Operating Context and Risks

Operating Context

We operate in an ever changing environment as the needs of Canada’s Veterans and their families evolve. The Government has significantly increased support for Veterans and their families through successive federal budget commitments, which is welcomed by Canadians. At the same time, keeping pace with such significant change can present challenges for our capacity to deliver—careful planning, sequencing and pacing remains critical.

Our work is influenced by many internal and external factors. The programs and services we deliver are impacted by broader policies and priorities of the Government of Canada (GC) and must adapt to the needs of the people we serve. At the same time, the management and direction of the programs and services relies on people, budgets, processes and tools. All these factors play an essential role in determining the Department’s plans and desired results. Veterans Affairs Canada is faced with both opportunity and challenges as it works towards fulfilling the significant Mandate Letter commitments and departmental priorities, as well as contributing to the achievement of broader GC priorities.

Recent years have seen significant change: in priorities, through innovations in the way government business is conducted, in a significant focus shift toward well-being of both Veterans and their families, and the overall move toward public accountability and the demonstration of real results for Canadians.

Historic investments have been made to improve financial benefits for many Veterans, but we recognize there is still more work to be done. Through research and investment we have gathered information on the needs of the Veterans we serve and have developed a comprehensive package that will assist Veterans as they transition from military to post-military life, including substantially improving support for caregivers.

We are committed to the GC goal of delivering online, end-to-end Veteran-centric digital services that use a “tell us once” approach, and will continue to pursue opportunities to provide benefits and services online. Registrations and use of My VAC Account continues to grow at a steady rate. As of March 31 2019, My VAC Account has over 91,000 users- this is a 27% increase from March 31, 2018.

Our focus is the well-being of Veterans and their families. The Department wants to provide the best possible benefits and services tailored to the unique needs of those we serve. Canadians have been promised real change both in what we do, and in how we do it, and VAC strives to ensure this is realized for the Veterans and families we serve. We also recognize that we need to work collaboratively with others, as the responsibility for Veterans’ well-being is shared with multiple jurisdictions, other government departments, and individual Veterans. We will work to ensure that we are complementing and supplementing all the positive work being done for Veterans in this regard.

Key Risks

Integrated risk management is a key component of modern management. It ensures that risks are understood, managed, communicated, and integrated into decision making and priority setting. Effective risk management enables decision makers to address challenges and uncertainties proactively

The table below outlines the Department’s response to the top three risks and the steps taken to mitigate them.

Risk response strategy
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)
Maintaining Core Services amidst competing priorities:

Veterans Affairs Canada may have difficulty providing timely, high quality core services and benefits to Veterans and their families while simultaneously implementing several new initiatives and programs from multiple Federal Budgets
VAC will:
  • Refine internal processes to improve efficiency
  • Increase the use of automation
  • Recruit, train, motivate and retain employees
  • Maintain a reasonable case manager to client ratio

This will be measured through:

  • The percentage of established service standards that show improvements which will have a positive impact for Veterans
Core Responsibility 1: Benefits, Services and Support

Internal Services
Links to all Mandate Letter commitments
Fulfilling Mandate Letter Commitments:

Veterans Affairs Canada may have difficulty fully implementing remaining mandate commitments, given the volume and complexity of commitments made to Veterans.
VAC will:
  • Report progress internally and through canada.ca
  • Increase the use of automation
  • Recruit, train, motivate and retain employees

The success of these responses will be measured through:

  • The percentage of mandate letter commitments completed
Core Responsibility 1: Benefits, Services and Support

Internal Services
Links to all Mandate Letter commitments
Achieving and demonstrating positive results:

Veterans Affairs Canada may have difficulty fully meeting planned targets, given that responsibility for Veterans’ well-being is shared with multiple jurisdictions, other government departments, and individual Veterans.
VAC will:
  • Work closely with partners to ensure efforts are well aligned
  • Explore additional opportunities for sound research and data to inform direction

Progress will be measured through:

  • The percentage of target met for Departmental Indicators that are reported in the Departmental Results Framework
Core Responsibility 1: Benefits, Services and Support Links to all Mandate Letter commitments
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