Ottawa – The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement:
“The Prime Minister gave us a clear mandate to serve Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I believe in my responsibility as Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I will make sure their service to Canada is recognized and honoured, and provide new career opportunities, make it easier for Veterans to access services—including mental health services—and do more to support the families of Canada’s Veterans.
“This means the gap between National Defence and Veterans Affairs must be closed, and I am working with my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, to reduce complexity, overhaul service delivery, and strengthen partnerships between Veterans Affairs and National Defence.
“The Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada are committed to honouring those who have selflessly served this country. We will do so by continuing to take substantial steps to finding solutions that will improve the health, well-being and financial security of Canadian Veterans and their families.
“Considerable work has been completed to streamline and simplify the transition from service in the Canadian Armed Forces. For example, Enhanced Transition Services is about Veterans Affairs Canada engaging earlier with releasing Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, as early intervention is one of the critical components of a successful transition. This joint VAC/CAF initiative has been launched at all 24 integrated personnel support centres, and it has:
- contributed to increased awareness among Canadian Armed Forces case managers about the importance of more coordinated pre-release early applications for Veterans Affairs Canada benefits;
- allowed Veterans Affairs Canada case managers to engage earlier with releasing Canadian Armed Forces members; and,
- led to more efforts to streamline the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces release process that will further facilitate Veteran Affairs Canada’s early involvement in the transition process.
“We recognize that there is more to be done. We are working diligently with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence to fulfill our common core goal of a Seamless Transition. Together, the Department of National Defence, Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada are continuing to address issues of mutual interest and concern.
“We are working to further improve the current service delivery model to provide a standard approach that will eliminate barriers to a successful transition for all releasing members.
“I look forward to discussing the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman’s recommendations with my colleagues, stakeholders and other Canadians.”