Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, met today with representatives of more than 20 Veterans’ organizations to discuss ongoing improvements at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and to speak with them about recent enhancements to the programs and services available to Veterans.
Minister O’Toole said Veterans Affairs Canada will hire more than 100 new disability benefits staff, both temporary and permanent, to help ensure Veterans receive faster decisions on disability benefit applications. These new hires are in addition to the more than 100 full time permanent new case workers being hired across Canada to provide one on one direct care to Veterans who need it the most.
Today’s announcement builds on recent announcements including:
- The new Retirement Income Security Benefit, will provide moderately to severely disabled Veterans—those who need it most—with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.
- The new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit, will provide eligible Veterans with a tax-free, annual grant of $7,238 so that their informal caregivers—who are often their spouse or other devoted family members—will have flexibility or relief when they need it while also ensuring that the Veterans’ care needs are met.
- The new Critical Injury Benefit which will provide a $70,000 tax-free award to support those Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Veterans who, since April of 2006, experienced a sudden, single event resulting in an immediate and severe service-related injury or disease.
- Broadened eligibility criteria for the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) which, together with the PIA Supplement, provides life-long monthly financial support to Veterans whose career advancement opportunities have been limited by a permanent service-related injury or illness.
- Enhanced benefits for injured part-time Reserve Force Veterans, who will now be assured the same minimum income support payment through the Earnings Loss Benefit as full-time Reserve Force and Regular Force Veterans.
- Hiring additional disability benefit employees means better and faster support for Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces serving members and their families at all stages of the disability benefits application process.
- In addition to Minister O’Toole, the Government of Canada was represented by senior-level officials from Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence, the Veterans Ombudsman and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- The Stakeholder Summit included an update on the Government of Canada’s response to recommendations made by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs Report on the New Veterans Charter.
- Plenary issues were discussed during the afternoon, where participants had the opportunity to weigh in on a wide range of topics.
“The Government of Canada is committed to service excellence for Veterans and their families and to understanding and meeting their needs. We are enhancing resources so Veterans Affairs Canada has the tools and support it needs to provide such excellence. This rebuilding comes at a time when Veterans need it most.”
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs