Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) needed to launch its highly anticipated Pension for Life program. We helped to make the announcement a success.
In November 2017, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) hired Stiff to deliver strategic communications advice and multiplatform content for a major policy announcement. Large amounts of technical information and research had to be presented to the Veteran community, media and Canadians.
The job wasn’t going to be easy. VAC’s Pension for Life (PFL) program enacted sweeping changes to an important compensation program for ill or injured Veterans, many of whom had stopped listening to messages from the federal government department. What’s more, timing was tight. We had just five weeks to execute.
Amy Meunier, Director, Veterans Affairs Canada
The Stiff team conducted wide-ranging research and analysis before making strategic recommendations. We interviewed key VAC departmental leaders and frontline staff to understand the ins and outs of the PFL program. We then conducted off-the-record interviews with approximately 30 Veterans, still-serving Canadian Armed Forces members, military families, and Veteran support workers.
Based on this research, we reached an unexpected conclusion. While some Veterans focused on the monetary aspect, VAC’s lack of credibility with many ill or injured Veterans was actually due to frustrations over long processing wait times, inaccessible language, lack of transparency and hard-to-understand information.
Our course of action, to borrow a military phrase, was clear. VAC’s messaging required a dramatic change in style, tone and content. It was the only way to give the PFL policy its greatest chance of success. We executed by delivering clear, truthful and reasoned explanations of the new option—free of complicated jargon and insincere hyperbole—that also anticipated and addressed challenges with processing wait times. Straight-talking Veterans deserved nothing less.