Saskatoon veterans have teamed up with the union representing Veterans Affairs workers to protest the federal government's decision to close an office in the city.
Veterans and members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) held a news conference today at the Delta Bessborough to voice their concerns for the 4,500 clients served at the office by a staff of 14.
Veterans are worried that claimants will slip through the cracks when their files are transferred to the Regina office, which already handles 4,400 clients.
Veteran Bill Dubinski, 83, said vets don't know where to go to get real help, especially young ones with post traumatic stress disorder.
And veteran Cary Tarasoff said it's currently hard enough to access services.
"It's very hard for the general public to understand," he said. "I mean, we all deal with insurance companies, you get a receipt, you send it in, but it's so much more than that. It's continual fighting."
Double the workload
PSAC is also fighting. They're battling for the jobs of members in the Saskatoon office -- and seven other offices across the country -- and fear the increase in workload at the Regina office. That office has a staff of 11.5 -- reduced from 16 in 2012 -- that will now also have to handle double the workload, the PSAC said.
Dubinski said he feels betrayed by the government.
"You see how badly it's going, and what's going to happen to those people who put their lives on the line expecting that they were going to get some assistance?" he said.
The seven other offices slated for closure are in Corner Brook, N.L., Charlottetown, PEI, Sydney, N.S., Thunder Bay, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Brandon, Man. and Kelowna, B.C.