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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Aspiring pot-sellers can apply in two weeks to operate stores in Abbotsford

City will accept applications to operate one of four new stores; public consultation to follow

Abbotsford homeless advocate killed by RCMP in Lytton

Barry Shantz spearheaded getting harm-reduction services in city, changing bylaws around homeless

SLIDESHOW: Vancouver Motorcycle Show back in Abbotsford

Annual event runs all weekend long on Tradex

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read