Federal workers have launched a YouTube video aimed at rallying public support to keep some Veterans Affairs offices open, including the one in Kelowna.
The clip shows former servicemen explaining the hardship they'll face if they have to access Veterans Affairs services outside their own communities.
Once the eight-person Kelowna office closes in February, veterans here will have to travel to Penticton for assistance, or be counselled through the Internet or on a phone.
"It's not just the older veterans who have difficulty navigating the Internet," said Yvan Thauvette, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Union of Veterans Affairs Employees.
"A lot of the younger veterans, especially if they have medical issues, much prefer to get the one-on-one, face-to-face service they get from a local office," Thauvette said from Ottawa.
About 90 Veterans Affairs employees across the country will lose their jobs, part of a broader plan to reduce the department's total workforce by about 700.
When the closures were announced last year, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan said high-quality service would still be available to veterans who need help with medical programs,
special benefits and various financial entitlements.
"We don't need to have bricks-and-mortar all over the place to deliver services," Cannan said.
While the government has maintained its commitment to go ahead with the office closures, the union hopes the YouTube campaign might convince members of the public to rally against the shutdowns.
Asked if he thought that was a realistic prospect, Thauvette said: "I don't know if the word reality comes into play with this government. . . .We just hope members of the public will talk to their MP about this issue, and maybe it will change."