Last November, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) effectively contracted a new contractor to administer veterans’ records, a contract worth $570 million.

Since then, PSRVC, a joint venture between WCG International (previously contracted by VAC to do this work) and Lifemark (a subsidiary of Loblaw), has managed veterans’ files. We are basically talking about rehabilitation follow-up for those who have served their country (psychotherapy, psychiatric follow-up, physiotherapy, etc.).

The awarding of this new contract made little noise in the media. Veteran Christine Gauthier, injured in the spinal cord, alluded to it in an interview on the show Le monde à l’envers, on TVA, on February 10. She claimed that most veterans – as well as departmental officials – had learned the news with surprise during the hearings of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. For its part, VAC assures us that, on the contrary, there were meetings and consultations beforehand.

Veterans believe that the establishment of the new services has been disastrous. The criticisms all point in the same direction: the subcontractor was not ready for this contract and the transition was chaotic. Some veterans no longer had access to their psychological or psychiatric follow-up, others complained of having to start their story over from the beginning, or of losing access to certain services. Result: much distress among veterans and their loved ones, to such an extent that they requested the cancellation of the contract, a request supported by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Employees Veterans Affairs (SEAC).

The situation was problematic enough for VAC to suspend the start of phase 2 for a few weeks, the time to rectify the situation. The implementation of phase 2 finally began on March 15 and ACC assures today that the grievances of veterans have been taken into consideration. A consultation with veterans, the third conducted by VAC, is coming to an end these days and will undoubtedly lead to other adjustments, but ACC has no intention of canceling the contract.

“We’ve learned from phase A, we’ve consulted with veterans, case managers and the contractor, and we’re taking the time to make the migration smooth and manageable for everyone involved, we replied the Ministry in writing. Continuity of care is vital for veterans and they continue to receive the services they need throughout this process. »

VAC adds that the migration plan has been adapted and that “all participants receive services during this period, while each week, participants newly eligible for the program and people who have a new need for vocational rehabilitation are referred to PSRVC”.

It should be added that this case is in addition to the revelations of last December concerning the behavior of a social worker employed by VAC who had offered medical assistance in dying to several veterans. He has since been fired.

Does Canada treat its Veterans commensurate with the sacrifices they have made to serve their country? We are entitled to ask the question.