Our job is clearly to compel Veterans Affairs Canada to rectify this longstanding void in current veterans’ legislation and adopt a ‘one veteran-one-standard’ approach with respect to veteran caregivers across Canada.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee of Canada recently released its report on veteran caregivers entitled, “Caregivers: Taking Care of Those who Care for Veterans” and forwarded it to the House for Parliament’s consideration.
It is noteworthy that the committee report provides a comprehensive review of all family and caregiver benefits presently found in Canadian veterans’ legislation, and delineates at considerable length the serious deficiencies and shortcomings which currently exist in Veterans Affairs Canada programs and benefits in this context.
In the National Council of Veteran Associations’ judgment, the committee recommendations represent a potential major step forward to remedying the insufficient and inequitable treatment of veteran caregivers by Veterans Affairs Canada since the passing of the New Veterans Charter.
We are also pleased to advise that our NCVA recommendations have been fully adopted by the committee. There recommendations are in relation to replacing the highly inadequate Caregiver Recognition Benefit through the incorporation of the Attendance Allowance eligibility rules (Pension Act) and the more generous Department of National Defense Attendant Care Benefit provisions. Additionally, the expansion of caregiver benefits to better recognize mental health concerns is also on the way.
The following are the recommendations from the ACVA report:
Framework recommendation: That the Government of Canada works to ensure that spouses and dependent children of veterans who would be eligible to VAC’s rehabilitation program, can access other VAC programs, including financial support and mental health services, in their own right, and with an individual client number. (continue reading)