Veterans, their families and local officials joined Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr Tuesday for the reopening of the Veterans Affairs Canada office in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The office is located on the 1st floor of 471 Queensway Ave and will employ approximately nine staff who will serve approximately 3,500 Veterans in the area. Staff at the office will answer questions about VAC services and benefits; arrange pension medical examinations; and, assist Veterans to complete and submit applications and receipts. Case-managed Veterans will also be able to meet with their case manager.
“I am extremely proud to be reopening doors that were previously closed to Veterans and their families here in Kelowna.,” said Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, in a statement.
“They have selflessly answered the call to serve our country, and now we are answering their call by enhancing financial benefits, restoring and expanding access to critical services, expanding service in British Columbia and the territories, and hiring more frontline staff. This was part of our commitment to Canadians, and we stand by this promise.”
In August, Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr visited the Kelowna office while it was still under construction. The Kelowna office is the third of nine Veterans Affairs offices to be reopened across the country by May 2017.
Veteran Affairs offices in Corner Brook, NL, and Brandon, MB, have already been reopened. The rest of the offices will open between now and May 2017. Offices in Saskatoon, SK, Sydney, NS, and Charlottetown, PE, will open in the fall of 2016. The Thunder Bay, ON, office will open in January 2017. Offices in Windsor, ON, and, Prince George and Surrey, BC, will open in spring 2017.
Veterans Affairs Canada is hiring 400 new employees to help ensure that Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, RCMP personnel, and their families are provided with the best possible services in their own communities. This includes new staff to ensure case managers have a caseload of an average of 25 Veterans.