Myth Busting – Reserve vs Regular Force Benefits

Ottawa, ON – January 9, 2015

“Class A or B Reservists receive the same benefits as Regular Force members.” 

Q: True or False?

A: False

Since I became Ombudsman over four years ago, my Office has been advocating the One Veteran theme so that all Veterans are treated fairly for service-related injuries/illness and death, regardless of when and where they served. One of the significant events of 2014 was the attack on two Canadian Armed Forces members on Canadian soil. Because one of the deaths was a Reserve Force member, there has been increased commentary by Veterans and Veterans’ advocates that part-time reservists (Class A or B, less than 180 days) do not receive the same benefits Regular Force members and Class C full-time reservists receive under similar circumstances.

I have raised the part-time reservist inequity issue with successive Ministers of Veterans Affairs; it is a recommendation in my Report on the New Veterans Charter (NVC); and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) Review of the NVC included a recommendation to address this problem. The Government responded to the ACVA report by stating: “ […] the government agrees with the spirit and intent of recommendation and “[…] as such, careful review of this program will be undertaken.” So far, I have received no confirmation of how the Government is going to address the problem.

It’s time to set the record straight. Here are the facts.

Currently, part time reservists receive less compensation for service-related death or injury/illness than their Regular Force or full-time reservist colleagues. Two financial benefits provided by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) have different rates depending on whether the service is full-time or part-time: the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) and the Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB), which uses the ELB to calculate the amount of the benefit. In addition, the lower ELB rate paid to part-time Reservists is not indexed to compensate for inflation, unlike the rate for those who serve full-time. With respect to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) financial benefits, part-time Class A and B reservists, under the SISIP Long Term Disability (LTD) plan, receive a lower rate for the income replacement benefit than their full-time colleagues.

My Office conducted a detailed comparison of the benefits provided in the event of a service-related death to both Regular Force members and Class A and B Reservists to show the effects of these inequities. Depending on the circumstances, not all of the benefits listed will be applicable. For example, if there is no survivor or dependents, a superannuation survivor benefit or VAC Death Benefit will not be paid. Every situation is different and one needs to ensure that personal circumstances are taken into consideration when calculating benefits.

It is interesting to note that the CAF had similar inequities within their Accidental Dismemberment Insurance Plan (ADIP), but recently corrected the problem. Now, Regular Force and Reserve Force members receive the same ADIP compensation.

The problem is clear, has been studied extensively and is simple to address, as per my Report on the NVC recommendation. To put this into context, we are talking about less than 40 Class A and B service-attributable medically-released Reservists (with 180 days of service or less) in comparison to the approximately 1,000 Regular Force personnel who are medically released each year*. Let’s do the right thing and fix this now.

Guy Parent

Veterans Ombudsman

 

* Figures provided by the Department of National Defence

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Comments

TK said:

I am RegF attempting to get braces/invisalign, but have have been told that I have to be on my second contract and stay in the geographical area for 3 years. Is this correct?

May 9, 2017 5:41 PM

Veterans Ombudsman

To discuss the details of your file, please contact my office at 1-877-330-4343. 

May 10, 2017 10:57 AM

Maj G said:

Dear Reg Force wife: I'm a Class B reservist since 2007, with 31 years total service. I once had a boss who bluntly told me why he loves reservists on his staff: because he can send us on any tasking anywhere and we won't say no because we're worried about our next Class B contract as opposed to the Reg F member who will come up with any excuse not to go on the task. I lived the equivalent of IR for a year without the benefit, been sent away for 2-3 months at a time (on several occasions), sometimes with as little as a 4 days notice. This happens often with Cl B reservists, because if they don't perform they may not have another contract at the end of the term. Oh, all at 15% less pay, but equal stress on the family. I realize I chose this career path, however being a second class citizen in any society is unjust all while having to perform at the same level as your peers.

October 3, 2016 3:51 PM

Sgt P said:

The cash payout is a joke. I was injured in Afghanistan on one of my five tours of duty for this country and I am now unfit to serve because of my injuries. The CAF is releasing me and I will be cut in the coming year from my earning which, under IPS, I could have served 10 more years. However, I don't meet Universality of Service because of the injuries and out I go. This equates to about $750,000 in possible lost earnings over my last 10 years. Veteran Affairs decided that that my injuries equaled $46000 and a pat on the bum for a good job! Now I have to appeal the decision because it is my fault?!? Mr. Ombudsman, please talk to the MVA and fix the NVC! It has been more than a year since I have been hearing about fixes to the NVC. With open promises, veterans are losing faith in the government we swore to protect, including you. We already have the "have not" veterans living on the street. If you want to help veterans, bring back the monthly cheques to those who served their country well. The cash payout is "shut up" money and leaves a bad taste in out mouths.

January 6, 2016 11:41 AM

Reg force wife said:

I agree you deserve the same level of respect, but that doesn't necessarily mean the same pay. We get moved around our lives get uprooted and start over, we don't get a say we just do it. Often times I've been denied jobs because of being a reg force wife. If you work for the reserves you choose where you want to live and you can stay as long as you want your partners can have careers in their field of choice and your kids can stay with their friends. If you CHOOSE to deploy or go on course your wife and kids are most likely close to family and friends, when we get TOLD to deploy or go on course we could be accross the country in a posting we dont like and if its a relatively new posting we may not have had much time to get used to it and made friends. If you want reg force pay then just go reg force. This is perspective from this side of the fence in case this may not have occurred to you. As for the official why I don't know.

December 19, 2015 9:39 AM

Scott said:

I asked the Ombudsman about this and it was ignored...was it because of the election....why were veteran up against this nonsense...benefit of doubt..I dont think so.... OTTAWA — Veterans Affairs Canada managers made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for cutting costs as the department shed hundreds of jobs. In 2011-12, the department paid $343,000 to 60 managers under what appears to be a new program for “Savings/Spending Targets.” No such bonuses were given out in previous years. Bonuses ranged from $2,376 up to $14,728, and averaged about $5,700 per person, said a departmental response to a question tabled by Sen. Percy Downe of Prince Edward Island. The following year, $243,000 was paid out to 55 managers, an average of $4,400 each. At the same time, the department cut hundreds of jobs. In 2010-11, Veterans Affairs had 3,708 employees. By 2013-14, the department dropped 658 jobs to 3,050 positions. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper downplayed the cut jobs as “backroom administration” and “bureaucracy.” While the number of employees fell, payments to veterans did not. The department’s budget has remained steady and sits at $3.5 billion, slightly above what it was five years ago. The department said the reason for cutting jobs is a decline in the number of veterans it serves over the past five years, as well as new reforms to cut red tape. The number of Veterans Affairs clients has dropped, although not at the same rate as the cuts. The number of people who received support from Veterans Affairs dropped from about 220,000 in 2008 to 205,000 this year, said the department. That is a drop of about seven per cent. Over that same time frame, the department reduced its staffing by about 1,000 full-time jobs, or almost 25 per cent. NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer said paying out over half a million dollars in bonuses while cutting staff will infuriate veterans. “I just find that absolutely appalling,” said Stoffer, who represents Sackville-Eastern Shore. “It’s quite sad to be honest with you.” A key unanswered question is what has happened to caseloads. When federal auditor general Michael Ferguson looked into the department, his auditors were told that overwork among case managers was a problem. However, the department did not have enough data for auditors to examine the issue. The Chronicle Herald requested numbers on caseloads, but the department did not provide any numbers as of Thursday evening. “They definitely are overworked, overwhelmed and everything else,” said Cape Breton veteran Terry Collins, who was active in the movement to save the Veterans Affairs office in Sydney. Collins said his case manager saw her caseload rise from around 500 clients to well over a thousand, although the Herald could not confirm this. The department said it has recognized the issue and has been hiring new case managers this year. The department also said it has streamlined services to provide quicker benefits with fewer staff. This includes eliminating the requirement to submit receipts for health-care travel expenses, housekeeping and grounds maintenance services. The government has also moved some services online, and has directed veterans to Service Canada stations. Both moves were controversial and angered some veterans, but the department said it had the effect of creating 600 new points of service across the country.

October 24, 2015 11:17 AM

Danny J said:

Still waiting. I haven't heard anything back in regards to my file. You wonder why veterans are upset. Try living with something hanging over your head and not knowing when it will go away or be resolved. I have contacted the OVO several times, talked with my CMO, and now I am resorting to attending rallies in order to seek help from other veterans. Look at the time date stamps on my first complaint 31 January 2014. Now we are into October and before you know it, it will be November. Mind boggling isn't it!

October 11, 2015 9:47 AM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thank you for your comment. We encourage you to contact us directly at 1-877-330-4343 so we can learn more about your case and do our best to assist. 

October 14, 2015 12:21 PM

Scott said:

Very simple question why was this great office not on top of this automatic 24% refusal rate for pension or award disability applications? Also I am lost as to why you would not happen to mention the Dept. Managers that are getting kick backs (Bonus) to meet that Quota! Were you aware of this and why on hells earth does this go on in Canada? Automatic Shame

September 20, 2015 1:37 PM

Barc said:

Yes, I have complaints about the way Reservists and the Regular Force are treated. I've seen how many reservists are more dedicated to the military and have more integrity than a lot of Reg Force members. Reservists get paid less than Reg force for doing the same job. I thought this was sorted out with womans rights many years ago, (equal pay for equal work), but I guess I was wrong. I'm glad to see that Mr Parent is looking into the difference in benefits. I just hope it doesn't take 2 years to go through all the red tape to implement changes. I just want to say, "Good Work", for the people fighting for our equal benefits.

August 24, 2015 9:27 PM

Matt Edwards said:

One vet, 1 std. Should also apply to non-duty illness or injury. For example, CF/VAC SISIP LTD treats Res F vets way less fair. 1. "On duty" clause excludes us, in effect. Think about it, "on duty" is covered by VAC. 2. SISIP LTD was designed for non-duty so it is Absurd to link a Res F soldier to duty when a Reg F soldier does not have to fulfill this obligation. This wholly deprives a Res F vet of an benefit under the Law (Charter s. 15(1)). 3. In effect, SISIP LTD is a "stealth" VAC program BUT it saves VAC money by using the pool of Insurance money accumulated by CF mbr contributions. The disabled soldier is financing his own DISABILITY! How low can you go? See case below, this applies to CPPD too: [63] In my view, the Appeals Tribunal was correct to hold that an *** injured worker should not become “a ‘funder’ of his/her own workers’ compensation.” This is exactly what would have happened to Mr. Douthwright if the Commission’s decision had not been overturned. Such an outcome would be contrary to the ** scheme of the Workers’ Compensation Act pursuant to which benefits are *** “employer funded.” - same principle applies to SISIP LTD, we paid for SISIP LTD - CPPD too

July 4, 2015 8:16 AM

Roger said:

MON dossier est 4013777

February 13, 2015 10:25 PM

Roger said:

J'ai passé près de 22ans dans les forces régulière .Ont ma donné une libération 3A en 1991.Incapable de fonctionner dans le service ou d'occuper des postes dans la régulière, la réserve et même avec les cadets. Les docteurs des forces m'ont aider et rempli toute les formes pour recevoir le CPP,
Et même je le recevait(CPP) depuis le 1 Jan 1990.Probleme a marcher, a me tenir debout, et a avoir une job.

J'ai fais application pour la pension d'handicapé des vétérans  
 Ils vos docteurs mon rejeté et après 25ans je ne suis pas reconnu. Il me donne ne pension de 18%soit3/5 de 30% pour mon dos et 6% soit 2/5 pour mes genoux . Cela fait maintenant 25 ans que je leurs( docteurs) demande pourquoi il mon donner une release médicale 3A si je suis si peu handicapé

Personne me répond sur ce sujet la .
Je suis pensionné pour bien d'autre problème 

Pourriez vous m'aider  pour l'injustice  a mon égard

February 13, 2015 10:24 PM

Danny J. said:

WHY IS IT SO HARD for the conservative government to overturn the NVC lump-sum payment back to a monthly pension? Please answer this question! Dear PM Harper & Veterans Ombudsman, My two sons and daughter will never serve in the Canadian Forces as it stands now. Thirty-nine years of combined service (My father and I) and it will remain Thirty-nine years. The poor treatment of Canadian veterans is why I will discourage my children from joining. Canada will not have my two sons and daughter fighting for a government whom does not support its troops. "Just do the right thing and fix what is broken in the charter and stop all these studies. I am a veteran and I don't feel supported.

January 31, 2015 6:53 AM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thanks for your comment Danny. I too feel that it is time for action to address the shortcomings of the NVC, and have consistently urged action on the most pressing issues, as outlined in my report (http://ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/reports/reports-reviews/improving-new-veterans-charter) and reiterated my recent blog (http://ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/blog/post/287). This is a priority for my office and I will share all updates as we have them.

February 3, 2015 4:29 PM

Murray said:

It seems to me Mr. Ombudsman that you are getting the runaround mixed with a lets dangle a carrot to keep the Vets quiet until after the election. Mixed with empty promises to move things along with as much speed as possible...and lets not forget about the Earnings Loss I went 16 years not able to work and contribute to my CPP. I will be turning 65 in a couple of years and what is going to happen to those of us who have relied on the Earnings Loss as part of our benefits and I have no Idea what our how we will live our senior years? I sense that the Gov. of the numbered days has no intention of making our senior years poverty free. Given all the false hopes put out by the PM's office and to some extent the Ombudsman's Office because the Gov. had no intention of putting the major items like ELB on the table as it should have already been there and already passed. If nothing else all those great reports by you and your staff were well done and it speaks to the type of PM we have that sends more of our people to war as we speak without clearing up these problems...that must build confidence with our Pilots that are being shot at as we speak as well....I sure hope that someone somewhere gets these things fixed and starts re: building our morale among all of our Forces. All the best Murray

January 26, 2015 6:18 AM

Danny J. said:

WHAT A SYSTEM. Benefit of the doubt? I applied for benefits because I was deemed medically unfit to serve in the Navy by the medical professionals of the Canadian Armed Forces. Entitlement (which is an oxymoron in itself), I was given 1\5 for a chronic lower back condition(which is the condition I was released for). I was then able to navigate through the directives that DVA uses and I established a consequential link to other conditions, go figure! I have been around the military my whole life (base brat and ex-service member) and I cant believe the way ex-military are treated. (Recently now 2015) Thanks to me having to collect my own evidence to make a claim. (I went to a previous supervisors home and had him recall an accident I was involved in 1998 in the Navy) he gladly helped me out and wrote the incident down on paper for me to submit to the reconsideration unit). Benefit of the doubt, well now there will be no more doubt. The sad thing about this, I had to find my witness from years ago. I cried when I got home......think about it.

January 24, 2015 9:57 AM

ECollins said:

We have Canadians who have put this uniform on, and have been injured and died for Canada. Certainly, those brave people defending our country deserve the same benefits and treatment no matter what! Both are members of the Canadian Armed Forces and entitled to the same level of respect and gratitude.

January 23, 2015 8:50 AM

Bill McIntosh said:

If you die or are hurt in the service of your country then you should receive full benefits would senior politicians accept less than full benefits for themselves.

January 22, 2015 8:53 AM

James Northrup said:

You put the uniform on no matter if you are Regular or Reserve and are Injured or killed in the line of duty you deserve the same benefits and treatment no matter what the time frame. Both are members of the Canadian Armed Forces and entitled to the same level of respect.

January 21, 2015 1:03 PM

Charles Isaacs said:

We written and long over due. One Veteran one Standard I so very much agree.

January 10, 2015 9:52 PM

Charles Isaacs said:

We written and long over due. One Veteran one Standard I so very much agree.

January 10, 2015 9:52 PM