Updated: Jul 19
Open Letter to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs
November 18, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
Canadian active duty officers, veterans and first responders make numerous sacrifices in order to protect this country and its citizens. While we may never be able to fully appreciate all that these brave individuals have given to this country, we can certainly support them when their active duty ends.
To date in 2020, the Government of Canada has been able to process 8.90 million unique Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) applications with a total dollar value of $81.64 billion. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/claims-report.html
As of June 30, 2020 and per Veterans Affairs Canada, there are a total of 45,296 pending disability applications. https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-vac/news-media/media-kits/dis-ben-process-summary-report
In a recent sitting of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, Veteran Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay could not commit to ending the backlog of claims prior to 2022. This is simply unacceptable.
A recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) indicated that temporary employees will need to be retained beyond 2021-22 in order to eliminate the backlog and maintain service standards. The PBO estimates the back log would then be eliminated in the first quarter of 2023 at a cost of $103 million. Other options were presented with included increased staffing and costs as well.
Seeing as the federal government has been able to quickly forward funds to millions of Canadians throughout 2020 in response to the pandemic, why do we accept a lower standard of service for our veterans.
I urge the federal government to engage in a complete review of the veteran’s disability pension approval process. Clearly something is broken. I also urge the government to resolve the outstanding cases immediately. Veterans and first responders have given so much for this country, the least we can do is process their disability claims in a timely manner.
Candidate for Red Deer – Mountain View, AB