Creating a real “continuum of care” for Veterans and their families

Ottawa, ON - March 19, 2015

On March 17, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced two new initiatives to improve benefits and services for Canada’s Veterans and their families: an enhancement to expand eligibility of the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) and a new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit (FCRB) to recognize the vital contribution of informal caregivers to the health and well-being of Veterans with a severe and permanent service-related injury.

In August 2014, I released my concerns in relation to PIA in my Report Supporting Severely Impaired Veterans: A Report on the New Veterans Charter Permanent Impairment Allowance and Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement (PIA Report). I was pleased that the Minister’s announcement addressed the majority of my concerns. By broadening the criteria for defining severe and permanent impairment, more severely impaired Veterans will be eligible for PIA and receive the financial support they need to compensate for lost employment and career progression opportunities. My Office is ready to begin work with Veterans Affairs Canada, as directed by the Minister, to clarify how loss of earnings opportunities is considered when assigning the allowance’s three different grade levels. Currently, 90 percent of Veterans receiving PIA are awarded the lowest grade level even though they may suffer from a permanent and severe impairment that has a profound impact on their employment and career progression opportunities.

Concerning the proposed new FCRB, its intent is to provide eligible Veterans with an annual tax-free grant of $7,238 that would allow their informal caregivers – usually spouses, common-law partners, adult children, parents or other family members – to take time off when they need to recharge their batteries. They will be able to take a well-deserved break while knowing that another capable person will be stepping in to provide the vital services and support that their loved one needs. Let’s be clear though that this benefit is still only a component of developing a caregiver compensation program, which this office recommended in a report on the New Veterans Charter. I will be saying more on this in the coming months. In the meantime, few details are available on how this new benefit will operate, but I’m asking questions and as soon as I have more information, I will be passing it on to you directly, so please keep visiting my Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs is showing leadership by pushing to the forefront the need to create a real “continuum of care” for Veterans and their families. His commitment to action is instilling a new level of energy to provide proper support. While progress has begun, let’s not forget all that is still left to do. It’s up to all of us to work together to keep the momentum going!

Guy Parent

Veterans Ombudsman 

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MMS said:

Ce programme serait bon s'il tenait compte de l'ensemble des affections du vétéran et si le Gouvernement nous accorderait au-moins en partie de la subvention quand la pension est inférieure au montant de cette subvention.

November 4, 2015 11:29 PM

Scott said:

Guy you and your staff did a wonderful Thank You. I must say that I am impressed with your hard work and results. I have been out of work for over 15 yrs. because of my pensioned condition at (112%). I could not even feed myself and now I am wondering what is going to happen to me? I really like the way things are going with our new Minister...I do not have any pensions in the mid-60s there was no such things. When I turn sixty-five will I leave all my earnings loss behind it will make things very difficult for my wife and any of these programs cover me otherwise now I have earnings and next year they take it away and nobody has called .to let me know what will happen

April 19, 2015 9:46 AM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thank you Mr. Scott for your kind words. The credit is owed to all of those who worked or advocated for positive change for Veterans and their families. I encourage you to call us directly at 1-877-330-4343 so that we can learn more about your case in order to answer your question and assist you as best we can.

April 27, 2015 2:45 PM

Martin Gagnon said:

Bonjour, J'ai contacté ACC pour leur demander quand est ce que ces nouvelles mesures (elargissement des criteres pour ADP et le fameux 70 000$ pour tous les veterans reconnus apres 2006) entrent en vigueur... Leur reponse : Ce n'est toujours pas accepté par la chambre des communes.... Donc toujours pas de certitude... Est ce vrai ??

April 16, 2015 3:13 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Hi Mr. Gagnon, thank you for your comment. In fact, Minister O'Toole announced on April 2nd that broadened eligibility criteria for the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) is now in effect due to regulatory change. The $70,000 Critical Injury Benefit would still require parliamentary assent before coming into effect. We have limited knowledge on these initiatives as we are still awaiting the details, however, we would be happy to help with your personal situation if you call us directly at 1-877-330-4343. We will be sharing general information on the status of all of the announcements on our website and social media pages as we get more details.

You can read more about the coming into effect of the broadened PIA eligibility criteria here: 

You can read more about the proposed Critical Injury Benefit here: 

April 20, 2015 11:20 AM

kevin said:

What I'd like to know, is how those of us who are totally and permanently impaired but without an award, are going to support ourselves beyond 65.. given that there is no rrsp vehicle or other tax sheltered retirement plan available to us.. and we're shut out of the "new" vac plan because we don't have an award.

April 14, 2015 10:31 PM

scraps for vets said:

DVA and the government of canada continues to operate like an insurance company despite announcing all these changes.They continue to treat the former military person as a conartist looking to steal what is theirs.Instead of a canadian that gave their lives ..heart ..and soul defense of this country.Why announce any changes if you barely see any benifit. ...seems cruel to do all this only to say that one can have it when another cant. Government is just using this as a PR campaign and promoting the continued suffering of Vets.

April 1, 2015 12:19 PM

RJS said:

The 90 percent of Veterans receiving PIA are awarded the lowest grade level even though they suffer from a permanent and severe impairment that has a profound impact on their employment and career progression opportunities. It should be easier for a Veteran to transition from Grade 3 to 2. This annual tax-free grant of $7,238 that would allow their informal caregivers – usually spouses, common-law partners, adult children, parents or other family members should be automatic if a Veteran is in receipt of PIA. Earnings Loss Benefit should automatically transition into the new retirement benefit if a Veteran is in receipt of PIA.

March 20, 2015 10:41 PM

Concerned said:

What is old is new again. Under the pension act the attendant care allowance provided flexibility for families to provide care for disabled veterans building on VIP personal care and provincial health care supports. It continues to do so. This new family caregiver allowance doesn't come close the maximum available under the attendant care allowance. Once again proving there is no such thing as "one veteran." More concern lies ahead for severely disabled veterans when they need long term care assistance and there is no legislative basis to provide it. Veterans and their families will once again be at the mercy of non-medical persons who will assess the eligibility for this support as painfully and slowly as is done now. I do not feel hopeful.

March 19, 2015 2:44 PM