Generating Informed Debate on Veterans’ Long-Term Care
Ottawa – August 16, 2013
On Wednesday of this week, my Office released A Review of the Support Provided by Veterans Affairs Canada through its Long-Term Care Program.
Before getting into the substance of the Review, I want to note quickly to you that our reviews never contain recommendations, but instead simply describe the current environment. As we research an often-complex issue, we need to determine first how things work, so we begin by gathering any statistical data that is supporting the particular program that we are researching. Once we have this information, we then proceed to do a preliminary analysis, which we share with the Veterans’ community. This is published as a review and is shared with stakeholders so that it can generate informed discussion that may result in the eventual publishing of a report with recommendations. We believe that an open exchange of facts and figures leads to a better understanding by all of what needs to be done to meet the ever-evolving needs of Veterans and their families.
One can quickly see from the statistics in the Review that Canadian Forces Veterans do not have the same access to Veterans Affairs Canada’s Long-Term Care Program benefits as do World War Two and Korean War Veterans. Canadian Forces Veterans only represent 5 percent of the Department’s Long-Term Care Program clients and it could be assumed that this is because Canadian Forces Veterans are younger. In general, that is true when looking at the total Canadian Forces Veteran client population of 78,000; however, in reality, there are over 24,000 Canadian Forces Veterans Affairs Canada clients over the age of 70. To put this into perspective:
- 8,448 War Service Veterans in Long-Term Care Program represent 17 percent of the total 49,201 Veterans Affairs Canada War Service Client Veterans.
- 448 Canadian Forces Veterans in Long-Term Care Program represent 2 percent of the total 24,043 Canadian Forces Veterans over the age of 70.
These demographics suggest that a significant proportion of the Canadian Forces Veteran client population may have long-term care needs, but the statistics imply that these Veterans cannot access benefits through Veterans Affairs Canada’s Long-Term Care Program.
With almost all War Service Veterans being over the age of 80 today, and over 11,000 Canadian Forces Veterans reaching the age of 70 or older in the next 10 years, a change in the Veteran demographic in the near future is inevitable. This begs the question: “What is Veterans Affairs Canada’s long-term strategy for the Long-Term Care Program?” As we analyze the long-term care data uncovered as part of our review, we will be attempting to answer that question and, amongst other things, highlight the issue of limited access to the Long-Term Care Program for Canadian Forces Veterans.
Our aim with this Review is to present you with the same facts that we have in order to foster a better understanding of Veterans Long-Term Care Program benefits and prepare you to engage in the debate on what needs to be changed. As always, I encourage your comments and suggestions.
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