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

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

Victoria’s reconciliation dialogue on newcomers, Indigenous peoples takes place Monday

The third of six discussions on reconciliation will take place at the Crystal Garden

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read