Positive investments… lacking in detail
OTTAWA – With the release of the federal budget, The Royal Canadian Legion is pleased to see a range of investments for veterans and families but awaits additional information on the mechanisms to be used, and the programs the funding will support.
“The investments should provide a tangible difference in veterans’ lives and are good to see, but we’re concerned about the lack of detail,” says Dominion President, Thomas D. Irvine, CD. “It is also disappointing to see no focused investment in military equipment.”
Transition to post-service life. We are pleased to see a continued commitment, and resources dedicated to veterans’ transition services, but details remain unclear.
Research on military and veterans’ health. Increased funding for CIMVHR is an important decision, and will hopefully allow for future research into important issues such as cannabinoid therapy, mefloquine toxicity and general health concerns related to issues such as traumatic brain injury.
Supporting families. It is positive to see the creation of a new Veterans Survivors Fund to help ensure survivors have the financial support they need. Still, it does not meet the specific commitment as outlined in Veterans Affairs Canada and Department of National Defence mandate letters to eliminate the marriage after 60 clause, so that surviving spouses of veterans who happened to be married after the age of 60 receive the appropriate pension and health benefits they deserve. We would also like to see additional funding for caregiver support and training.
Education and training benefit. We support expanded eligibility for the Education and Training Benefit so that it becomes more accessible to Canadian Armed Forces members, to include Supplementary Reservists.
Commitment to seniors. The Legion welcomes the investment in seniors’ well-being, and hopes this will also strengthen the help accessible to senior veterans.
Centre of Excellence. We are pleased to see the announcement of a second Centre of Excellence in the area of chronic pain and look forward to details on how and when it will be established.
Commemoration. While it is positive to see funds dedicated to commemorative activities, the Legion would like to see a defined government plan for collaborative commemoration instead of a piecemeal approach.
The lack of a concerted financial investment in other areas that directly affect veterans, and the lack of detail about the financial benefits of the new Pension for Life plan, remain a concern. Many veterans are still unsure of the level of support they will actually receive with the plan’s release on April 1.
Priority areas in which the Legion is advocating, and for which immediate investment is needed include: homelessness, long-term care, and lifelong financial security for ill and injured veterans.
For more information on the full list of Legion priority areas, please visit: https://www.legion.ca/advocating-for-veterans/advocating-for-change