What is the process for online consultations and how can I participate?
You can join upcoming consultations on our consultation platform, Let’s Talk Veterans.
Let’s Talk Veterans is an online consultation and engagement platform that gives Canadians, Veterans and their families the opportunity to provide direct feedback to VAC.
Why did VAC consult on the application process for disability benefits?
We are trying to better understand issues with the application process from the applicants’ perspective so we can improve the process and reduce how long it takes to get a decision.
Who participated in this consultation?
We consulted with Veterans, former members of the RCMP, still-serving and releasing CAF members, family members, and others who support the application process. Supporters of the application process include family members, friends, members of The Royal Canadian Legion, and anyone else who helps Veterans apply for disability benefits.
Did the consultation include people who were involved in reassessments and departmental reviews of applications?
No, the Application Process Consultation was focused on first applications and did not include reassessments or departmental reviews.
Are consultations part of the Department’s wait times strategy?
Yes, consultations are a part of our wait times strategy. The information we receive from these consultations supports initiatives to reduce processing times for disability benefits and related issues.
Why are you consulting instead of providing more resources to address the issues?
We are doing both.
Since 2018, more than 500 employees have been hired to work directly on reducing wait times. On 23 Feb 2022 funding of $139.6 million was announced allowing the Department to maintain 595 temporary positions as part of action to address the backlog of disability benefit applications at VAC until March 2024. We know that hiring new employees and improving our processes through automation will help us make decisions faster. These are equally important aspects of our wait time strategy.
How will information gathered by Let's Talk Veterans be used?
Feedback gathered through Let’s Talk Veterans will be used to inform Department policy and guide decisions. A report on the results of each consultation will be available to the public through the Let’s Talk Veterans website as well as a record of the actions taken as a result of guidance Canadians provided.
How will Veterans, their families, advocates and stakeholders find out about the consultations available on Let’s Talk Veterans?
VAC will promote these consultations through various outreach and communications channels to ensure the broadest and most diverse number of voices are participating in all planned consultations.
What does the Department plan on doing with the insights from this consultation?
After reviewing the data, we developed 6 recommendations to improve the application process:
1. Increase awareness and promote the benefits of My VAC Account to apply online
2. Train and collaborate with those who assist Veterans in filling out applications
3. Make the application steps clear, concise and easy to understand
4. Build a more comprehensive tool to track application status by breaking down the progress into more detailed steps
5. Confirm that an application is complete earlier
6. Make the process more digital.
You can read the full report at Let’s Talk Veterans.
When can Veterans expect to see improvements based on their feedback?
We are beginning to act on these recommendations as quickly as we can. We expect this will lead to immediate and ongoing improvements in the process, fewer incomplete applications and improved processing times.