Veterans Ombudsman Responds to Amendments to Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Regulations

October 6, 2011

Ottawa, Ontario – Today, Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent, issued the following statement in response to the announced amendments to the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Regulations:

"Earlier today, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced that amendments to the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Regulations are now in effect. This is bittersweet news for the Veterans’ community.

It is good news that the Earnings Loss Benefit is now set at a minimum of $40,000 pre-tax per year. Veterans Affairs Canada clearly demonstrated that a minimum income of $40,000 is required to ensure that basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are met. The aim of the Earnings Loss Benefit is to provide Canadian Forces Veterans with adequate income while in rehabilitation due to a service-related or career-ending injury. The benefit is provided to age 65 to those Veterans who are unable to work.

Unfortunately, part-time Reservists (Class B Reservists with contracts of less than 180 days and Class A Reservists) are only eligible for a minimum income of $24,300 pre-tax per year. This is unfair, given that part-time service can result in permanent disability directly related to that service. A part-time Reservist’s needs for rehabilitation and income support are no different than those of a Regular Force member.

Take the scenario where a Regular Force Member and a part-time Reservist sustain the same injury while on a training exercise. Both are unable to work for the rest of their life. While both of them will receive the Earnings Loss Benefit, the part-time Reservist will receive 40% less than the Regular Force Member.

Those who sustain similar illnesses or injuries while serving their country should have access to the same benefits, regardless of the nature of their service. It is simply a matter of fairness."

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