02/01/2014 03:51 EST | Updated 04/03/2014 05:59 EDT

Veterans to see increased services with office closures: former defence minister

HALIFAX - A former defence minister says veterans who believe they are losing access to services with the closure of eight Veterans Affairs offices are receiving misinformation.

Peter MacKay, now justice minister, says veterans should actually see an increase in services provided at more than 650 Service Canada centres.

MacKay said of the eight offices that closed on Friday, services will remain in the same building in five cases.

He noted that veterans with caseworkers will continue to receive services at home.

Hundreds of veterans and their supporters rallied Friday in several cities across Canada to protest the closures.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino has blamed the public outcry on the union representing the Veteran Affairs staff.