"The pension for life plan offers key components that may provide improved income support and stability to our injured Veterans", says Dominion Command President David Flannigan. "However without full details of the plan implementation we need to wait and see how this progresses," he says.
The Royal Canadian Legion's work revolves around helping and advocating for our Veterans. Our initial assessment of the plan is based on years of experience in helping Canada's Veterans obtain the service and supports they need – and fully understanding what those needs are.
While we know the plan will not please all Veterans, we are particularly encouraged by the following aspects:
the commitment to provide a robust communications plan so that each Veteran and their family will be fully briefed on what the changes mean to them individually;
the effort to streamline income support programs into a single financial benefit;
the commitment to simplification of the system and its processes when it comes to accessing supports;
the focus on lifetime financial security for the most seriously ill and injured Veterans and basing it on the degree of need; and the consideration of the needs of the Veteran's family.
The content of the plan is promising but we believe there are still areas of needed improvement, including achieving parity with the Pension Act and definitive financial support for families. Since the plan implementation is expected in 2019, we are hopeful there will be a chance to discuss details further and tweak as necessary before then.
The Royal Canadian Legion was part of a policy advisory group that provided input to Veterans Affairs Canada while they were developing their new plan. The latter plan grew out of the New Veterans Charter of 2006 which we supported based on our understanding of ongoing and continual revisions. However, we did not directly help develop this newly-released plan and we operate independently from government.
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.