OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2018 /CNW/ - The Royal Canadian Legion is encouraged by the commitments in this year's federal budget in areas of importance to Veterans and their families.
"The investments outlined are a step in the right direction," says Dominion President, David Flannigan. "That said, the Legion is disappointed to once again see no focused investment in national defence in terms of our military and their equipment."
The positive financial support in areas of importance to our Veterans and to the Legion include:
Tax credit for service dogs. The Legion has advocated for the expansion of the Medical Expense Tax Credit to recognize the cost of Psychiatric Service Dogs. We are pleased to see the Government has now implemented this credit, which will be of direct benefit to those Veterans and others living with disabilities and who rely upon a service dog.
Healthy seniors Pilot Project in New Brunswick. The Legion has previously advised on this issue, and that we need to be ready for the challenges faced by aging seniors, including those of our Veterans. We commend the investment in a pilot project that will look at how governments can better support seniors in their home, communities and care facilities. We are hopeful that over time, aging Veterans will receive the support they need to remain at home.
Investment in cannabis research in Canada. We have been staunch advocates of this type of research, and we support the funding of research into the impact of cannabis use on the mental health of Canadians. Figuring out whether and how this can be a viable treatment for Veterans living with specific health conditions must be part of this research.
Increased research dollars in Science and Technology. We are hopeful some of this funding will go towards needed research into the effects of the past use of the anti-malarial drug mefloquine, in the armed forces – something for which we have been advocating for years.
Funding for family crisis teams in the Canadian Armed Forces. We believe increased funding in this area is an important investment and will provide crucial support to members and families affected by violence.
Commitment to help with the mental health of RCMP. We also advocate on behalf of our RCMP Veterans and commend the commitment to supporting their mental health needs.
Honouring our Veterans by maintaining graves and grave markers. Many Legion Branches across the country play a big role in this area. The announcement of funding over five years for the cleaning, restoring or replacing of headstones and fixing foundation issues, is the kind of investment the Legion has been advocating for, and is to be applauded.
"While we welcome several parts of the budget, we're still waiting for more detail on the financial implementation of the newly-released Pension for Life Plan for Veterans," says Flannigan.
In the wake of the federal government's new Pension for Life plan announced late last year, many Veterans are still unsure of what benefits they will actually receive and when, and what sort of support their families will see.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada's largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With more than 275,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.