Veterans Ombudsman Launches Initiative for the Upcoming New Veterans Charter Parliamentary Review

April 4, 2013

Ottawa, Ontario – Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent released today a report entitled Improving the New Veterans Charter: The Parliamentary Review. Its purpose is twofold: to focus discussion for the fast approaching parliamentary committee review of the enhancements to the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, commonly known as the New Veterans Charter; and to act as a catalyst to broaden the review to include a discussion of the New Veterans Charter, as a whole.

“The October 3, 2011 coming into force of Bill C-55, the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act and amendments to regulations, brought about much needed changes and began the process of making the New Veterans Charter a truly 'living' document,” said Parent. “Importantly, a clause was included stating that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operations of the amendments to the New Veterans Charter would be undertaken within two years by designated/established Senate or House of Commons Committees.”

In preparation for the review, the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman analyzed the more than 200 recommendations for improvements to the New Veterans Charter proposed in various reports since 2006. It found that 145 of the recommendations dealt with three key transition issues: financial instability and decreased standard of living caused by reduced post-release income; limitations in vocational rehabilitation and assistance programs, which can affect second career aspirations and employment options; and difficult family environment situations due to insufficient family support.

“These military to civilian life transition challenges need to be addressed urgently because they can potentially affect a Veteran throughout his or her life,” said Parent. “The first opportunity to do this is the parliamentary review.”

In the lead-up to the review, the Veterans Ombudsman will continue to meet with Veterans and their families and Veterans’ organizations across Canada to discuss the best way forward on this issue. In coming months he will publish a follow-up paper with specific evidence-based recommendations to address the Charter’s shortcomings in relation to military to civilian life transition challenges.

The full report is available online at www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/reports/reports-reviews/reviewcharter01-examencharte01-01-2013.

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