Veterans' voices finally heard!

Ottawa - March 22, 2013

I was very pleased when the budget was tabled yesterday to see that Veterans’ voices have finally been heard and that there will be an increase to the funding of Veterans Affairs Canada’s Funeral and Burial Program. For years, the amount provided by Veterans Affairs Canada for funeral-related services was lower than the average cost of a funeral in Canada. With yesterday’s budget, the amount of money for funeral expenses will go from $3,600 to $7,376.

I was also glad to see that the Department will simplify the administration of the Program by no longer requiring that families provide an itemized list of every single funeral-related expense. In their hour of grief, families of deceased Veterans should not have to struggle with bureaucratic complexities.

Echoing the long-standing concerns of many organizations, the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman recommended that these  and other changes be made back in 2009 in its report Serve with Honour, Depart with Dignity. In the last few months, I have seen many organizations speak with one voice, calling on the Government of Canada to address the serious deficiencies with the Funeral and Burial Program. This is a great example of Veterans organizations standing together to ensure that the needs of Veterans and their families are met.

I commend these organizations for their dedication on this issue, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs for having successfully raised it with his Cabinet colleagues. I hope that we can continue to bring about improvements to the Funeral and Burial Program. It is still a concern to me that many low income Veterans are denied access to the Program based on where and when they served or the low income threshold required to meet the eligibility criteria.

As I said before, low income Canadian Veterans who were ready to lay down their lives for our country deserve our enduring respect and they deserve a dignified departure.


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Wesley Wadien said:

The p.c.'s will cough up money to help bury vets...Thats about it..What does that tell you

March 22, 2013 2:54 PM