Dear UVAE Members

Veterans Affairs Canada is moving to implement its new RSVP/Rehab contract which was just awarded. Case Managers across the country have contacted their union with questions and concerns about this new contract and how it will affect services to Veterans and their jobs as Case Managers. That is why UVAE has decided to engage the full Case Manager community in a survey to get their views, opinions and concerns. We will use the information collected in our on-going discussions with VAC on this contract.

Please ensure that all Case Managers in your area are aware of this survey and encourage their participation. The greater the participation, the stronger our voice will be to protect them. Here is a link to the survey which will be open until August 3, 2021:


In Solidarity

Virginia Vaillancourt

National President

Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees (UVAE)

Joint Learning Program : Mental Health: Let’s Talk!

The JLP is proud to announce that the fourth guided discussion in its Empowering Conversations discussion series, Mental Health: Let’s Talk! has launched.We would deeply appreciate your support in letting managers and unionized employees know of this offering. 

The newest Empowering Conversation is a guided discussion of 3 to 3.5 hours that will bring public service employees and their managers together to discuss lessons learned on maintaining mental health in difficult times and to begin identifying additional strategies for supporting workplace psychological health and safety.

During this session, participants will

  • discuss mental health as a continuum and the factors that impact it
  • identify workplace practices that support mental health
  • plan for renewed attention to support psychologically healthy and safe workplaces.

As with all other Empowering Conversations, Mental Health: Let’s Talk! is designed for unionized employees and their supervisors/managers of the same work teams with no more than 15 participants. Mental Health: Let’s Talk! is designed to be held via videoconference or teleconference.

To host a facilitated discussion from the Empowering Conversations series, please submit a request on the JLP website or contact your local Regional Field Coordinators for more information. 

Toufic El-Daher

National Executive Vice-President (UVAE)

June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Let us celebrate and embrace this day

It was first announced in 1971 to be an official policy of Canada at the House of Commons by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who stated that no official culture would define Canadian identity but it is its cultural diversity that makes the country whole.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the policy.

The concept of Multiculturalism Day was introduced on November 13,2002 and adopted by the Government of Canada.  June 27 was designated as the day by Royal Proclamation.

Multiculturalism is reflected within  the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In addition the Broadcasting Act of 1991 asserts that the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the diversity of all cultures across the country.

This day honours racial, religious and cultural backgrounds of Canada.  Our shared values define us more than our differences. Acknowledging those common values can see us through our challenges today as we work toward inclusion and reconciliation.

Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth in her statement in 2020 stated  “Our diversity has shaped our society and our way of life. People from around the world have come to Canada, hopeful of having the same opportunities and experiences as all Canadians, and with a common goal to achieve an inclusive, supportive, and diverse society in which everyone can thrive.” …. “Diversity has always been one of our greatest strengths. Yet, we must never forget that a multicultural society is always a work in progress.  It demands our effort, our attention and our care.”

Here are some facts and figures from Statistics Canada and the Census to understand why helping everyone feel like they belong is not just the right thing to do, but is essential with today’s changing demographics:

  • Immigration accounts for more than 80 per cent of the population growth in Canada.
  • During the first three months of 2019, Canada’s population increased by 98,410 persons due to immigration, bringing our population to 37,412,852.
  • 21.9 per cent of the Canadian population reports they are or were a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.
  • More than 250 ethnic origins or ancestries are reported by the Canadian population.
  • British and French origins are still among the most common, but their share in the population has decreased considerably since Confederation.
  • In 2016, 2.1 million people, or 6.2 per cent of the total Canadian population, reported Indigenous ancestry.
  • In 2016, 7,674,580 individuals were identified as belonging to a racialized population. They represented more than one-fifth (22.3 per cent) of Canada’s population. Of this number, three in 10 were born in Canada.
  • South Asians, Chinese and Blacks were the three largest racialized groups, each with a population exceeding one million. These are followed by Filipinos and Arabs, who almost doubled their numbers in 10 years and had the highest growth rates among racialized groups from 2006 to 2016.
  • Immigrants contribute to our economy, not only by filling gaps in our labour force and paying taxes, but also by spending money on goods, housing and transportation

We  believe that every day is a day to celebrate our diversity because our country is built upon so many different races, religions, and cultural practices.   So let’s do our part to celebrate today and every day.

June 2021

UVAE HR Committee

National Indigenous History Month

The month of June is National Indigenous History Month — a time for all Canadians to celebrate and appreciate the unique histories, cultures, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people.

We cannot move forward without recognizing the tragic and devastating treatment the indigenous people suffered.   The discovery of a mass grave where 215 children were buried is heartbreaking!  and devastating.  As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau so eloquently stated, “a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.” 

Indian Residential Schools were boarding schools run by the government and the church.  Children were stolen from their families and they were stripped of their dignity.  They were punished for speaking their own languages; they  suffered physical and sexual abuse.  Can you imagine that the last residential schools closed in Saskatchewan in 1996!  The impact of residential schools is still very alive specially among the survivors and continue to have a significant impact on Indigenous communities.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.

UVAE Stands with Muslim Canadians and Members on Islamophobic Murder of Ontario Family

The Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees (UVAE) is devastated and horrified over the Islamophobic terrorist attack on June 6, 2021, that killed four members of a Muslim Pakistani family in London, Ontario and left the only survivor, a nine-year-old boy, in hospital with serious injuries.

The UVAE sends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues impacted by this tragedy and commits to fighting against all forms of racism, bigotry, and hate.

Our prayers and thoughts go to the only survivor whom we wish all the care, peace and the justice he deserves.

Toufic El-Daher

National Executive Vice-President (UVAE)

Pride and Privileged

“In hounour of Pride Month 2021, the UVAE reached out to Sean Williams, a Veterans Affairs Canada employee and Positive Space Ambassador, to write an article for our social media. Please see Sean’s article below. Happy Pride everyone J”

Pride and Privileged

By Sean Williams

When I was asked to write this article, the phone call began with the customary “how are you?”

In a pre-Covid world, I would normally answer this seemingly mundane question with an equally mundane response, however given the current state of the world this once routine greeting has taken on a whole new weight.

My response to the question was somewhere along the lines of “I am doing ok. I am still gainfully employed, safely working from home, and all my loved ones are safe”. One could say that I am “lucky” but I would argue that I am not lucky, rather as a white cis-man, I am privileged to be able to say the aforementioned response when asked “how are you?”

When the Pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, we were all scared. There were just so many unknowns and we didn’t know how it would affect us but quickly we began to see the divisions in society and how the already marginalized groups would bear the brunt of this disease. We have seen how Canadians already facing social and economic hardships have been affected disproportionately by the Covid crisis.

But this isn’t an article about Covid, this is an article about Pride Month, however I feel that we can’t observe Pride Month without acknowledging the social inequities that the pandemic has laid bare. Before the parades, the people in booty shorts and drag shows, Pride was a protest and now more than ever we need to remember that. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr famously said “no one is free until we are all free”. If you are a person of privilege in this society, use your power to support those who are oppressed. Speak up, hold space, do the work to create a just and equitable society for all people.

The word pride is the antonym of the word shame and according to Brené Brown, an author and psychology researcher, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” So many in our LGBTQ2S+ community have been made to feel ashamed, to feel that they are unworthy, that they are not enough. If you have privilege in any realm of your life, I ask that you use Pride month to break down the walls of shame and use your power to amplify the marginalized voices that for so long have been silenced by racism, transphobia, homophobia and misogyny.

Check out Egale Canada to find out more about how you can get involved and make a difference.