Statement from the Veterans Ombud on the Proposed New Mental Health Benefit

Statements

Ottawa ON
Canada

February 23, 2022 – On January 1, 2022, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) released initial details of its proposed new mental health benefit and requested feedback from the public. This new benefit provides Veterans with mental health treatment while they are waiting for a VAC decision on their mental health disability claim. Veterans Ombud Col (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine issued the following statement on the proposed new benefit:  

“By offering Veterans an important bridge to mental health treatment while they are waiting for a VAC decision, the Government is beginning to address the immense gap in Veteran health care that is triggered by a release from the CAF. However, there are a few notable issues. I would ask the Minister to ensure:

  • Reservists are not excluded from access to this benefit
  • All service-related mental health conditions are covered under the program
  • Reimbursement for travel to access the mental health treatment is included
  • Veterans who are residing outside of Canada can access the benefit

I understand that the Minister and the Department have heard similar concerns and are open to addressing them. I believe, with these changes, the benefit would be significantly strengthened and better serve Veterans and VAC clients.”

nishika signature

Veterans Ombud
Colonel (Retired) Nishika Jardine 

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