Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Minister Lawrence MacAulay responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on November 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Government will hire more staff to address veterans’ backlog, caseloads: minister

Announcement made in the wake of 5-part Canadian Press series on veteran’s issues

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says the federal Liberal government will hire more staff to deal with backlogs and overwhelming caseloads at his department.

MacAulay made the comments in an interview after The Canadian Press published a series of articles identifying some of the most pressing challenges facing veterans today.

Those challenges include a massive backlog of applications for assistance and a shortage of case managers, both of which have had real consequences on veterans who need help.

The series also looked at veterans’ homelessness, the burden being shouldered by the families of injured veterans, and the fight some are waging for equal treatment from Ottawa.

Yet while MacAulay says adding staff, as the Liberals promised during the election, will form a key part of the government’s response, the minister would not say how many people would be hired or when.

Veterans Affairs officials privately warned MacAulay in May that delaying such a decision could make it harder to retain hundreds of recently hired temporary staff on contract until March.

—The Canadian Press

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