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QUESTION PERIOD — Ministry of Veterans Affairs

Staff of the Non-Public Funds

February 15, 2024

I’d like to follow up on Senator Clement’s question about the ongoing strike. What impact is the strike having on processing times for pending applications? What tangible steps have you taken to avoid further delays?

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence [ - ]

If you mean the issue around claim processing, the Department of Veterans Affairs has of course hired new staff members.

I mean the effects of the strike, right now.

Ms. Petitpas Taylor [ - ]

Once again, senator, we always expect delays when a strike is in progress. We’re not going to bring in other workers to replace striking workers. It’s important for these workers to sit down at the bargaining table —

The Hon. the Speaker [ - ]

The minister has the floor. You have the floor, minister.

Ms. Petitpas Taylor [ - ]

Once again, as I said, it’s very important to ensure that both parties are present at the bargaining table. It’s extremely important that the parties come back to the table and that this communication continues.

Once again, yes, we recognize that strikes cause delays. However, the government wants to ensure that the negotiations continue so that workers get a fair and equitable contract.

I will repeat my question. What kind of delays are we talking about right now? Are we talking about a few years? What tangible measures have been put in place to reduce those delays?

Ms. Petitpas Taylor [ - ]

Again, the people who work in those offices, behind the scenes, take on a full workload. We’re not going to replace these people, who do important work. Employees need to be at the bargaining table because that’s where they will get better results. We want to make sure the employees get a fair and equitable contract.

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