures.
The federal government also plans to close Veterans Affairs offices in Charlottetown, Corner Brook, Sydney, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Brandon and Kelowna.