Supporting Canada's Veterans
March 6, 2018
MP Longfield meets with Guelph veterans at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 234.
Supporting our nation’s veterans is at the core of our government’s current activities. Veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation deserve our respect and our support when transitioning from the military into civilian life. We have been acting on our government’s commitments and I am pleased to see that we have re-opened nine Veterans Affairs offices, added 400 new frontline staff to serve Veterans, and introduced a Pension for Life plan that includes tax-free financial compensation income replacement for Veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service. These initiatives are guided by the following principles:
- That the person, as well as their dependents or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;
- That the uniqueness of the person’s profession and of the obligations and sacrifices such a profession demands also impacts the experiences of their family; and,
- That any decision regarding the care, treatment or re-establishment in civil life of the person and the benefits to be provided to them be made in a timely manner.
The Pension for Life option provides three new benefits that will recognize and compensate Veterans for disability resulting from service-related injury and/or illness, expected as of April 1, 2019. The Pension for Life plan includes:
- Tax-free financial compensation, with the choice of monthly payments for life, to recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related disability. This will provide a maximum monthly amount of $2650 for those most severely disabled;
- Income replacement for Veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service at 90% of their pre-release salary. In some circumstances Veterans may be eligible for an additional 1% career progression factor each year; and
- Services and benefits to help Veterans in a wide-range of areas, including education, employment, and physical and mental health.
This new program means that a 25-year-old Veteran who is 100% disabled would see her/his monthly support increase by over $1,700 from 2015. For a 50-year-old Veteran who is 100% disabled, her/his monthly support would now be almost $9,000.
We also understand that it is vital to provide supports to not only the veteran but their most important support network, their family. In doing so we are increasing the survivors benefit to increase support for spouses from 50% to 70% of the Veteran’s Income Replacement Benefit and expanding the Veteran Family Programs in all 32 Military Family Resources Centres for country-wide support to Veterans and their families.
Ensuring there are adequate mental health supports is also a key area our government is focused on. This includes:
- Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defense have developed a new Suicide Prevention Strategy to prevent suicide among our military members and Veterans;
- Free Mental Health First Aid training to the Veteran community; and
- Establishing a Centre of Excellence on PTSD to provide specialized care in mental health for Veterans.
I am confident that these new and robust supports for our nation’s veterans will make a real and meaningful impact in their wellbeing.