Position of the Veterans Ombudsman: Budget Cuts and Service to Veterans

May 1, 2012

Ottawa, Ontario – A news release issued this morning by Official Opposition Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer, as well as a recent news article by Newstalk 980 CJME in Saskatoon do not accurately reflect the position of the Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent, with respect to recent budget cuts.

Since October 2011, Mr. Parent has consistently and clearly called for the exemption of Veterans Affairs Canada from the government’s recent budget reduction exercise. Following the release of the recent federal budget, Mr. Parent publicly issued this statement via his blog on April 4, 2012:

As you all know, last Thursday, the Government released details of the federal budget. There had been much discussion and speculation about how the budget and the anticipated cuts would affect our Veterans. On Thursday, we learned that Veterans Affairs Canada would be subject to an overall budget reduction of 1.1%. Minister Blaney has issued several public reassurances that programs and services will not be affected, so the Office will be watching very closely over the coming weeks and months as senior managers of the Department determine where and how they will bring about these reductions. It is imperative not only that programs themselves not be affected, but that these reductions not negatively impact the delivery of these programs. We will be vigilantly monitoring to ensure that the Department has the right technologies and systems in place to provide first-rate service to Veterans and to ensure that the right expertise and experience is retained.

Mr. Parent and the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman are monitoring, and will continue to diligently monitor the activities of Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure that the delivery of programs and services are not negatively affected.

Veterans and their representatives who feel that the quality of the services and benefits they receive from Veterans Affairs Canada are being affected by the recent budget cuts are encouraged to contact the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman at 1-877-330-4343.

The full blog issued by the Veterans Ombudsman on April 4, 2012 can be found here: http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/blog/post/152.

— 30 —