OTTAWA, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Patrick B. Stogran, Canada's Veterans Ombudsman, released the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman's first report, "Serve with Honour, Depart with Dignity". This report is an administrative review of the program and is aimed at ensuring that all those who have given of themselves in the service of Canada, our veterans, depart this Earth with the dignity they deserve. The release of this report is significant as it is the 100th year anniversary of the Last Post Fund (which administers Veterans Affairs Canada's Funeral and Burial Assistance program).
The Funeral and Burial Assistance Program affects the most vulnerable veterans: the frail, elderly, and financially disadvantaged. Successive governments have been aware of the issues regarding funerals and burials for many years but have failed to act, thereby reducing to mere rhetoric repeated commitments to support veterans in their time of need.
"I believe that all the recommended improvements offered in this report are necessary and reasonable and urge Veterans Affairs Canada to act quickly in their implementation", said Pat Stogran. "Time is of the essence, as our War Veterans are disappearing at the rate of approximately, 2000 a month. Our position is that funeral and burial benefits should be available to all veterans, easily accessible, adequate, and aligned with present-day costs."
The four areas of the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Assistance program addressed in the report are: funding, process, eligibility, and outreach. Of the report's seven recommendations - six require regulatory amendments and one recommendation requires procedural changes. Veterans Affairs Canada has been in receipt of the report for over sixty days.
This report is the first in a series of reports aimed at ensuring that Canada does everything possible to ensure the fair treatment of and respect for Veterans and their families.
For more information on the Ombudsman and the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, or to view an electronic copy of this report, visit our website at: www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca
SOURCE VETERANS OMBUDSMAN
For further information: For further information: Brad Mann, (613) 293-4083; Marc Desjardins, (819) 776-6643; Mary Anne MacEachern, (902) 626-4964