Press Release/ OP-ED by Brian Forbes
Posted on February 21, 2018
Veterans Affairs Minister is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts/Government plan for lifelong pensions under New Veterans Charter fails to live up to Prime Minister’s commitment to Canada’s veterans.
Minister Seamus O’Regan is entitled to his own opinion but he is not entitled to his own facts. The Minister has suggested in his recent letter to the Hill Times and in public statements that no real financial disparity will exist between compensation paid to seriously disabled veterans under the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter once his proposals, announced on December 20, 2017, take effect in April 2019. He has concluded in his analysis that only a $50.00 a month discrepancy will arise when comparing benefits under each statutory program.
With all due respect, the Minister is badly misinformed in this regard. A realistic comparison on an “apples to apples” basis reveals that a “significant disparity” will indeed continue to exist. It is essential in this context to recognize that the actual maximum amounts of compensation under each statutory regime will be as follows...
Click here to read more.
GOVERNMENT FAILS TO MEET VETERANS’ EXPECTATIONS REGARDING THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF “LIFELONG PENSIONS” UNDER NEW VETERANS CHARTER
The National Council of Veteran Associations (NCVA) and The War Amps of Canada contend that Minister O’Regan’s announcement regarding the long-awaited “lifelong pension” has failed to live up to the Liberal government’s election commitment to address the inequities in the New Veterans Charter, and continues to ignore “the elephant in the room” which has overshadowed this discussion.
Minister O’Regan’s announcement suggested that the “pension for life” would include the following three “pillars”:
The present lump sum Disability Award would be replaced by a new Pain and Suffering Compensation Benefit representing a monthly payment in the maximum amount of $1,150 per month for life or, alternatively, be provided in a lump sum payment as is currently the case. For those veterans currently in receipt of a Disability Award, retroactive assessment would potentially apply to produce a reduced monthly payment for life for such veterans.
A new Additional Pain and Suffering Benefit would be created to essentially replace the Career Impact Allowance (Permanent Impairment Allowance) under the current Charter, with similar grade levels and monthly payments which would reflect a non-taxable non-economic benefit for veterans suffering a “…permanent and severe impairment which is creating a barrier to re-establishment in life after service.”.
A new, consolidated Income Replacement Benefit (IRB), which is taxable, would combine four pre-existing benefits (Earnings Loss Benefit, Extended Earnings Loss Benefit, Supplementary Retirement Benefit, and Retirement Income Security Benefit) with a proviso that the IRB would be increased by one percent every year until the veteran reaches what would have been 20 years of service or age 60, and that any veteran who wishes to join the work force may also earn up to $20,000 from employment before any reduction will be made to their IRB payment.
Brian Forbes, Executive Chairman of The War Amps and Chairman of NCVA, stated that: “Although, as per usual, the devil remains in the details as to the applicability of these new provisions to individual veterans, it is relatively clear that certain seriously disabled veterans and their survivors will benefit from the Minister’s announcement in that they may qualify for enhanced levels of compensation pursuant to the new benefits proposed for the New Veterans Charter. However, the greater majority of disabled veterans will not be materially impacted by the Minister’s announcement in that the new benefits under the proposed legislative amendments will have limited applicability – thus the financial disparity between the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter will continue for this significant cohort of disabled veterans in Canada.”
“Unfortunately, the Minister’s announcement perpetuates a result where the greater majority of veterans under the New Veterans Charter receive far less lifelong compensation than a veteran pursuant to the Pension Act with the same disability,” stated Forbes.
“It was fundamentally essential that the Minister recognize that much more is required to improve the New Veterans Charter so as to address the self-evident ’elephant in the room’ in that his announcement failed to satisfy the priority concerns of the veterans’ community in relation to:
Resolving the significant disparity between the financial compensation available under the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter;
Ensuring that no veteran under the New Veterans Charter receives less compensation than a veteran under the Pension Act with the same disability or incapacity, in accordance with the “one veteran – one standard” principle.
“It is totally unacceptable that we continue to have veterans’ legislation in Canada which provides a significantly higher level of compensation to a veteran who was injured prior to 2006 (date of the enactment of the New Veterans Charter) when compared to a veteran who was injured post-2006. If applied to the Afghan conflict, we have veterans in the same war with totally different pension benefit results,” said Mr. Forbes.
The 2017 Federal Budget clearly stressed wellness and re-habilitation principles with the Government effectively “kicking the can down the road” in its promise of action on re-establishing a lifelong pension for veterans under the Charter by the end of the year. In this context NCVA/WAC recognizes the value and importance of wellness and rehabilitation policies, however, takes the position that financial security remains a fundamental necessity to the successful implementation of any wellness or rehabilitation program. It is readily apparent that this is not a choice between “wellness” and financial compensation as advanced by Veterans Affairs Canada but a combined requirement to any optimal reestablishment approach to medically released veterans.
During the course of discussions following Budget 2017 leading up to the Minister’s announcement, there was considerable concern in the veterans’ community that the government would simply establish an option wherein the lump sum payment (Disability Award) would be apportioned or reworked over the life of the veteran for the purposes of creating a “lifetime pension” as ostensibly required under the Mandate Letter. NCVA and other veteran stakeholders strongly criticized this proposition as being totally inadequate and not providing the lifetime financial security which was envisaged by the veterans’ community.
Forbes stated that “…it is fair to say that the reasonable expectation of veteran stakeholders was that some form of substantive benefit stream needed to be established which would address the financial disparity between the benefits received under the Pension Act and the NVC for all individually disabled veterans.”
“It has been our recommendation to the Minister and the department that VAC should pivot completely from this lump sum payment evaluation for delivering the so-called lifetime pension option and instead look to the major conclusions of the NCVA Legislative Program and the Ministerial Policy Advisory Group report – both of these reports proposed that the combination of the best provisions of the Pension Act and the best provisions of the NVC would produce this form of lifetime pension in a much more realistic manner in order to ensure the financial security for those veterans who need this form of monetary support through their lifetime.”
It is of significant relevance that the key recommendations of the Ministerial Policy Advisory Group (as endorsed by NCVA) would effectively produce a form of lifetime financial security – this report was submitted to Minister Hehr in the fall of 2016 and formally presented to the Veterans Summit in Ottawa in October 2016.
The Policy Advisory Group report concluded that “…the enhancement of the Earnings Loss Benefit/Career Impact Allowance as a single stream of income for life, the addition of Exceptional Incapacity Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and a new monthly family benefit for life will ensure all veterans receive the care and support they deserve when they need it and through their lifetime.”
“It is noteworthy that the Policy Advisory Group report emphasized that an enhanced Career Impact Allowance would be a key ingredient to New Veterans Charter reform in that a newly structured Career Impact Allowance should reflect the following standard of compensation: ‘…what would the veteran have earned in his or her military career had the veteran not been injured?’ This form of progressive income model, which would be unique to the New Veterans Charter, would have bolstered the potential lifetime compensation of a disabled veteran as to his or her projected lost career earnings as opposed to the nominal 1% increase proposed by the Minister.”
Forbes stated that “this overall proposal would effectively bridge the best parts of the Pension Act and the NVC and represents a good first step to addressing the selfevident disparity between the NVC and the PA insofar as compensation is concerned, and provides a form of ‘lifelong pension’ for those veterans who qualified for the benefit proposed in the model.”
Upon the election of the Liberal government in 2015, it was the fundamental expectation of the veterans’ community that this inequity would be rectified based on specific promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign to reestablish a “lifelong pension” and in accordance with the formal commitment contained in the Mandate Letter from the Prime Minister to the former Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr in the Fall of 2015.
Following the Minister’s announcement today, Forbes stated “veterans have lost faith that the government will fulfill its commitment and eliminate the two distinct classes of benefits available to disabled Canadian Armed Forces members.”
“There is no reason that the federal government could not have implemented the recommendations made by veteran stakeholders and Ministerial advisory groups who have been advocating specific proposals for a number of years to address self-evident gaps and inequities in the New Veterans Charter,” Mr. Forbes added.
“If the ‘one veteran – one standard’ philosophy advocated by Veterans Affairs Canada has any meaning, this glaring disparity between the Pension Act and New Veterans Charter benefits for the greater majority of disabled veterans required that the Minister seize the moment and satisfy the financial needs of Canadian veterans and their dependants,” Mr. Forbes said. “The Minister has missed an opportunity to recognize that the longstanding social covenant between the Canadian people and the veterans’ community demands nothing less.”
Click here to view a PDF version of this announcement.
GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ADDRESS “ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM” REGARDING VETERANS’ BENEFITS
OTTAWA, November 9, 2017 -- The War Amps of Canada/ National Council of Veteran Associations (NCVA) contend that the Liberal Government has failed to live up to its commitment to fix the New Veterans Charter and has ignored the “elephant in the room” which has overshadowed this discussion.
Brian N. Forbes, Chairman of the Executive Committee of The War Amps and Chairman of NCVA, stated that it is fundamentally essential at this time that the Government recognize that much more is required to improve the New Veterans Charter, with particular emphasis on:
- Resolving the significant disparity between the financial compensation available under the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter;
- Ensuring that no veteran under the New Veterans Charter receive less compensation than a veteran under the Pension Act with the same disability or incapacity, in accordance with the “one veteran – one standard” principle.
“It is totally unacceptable that we have veterans’ legislation in Canada which provides a significantly higher level of compensation to a veteran who was injured prior to 2006 [date of the enactment of the New Veterans Charter] when compared to a veteran who was injured post-2006. If applied to the Afghan conflict, we have veterans in the same war with totally different pension benefit results,” said Mr. Forbes.
Click here to view the full news release.
Notice of the 2017 Annual General Meeting
Posted on October 26, 2017
The AFP/AAC Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday December 6th, 2017 at 3:45 PM EDT by teleconference call. For those members wishing to participate, please contact us by calling 1-613-432-9491 or email us at email@example.com to receive the call-in information. There will be no costs incurred for members to call-in.
A motion to approve the 2016 audit will be made at the AGM. The audit was conducted by Nephin Winter Bingley and subsequent draft financial statements were provided to the board. The auditor reported that, “In our opinion, these financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the balance sheet of Armed Forces pensioner’/Annuitants’ Association of Canada as at December 31, 2016 and its results of operations and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for not-for-profit organizations.” The financial statements are available to members upon request.
100th Anniversary Of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
As part of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, there will be numerous commemorative events taking place at Vimy during the week of April 5 – 12, including the opening of the new Vimy Visitor Education Centre. Should you wish to attend this 100th anniversary ceremony, you must register prior to February 28, 2017 or you will not be permitted access to the site, due to heightened security restrictions. In addition to the tens of thousands of private citizens expected to attend, the Government of Canada, in conjunction with Veterans Affairs, will lead a delegation to France to participate in these solemn and important commemorative events.
Here is the link to register: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/vimy-ridge/100-anniversary/registration
Notice Of The 2016 Annual General Meeting
The AFP/AAC Annual General Meeting will be held on:
Thursday November 24th, 2016 at 1:00 PM EDT
by teleconference call.
For those members wishing to participate, please contact us by calling 1-613-432-9491 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the call-in information. There will be no costs incurred for members to call-in. A motion to approve the 2015 audit will be made at the AGM. The audit was conducted by Nephin Winter Bingley and subsequent draft financial statements were provided to the board. The financial statements are available to members upon request.
Annual Commemorative Ceremony
Canadian BattleField Tour (WWI & WWII)
For more information about the Letter Writing Campain-New Veterans Charter check out this video
Letter Campain Video
ATTENTION ALL CURRENTLY SERVING AND FORMER MEMBERS OF THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES!
Posted on: September 24,2014
Memo: Submission to Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs
April 3, 2014
Submission by Brian N. Forbes on behalf of the National Council of Veteran Associations presented on April 1, 2014 to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in relation to the reform of the New Veterans Charter.
CAF Pensioners Health Care Plan
September 24, 2013
On retiring from the CAF we were offered an option for supplementary (or comprehensive for those retiring outside the country where provincial care would not be available) health care insurance under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP). The plan provided that we pensioners who opted for the coverage would pay 25% of the plan’s premium while our employer would pay the balance. (For those of you who are curious enough, the actual figures are at http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/index.php?sid=87&hl=1&lang=eng).
As part of the Harper Government’s plan to ‘reduce its deficit’ (isn’t that a familiar phrase!) we are hearing reports that Treasury Board intends to raise our share of the health care premium to 50%. Most of us opted for basic hospital coverage which, for a family, costs $42.76/month. Should the suspected Treasury Board rumour prove correct, that premium will jump to $85.52.
It’s time to join other federal pensioners in the fight against this unilateral action by protesting to our individual members of parliament. We have a sample letter (click here) that you can use as a basis for your own to your member of parliament, and you should mail a copy to the President of Treasury Board as well. If you don’t know who your member is, a listing of all MPs is on our website or here
Letters addressed to Members of Parliament at the House of Commons do not require a postage stamp.
You are also invited to sign the petition that our fellow pensioners at FSNA have initiated; simply go to their website at
You don’t need to be a member of FSNA to sign their petition.
Plan de soins de santé des pensionnés/es des FAC
Lors de notre retraite des FAC, on nous offrait une option d’assurance santé supplémentaire au sein du Régime de soins de santé de la fonction publique (RSSFP). Pour les retraités qui résidaient à l’extérieur du pays une assurance compréhensive leur était offerte. Les pensionnés/es qui choisissaient ce plan en paient 25% et le gouvernement 75%. (Pour les curieux les chiffres se trouvent au site :
Le gouvernement Harper veut réduire le déficit (un refrain souvent répété!) et nous avons appris que le Conseil du Trésor veut augmenter notre contribution aux primes de 50%. La plupart d’entre nous avons choisi la couverture d’hospitalisation de base dont le coût pour une famille est de $42.76 par mois. Si cette rumeur est vraie, la prime bondira à $85.52.
Nous devons nous joindre aux autres pensionnés/es du fédéral dans la bataille contre cette action unilatérale en faisant connaitre nos objections à nos députés fédéraux. Nous avons une lettre modèle sur notre site web que vous pouvez utiliser pour correspondre avec votre député. Faites en parvenir une copie au Président du Conseil du Trésor aussi. Vous trouverez la liste et les adresses des députés au site :
Toute lettre envoyé à un député n’a pas besoin de timbre poste.
Vous êtes invités à signer une pétition de nos amis de la ANRF au :
Il n’est pas nécessaire d’être membre de l’ANRF pour signer la pétition.
Veterans' Week - November 5 - 11, 2013
September 13, 2013
Click here to see poster from Veterans Affairs Canada.
Announcement regarding recognition of service available from the government of Canada
September 3, 2013
The VAC announced the following items in recognition of service, available from the government of Canada. Veterans or their families can apply to receive these items by filling out the application form by clicking on the corresponding link, or by calling 1-866-522-2122.
Bomber Command Bar- This bar is being issued to eligible Canadian Veterans (or their next of kin) who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War. The honour, in the form of a bar clasp, is to be worn on the ribbon of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM).
Korean War Certificate- This certificate of recognition is being issued to all eligible Canadian Veterans of the Korean War.
August 23, 2013
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Vice-Chairperson (Military Widow) Helen Rapp-Bowen. Helen was a strong advocate for the fight against Marriage over 60 and the well-being and support of her fellow veterans.
She will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be Monday, August 26, 2013 at Tubman Funeral Home. in Nepean Ontario from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM EDT, and Tuesday, August 27, 2013 from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT, followed by a celebration of life at 11:00 AM.
Please click the link below to read her obituary
In Our Mailbox
Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney wrote to AFP/AAC regarding the pending closure of nine VAC district offices. Click here to read the letter.
AFP/AAC member and veteran Andre d’Entremont wrote to AFP/AAC regarding the VRAB. Click here to read the letter.
MP Joe Prestion wrote to AFP/AAC regarding the pending closure of nine VAC district offices. Click here to read the letter.