Evidence of meeting #32 for Veterans Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was veterans.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • David Robinson  Director General of Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Bernard Butler  Director General, Policy and Research Division, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Charlotte Stewart  Director General, Service Delivery and Program Management, Department of Veterans Affairs

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

So where are the district offices in Atlantic Canada that will survive?

4:50 p.m.

Director General, Service Delivery and Program Management, Department of Veterans Affairs

Charlotte Stewart

We have offices in St. John's, Saint John, Fredericton, and Halifax, and we also have integrated personnel support centres. We have an integrated personnel support centre in Charlottetown, which is a satellite of the one in Moncton, and that will remain in place.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Thank you.

If I go to the very back of the report, it tells us who had a run at this. Who is the acting ADM of CS? I presume that's corporate services.

4:55 p.m.

Director General, Service Delivery and Program Management, Department of Veterans Affairs

Charlotte Stewart

Yes, that's correct.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Who's that?

4:55 p.m.

Director General of Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs

David Robinson

Our ADM of HR and corporate services is Heather Parry.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Okay. What is the ASDM?

4:55 p.m.

Director General of Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs

David Robinson

That's the associate deputy minister.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Is that Madam Chaput?

4:55 p.m.

Director General of Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs

David Robinson

That's correct.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

At page 8, you talk about “stakeholder engagement”. Now, I am aware that you have a stakeholder group that meets from time to time with the minister and the deputy. I remember hearing the stat that this stakeholder group has provided 500 recommendations, of which three have been followed. Is your plan for actively strengthening your approach for stakeholder engagement to disband that stakeholder group?

4:55 p.m.

Director General, Policy and Research Division, Department of Veterans Affairs

Bernard Butler

Perhaps, Mr. Chair, I will respond to the question.

Stakeholder engagement is an area of great interest to the department, to try to ensure we are working with a broad range of stakeholders. There may be some confusion on this, but previously we had a number of advisory committees that were set up over time, such as the Gerontological Advisory Council, the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group, and so on.

These various committees generated a number of reports over the years, going back some time now. Within those reports, roughly 250 recommendations were made. Of those 250 recommendations, the Department of Veterans Affairs has basically actioned about 160—fully or partially. Of the remaining, some of them were simply not feasible to implement. Some of them we've put on the side table. We're not dismissing them by any means, but they will come back to us at a future time as we look at various initiatives around transformation and around modernization of our health care programs.

But those were advisory councils. In the last few years, Veterans Affairs has had a very strong relationship with core veterans groups, with the traditional veterans groups such as the Royal Canadian Legion, ANAVETS, War Amps, and so on. We do realize and understand, however, that engagement needs to be broadened, so in the last year or two we have made a considerable effort to try to extend that outreach to a much broader range of veterans organizations. Some of them are fairly new. Some of them are largely founded in social media, for instance; however, all of them have outreach and an important role to play.

Over the last year we've had three meetings at a national level with a larger group of veterans stakeholders, and that is a committee we've been working with to try to share common issues, hear concerns of veterans organizations, and help us prioritize future directions. That's one aspect of a stakeholder strategy. There are certainly many others that we're working on to broaden our reach and engagement.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Greg Kerr

Thank you, Mr. Butler.

We've gone over the time quite a bit, but I know that question is important to everybody, so I didn't want to cut it off.

Mr. Lobb is next, for five minutes.

May 8th, 2012 / 4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Huron—Bruce, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My first question is for Mr. Robinson.

Obviously, as the director general of transformation, you've had a lot of time to think about what has taken place in the past and where you'd like to see things go in the future. If you could boil it down, when you took this position, what were three glaring issues you saw where transformation was required so badly, and why?

4:55 p.m.

Director General of Transformation, Department of Veterans Affairs

David Robinson

Thank you very much for the question, Mr. Chair.

I'm new in the role of director general of transformation at Veterans Affairs. I joined the department and moved to Charlottetown only last November.

As for my previous experience, I came from another department completely. I came from the Department of Canadian Heritage, where I was in charge of all the planning and preparation for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010. It was 10 years of work preparing for the bid and then preparing for the actual hosting of the games.

That was a large-scale project with a lot of moving parts and many partners. A big part of the work I did at Canadian Heritage was with many federal family members—some 42 departments and agencies. It was a very complex process to deliver something on time—