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Results: 1 - 15 of 25
View Brad Butt Profile
CPC (ON)
Welcome, Minister, and officials. Thank you all for joining us today to discuss the main estimates.
Minister, one of the most significant programs your department is responsible for, of course, is the employment insurance system. As a member of Parliament obviously I'm helping my constituents out from time to time with these issues. There is absolutely universal agreement that, thank God, Canada has such a program that helps people who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own and in fact helps parents and mothers, because we have maternity benefits and parental benefits.
I was just reading an article last week. There is a big debate now in the United States because they don't have maternal and parental benefits in their employment insurance or social security system. We have those great things in Canada.
I want to ask you a few things about our EI system. Obviously, Canadians pay into the EI system through payroll taxes and these premiums fund the administration of EI. Obviously their employers make a contribution to the EI system as well. It's a great social safety net program that we have and I think all political parties cherish the EI system and the important role it plays.
I understand that Service Canada recently brought on additional staff to assist in the processing of EI claims. As a result, can you confirm that Canadians can expect to have their EI claims processed within the 28-day service window? Service Canada's standard, I understand, is 80% of claims processed within 28 days. Are we currently meeting that standard? I can certainly tell you that in my office I'm getting very few constituents coming in indicating that they are having issues with the processing of their EI claims, which tells me that it must be working, because otherwise, they'd be in my office.
Can you give us an update on that? Where are we on the service standards, and where are we generally on the strength of this very important program for Canadians?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
The anecdotal evidence you observed in your riding is a microcosm of what has happened across the country. Because of the very good management of public servants and the very wise decisions they have made to allocate the right resources towards this service standard, I can confirm that over 80% of eligible applicants are receiving payment in under 28 days. That is the 80 in 28 commitment with which you are all familiar, and I can confirm that it is now being met.
View Scott Armstrong Profile
CPC (NS)
Wow, that's impressive.
Minister, going back to the EI numbers and the progress we've made, it wasn't too long ago that we were hearing a lot of complaints in MPs' offices across the country about the rate at which people were able to receive their EI benefits. It was far below the 80% that we were looking to get within 28 days. It's great news that we've been able to now achieve that benchmark goal.
Can you talk about some of the steps that were put in place to try to make the difference for Canadians looking to receive their EI benefits?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Under the leadership of my predecessor, frankly, the department made a decision to hire about 400 additional processing employees to help deal with the challenge of shortening the wait time. They have allocated resources and provided good solid training to these new workers. The result is that we've now achieved the goal of providing payment to 80% of eligible applicants within 28 days.
View Stephen Woodworth Profile
CPC (ON)
Very good.
The place where I'd like to start is in relation to paragraph 3.20, which indicates that the rehabilitation program is one of two gateways through which veterans can access Veterans Affairs Canada mental health care support. I just want to make sure that I'm correctly understanding that you found that the rehabilitation program does allow veterans to access specialized mental health services.
Is that correct?
View Bryan Hayes Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and as the son of a father who had a 37-year military career and sisters...cumulatively, I have over 100 years of direct military experience in my family, so I am acutely interested in the mental health services for veterans.
However, I think I'm going to shift the focus a little bit to chapter 4, which deals with providing relocation services. My first question is specific to performance measurement. I understand this is a follow-up audit to an audit that was done in 2006. In 2006, you noted that the Canadian Armed Forces had not developed the tools or indicators needed to assess the performance of the integrated relocation program or that of the contractor. That is what you noted in 2006.
What is your assessment now in comparison to what it was in 2006?
View Stephen Woodworth Profile
CPC (ON)
What I want to know about is which veterans it applies to. Does it apply to the veterans who have only accessed mental health services through the disability program?
View Stephen Woodworth Profile
CPC (ON)
I think I also understood that your auditor, Mr. Berthelette, may have verified at least two out of the percentage figures that I put on this chart. May I just ask which one of them he verified for me, or was it two of them?
View Stephen Woodworth Profile
CPC (ON)
Very good. Those are saying in fact that 90% of the non-appealed Veterans Affairs eligibility decisions on disability claims were made in less than one year. Is that correct?
View Stephen Woodworth Profile
CPC (ON)
—that's different as well. That I understand, but I'm just concerned that the same services are available at an early stage.
While I'm on that subject, I also have a note that Veterans Affairs Canada operates an assistance service, a free telephone counselling and referral service available 24/7, delivered through a nationwide team of mental health professionals.
Did you audit the mental health services that are provided through that program?
View Parm Gill Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I also want to take this opportunity to welcome Sergeant Nielsen, and your daughter Heather, for appearing before the committee to help us in this important study. I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is an honour, obviously, to see you here again.
It was a pleasure to join you at Calabogie, the ski clinic for the soldiers. Minister Fantino has also asked me to pass his greetings along. He was very touched by your presentation at the...students, hosted by Dr. Kavanagh and project veterans on Remembrance Day.
The committee has been asked by Mr. Fantino to conduct a comprehensive review of the new Veterans Charter. We're certainly honoured to have you here today. All of us on the government side have had the opportunity to read about your story and learn about the experience that you had. Since you are an Afghan veteran who has experienced the application of the Veterans Charter first-hand, I believe that your words here today are invaluable to the work of this committee.
As a serving member, can you please elaborate on your experience between the service and support you received from DND, and the service you received from Veterans Affairs Canada?
View Bryan Hayes Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
I think the minister has done well in terms of introducing legislation that provides $75,800 for veterans to get a university or college education. I think that was outstanding.
Mr. Price, again, you made a broad statement earlier that you believe there needs to be a higher standard of service delivery. I don't want to talk about the office closures, because we can debate that. You mentioned that in context at the same time.
What I'm looking for is specific recommendations for the criteria you are seeking, because that's a pretty broad statement. To define service standards, you really have to be pretty explicit in terms of exactly what you're looking for with service standards.
I do want to throw in that if you're not prepared to answer that in detail today, that's okay. Perhaps you could put something in writing afterwards that would clearly define what higher standards of service delivery you're actually looking for specifically, because that was a pretty broad statement. But I leave it to you to make a comment.
View Parm Gill Profile
CPC (ON)
The committee has identified and adopted three core themes as we move towards the second half of this current review. They are as follows: care and support of the most seriously injured, support for families, and improving how Veterans Affairs delivers the programs and services of the charter.
We have invited you today to talk about your organization's work and experience as a front-line organization that provides for Canada's veterans, who are often the most seriously injured.
When it comes to operational stress injury, can you share with us some of the key issues you're hearing from your participants regarding the service and support they received from DND or under the Veterans Charter?
View Bryan Hayes Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
This is a question on your committee's or your organization's relationship with Veterans Affairs Canada. Is it a partnership, is it a relationship that works, or do you have recommendation for how that relationship can be improved?
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