OTTAWA, Dec. 4, 2017 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today regarding a ruling by the British Columbia Court of Appeal:
"Today, the British Columbia Court of Appeal struck the Plaintiffs' statement of claim in the case Scott et al. v. Attorney General of Canada. The Court agreed that the statement of claim does not contain a reasonable cause of action.
"Over the past two years, we have made good progress in addressing some very legitimate concerns, including financial security and other supports for Veterans and their families. Budget 2016 and Budget 2017 both dealt head on with some of those concerns. Veterans Affairs Canada will continue its work to strengthen the support available to Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families by restoring critical access to services and providing the support necessary for financial independence.
"Previous governments have created a patchwork of policies and benefits that made it more complicated for Veterans to get the support they need, when they need it. We are changing that.
"We remain committed to a lifelong benefit option for ill and injured Veterans and we will finalize a benefit for life option for pension program for ill and injured Veterans soon.
"We need to deliver the right option for a lifelong benefit for ill and injured Veterans. Over the past eighteen months, across 3 major summits, advisory group meetings and conversation with Veterans we have been reviewing our current benefits and programs and consulting Veterans and other stakeholders to ensure that the new benefit meets the needs of Veterans. We will finalize this lifelong benefit option before the end of the year.
"Budget 2016 made strong investments in Veterans financial security by increasing the Disability Award to a maximum of $360,000 and increased the Earning's Loss Benefit to 90% of a Veteran's pre-release salary, among other measures. Budget 2017 invested in 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 civilian lives.
"These men and women deserve our greatest recognition and respect for their service. Veterans Affairs Canada maintains an open-door policy for communication and collaboration on their issues and priorities.
"I have acknowledged, as has the Prime Minister, the Government's obligation to honour the significant contributions that Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members have made, and continue to make, in protecting Canadians and their peace and security, at home and around the world.
"I pledge that work will carry on and that our Government will continue to offer Veterans and their families the care, compassion, and respect they deserve.
"I look forward to continuing this important conversation in the coming months, so that together we can build on the good work we have started. In particular, I will be seeking advice from Veterans and their families, as well as from those who support them, to help identify gaps in our services and find the best way to address these challenges."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Alex Wellstead, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649