OTTAWA, March 24, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Funeral Service Association of Canada (FSAC) is pleased that the 2016 Federal Budget has proposed significant improvements to the Last Post Fund. Tabled on Tuesday, the budget proposes to increase the estate exemption for the Last Post Fund to roughly $35,000, and apply an annual cost of living adjustment to the estate exemption, echoing FSAC's long-standing position that the fund must be updated in order to better support veterans' families.
The Last Post Fund is a non-profit organization that offers financial benefits for funeral related expenses to eligible veterans and disability pensioners. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposed $108.2 million over three years to expand eligibility for the Funeral and Burial Program, providing modern-day veterans of modest means access to a dignified funeral. However, according to a Parliamentary Budget Report, the Fund has in excess of $14 million in unused funds because too few veterans qualify for assistance.
The current means test only allows for a veteran and their spouse to have a combined net asset value of $12,015 or less, reduced from $24,030 in 1995. In modern day terms this is such an insignificant amount of money that very few veterans, however deserving of assistance, could access the Last Post Fund.
"We are very pleased that the federal government has committed to addressing this issue head on, as it has been a long time coming" said Jim Bishop, Chair of the Government Relations Committee for FSAC. "We are very proud to have worked with all parties on the improvements made to the Last Post Fund over recent years" he added, "and we will continue to do so ensure that the fund is fair and recognizes the ultimate sacrifice made by our brave men and women in the service."
The Funeral Service Association of Canada (FSAC) is the leading national funeral professional association, and represents 85% of all deaths in Canada through numerous funeral homes, cemeteries and funeral service professionals across the country. In the countless services provided by our members, the most important aspect of a funeral is dignity. FSAC has been providing leadership and guidance to funeral providers for more than 80 years and works to improve the profession through advocacy and education. Please visit www.fsac.ca for additional information.
SOURCE Funeral Service Association of Canada (FSAC)
For further information: Andrew Stewart, Public Affairs Associate, Phone: 613-233-8906, [email protected]