Budget 2017 addresses financial security, education and family support
ESQUIMALT, BC, May 30, 2017 /CNW/ - When a man or woman serves in Canada's armed forces, their whole family serves with them. That is why the Government of Canada has made it a priority to not only improve benefits and services for our nation's Veterans, but for their families as well.
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, met with Canadian Armed Forces members and their families at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) in Esquimalt today to provide details on what's in Budget 2017 to assist Canada's Veterans and their families.
Budget 2017 builds on the foundation that was established in Budget 2016. It is a comprehensive package that recognizes the important role of caregivers, helps more families, supports mental health and pays for the education and training Veterans need to find the work they want in their post-military lives.
Budget 2017 highlights include the expansion of the Veteran Family Program across all 32 MFRCs in Canada, a new Caregiver Benefit that will put $1000 directly in the pockets of those who care for Veterans in their homes, and an Education and Training benefit that will provide for up to $80 000 in financial support for Veterans in achieving their education and future post-military employment goals through college, university or technical education.
As part of today's announcement, Minister Hehr reaffirmed the Government of Canada's mandate commitments to do more for Veterans, provide additional financial benefits tailored to their needs and deliver a higher standard of service and care that ensues a "one Veteran, one standard" approach is upheld.
"Families and caregivers are the backbone of the support Veterans need, not only during their service, but also during their transition to post-military life. Not enough was being done to support families and caregivers who have supported our Veterans. I believe our new supports and initiatives will do more to ensure that Veterans and their families receive more of the help they need."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of 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 – This new benefit will provide Veterans with the funding for college, university or a technical education of their choice. Veterans with six years of service may be eligible for up to $40,000 and Veterans with at least 12 years of service may be eligible for up to $80,000 to cover tuition, course materials, and some incidentals and living expenses.
- 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 Veterans.
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]