Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Veterans Affairs Canada has put in place several measures to contribute to the government's commitment to helping veterans and releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel find meaningful employment to support a successful transition from military to civilian life.
I would like to share with this committee some of the many initiatives undertaken by the department, both internally and within the public service.
I will focus on initiatives led by the human resources division and my colleague Libby Douglas will speak to initiatives that also support private sector employment.
On departmental hiring with the Veterans Hiring Act, Veterans Affairs Canada, as other federal departments, is subject to this act and has made veteran hiring a departmental priority. To increase recruitment, our deputy minister established an aspirational goal of having veterans represent 10% of the department’s workforce by July 1, 2020. As of December 2018, the percentage of self-identified veterans increased to 7.3%, from 5.9% in June 2017.
In terms of staffing practices, we have integrated various hiring practices within the department to promote the recruitment of veterans. For example, Canadian Armed Forces experience is used as an asset qualification in all of our statements of merit criteria, and more recently as an essential qualification for target recruitment. In addition, in the area of selection, we have also opened it to veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members.
In terms of the veterans in the public service unit, it was launched during the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. This unit is the first service of its kind to solely assist veterans in navigating the federal public service hiring process. The unit is comprised of two subunits: the strategic human resources initiative and the service delivery subunit.
On strategic human resources, we work in partnership with the Public Service Commission and the HR representatives and hiring managers from across the federal public service to promote best practices in the hiring of veterans and to offer guidance on understanding the training, experiences and skill sets presented by Canada’s veterans.
Information obtained through this working group is promoted with veterans who are registered in the unit. For example, we promote job opportunities, career events and targeted social media messages.
The service delivery subunit involves veterans serving veterans. Veteran advisers provide direct support to veterans seeking public service employment.
The advisors not only understand the hiring process, but most importantly the culture, the needs and the credentials of the veterans. They help the veterans express and showcase their acquired military training and experience in relatable civilian terminology.
As of April 26, 2019, more than 600 veterans had connected with the veterans in the public service unit for some level of service.
Another initiative that we undertook was the 2017 Invictus Games. As just mentioned, the Government of Canada’s presence at these games was an early success of the veterans in the public service unit. At this event, the department led the participation of several federal government departments, representing the offering of over 70 job advertisements for diverse public service employment opportunities across the country.
Another experiment we did were the second career assistance network seminars. In 2018, VPSU, the hiring unit, piloted using Canadian Armed Forces second career assistance network seminars as a way to promote federal public service jobs to releasing members.
During these events, departments, led by Veterans Affairs Canada, were able to actively engage in face-to-face conversations with releasing Canadian Armed Forces members and promote the public service as an employer of choice, while highlighting available local opportunities, because that's a preference for veterans.
This was a proactive approach to connect veterans with hiring organizations prior to their release date.
I will now yield the floor to Ms. Douglas.