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.

Just Posted

Out to pasture at the Freak’n Farmer

The annual “fun” event at Covert Farms put on by the Covert family and HooDoo Adventures

West Kelowna Warriors dominate the Nanaimo Clippers

Three goals were scored during power plays

Fundraiser with wine to raise money for JoeAnna’s House

The Sovereign Order of St. John has committed to raise and donate $50,000

Okanagan artist donates painting to Okanagan College

Bryan Ryley, former instructor at the college donated an acrylic painting

Kiwanis Club donates money to Okanagan College

This establishes the Kiwanis Kelowna 2018 Legacy Education Endowment

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Fuhr: A looming pilot shortage

By Stephen Fuhr Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with local… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Most Read