Evidence of meeting #37 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

  • Guy Parent  Veterans Ombudsman, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
  • Keith Hillier  Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

Keith Hillier

I guess there are a couple of things.

First of all, Mr. Stoffer, I don't believe it's 1,300, but I won't argue with you over that.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

That's their own figures.

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

Keith Hillier

Well, it's around 900 FTEs, but there are casual and part-time individuals and what have you. I want to remind you that the work is going with those. We're not trying to run the hospital with fewer people. The hospital will be transferred—

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

That's not what I'm arguing.

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

The transfer is happening, it's simply that those jobs will no longer be under the federal government.

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

Keith Hillier

That's correct.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

They'll now be completely different. So there's a removal of those jobs, plus the 804 that your own department has identified.

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

Keith Hillier

That's correct.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Approximately 2,100 jobs, we have been told, will be removed from DVA, leaving approximately 2,000 people, unless you hire more in the future. We don't know. So what I'm saying is that there's a 45% personnel cut.

4:35 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery, Department of Veterans Affairs

Keith Hillier

Yes, but I would reiterate, Mr. Chair, that we are also reducing the workload by an equivalent amount. We are not asking the approximately 2,000 people who will be staying to do the work of 4,000 people. We're actually reducing the work.

As it relates to Ste. Anne's, that responsibility goes and so do the employees. And in many of the transformations and also in terms of the budget reductions, it's about doing work very differently. It's about using technology, using alternative service provisions, so I want to be very clear. We're not asking 2,000 people to do the work of 4,000.

Regarding your question on long-term care and the current eligibility, you suggested that modern-day veterans do not have the same eligibility to contract beds as war-era veterans. As I've testified at this table before, modern-day veterans have access to a community bed with respect to any injuries they would have sustained in terms of their service to Canada. There is no change to what I've testified previously on that front.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Greg Kerr

Mr. Chicoine, you now have less than a minute to ask one question.

May 31st, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Thank you.

While we are on that topic, Mr. Parent, do you have any concerns regarding the Ste. Anne's Hospital transfer of responsibilities?

4:35 p.m.

Veterans Ombudsman, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Guy Parent

That is a good question. Equity is always paramount in our view. When we examine any program or project that concerns veterans, we look at it from the equity perspective in particular. Can we guarantee that the veterans or patients who are in Ste. Anne's Hospital will continue to receive the same quality of care as they are entitled to now? Will those who have a right to hospital care continue to have access to it without any problem?

Another thing that concerns us regarding the hospital is the fact that it is also a centre of expertise on post-traumatic stress syndrome. We would like to be sure that the coordination of Canadian clinics will be done from Ste. Anne's Hospital. It is important to us to ensure that we will not be losing their expertise on that.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Greg Kerr

Thank you very much, Mr. Parent.

We'll go to Mr. Harris now for four minutes, please.