The third Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholder’s Summit came to a close on Oct. 6. The Summit provided veterans and other key stakeholders the opportunity to provide direct feedback on programs and policies of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
The two-day Summit welcomed veterans, veteran’s organization advisory group members, and other stakeholder groups.
“What I heard, is that despite adding billions of dollars to the program to put more money into the pockets of Veterans, outdated legislation, gaps in the funding model and policy conflicts keep creating barriers to prevent some of that money from getting where it needs to go. Thousands have benefited, but we have to ensure that every effort is made to help those who have fallen between the cracks created by our patchwork of programs,” said Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, Kent Hehr, in a statement.
Large portions of the agenda were allotted to participants to provide feedback on policies and matters of concern. Presentations were made from the co-chairs of the Ministerial Advisory groups on their work to-date. These presentations were on policy, service excellence, mental health, families, care and support and commemoration.
The Summit also provided an opportunity for veterans to provide feedback on the newly launched Have Your Say tool that allows veterans and families to voice their concerns on the VAC website. In addition, for the first time, participants were provided with a chance to use direct poll voting technology to give instant feedback on what they saw as a priority issue for veterans and families.
“Initiatives like the Stakeholder Summit, roundtable discussions, the Have Your Say web page, and the work of the advisory groups are invaluable consultative tools that will help us address these issues and transform our programs to improve the lives of Canada’s Veterans and their families.
“It is still early in our mandate, and while some may disagree with the timing and process as we move to accomplish these necessary and transformative goals, I will always be ready to listen and ready to discuss. We are closer to accomplishing our objectives, but we recognize that there is still a lot of work to do. Only by engaging, consulting and listening to what Veterans, Stakeholders and Canadians have to say, will we get where we need to be,” said Hehr.