A crowd rallies in front of Windsor's Veterans Affairs Canada office on University Ave., January 31, 2014.

Windsor’s Veterans Affairs Office To Open Next Year

The federal government now says Windsor’s Veterans Affairs Office will reopen sometime before May of 2017, but the NDP’s Veteran Affairs critic says the delay has been unacceptable.

Irene Matthyssen held a roundtable discussion with area veterans in Essex Monday, including an update on plans to reopen the office. It will have been three years since the office closed and during that period, veterans have had to travel to London to meet face to face with caseworkers. There is a website, but Mattyssen says many of them are intimidated by technology. She says a liaison known to the veteran and their family is crucial since dealing with Ottawa can be a daunting task.

“A lot of these veterans are vulnerable,” she says. “It can be intimidating. Ottawa is sort of this [amorphous], strange environment. Veterans Affairs is not particularly people friendly in so many ways.”

So far, there has been no specific date or a location announced, but Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, along with Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle and Windsor West MP Brian Masse hope to find out soon.

“If it’s going to go past May 2017, we’d like an explanation as to why.”

Ramsey says at least one office is already open again.

“We know that they’ve reopened the office in Nova Scotia as of last week.”

Matthyssen says she hasn’t received an answer why it has taken so long to open the Windsor office. She suspects the Liberal government has made so many promises that reopening the offices is lower on its list of priorities.