OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - After reviewing the compelling conclusions of the Veterans Ombudsman and following several weeks of extensive consultation with stakeholders—including Canadian Veterans, serving Canadian Armed Forces personnel, non-profit organizations, international partners and private sector companies—the Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada's Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today that the government will conduct a comprehensive review of the New Veterans Charter, including all enhancements, with a special focus placed on the most seriously injured, support for families and the delivery of programs by Veterans Affairs Canada. Minister Fantino made the announcement in an address to the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, an organization that has been a key partner in supporting the transition of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to civilian life through the Helmets to Hardhats program (external link, site available in English only).
"Our Government remains fully committed to providing Veterans with the support they need to lead successful lives beyond their service to Canada in uniform," said Minister Fantino. "To that end, we have already made dramatic improvements—and will continue to strive for enhancements—to ensure that the tools and assistance relied upon by Canada's Veterans remain as effective, efficient and accessible as possible. I look forward to working with my parliamentary colleagues to consider responsible changes in order to reach a common goal of better serving those who served Canada."
The New Veterans Charter, which was passed unanimously and implemented by Parliament in 2006, is specifically designed to provide Veterans with the tools, assistance and support they need to effectively transition into civilian life and continue to contribute their exceptional leadership skills to building a strong and resilient Canada, just as they did in uniform.
Since his appointment in July as Minister of Veterans Affairs, Minister Fantino has reached out to people and partners in an effort to learn more about the issues that matter most to Canada's Veterans. The Minister has been meeting with Veterans at home—in their own communities—and with Veterans stakeholder groups across the country in places including Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Charlottetown, and across the Greater Toronto Area. Minister Fantino just returned from representing Canada at the Multinational Symposium on Veteran Transition, hosted by Canada's True Patriot Love Foundation, where he held dialogues with public and private sector leaders from partner countries including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"I want to thank the Veterans Ombudsman for his thorough, thoughtful and important work on this file. I look forward to working with Parliamentarians and the Ombudsman on this upcoming review," said Minister Fantino.
Minister Fantino will continue to hold meetings with Veterans' groups to seek feedback on optimizing the impact of programs, benefits and services available to Canada's Veterans.
The New Veterans Charter was last reviewed by Parliament in 2011. The fall parliamentary session will begin Wednesday, October 16th, 2013.
Veterans Affairs Canada's support and services offer the right care at the right time to achieve the best results for Veterans and their families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to defend the Republic of Korea and uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
Canada's Commitment to Veterans and their Families - NVC
The Government of Canada's commitment to Veterans and their families continues to evolve to meet the increasingly complex and diverse health and social needs of Canada's Veterans. The New Veterans Charter (NVC), which was passed unanimously by Parliament in May 2005 and implemented in April 2006, has been central to this evolution by shifting the focus from disability to health and overall well-being.
The New Veterans Charter achieves this by offering both immediate and ongoing financial support while also providing full physical and psychological rehabilitation services, vocational assistance, health care benefits and one-on-one case management—all aimed at helping Veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.
The following are some of the key benefits, programs and services available to Veterans and their families:
Case Management: The first step in the care and support available is to work with Veterans and family members to develop a plan to meet their individual needs. Personalized follow-up is also provided to ensure the implementation of the plan goes smoothly.
Disability Award: This tax-free payment of up to $298,000 recognizes and compensates for the non-economic impact (the pain and suffering) of an injury or illness suffered in the line of duty. Originally designed solely as a lump-sum payment, other flexible payment options are now available, such as annual installments or the combination of a partial lump-sum payment and annual installments.
Financial Benefits: Ongoing monthly financial benefits are available to service-injured Veterans to supplement their monthly income, replace lost job opportunities and compensate for the reduced capability to save for retirement.
Rehabilitation: Comprehensive care is available to help ill and injured Veterans restore their health to the fullest extent possible. This support includes physical and psychological treatment, vocational services and help adjusting to the practical realities of a disability.
Operational Stress Injury Clinics: Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence have established 17 specialized clinics to assist Veterans, still-serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families who are dealing with operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and substance abuse.
Peer Support: This popular and growing program now includes 48 coordinators across the country who know first-hand what Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families are experiencing as they struggle with operational stress injuries. These coordinators are there to listen and give support and advice to others in similar situations.
Health Benefits: Eligible Veterans have access to group health insurance through the Public Service Health Care Plan.
Family Support: Support to families of Veterans has increased and we continue efforts to meet their needs. Benefits to families range from counselling and educational grants to health care benefits.
Career Transition Services: The Career Transition Services Program offers eligible Veterans and families practical help finding new employment opportunities, whether it's career counselling, vocational training or job placement services. After all, the best safety net is a job.
Veterans Independence Program: This is the Gold Standard in home-care programs and was established to help Veterans remain healthy and independent in their own homes or communities. Its most popular features include housekeeping services including snow shoveling and grass-cutting services.
Death Benefit: This benefit acknowledges the non-economic effect of the loss of a loved one on families.
Visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website for important and helpful information, including the Veterans Benefits Browser or My VAC Account, at veterans.gc.ca.
Any Veteran or family member requiring immediate assistance should call our 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-268-7708.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
Image with caption: "Minister Fantino announces a government review of the New Veterans Charter to members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. The organization supports the transition of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to civilian life through the Helmets to Hardhats program. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130926_C4964_PHOTO_EN_31435.jpg