Canadians and the Government of Canada acknowledge the immense contribution in service to our country of Veterans and their families. It is critical that members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada’s Veterans know that when they sign up to serve and protect Canada, the people of Canada will support them.
Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, met with Canadian Armed Forces members and their families at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu today to provide details on changes to VAC programs and benefits that will do more to support Canada’s Veterans and their families.
Budget 2017 builds on the investments made in Budget 2016 with new measures that will recognize the important role of caregivers, help more families, support mental health and pay for the education and training Veterans need to find the work they want in their post-military lives.
Budget 2017 highlights include the expansion of the Veteran Family Program across all 32 MFRCs in Canada, a new Caregiver Benefit that will put $1,000 per month directly into the pockets of those who care for Veterans in their homes, and an Education and Training benefit that will provide for up to $80,000 in financial support for Veterans in achieving their education and future post-military employment goals through college, university or technical education.
As part of today’s announcement, Parliamentary Secretary Romanado reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s mandate commitments to do more for Veterans, provide additional financial benefits tailored to their needs and deliver a higher standard of service and care that ensures a “one Veteran, one standard” approach is upheld.
- Expanding the Veteran Family Program across all 32 Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs). The expansion of the program would result in medically released Veterans and their families having continued and uninterrupted access to all 32 MFRCs across the country, in addition to the other resources that were part of the initial pilot.
- Enhancing and simplifying support to Veterans’ families and caregivers by replacing the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit with a $1,000 monthly, tax-free benefit paid directly to a Veteran’s caregiver.
- $133.9 million over six years to create a new Veterans’ Education and Training Benefit. This new benefit will provide Veterans with the funding for college, university or a technical education of their choice. Veterans with six years of service may be eligible for up to $40,000 and Veterans with at least 12 years of service may be eligible for up to $80,000 to cover tuition, course materials, and some incidentals and living expenses.
- Redesigning the Career Transition Services (CTS) program which would include an expansion of current eligibilities; the removal of time limits for Veterans, reservists and survivors to access benefits; and simplification or elimination of the application process for participants.
- $4 million over four years to establish a Veteran Emergency Fund to enable Veterans Affairs Canada to address unique and urgent Veteran-specific situations.
- $13.9 million over four years to establish a Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund. This fund would be used for the development of new and innovative ways to support Veterans and their families by providing financial support to organizations to conduct research and implement initiatives and projects. These organizations can be non-profit, voluntary and in some cases, for-profit as well.
- Plans to create a new Centre of Excellence in Veterans’ care, specializing in mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder and related issues for Veterans.