Veterans from the Saskatoon area have joined forces with the union representing Veterans Affairs front-line workers to speak out against the closure of the Veterans Affairs office in their community.
Veterans speak out on Veterans Affairs office closures
SASKATOON – Veterans from the Saskatoon area have joined forces with the union representing Veterans Affairs front-line workers to speak out against the closure of the Veterans Affairs office in their community.
“This is a reckless decision that will hurt the men and women who have served this country,” said Bill Dubinski, a Saskatoon veteran. “These closures are betraying our veterans everywhere.”
Dubinski was one of the veterans in attendance at a news conference held at the Delta Bessborough today to recognize the closure of the Saskatoon office. He is calling on the government to reopen the Veterans Affairs office in Saskatoon and eight others, including offices in Kelowna, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sydney, Charlottetown and Corner Brook, which also closed Friday, and the office in Prince George that closed a year ago.
“It isn’t just veterans served by the offices being closed who will see longer wait times and less face-to-face services, but veterans in the communities where offices are taking on those files, like Regina.” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC Prairie Region.
The Saskatoon Veterans Affairs office served 4,500 clients with 14 staff. Those files will now be transferred to the Regina office, which already serves 4,400 clients with 11.5 staff (a reduction from 16 staff in 2012). No additional staff will be added to handle the extra 4,500 clients from Saskatoon. This means less staff will be working with more than double the number of clients.
Veterans and PSAC are committed to continuing the fight and will ensure this government is held to account now and in the next election.
“Veterans from across the country have been clear all along, they want the offices to stay open,” said Hladun. “And based on the public outcry that we’ve seen around these closures, it’s obvious Canadians do too. We will keep rallying around this issue until the offices are reopened and full services are restored to our veterans. The fight is far from over.”