Demand Change to the New Veterans Charter

The Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada is supporting the Royal Canadian Legion’s letter campaign concerning with the response tabled by Government on 1 October 2014 to the 14 recommendations listed in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA). We have all been advocating for improvements since the inception of the New Veterans Charter to improve care and benefits for our injured Veterans and their families, however the Government has made diminutive improvements and we need them to act NOW.

CANADA’S VETERANS NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

ANAVETS is asking on all of our members, their families, friends and all Canadians who care about our Veterans, to send a letter prepared by ANAVETS to their Member of Parliament demanding the Government to act now to improve the New Veterans Charter.

Join ANAVETS Letter Writing Campaign and email or mail the letter below to your Member of Parliament.

Please share and encourage others to join Veterans Associations’ in this campaign. Together, we will stand for Veterans and demand they get the care they deserve.

Instructions for Letter Writing Campaign

Thank you for supporting ANAVETS, as we join the Royal Canadian Legion’s Letter Writing Campaign to express our concerns about the Government’s response to recommendations for improving the New Veterans Charter. Our members, and all Canadians who care about our Veterans and their families, can send a letter prepared by ANAVETS to their Member of Parliament calling on the Government to take immediate action to make the priority improvements to the New Veterans Charter. The lives of our Veterans and their families need to be a priority issue for the Government of Canada.  Please share this request widely with your friends and family, together we can make a difference.

 

You can send the letter using THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS:

 

  1. Select your Member of Parliament using your postal code, visit
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx
    (this search will also provide the email address of your MP)
  2. Open your email program and fill in the email address of your Member of Parliament. Also copy and paste into CC: ( stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca; julian.fantino@parl.gc.ca; rob.nicholson@parl.gc.ca; Joe.Oliver@parl.gc.ca; tony.clement@parl.gc.ca )
  3. Copy and paste the text ‘ Call to Action to Improve the New Veterans Charter ‘ into the Subject Line of your email.
  4. Copy and paste the text of the letter below into the body of the email.
  5. Fill in the Name of your MP in the address block at the top of the letter, the date, and your name and address at the bottom of the letter.
  6. Send.

[ Name of Member of Parliament ]
House of Commons Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6


Dear Ministers:

The Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) is seriously concerned with the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA).

ANAVETS, alongside the Royal Canadian Legion and other Veterans Organizations as well as the Veterans Ombudsman have long advocated that the New Veterans Charter requires some major priority adjustments.  Upon its implementation in 2005, Veterans Organizations were promised that the New Veterans Charter would be a “living charter”, easily adjusted as we found the shortfalls in both legislation and interpretation.  Unfortunately Veterans waited five long years until the first changes were made under Bill C55.  The Government’s response to the committee report on 1 October however is without clear definition on their proposed actions or timelines.  Furthermore, with statements such as, “The more complex recommendations require further interdepartmental work, budgetary analysis, and coordination with a wide range of federal departments, as well as with the Veterans Ombudsman and Veterans’ groups.” The Government is clearly delaying the implementation of recommendations that have the greatest financial impact on Veterans and their families.  The Veterans Ombudsman, Veterans Groups and previous Veterans Affairs Advisory Groups have advocated these priority issues for years.  No further study, nor are delays required.  What is required is immediate action by the Government to address the most serious shortcomings of the New Veterans Charter.

ANAVETS is very disappointed that our three priority issues, as well as further recommendations have been relegated to Phase Two of the announcement, to which no clear timeline has been indicated.  The Government of Canada continues to delay these items with the repeated phrase, “further due diligence is required.”  As each day passes Veterans and their families in need of assistance will continue to be adversely affected by this Government’s inaction.

As a signatory member of the Veterans Consultation Assembly, ANAVETS made representation to the Minister of Veterans Affairs outlining the collective sense of what is needed to be done immediately to assist Veterans and their families.  Letters outlining the collective top three priority issues of this group were sent to the Minister of Veterans Affairs on 8 May 2013, 15 Nov. 2013 and again on 20 Aug 2014.

Those priorities were:

  1. The Earning Loss Benefit (ELB) must be improved to provide 100% of pre-release income, continue for life and include increases for projected career earnings for a Canadian Armed Forces member;
  2. The maximum disability award must be increased consistent with what is provided to injured civilian workers who received general damages in law court; and
  3. The current inequity with regards to ELB for Class A and Class B (less than 180 days) Reservists for service attributed injuries must cease.

The latest letter of 20 Aug 2014 called upon the government to review the following issues in addition to the above:

  1. The unduly restrictive application of the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) provisions of the New Veterans Charter,  unreasonably constrains the number of disabled veterans who are able to qualify for appropriate levels of entitlement for this important allowance;
  2. The Exceptional Incapacity Allowance (EIA) concept founded under the Pension Act should be incorporated in the New Veterans Charter. This allowance has traditionally addressed the impact of the disabilities suffered by 100% veteran pensioners with reference to their difficulty to cope with their overall capacity. The introduction of EIA to the New Veterans Charter would augment the limitations of the Permanent Impairment Allowance, particularly in the circumstance where a seriously disabled veteran confronts the ravages of age;
  3. In order to recognize the care giving requirements that many disabled Veterans confront to cope with their incapacities, the Attendance Allowance provisions of the Pension Act should be added to the New Veterans Charter in recognition of the financial costs faced by many families in this context; and
  4. The New Veterans Charter should acknowledge that Veterans with dependents should receive a higher level of compensation either through the augmentation of the Lump Sum Disability Award or an increase in Earnings Loss Benefit for such veterans and their families.

 

Our concerns remain valid, yet unanswered. The Government continues to say that these recommendations require further study and analysis.  I ask, what has the Government and the department been doing for the past eight years if they haven’t already been analyzing these serious concerns from the Veterans community, their own Advisory Committees’ and the Veterans Ombudsman?  The time for action is now.  These recommendations need to be incorporated into the 2015 budget, passed and the recommendations implemented prior an election writ being dropped.  Our Veterans and their families cannot wait, they need support now.

As per our motto, ANAVETS will continue to work “Shoulder to Shoulder” with all Veterans Organizations and groups to bring these issues to our members and the general public.

Yours truly,

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