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February 13th, 2023

New Democrats call for better services for Veterans — ending Liberals’ problem-plagued multi-million-dollar Veterans services outsourcing

OTTAWA – On Monday, NDP Veterans Affairs critic Rachel Blaney demanded that the Liberal government stop outsourcing services that Veterans rely on to for-profit companies that keep failing to deliver. In the summer, the Liberals gave a $560 million contract to a company owned by Loblaw despite calls from Veterans, unions and New Democrats for the federal government to deliver services and care to Veterans, rather than outsourcing the work to a profit-driven corporation.

“Because of the Liberals’ decision to support for-profit companies over Veterans, the people who fought for our country now can’t access the services they need to recover and re-adapt to everyday life. Veterans are experiencing significant delays in getting access to services they need, and treatments are on hold while the corporation owned by Loblaw re-evaluates Veterans’ injuries,” said Blaney.

“Veterans Affairs is delaying the transfer of needed mental health and rehabilitation services to the contractor because the company isn’t ready, despite having had months to prepare,” said Blaney. “The Minister could have invested the money into human resources, building up the public service, giving jobs to Veterans, but instead he chose to give more profits to a company owned by Loblaws. It’s completely wrong – and the government knew that this would happen when they chose to work with a company that has no experience in delivering Veterans services.”

The Union for Veterans Affairs Employees said that the government’s contract with Loblaws will cost 25 per cent more than it would have cost to keep those services run by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). They also say Canada’s public service can also deliver the services and supports without the painful delays.

Blaney also fought for a committee investigation to look into reckless outsourcing and better solutions for Veterans.

“Justin Trudeau and his government have followed a clear pattern – they’d rather spend more to protect rich CEO’s profits, instead of delivering the best services possible for people,” added Blaney. “Canadians who have proudly served this country need to be properly supported in a successful transition from military to civilian life. New Democrats will keep fighting for workers and our veterans, not to protect the profits of the ultra-wealthy. We will keep pushing to make sure our veterans get the best quality rehabilitation services possible.”