Monthly Veterans Affairs Meeting Update


 

A Message from President Sandy Glenn

Good day folks

This is just a short note to brief you on the November 9th monthly meeting with the Deputy Minister Veterans Affairs, Walt Natynczyk. As I explained in an earlier briefing, these meetings take place monthly and are attended by a variety of Presidents representing their respective veterans groups as well as Public Servants working for VAC. Also in attendance was RCMP Sgt. Kim Hendricken, the Force liaison to VAC as well as her direct supervisor, Supt. Pierre LeBrun. Both Kim and Pierre retire at the end of this year and their replacements are yet to be named. I also want to add Kim will become a member of the National Police Federation where one of her initial tasks will be the development of a “Transition” strategy for retiring RCMP members. As you may recall, this was one of my most important goals when I met with the RCMP Chief Human Resources Officer back in October. The RCMP sorely needs proper transition information sessions for retiring members and although I have been advised a Course Training Standard is being formulated by the Force, it will not be a centralized Training topic. Thankfully the Federation will be taking this on.

There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation around the table yesterday other than primarily military topics relating to veterans initiatives planned for Remembrance Day. There will be the traditional exercises at War Memorials across Canada including the National Cenotaph in Ottawa but in most cases, onlookers will be just a few and there will be no parades.. The RCMP Veterans Association will have a representative standing at the Memorial thanks to a formal invitation from the Royal Canadian Legion. This is a great honor and our Ottawa Division Master at Arms, Marc Dureau will serve us well in performing this important duty.

I am advised there will be over 400 wreaths to be laid at the National Memorial.

One important topic of concern to us is the hiring of more VAC adjudicators to evaluate the many submissions for VAC pensions. I was advised 300 additional adjudicators are now in training and are expected to be operational by Christmas. You may recall in my last VAC communication, an adjudication team dedicated to RCMP and RCMP Veterans issues has been established and located in Montreal. This should help, however, I am advised VAC has received 300,000 submissions so far this year. The positive side is even though submissions continue to pour in daily, the overall backlog, has been reduced by over 15% and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Prior to my meeting, I was asked by one of our Veterans if I could determine if the Can Praxis program will be VAC funded. Without going into great detail, this is a program for Veterans that involves horses as one of the elements providing therapy for those who need the comfort and it has worked wonders for many who are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Injuries. Fortunately, the Deputy was able to provide me with the information I was seeking. In essence, the therapy will be paid for by VAC if the facility is sanctioned by the provincial government in which it is located. Sanctioning typically involves support from fully qualified medical personnel.

One final point of discussion and that relates to homeless veterans. The military estimate there are between three and five thousand homeless veterans in Canada and we are asked to keep our eyes out for those in this unfortunate situation. If indeed you do come across a situation, you are asked to contact your nearest VAC office as soon as you can and they will take action to assist the veteran. There are facilities out there that can provide help, including shelters dedicated to military and RCMP veterans who are homeless.

Sorry I don’t have more to tell you but I thought it was important I update you on the VAC adjudications in particular.

Kindest regards to all.

Sandy Glenn, National President
RCMP Veterans Association
Members Helping Members and Their Families

 

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