Mr. Chairman, throughout the transformation process, we're looking at the initiatives we're taking through the eyes of a veteran. What is this going to do for a veteran? As I noted earlier in my testimony, if it doesn't make a difference to a veteran or his or her family, then why are we doing it? It's just bureaucracy kind of running around.
What we did was look at some business re-engineering processes. The methodology we use is called the Hammer methodology, which is well accepted for business re-engineering. It's not driven by people like me, because quite frankly, I don't know the work. It's driven by the workers, the people who work with veterans every day—case managers, doctors, nurses, and file clerks. We use that methodology, which has been very successfully used in other government departments around town and in the private sector.
What we do is lay out our business process and ask what we are putting the veteran through. How many times are we asking the veteran for the same document? How many forms are we asking a veteran to fill out? Do we need all these forms? Can we just get the information once? Can the veteran use his or her service number as opposed to some Veterans Affairs number?
When you do that, you actually find, as has been mentioned, that a lot of interesting process builds up in a system that's been around for many years. What you do is extract the duplication, the overlap, and the waste.
From my standpoint, transformation is not about reducing jobs. It's about improving services to veterans. As a result of that, there will be some job losses, because there are things people used to do at Veterans Affairs that computer systems do. In some offices, we were spending a lot of time printing off letters, signing them, and sending them out. That's not how we do business anymore. How we do business is that we send a data file to PWGSC, Public Works, and they actually mass print tens of thousands of letters for us in minutes.
Sadly, there are HR consequences. The reality is that, as we go through this period when we will be reducing 800 jobs, over 1,000 people in the department will be eligible for retirement on full pensions or reduced pensions. Through good human resources management, we think we can make this as painless as possible.
In addition to people retiring, we probably lose about 100 people in the department every year. We're looking at the efficiency, the balance. Certainly, Canadians expect veterans to be well taken care of, but they actually expect value for their tax money. We have a responsibility to our staff to treat them in a fair and humane way as we go through this process.