Budget 2017 addresses financial security, education and family support
EDMONTON, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada's women and men in uniform have served our country with bravery, honour and dignity—putting their lives at risk to protect the values we cherish most. Our Veterans deserve our greatest recognition and respect for their service.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, met with Canadian Forces Members and their families at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) in Edmonton today to provide details on Budget 2017 initiatives to assist Canada's Veterans and their families.
Budget 2017 builds on the foundation that was established in Budget 2016 and will recognize the important role of caregivers, help more families, support mental health and provide for the education and training Veterans need to find the work they want in their post-military lives.
Budget 2017 would expand access to the Veteran Family Program across all 32 MFRCs in Canada. A pilot project previously allowed access for medically released Veterans and their families to seven MFRCs across the country, and to the telephone-based Family Information Line and the www.CAFconnection.ca website. Previously these services were only for still-serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Minister Hehr also announced today that the Veterans Affairs Canada's Service Delivery Review, a detailed assessment of service delivery channels, is now complete. The recommendations developed will establish a new vision for an ideal service model focused on the Veteran.
"When a member serves, the whole family serves along with them. Families and caregivers are the backbone of the support Veterans need during their service, their transition to post-military life and afterwards. Their mental health and well-being are a priority.
"The Service Delivery Review was an important step in making it easier for Veterans and their families to understand and access programs and services. They have earned our respect and gratitude. And as the Minister of Veterans Affairs, I will ensure that we continue to honour their service to our great nation."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of the Department of National Defence.
Budget 2017 highlights:
- 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.
- $133.9 million over six years to create a new Veterans' Education and Training Benefit. The new benefit would provide $40,000 in support for the costs of up to four years of College, University or Technical Education of their choice to all Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force and Reserve Force Veterans with at least six years of military service and $80,000 in support for those with at least 12 years of service.
- 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.
- 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.
- $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 both Veterans and first responders.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Sarah McMaster, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, firstname.lastname@example.org