Organizations representing Canada’s veterans say the government’s announcement of the long-awaited lifelong disability pensions has failed to live up to the Liberal’s election promise.
Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan unveiled the new pensions in December, but the National Council of Veteran Associations and the War Amps of Canada are contending that they’ll have limited applicability to a majority of disabled veterans.
“Although, as per usual, the devil remains in the details as to the applicability of these new provisions to individual veterans, it is relatively clear that certain seriously disabled veterans and their survivors will benefit from the minister’s announcement in that they may qualify for enhanced levels of compensation pursuant to the new benefits proposed for the New Veterans Charter,” said Brian Forbes, executive chairman of the War Amps and chairman of National Council of Veteran Associations, in a press release.
“However, the greater majority of disabled veterans will not be materially impacted by the minister’s announcement in that the new benefits under the proposed legislative amendments will have limited applicability — thus the financial disparity between the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter will continue for this significant cohort of disabled veterans in Canada.”
The veterans’ organizations say the new pension fails to satisfy the priority concerns of the veterans’ community in relation to resolving the disparity between the financial compensation available under the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter.
“It is totally unacceptable that we continue to have veterans’ legislation in Canada which provides a significantly higher level of compensation to a veteran who was injured prior to 2006 (date of the enactment of the New Veterans Charter) when compared to a veteran who was injured post-2006. If applied to the Afghan conflict, we have veterans in the same war with totally different pension benefit results,” said Forbes.
“If the ‘one veteran — one standard’ philosophy advocated by Veterans Affairs Canada has any meaning, this glaring disparity between the Pension Act and New Veterans Charter benefits for the greater majority of disabled veterans required that the minister seize the moment and satisfy the financial needs of Canadian veterans and their dependants,” he added.