The Veterans Affairs Employees Union is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fire Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence Macaulay.
After a meeting of local presidents and union leadership over the weekend, the union sent a letter to Trudeau saying it has lost confidence in Macaulay.
“I’m really disappointed by the minister’s lack of interest in coming and hearing the concerns of his employees,” said union president Virginia Vaillancourt.
The union says MacAulay ignored its concerns about jobless contracting by case managers.
The government has offered a contract to Partners in Canadian Veterans Rehabilitation Services (PCVRS) that will allow the company to do the work that veteran case managers do, Vaillancourt said.
The union has written to McCauley three times since June asking for a meeting to discuss the issue, she said, and the first two messages were not even acknowledged. In response to the third message, the trade union was sent to departmental officials, she said.
Case managers are concerned that entering into a contract will erode trust, Vaillancourt said.
“Contracting is not the answer to serving veterans,” she said.
“Veterans fought for this country, and she should be the face of the government that serves these veterans.”
Union concerns about the Liberals date back to 2015. That year, when the Liberals came to power, Vaillancourt said the government promised a 25:1 caseload for case managers. Some managers currently receive 40 or even 60 clients, she said.
Last week, MacAulay announced $43 million in funding to extend over 50 case managers, 25 veterans service agents and other support staff for an additional three years.
MacAulay’s office responds
In a statement to CBC News, MacAulay’s office said case management services and resources will continue as an essential service provided by VAC case managers. The new service model with PCVRS will reduce administrative tasks for case managers, help balance caseloads and create more time with veterans and their families.
“VAC consulted with case managers early in the contract renewal process. Their thoughts, concerns and perspectives helped shape how services will be delivered. The union has identified several VAC employees who will participate in various task forces, including most case managers,” the statement said.
“VAC has had transparent and regular communication with staff from the beginning. Case managers have been and will continue to be engaged in all phases of contract implementation as the elements are put in place.”