TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, visited Humber College today to highlight new changes that cut red tape and help improve Veterans' career rebuilding success after they leave the military. He was joined at the announcement by Guy Parent, Canada's Veterans Ombudsman. These changes give the more than 1,300 Veterans taking part in Veterans Affairs Canada's vocational rehabilitation program greater flexibility to access the tools they need for their training, and will cut down on wait-times related to vocational assessments.
"The Harper Government is committed to supporting the individual needs of Veterans and their families to help them successfully transition to civilian life. As we celebrate National Family Week, we are proud to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to them through this new initiative," said Minister Fantino. "By taking this action, we are making it easier for transitioning Veterans to focus on what matters most: getting the training they need to lead successful lives and to apply their exceptional leadership to new challenges."
The improvements, which are now in effect, represent an estimated investment of $2 million over the next five years.
As a result of these changes, an expanded list of training expenses will be now be considered in individual vocational rehabilitation training plans, such as required computer software, e-books, campus parking and training equipment. Veterans are now also able to claim individual vocational rehabilitation expenses through an overall program funding envelope, to a maximum total value of up to $75,800 per person. This change gives Veterans more flexibility in their vocational rehabilitation plans, which are based on the individual needs of each Veteran. These changes also simplify training plan approval and claims processing, and provide Veterans with decisions more quickly.
"In taking this step, we are listening to the careful, detailed and considered advice of the Veterans Ombudsman, and also to the feedback I have personally received from Veterans themselves," said Minister Fantino. "This is yet another example of how we are taking concrete action to improve services to Veterans and their families."
"Humber has been privileged to be a partner in providing our Veterans with vocational training and support," said Chris Whitaker, President, Humber College. "Expanding access to these services is an important step in helping to make the transition to civilian life as productive and meaningful as possible."
"When we assist Veterans at the Veterans Transition Network, we know addressing psychological stress injuries is only part of the task. Reducing barriers to access for Veterans undergoing vocational rehabilitation is an excellent enhancement to a great program," said Tim Laidler, Executive Director of the Veterans Transition Network. "Being a highly individualized process, bringing more flexibility to the program will make a significant impact on Veterans and their families."
This initiative builds on the Veterans Transition Action Plan, launched in October 2012, which consists of new measures to cut red tape, enhancements to the Department's delivery of services, new opportunities for Veterans beginning post-military careers, ground-breaking research into the real-life experiences and needs of releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and building cultural awareness.
As Veterans Affairs Canada continues to cut red tape, more improvements will be introduced.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested almost $4.7 billion in new funding to enhance Veterans benefits, programs and services.
Veterans Affairs Canada's support and services offer the right care at the right time to achieve the best results for Veterans and their families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs