By Bob Nault MP
Week of February 19, 2018
The brave men and women of Canada’s military dedicate themselves to serving our country. Those in uniform serve and protect us, so it’s our responsibility to serve and protect them as they transition into life post-service. Our government’s mission is simple – provide Veterans and their families with the programs, services, and support they need as they transition to civilian life.
Every Veteran’s personal circumstances are different. However, the most successful transitions take place when our military personnel have a positive balance of financial, mental, physical, and social influences in their lives.
To make sure that this balance is met, the Government of Canada has introduced the Pension for Life (PFL). The PFL contains adjustments to the benefits already available to those who have served. It also includes three new elements to recognize and compensate Veterans for disability resulting from service-related injuries or illnesses.
The Pension for Life plan scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2019, contains three key pillars.
The first is a lifelong tax-free monthly financial benefit to recognize pain and suffering caused by a service-related disability. The most severely disabled can receive a monthly payment of up to $2,650. Veterans can decide for themselves whether they would like to receive monthly payments for life or a one-time lump sum payout of up to $360,000.
There is also income replacement for Veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service. The income replacement would be set at 90 percent of their pre-release salary. In some circumstances, military personnel may be eligible for an additional increase.
The third pillar focuses on services and benefits to help in a wide-range of areas, including education, employment, and physical and mental health.
These new elements represent an additional investment of close to $3.6 billion to support Canada’s Veterans. When combined with other support programs already announced in previous budgets, investments since 2016 add up to nearly $10 billion. This will help ensure that Veterans and their families receive the supports, respect, and gratitude they’ve rightfully earned.
Since being elected, our government has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting our military personnel. In addition to the Pension for Life, we have reopened nine Veteran Affairs’ offices the previous government closed and we have even opened a brand new one. In order to provide better service to our Veterans and their families, more than 400 new frontline staff have been hired.
I’ve heard from Veterans that the system can be a source of frustration, and wait times for some benefits are too long. With the right balance of financial compensation, benefits and support services, Veteran Affairs will now be able to focus its attention on delivering excellent service.
I am proud that we are putting the needs of Veterans and their families first. They deserve nothing less.
Bob Nault MP