IssuesVeterans

Veterans

First Published: Sep 23, 2019
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Monitored by: Hugues Théorêt

Background

The federal Liberals promised during the last election to reinstate a lifelong disability pension after many veterans complained the lump-sum payment and other benefits that replaced it in 2006 were far less generous. The Trudeau government partly fulfilled his promise this spring by announcing a major program for veterans. As of April 1, 2019, Canadian Forces Veterans who are injured or traumatized in combat can receive a tax-free lifetime pension and increased health and rehabilitation services. This monthly non-taxable lifetime payment for Veterans injured or ill as a result of their service is intended to recognize the sacrifice made on behalf of Canada, but also to reduce the complexity of support programs for Veterans and their families.

This new Veterans Assistance Plan will cost the public treasury $3.6 billion over five years. Other changes are also being made to the benefits paid to widows, widowers and children, which will increase from 50% to 70% of the income replacement benefit the veteran was receiving before his or her death.

These new measures, in addition to those already announced by the Trudeau government in its 2016 budget, bring Ottawa's total investment in the well-being of veterans to $10 billion.

Current Status

Incumbent Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau on March 26, 2019. MacAulay's appointment was met with some optimism given his past role in the 1990s as secretary of state for veterans’ affairs under Jean Chretien and the fact the longtime MP is from P.E.I., where Veterans Affairs Canada is headquartered

Liberal

The LPC want to make it easier for veterans to access services, including mental health services.

The party want to restore access to the support that veterans are due, re-open the nine Veterans Affairs service offices, and will fully implement all of the Auditor General’s recommendations on enhancing mental health service delivery to veterans.

The LPC want to hire 400 new service delivery staff, doubling the current planned increase. This will include much-needed case managers at Veterans Affairs.

The Liberal government will budget $20 million to create two new centres of excellence in veterans’ care, including one with a specialization in mental health, PTSD, and related issues for both veterans and first responders.

Conservatives

No specific proposals yet.

NDP

NDP will launch a full review of benefits and work with veterans to determine the best way to provide fair benefits to all veterans, including tackling the issue of equal access to lifetime pensions.

NDP will give more veterans access to post-secondary education and training that works for them, we will expand the education benefit to more people.

Green Party

No specific proposals yet.

People's Party

No specific proposals yet.

Bloc Quebecois

No specific proposals yet.

September 23, 2019
Hugues Théorêt

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was in Prince Edward Island on September 22nd, where he made promises to veterans, including pledging that a Conservative government would deal with the backlog of veterans benefits applications within two years. The Conservatives are proposing to create a military covenant between the federal government and all veterans — a legislative pledge to ensure veterans are respected and provided with services in a timely manner.

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