Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

September 19, 2010 14:15 ET

The Government of Canada Announces Significant Increase in Support for Our Veterans

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 19, 2010) - Today, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced the first in a series of concrete actions the Government of Canada will take in the coming weeks to deliver improvements in support and care for our Veterans and their families. The Ministers announced increased financial support for seriously injured Veterans, enhanced monthly income for severely injured Veterans who are unable to return to work, and a boost to the minimum annual income for Veterans released at lower salary levels. Minister Blackburn announced his intention to propose amendments to improve the Veterans Charter this fall.

"We have been listening to our Veterans and their families, and we are determined to do whatever it takes to serve them as they have served Canada and all Canadians with courage and distinction," said Minister Blackburn. "While we have already made sweeping changes to our programs, our services and our benefits, we recognize that more needs to be done. These new measures will make a real difference in the lives of our nation's heroes."

"Our men and women in uniform need to know that their government is dedicated to supporting them during and following their service to Canada," said Minister MacKay. "This government is listening to their concerns and taking the steps necessary to address the changing needs of Canadian Forces personnel, Veterans and their families. These new measures will help us reach that goal."

The new measures will remove eligibility barriers and increase the monthly financial support already available to severely injured Veterans that cannot return to work. As well, they will increase income support for those released from lower salaries. The new measures are expected to benefit more than 4,000 Veterans over the course of the next five years and will very much improve their quality of life.

Today's announcement would provide a total of $ 2 billion to ensure that Veterans who have been seriously injured in the service of Canada have access to the support they deserve. The proposed improvements are as follows:

  • Veterans who have experienced serious injuries impeding their return to service and who will not be able to work again will receive $1,000 more a month for the rest of their lives. This amount will be added onto 75 percent of their salary, as well as an allowance in the amount of $536 to $1,609. Within the next five years, 500 Veterans will be eligible for this monthly additional amount.
  • Access to the permanent monthly allowance for seriously injured Veterans (in the amount of $536 to $1,609) will be expanded. More than 3,500 Veterans are expected to be eligible for this allowance within the next five years (including the 500 mentioned above, who will also receive an additional $ 1000 per month).
  • Our government will increase the benefit for lost earnings (75 percent of the pre-release salary) Veterans receive while in rehabilitation to a minimum annual income of approximately $40,000. This improvement will increase the income of 2,320 Veterans over the next five years.

Details of the proposed changes can be found in the attached backgrounder. For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Improving Support for Canada's Veterans

The Government of Canada is announcing significant improvements to enhance financial support for Veterans and their families. The proposed changes to the New Veterans Charter reflect the findings of internal reviews at Veterans Affairs Canada and consultations with Veterans, their families, various Veterans' organizations, advisory groups and parliamentary committees.

Those who are most severely injured and who have the lowest income will receive better financial support.

Improving care and financial support for Canadian Forces Veterans with severe injuries:

Severely injured Veterans and their families face the greatest challenges in making the transition to civilian life. Research shows that early intervention, comprehensive case management and treatment, and adequate financial support are crucial to a Veteran's rehabilitation.

Under the proposed changes, Veterans who have experienced severe injuries and who are unable to ever return to work will receive $1,000 more per month for the rest of their lives. This amount will be added onto what they are already receiving— 75% of their salary, as well as an allowance of $536 to $1,609.  Over the next five years, an estimated 500 Veterans will benefit from this improvement.

A Veteran who has suffered a severe service-related, serious injury (e.g. quadriplegia, paraplegia, multiple amputations) and who will, as a result, suffer permanent effects is eligible for the Permanent Impairment Allowance benefit under the New Veterans Charter.

Proposed changes will improve access to the above financial assistance for severely injured Veterans by revising program eligibility requirements and removing barriers so that more than 3,500 additional severely injured Veterans will now be eligible (including the 500 mentioned above).

Ensuring an adequate monthly income for Veterans by enhancing the earnings loss benefit:

The earnings loss benefit provides monthly financial assistance to replace lost income for Veterans who are either undergoing rehabilitation or cannot return to work. The existing earnings loss benefit may be insufficient for those men and women who were earning the lowest incomes in the Canadian Forces or who left the armed forces when military salaries were significantly lower than they are today.

The proposed changes will increase the minimum monthly income for these Veterans by changing the formula for the earnings loss benefit to ensure a minimum income of approximately $40,000/year. Approximately 2,320 Veterans will benefit from this change. We are also improving income support available for part-time Reservists.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3465
    Cell.: 613-608-3252