Budget 2017 addresses financial security, education and family support
COURCELETTE, QC, March 30, 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.
Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, met with Canadian Forces Members and their families at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) in Valcartier today to provide details on Budget 2017 initiatives to assist Canada's Veterans and their families.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, also met with members and their families when he visited the MFRC in Edmonton yesterday.
Budget 2017 builds on the foundation that was established in Budget 2016 and is a comprehensive package that will recognize the important role of caregivers, help more families, support mental health and pay for the education and training Veterans need to find the work they want in their post-military lives.
Budget 2017 would also see the expansion of the Veteran Family Program across all 32 MFRCs in Canada. The pilot project launched in 2015, allowing access for medically released Veterans and their families to seven MFRCs across the country. They were also provided access to the telephone-based Family Information Line and the www.cafconnection.ca website. These services were traditionally available only for still-serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
"It was a privilege to spend time with Canadian Armed Forces Members and their families today in Valcartier. It was an opportunity for me to see firsthand how families interact and rely on each other and the MFRCs for support. I am very pleased that we have been able to turn a successful pilot into a reality for other families across Canada."
Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister 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, [email protected]