The Winds of Change are Blowing!
Ottawa, ON - March 17, 2015
In the last week, the Minister of Veterans Affairs made two announcements that addressed longstanding issues of concern to Veterans and their families:
- After 65 financial security for moderately to severely disabled Veterans and their families: On March 9 the Minister announced a proposed new financial benefit – the Retirement Income Security Benefit – that would provide these Veterans with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.
- Parity for Veteran Reservists: On March 13, the Minister announced that beginning in April 2015, all Veterans of the Reserve Force eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) will be ensured a minimum annual income of $42,426, which is the current ELB of a basic corporal in the Regular Force.
I see this as a wind of change for Veterans and their families.
Yes, the devil is in the details – and I am trying to nail those details down as fast as possible to share them with you – but, at the same time, I want you to know that I am pleased with the work Minister O’Toole has done in his first 10 weeks as Minister of Veterans Affairs. He’s a Veteran and he brings with him respect for his fellow Veterans and their families. I’ve worked with him closely enough to know that he understands the issues and is passionate about getting the job done.
Of course, the Minister and I won’t agree on everything, but respectful dialogue can lead to progress. And, now that we’ve started moving forward, I want to make sure that we keep going in that direction and don’t lose momentum.
I am ready to work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the staff at Veterans Affairs Canada to help ensure that the implementation of these new measures is fair to Veterans and their families in terms of adequacy, sufficiency and accessibility and is completed quickly. My Office will monitor progress on an ongoing basis to make sure that it achieves the effect intended.
In conclusion, I want to thank all Veterans’ advocates, Veterans’ organizations, individual Veterans and their families, and other stakeholders across Canada who have worked so hard in recent years to promote the needs of Veterans and their families. Without the dedication and perseverance of all of you, we wouldn’t be where we are today!
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