On Hold: Veterans facing long waits when calling for help

Feds aim to answer 80% of calls within two minutes, but only 40% last year actually were

New figures show many veterans have had a hard time getting anyone to pick up when they call Veterans Affairs Canada for information or assistance — with nearly one in five hanging up before their call is answered.

The figures uncovered by The Canadian Press through the access-to-information law show a continued trend of current and former service members being put on hold longer than promised when calling the department’s toll-free number.

While it aims to answer 80 per cent of calls within two minutes, only 40 per cent of the more than 440,000 calls received last year were answered within that target.

A further 84,000 calls were designated as abandoned, meaning the caller hung up.

Veterans usually call the number to apply for or get information about benefits and services, or to get updates on their applications.

READ MORE: B.C. city councillor’s motion to bill military for community events ‘shameful’

The department says it recently hired more employees to ensure call centres are fully staffed and now routinely meets the two-minute target, though it could not provide up-to-date figures because of a technical issue.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Glow Abbotsford opens its doors

Indoor Christmas festival taking over Tradex for December

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

Abbotsford man was ‘unintended victim’ of 2018 fatal shooting, police say

Jagvir Malhi, 19, was gunned down while on his way to university

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

2019 Christmas light displays in Abbotsford and Mission

Local homes are aglow for the holidays

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Braille signs coming to TransLink bus stops in 2020

Transit authority says it’s the first to do so in Canada and the United States

CUPE issues 72-hour strike notice for SkyTrain

Local 7000 release states ‘parties are still bargaining’, union will have job action plan by Saturday

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Most Read