A decision by the federal government to close down eight Veterans Affairs offices is getting the thumbs down from one Aboriginal war vet.
Ray Sanderson is the president of the First Nations Veterans Association in Saskatchewan.
He says he’s already talked to many of his fellow vets and none of them like the move.
“It’s going to be a handicap for them,” he says noting some of the veterans suffer from disabilities.
Marianne Hladun, the regional executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, agrees saying the move doesn’t make sense.
“Now to say they should stand in line at a Service Canada office and deal with someone at the counter who has no training in the specifics of dealing with veterans and the disorders they experience, that’s really concerning and a betrayal to the veterans themselves,” she says.
Sanderson adds accessing government services via an online website is not what the veterans want.
“It’s not the same as working with a person.”
Hladun adds caseworkers with Veterans Affairs can direct veterans to the right place in terms of which benefits they qualify for.
They are also equipped to deal with some of the tougher issues war veterans deal with such as where to go for help for various mental health issues and suicide prevention.
As a result of the office closures, she says many more vets may not gain access to the benefits they are entitled because they won’t have a caseworker to guide them through the red tape.