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Evidence of meeting #39 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 care.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nancy Murray  Instructor, Case Management Program, McMaster University
Joan Park  President, National Case Management Network of Canada
Ray Kokkonen  National President, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association
Brigadier-General  Retired) Joseph E. L. Gollner (Patron, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association
Colonel  Retired) John Eggenberger (Vice-President, Research, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

So you probably are going towards that...?

4:50 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

Yes, we had that conversation. I had a webinar yesterday, so we had that discussion. Are we a profession? What are the elements of a profession? One of the elements is having research. Do we have outcomes that show the benefit of this? Nancy is one of the researchers, but we're not an established profession today as we speak.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Okay.

Do you have a code of ethics?

4:50 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

That's the next question I've entertained today.... If you have a standard of practice and you have core competencies, of course the next step would be a code of ethics.

I'll have to go back to Health Canada—no.... But yes, the next piece to come would be a code of ethics. Then you begin to become a profession.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Yes, exactly. I was asking this because I belonged to the College of Medical Radiation Technologists. I established at that time the code of ethics, which was not—

4:50 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

That's correct. Also, there's a difference between a college and a profession, because I get that question too. Is NCMN going after a college? That's a whole other level of regulations.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

Okay. That's it for the first round. Thank you very much.

We'll now go to Mr. Casey for five minutes.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'll go to Mr. Gollner first, please.

Sir, I was interested in a couple of the topics you raised. With regard to the new Veterans Charter advisory group, you indicated that your organization was involved with that. The advisory group had some recommendations with respect to the new Veterans Charter. I wonder if you could just inform the committee about the recommendations that were made by your group and what happened to them.

4:50 p.m.

BGen Joseph E.L. Gollner

Mr. Chair, Mr. Casey, I was not part of the advisory group. When the new Veterans Charter was first passed by Parliament, a group of us were brought in to advise the minister and senior staff from veterans associations across the country. We helped draft the regulations.

To be quite frank, at that time many of the warts that have continued to trouble the new Veterans Charter were already known and defined, and were certainly clearly understood by Veterans Affairs. However, the legislation had been passed, and that's what they were dealing with, not what they would have liked to have been dealing with.

The group that I was working with was well aware of some of the shortfalls and complications, best illustrated, probably, by the problems between the Canadian Forces insurance program, PSHCP, and Veterans Affairs pensions, which have come to light of late.

But no, I was not in that latter group that studied for three years, Mr. Casey.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Okay.

You also referenced an award to Veterans Affairs Canada employees. Is that an award that's granted by your organization?

4:55 p.m.

BGen Joseph E.L. Gollner

It is an initiative of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association. Lots of people throw slings, deservedly sometimes, at Veterans Affairs, but we feel that there's a host of very good people in Veterans Affairs who work hard and do a good job. Often they're at the coal face, dealing with veterans on a one-to-one basis.

We felt that their good service should be recognized. We read in the media about how they frequently were being trashed collectively, so we instituted this award at two levels. With the national award, our chapters across the country put in recommendations, and at our AGM we debate and select. We have our criteria, and someone is picked, or else a group is picked. Last year it was Ms. Bridget Preston, who is the director of Veterans Affairs Canada on Vancouver Island. She and her merry band have about 14,000 candidates. They do an unbelievably good job for most of the folks. This year we are in the process of selecting another organization at the national level.

Each of our chapters across the country, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, also has the capability to identify someone at a local level and say, “Those folks are really doing a good job. Let's give them an award.” The award takes the form of a scroll. Then an appropriate plaque is made up and presented at some public event.

As happened last year in Victoria, the lieutenant governor of the province presented Ms. Preston her award. There was lots of media coverage and one thing and another, and deservedly so.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Thank you.

Mr. Eggenberger, you talked about the fact that there are still a good number of people who kind of prefer direct face-to-face contact, as opposed to the electronic mode that seems to have overtaken society.

Are you aware, sir, of the plans within the department for the closure of district offices?

4:55 p.m.

Col John Eggenberger

Not district offices; I'm aware of the downsizing, right-sizing, transformation process, as I spoke of briefly. We're all very much aware of that.

Whenever you reduce the number of people around, you're going to reduce the number of capabilities to discuss matters with veterans.

As an aside, often there are veterans who view Veterans Affairs Canada, and anybody in government, with a good deal of suspicion. It's just the nature of some of the people. So the more they're able to speak with a person, the better off they are. Anything the department can do to encourage the capability to have a warm voice at the end of the phone would be very much appreciated.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

Thank you very much. We are over time.

We now go to Mr. Lizon, for five minutes, please.

June 7th, 2012 / 4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

And thank you to all the witnesses for coming here to the committee. Thank you for your great work.

My first question is to Madam Murray from McMaster University.

You described the courses you offer for case managers. Do you offer specific training that would apply to those who work for Veterans Affairs to address veterans' needs? How do you address that, or do you address it at all in your courses ?

5 p.m.

Instructor, Case Management Program, McMaster University

Nancy Murray

As I mentioned our students are from all across Canada and beyond, from all sectors of the health and social service environments.

I personally haven't had an individual who has worked for Veterans Affairs, but we would make sure the program would meet their needs. We'd look at it in terms of the laws. We'd look at the context of their work and look at their environment. We'd make sure it wasn't just a make-work project but a real application of their knowledge in areas they wanted to study and were interested in, to promote it that way, so that at the end of the program they would have learned something.

That would be in each of the five courses, not just one. There would be a real extension of knowledge and an enhancement of their understanding relative to their area of work.

We make an effort to make sure it really fits their needs in their region, in their province, and in the context of the work they do. There is application that way.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you very much.

Now I'll go to the National Case Management Network.

If I may ask, you said you are a not-for-profit federal corporation. You have been around for six years. Who are your members? What's the membership?

5 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

We're small but mighty is what we say. We number 500. We represent every province and every territory, as I said, and every sector that I was speaking about. Our current membership comes from the 16 sectors across the health and social services.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Are they individual members or are they organizations?

5 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

They are individuals and organizations but primarily individuals. There are more and more organizations. Our largest member organizations in Ontario are the community care access centres. For a second year, the Toronto Central CCAC renewed membership in NCMN for 200 of its front-line case managers. We find more and more employers are providing this membership to their front line.

In January our board made a strategic decision to reduce membership to $100 annually with the intent of making it affordable for everybody who's practising case management across the country.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Now I have a question that can go to both of you, maybe separately.

What's your involvement in Veterans Affairs' issues? Do you work in collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada? How do you help in the specific issues we face?

5 p.m.

President, National Case Management Network of Canada

Joan Park

First of all, that's why they sit on our board. So as a national board representing case management across the country, there is a representative from VAC on our board.

They sat with us when we wrote our Canadian standards of practice, so that when we speak to those standards, they apply to that sector of VAC.

Yesterday I had a cross-country webinar at lunchtime. Forty people called in from across the country. There were a couple of front-line VAC case managers on that call who said.... And I asked if I could speak to Ms. Irwin from Vancouver, a VAC case manager, who said that when she got off the phone she was going to take the slide show to her superiors and tell them that they needed to be members of this network and this OvidMD, this clinical tool. She said she could type in PTSD and mental health, and see how all of that works together and have real information to apply for herself and her patients.

Does that answer your question?

5 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Yes.

Is there an answer from the university side?

5 p.m.

Instructor, Case Management Program, McMaster University

Nancy Murray

I don't have any particular involvement, unless a student would come.... But in terms of the transformation initiatives, I can see how valuable our course would be in terms of the learning and the application, so the best is yet to come.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Greg Kerr

Thank you very much. That's your five minutes.