The Royal Canadian Legion

The Royal Canadian Legion

February 04, 2014 10:14 ET

Veterans and the Upcoming Budget: Legion Expects Funding in Key Areas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 4, 2014) - The Royal Canadian Legion is calling on the federal Government to end the talk and respond to the urgent financial shortcomings of the New Veterans Charter in the upcoming budget. For six years now the Legion has been advocating for changes in four key areas. "The Legion was singled out in the 2013 Budget in that the Government stated it would work with us and now is the time for action," says Gordon Moore, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion.

The issues requiring immediate resolution by the Government are:

  1. The Earning Loss Benefit (ELB) must be improved to provide 100% of pre-release income, continue for life and include increases for projected career earnings for a Canadian Armed Forces member;
  2. The maximum disability award must be increased consistent with what is provided to injured civilian workers who received general damages in law court;
  3. The current inequity with regards to ELB for Class A and Class B (less than 180 days) Reservists for service attributable injuries must cease immediately; and
  4. The funeral and burial benefits program must be enhanced so that the lowest income, most vulnerable Veterans will receive a dignified funeral

In 2013 the Veterans Ombudsman delivered a series of comprehensive reports of the effectiveness of the New Veterans Charter focused on financial compensation, the complexity and limitations of the vocational rehabilitation programs for our injured Veterans and the care of our families. The reports clearly show, without bias, that improvements are required to programs of the New Veterans Charter that will ensure Veterans and their families are able to successfully transition to civilian life.

"The report pinpoints exactly where the current financial compensation programs are failing our Veterans and will continue to fail our Veterans unless the Government takes immediate action," says Moore. Additional dialogue, review, study or analysis on these three issues is not required. The Royal Canadian Legion urges the Government to take action now. These same issues have been at the forefront of Legion advocacy as mandated by the delegates at Dominion Conventions in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

In May 2013 the Veterans Consultation Group, which includes 20 Veterans organizations, sent a letter to the Minister of Veterans Affairs raising similar priorities. More recently in October 2013, the same Veterans Consultation Group reinforced these priorities to the Government. The group unanimously agreed it is time for this Government to have a heroic moment and do what is right for our Veterans and their families. All of the Veterans Groups, the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group, the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Ombudsman have all stated since 2006 that the Government must resolve, as a matter of priority, the key financial deficiencies of the New Veterans Charter.

"The Government needs to give the men and women who have been injured in service to our country the hope for a better tomorrow; a brighter future," adds Moore. All Canadians know they have sacrificed for our country and they deserve no less. Each day the Government delay means another day that our Veterans and their families live without adequate financial support. Without these changes, many Veterans face a bleak future and financial hardship. "By addressing these financial deficiencies the Government will send a clear message they are committed to the New Veterans Charter and the social contract to our Veterans and their families," says Moore.

ABOUT THE LEGION

Established in 1926, the Legion is the largest Veterans' and community support organization in Canada with more than 320,000 members. Its mission is to serve all Veterans including serving Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members as well as their families, to promote Remembrance and to serve our communities and our country.

The Legion's Service Bureau Network provides assistance and representation to all Veterans regarding their disability claims, benefits and services from Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. In communities across Canada it is the Legion that perpetuates Remembrance through the Poppy Campaign and Remembrance Day ceremonies. With more than 1, 460 branches, the Legion supports programs for seniors, Veterans' housing, outreach and visitation, youth leadership, education, sports, Cadets, Guides and Scouts.

We Will Remember Them.

Contact Information

  • Bruce Poulin
    Dominion Command
    The Royal Canadian Legion
    (613) 591-3335 ext. 241
    cell: (613) 292-8760
    bruce.poulin@legion.ca