August 8 Deadline for Input on Proposed Changes to New Veterans Charter Regulations

Ottawa - July 29, 2011

Today, I submitted the Office’s response to the regulatory changes being proposed by Veterans Affairs Canada with respect to the Canadian Forces and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Regulations. These proposed changes were published in the Canada Gazette on 9 July 2011 (opens a new window).

First and foremost, I want to address the comments that were attributed to the Office on page 2268, (opens a new window) which states that “VAC staff met with, and briefed, the new Ombudsman and his staff on the enhancements to the NVC [New Veterans Charter], and they were supportive of the changes. The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman will continue to advocate publicly for further program improvements.”

While the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman supports the provision of additional benefits to Veterans, we strongly feel that the current version of the proposed regulatory amendments to the Earnings Loss Benefit is unfair to part-time Reservists. However, they were right in saying that the Veterans community can expect that my Office will continue to advocate publicly for further program improvements!

The Earnings Loss Benefit for Regular Force and Reserve Force Veterans (Class C Reserve Service and Class B Reserve Service with contracts greater than 180 days) will be enhanced. This is good news! The new minimum income for these individuals will be $40,000 pre-tax per year.

On the other hand, the new minimum income under the Earnings Loss Benefit for Class B Reservists with contracts of less than 180 days and Class A Reservists will be only $24,300 pre-tax per year. This represents 75% of a monthly salary of $2,700; up from $2,000 per month to factor in cost of living increases since this amount was established.

So what happens to part-time Reservists who get seriously injured on a weekend exercise? What if they lose their civilian job (and salary) as a result of their injury? Their needs for rehabilitation and income support are no different than those of a Regular Force member. My Office believes that part-time Reservists should be eligible for the same benefits as other Veterans. The rationale for providing a minimum annual income of $40,000 to other Veterans is equally applicable to part-time Reservists.

There’s quite a difference between $40,000 and $24,300!

At the very least, if the government is unwilling to give part-time Reservists the same financial support, then the proposed monthly salary of $2,700 used to establish the minimum income provided under the Earnings Loss Benefit should be indexed to the cost of living in order to maintain its current value.

The Office is also concerned that the Earnings Loss Benefit is only payable until the age of 65. Current retirement benefits need to be revisited to ensure that the financial benefits are maintained after age 65.

As citizens, you have the right to provide your comments on the proposed regulations published in the Canada Gazette. Do you have concerns with the regulatory changes being proposed by Veterans Affairs Canada with respect to the Canadian Forces and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Regulations? Do you share the Office’s concerns?

You have until August 8, 2011 to submit your input. Send your comments by mail or email to:

Suzanne Levesque
Director
Cabinet and Legislative Affairs
Departmental Secretariat and Policy Coordination Division
Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street, Room 1527
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P4
Email: suzanne.levesque@vac-acc.gc.ca

Guy Parent

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Comments

Mat1 Lemay said:

Phone me for input. I have starved this summer. I Had no money left to eat. Call me on Thursday and i will be please to guide you in a way that only a few sailors can understand the real life of a proudly and devoted canadian giving all he has for his Monarchy the Commender and Cheif Of the Canadian Forces Queen Elisabeth 2. God save the Queen.

September 10, 2011 8:50 PM

Scott said:

Sometimes we just seem to not care for our fellow Veterans. When I see people write comments about how bad the lump-sum payment is, I see only partial truth in that comment. There are Veterans like myself who are in their end of life stage who happen to appreciate the Lump-Sum payment. Do the math, we have maybe five years and lets say there are miracles perhaps 10 years. This form of payment helps us at the point of life when our families may need additional support and also to help us have a better quality of life. Now I don't agee that with the Lump-sum policy as the only option for New Veterans. I think it shameful that the Government takes the easy way out. Right from the beginning there should have been a choice and all Veterans should have an option. Having said that, lets not forget about those Veterans who can benefit from the Lump-Sum to make their end of life more comfortable. For that I am truly Grateful. Murray Scott

August 13, 2011 5:52 PM

Tony Makariak said:

The New Veterans Charter came out in Canada in 2006. This was the American reply to the same SCAM in 2006. Veterans' Disability Panel Rejects Lump-Sum Option ! No Lump-Sum Disabled Pay. http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,117828,00.html

August 5, 2011 10:25 AM

Tony Makariak said:

Nothing will change, The New Veterans Charter saves the Government millions of dollars by paying out small lump sums instead of a monthly disability benefit to us who were injured while serving this country. They steal off the backs of Severely Wounded Veterans. So to say to your "deadline for input to change the Charter" IS Highly insulting to us who have lost benefits by this Charter, Do you think we are that Stupid !

August 5, 2011 9:11 AM

Scott said:

Get It Together Okay it is time someone said what everyone is thinking….lately I have been really looking into attaching my energy to a Veteran’s Organization that is really and truly focused on helping our disabled veteran’s. I see Organizations that work at the Macro Level which has its benefits with respect to policy and procedure. There are also those Organizations that try and work at the micro level and spread themselves so thin that in the big picture of things they really have little to offer. There are those Organizations like the Legion that come under attack by the fragmented startup Organizations and regardless of the feedback they get keep moving forward. However; they don’t seem to attract the new Veterans with contemporary issues. There are those Veteran Organizations that Cry Wolf at every chance they get and they wonder why our injured and disabled Veterans do not want anything to do with them. It is bad enough that the most vulnerable of our Veterans pay the price of a so called Dynamic Government who dangle Carrots and then go back on their word; while at the same time our various Veteran Organizations use the same group of people to self-promote their own interest. Some of our Organizations say their numbers are not what they should be and at the same time these organizations fail to look at themselves and ask why their numbers are low and insignificant. Listen and listen carefully, the Veterans you are trying to attract will unite when you get your act together. I have seen so much negatively written articles that finding an article with positive reflections and accomplishments is a rare and scarce commodity. I have had the opportunity to talk with ten seasoned Veterans last week and to my surprise not one of them had joined a Veteran’s Organization. I mentioned that I had signed up for one of the Organizations and the feedback was to say the least surprising. Some Veterans agree that at this moment in time there was no clear outstanding organization that moved them to join. Some said they could not afford the money. There were those that said every time they read an Article by the various Organizations they walked away depressed. Two Veterans brought up the fact that they liked what the Ombudsman’s office was doing. They said that the Ombudsman took the time to re-organize their staff and then publish what they had done. Gee that is a Novel idea. Now for the biggest feedback and surprise; without exception, everyone at the table agreed that there was too much Fear Mongering among the Various Organizations. I found myself in agreement with them. If this is true then perhaps these Organizations are not giving us a balanced perspective. So I guess the answer is simple; if you want the Veterans to unite then start putting something out that everyone can identify with. We now have for the first time in history a very new and complex variety of disabled soldiers looking for the Organization that stands out among all other Organizations. Well there it is…do with it what you must, if you want to attack the messenger then that is fine as well. The message is clear…do something ….and if you choose to do nothing then shame on you for pretending you are something you are not! In strength and hope. Murray Scott Edmonton Alberta 44 years a disable Veteran

August 1, 2011 12:37 PM