Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr.—Image: contributed

Fuhr: Federal program improved to help veterans

Pension For Life will help severely-injured veterans post service

By Stephen Fuhr

In 2006 all parties in the House of Commons agreed to and passed the New Veterans Charter (NVC). It was an initiative that modernized the benefits and services available to veterans, recognizing that those who had served in places like Afghanistan were going to need help transitioning to civilian life through the provision of financial, education, re-training and mental health supports that were not available under the old Pension Act.

But since the establishment of the NVC, and despite improvements, many veterans have continued to express concern that the most severely injured veterans needed a greater commitment from the federal government in the form of a lifetime pension.

On Dec. 20, Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, unveiled the government’s Pension for Life, a plan that will make significant changes to rectify the situation.

The pension plan has three key pillars:

• Monthly, tax-free financial compensation, with the choice of monthly payments for life, to recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related disability with a maximum monthly amount of $2,650 for those most severely disabled with barriers to re-establishment

• Income replacement for veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service at 90 per cent of their pre-release salary. In some circumstances Veterans may be eligible for an additional 1%one per cent career progression factor each year

• Services and benefits to help veterans in a wide-range of areas, including education, employment and physical and mental health

These provisions represent an additional investment of close to $3.6 billion to support Canada’s veterans. When combined with well-being programs already announced in previous budgets, the government’s investments since 2016 add up to nearly $10 billion.

Previous adjustments to the NVC have added layers of complexity to an already overburdened system, a problem that was exacerbated with the closure of Veteran’s Affairs Canada offices across the country under the previous government.

By reopening the offices and making improvements and changes to veterans programming in last two budgets, veterans in Kelowna and across the country have the person-to-person support they need to navigate the suite of benefits and services available to them.

Now, with this announcement, unnecessary complexities and delays will be addressed and supports can be tailored to a veteran’s unique situation and service history to help veterans and their families live a full and productive life post-service.

In the meantime, those who are having the most difficulty resuming a normal life and those who have the most catastrophic injuries remain the government’s most pressing priority.

With the right balance and effective mix of financial compensation, benefits and well-being support services, it’s now time to turn our full attention to delivering services our veterans want and deserve.

Stephen Fuhr is the Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Missing toddler found safe near Beaverdell

The child had been missing in the Clark Lake area for more than two hours

Federal Conservative leadership candidate skirts COVID-19 rules at Kelowna rally

Derek Sloan held a rally in Kelowna that had more than 50 people, which is against health orders from the province

Highway 97 upgrade option for Peachland faces 20-year delay

Peachland council disappointed by highways department decision

Partial closure on Cadder Avenue for utility upgrades

Traffic will be reduced to westbound traffic from Aug. 17 to Sept. 11

Kelowna Hells Angels prospect charged with assault, choking

Jason Townsend, 43, was charged after allegedly choking a woman last weekend

Video: SUV burns alongside the highway near Salmon Arm

Footage of the burning vehicle was posted to Youtube.

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

South Okanagan restaurant ranked among world’s best by TripAdvisor

The Hooded Merganser was ranked within the top 10 per cent of all restaurants by TripAdvisor reviews

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Wedding party bear sprayed at North Okanagan campsite

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Most Read