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

A happy Thanksgiving for ‘bully breed’ dog rescue

Shelter raises awareness about dog rescue during National Adoption Weekend

Spartans defeat Mariners in overtime thriller

Langley-based hockey team opens 2019-20 regular season with an emphatic win

A good scare, for a good cause at Langley home for Halloween

The Haunted Graveyard of Brookswood starts Oct. 24

VIDEO: A loss at home for Langley Rivermen

Jake Livingstone finds net for the only Rivermen goal in a 4-1 loss to Coquitlam

Vancouver Giants wrap up prairie road swing with a 4-2 win over Regina

Milos Roman paced the Langley-based Giants with two goals, goaltender David Tendeck made 34 saves

No holiday for campaigning leaders on Thanksgiving weekend, but pace slows

There is a little over a week to go before election day, and advanced polls are now open

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Man arrested in fatal stabbing at Surrey gas station

Victim pronounced deceased at the scene; RCMP cordon off area

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

Most Read