Minister Fantino Responds to Ombudsman's Report on Vocational Services

Aug 26, 2013, 15:35 ET from Veterans Affairs Canada

OTTAWA, Aug. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced that Veterans Affairs Canada is taking action on the recommendations made by Guy Parent, Veterans Ombudsman, in a report called Investing in Veterans' Vocational Training.

"Our Government is committed to helping those who served Canada make a successful transition from military to civilian life despite the injuries or illnesses they may have incurred during their service," said Minister Fantino. "As these Veterans become ready to begin a new civilian career, we will continue to be there to help in their transition through support including specialized assessments, vocational counselling or financial assistance for education."

Veterans Affairs Canada offers vocational services which build on Veterans' skills and abilities to help them secure gainful employment after service. If a Veteran has a health problem which developed primarily as a result of service, Veterans Affairs Canada funds services such as specialized assessment, vocational counselling, financial support for training and related costs such as tuition, books and child care, help finding a job, and help to gradually return to work, as necessary.

When a Veteran's vocational plan indicates that training, university education or a professional certification is necessary to meet the occupational goal, VAC will provide the needed support. The Veteran is assessed by a vocational expert to determine the best option for training or education based on individual circumstances.

"As part of our work to improve services by cutting red tape, we are modernizing vocational rehabilitation to ensure Veterans are able to access the benefits and services they deserve in the easiest, fastest way possible," said Minister Fantino. "To that end, we are already in the process of evaluating and updating vocational assistance measures. I thank the Ombudsman for his work on this file, and I look forward to considering his recommendations as part of the review that is currently underway."

"CanVet is very proud to provide vocational rehabilitation services to Canadian Veterans and their families as part of our holistic, outcome-based approach to vocational rehabilitation services," said Darlene Bailey, spokesperson for the joint venture that runs CanVet nationally with WCG International, the March of Dimes and the Innovative Rehabilitation Consultants. "Since launching our program four years ago, the CanVet team has served more than 3,000 Veterans across Canada. To serve those who have served our country is truly an honour, and we will continue to work to provide the best support possible to those who defended Canada."

In line with the recommendation made by the Ombudsman to enhance performance measures, Veterans Affairs Canada has already taken steps to work closely with Rehabilitation Program partners to carefully monitor the delivery of vocational services to ensure that goals are met and that Veterans are supported. As Veterans Affairs Canada moves further forward on its evaluation, additional data will be collected on the training and other vocational services Veterans and other recipients receive.

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SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada