Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

July 06, 2011 11:30 ET

Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney Visits CFB Gagetown

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - July 6, 2011) - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today made his first official visit to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, where he toured the Military Family Resource Centre, participated in a simulation experience with small-arms weaponry and watched the taping of a documentary featuring "live fire" on the base's Range and Training Area.

"A day like today makes you realize just how truly remarkable our service men and women are," said Minister Blaney. "They have earned the right to be called the best soldiers in the world. They are highly trained professionals who courageously serve our country in times of war and peace."

Minister Blaney began his visit to CFB Gagetown by meeting staff and touring the facilities at the Military Family Resource Centre, and then participated in an interactive demonstration of small-arms simulators. He concluded his time on the base by watching live bombs and ammunitions being detonated for scenes in a new documentary, tentatively entitled Last Great War Heroes, which recounts, through our Veterans' own stories, the Allied Forces' D-Day landings and victorious march to Berlin at the close of the Second World War.

"Watching the live ammunitions, you can't help but wonder how anyone survives the horror of war," said Minister Blaney. "It's a powerful reminder that Canada needs to be there for its service men and women the way they are always there for Canada."

This is one of the reasons why Minister Blaney wants to visits various regions across Canada this summer. He said CF members and Veterans need to know the Government of Canada continues to improve its care and support for them. Recent improvements, he added, include the passage this spring of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act which, when it comes into effect later this year, will provide additional financial support to Canada's most seriously injured Veterans when they need it the most.

"Our government recognizes the great debt this country owes to the men and women who have served and continue to serve Canada," said Minister Blaney. "By investing an additional $2 billion to enhance the New Veterans Charter, we are ensuring our Veterans, CF members and their families have the help they need—when they need it and for as long as they need it."

A backgrounder on the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act is attached. For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services, please visit veterans.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Additional Details on the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act

The Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act, which was passed by the last Parliament in March 2011, features significant changes to the New Veterans Charter to address concerns raised by Veterans, their families, as well as members of Veterans' organizations, advisory groups and parliamentary committees.

With these enhancements, which are expected to come into force this fall, the Government of Canada will:

  • improve access to monthly benefits (worth up to an additional $1,632 per month, and payable for life) for seriously injured Veterans;
  • introduce a new monthly $1,000 supplement to the Permanent Impairment Allowance—also payable for life—to help our most seriously injured or ill Veterans who are unable to be suitably, gainfully employed; and
  • provide flexible payment options for receiving a disability award.

Also, by amending regulations which govern the New Veterans Charter, the Government will establish a minimum pre-tax income of $40,000 a year for all ill and injured Veterans in the rehabilitation program or, if they are unable to be suitably and gainfully employed again, until age 65.

Improving access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance and the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance:

When the New Veterans Charter was implemented in 2006, it resulted in some unforeseen gaps between the new charter and the Pension Act, which had previously served all Veterans. As a result, a number of severely injured Veterans found themselves ineligible for either the new Permanent Impairment Allowance under the New Veterans Charter or the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance under the Pension Act.

By correcting these eligibility barriers between the two systems, it is expected that as many as 3,500 Veterans will now qualify for either the Permanent Impairment Allowance or the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance over the next five years.

Introducing a monthly $1,000 supplement for permanently and severely injured Veterans:

Severely injured Veterans who are receiving the Permanent Impairment Allowance and are unable to be suitably, gainfully employed will receive an additional $1,000 per month for the rest of their lives. This would be added to other financial supports they may receive, such as the minimum, pre-tax income of $40,000 a year available through the Earnings Loss benefit. It is anticipated that approximately 500 Veterans will benefit from this change over the next five years.

Providing payment options for the Disability Award:

The tax-free Disability Award is currently a one-time payment designed solely to recognize and compensate for the non-economic impact (the pain and suffering) of an injury or illness. It is in addition to other financial supports (such as the monthly Earnings Loss benefit and the Permanent Impairment Allowance) which recognize the ongoing economic impact of an injury. Under this change to the New Veterans Charter, CF members and Veterans will have new payment options for receiving their disability award. These options are:

  • equal annual payments spread out over the number of years of their choice (with interest);
  • a partial lump-sum payment with the balance paid out in annual installments over any number of years (with interest); or
  • a single lump-sum payment.

Veterans will also have the option—at any time—to receive the balance of their disability award in a final lump-sum payment.

Introducing a minimum annual Earnings Loss benefit:

In addition to the legislated changes outlined above, the regulations which govern the New Veterans Charter are being amended to include a minimum annual, pre-tax income of $40,000 for recipients of the monthly Earnings Loss benefit. This enhancement should, over the next five years, increase the monthly financial support available to approximately 2,300 Veterans who either left the Canadian Forces while still at a low military rank or when military salaries were much lower than they are today.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468

    Michelle Wright
    A/ Regional Director of Communications,
    Atlantic
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    902-426-0635
    Cell: 902-401-7691

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649