Feds commit $140M to keep temporary staff hired to eliminate veterans’ backlog

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Published February 23, 2022 at 4:42 pm

OTTAWA — Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says the federal government will spend nearly $140 million over the next two years to retain temporary staff hired to deal with a backlog of disability claims from injured ex-soldiers.

Today’s funding announcement comes after The Canadian Press reported earlier this month that the government was poised to lose hundreds of temporary staff next month.

That was despite Veterans Affairs Canada still having nearly 34,000 unprocessed applications for disability benefits on its desk, a number officials warned would grow by the thousands if more temporary staff weren’t retained.

MacAulay at that time said any new funding would have to wait until the next federal budget, meaning a delay of weeks if not months.

In response to the Canadian Press report, Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Bruce Julian last week sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking that the temporary staff be kept on contract until the backlog is eliminated.

The backlog has emerged as one of the main sources of frustration, anger and hardship for Canada’s veterans’ community, with those ill and injured forced to wait months — and often years — for access to financial or medical support for their injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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