Improvements to veterans’ benefits are long overdue

Writer hopes minister continues to do his best for Canada’s vets

To the Expositor:

During the last few days the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Erin O’Tool, appears to be working overtime to get three improvements to veterans’ benefits that are long overdue. This is of course an election year, but it shows how quickly changes can happen with a little political will.

On March 11, 2015, the government enhanced the previous benefits that ended at age 65, to a Lifetime Income Security Benefit for additional support of injured veterans and their families for life.

On March 13, 2015, the government strengthened the benefits for Reserve Force Veterans and their families, which was long overdue, to provide equality with Regular Force Veterans.

On March 17, 2015, the government announced the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit for families or caregivers of severely injured veterans, which is another benefit that was a long time coming.

One increase that is still awaiting attention is a much greater increase to the Maximum Disability Awards amounts for seriously injured veterans, as compared to awards by the courts for civilian injuries of similar magnitude.

This is obviously an attempt at damage control after the upheaval caused by Mr. Fantino. Minister O’Tool is obviously the right man for the job, whereas Mr. Fantino was not.

It’s a scramble to make amends in an election year, but regardless I am pleased with the performance of Minister O’Tool to date, who acts with a measure of finesse and diplomacy, along with a some sense of urgency to correct these three of the main issues. And I sincerely hope that he continues to do his best for Canada’s veterans, who deserve all the help they can get.

Colin Pick, president

War Pensioners of Canada