You might want to sit down for this one. Between November, 2015 and March of this year, the Veterans Affairs department spent nearly $300,000 on office chairs.
I calculated the figure based on repeated expenditures for chairs that appeared on a list of contracts, which I obtained under Access to Information. The total, for an undisclosed amount of chairs, was $291,555.19. Some individual chairs were purchased for as much as $1,365, with the department purchasing dozens of units of a designer "Leap" chair for $944 each.
Most of the chairs are ergonomic, which the department said in a statement is necessary for eligible employees on human rights grounds.
Spending a thousand a piece doesn't seem to be, however.
After a five-second Google search, I found ergonomic office chairs--from a Canadian supplier--for under $400.
A Veterans Affairs spokesperson said the department has been "aggressively hiring new staff" with 187 employees (net) hired in the time frame during which the chairs were purchased.
The department has 2,900 employees across 30 locations in Canada.
She said the purchase of the chairs was to "address different needs including for new employees, to upgrade employees' existing chairs due to maintenance, as well as to purchase stackable chairs to increase seating capacity in common areas, waiting areas and boardrooms."
Apparently this wasn't a priority until last year.
Next time you hear about a veteran being denied care by the government, remember the real priorities: cushioning bureaucrats' rear ends.
CLICK HERE to see the documents.