To help ease the stigma that many may feel about starting a disability claim, and to make sure that every veteran gets the help they need, we will give our veterans up to $3,000 in free counselling services before a disability claim is required.
This will give veterans in need of help nearly six months of free support, provided directly by VAC or one if its service partners, and will help as many as 20,000 veterans each year.
And to simplify and shorten the process, we will move forward with automatic approval for the most common disability applications, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and arthritis, among others.
To address veterans’ homelessness, we will move forward with building new, purpose-built accessible and affordable housing units, with a full range of health, social, and employment supports for veterans who need extra help. We will support this work with an additional investment of $15 million a year.
To help family members more easily adjust to their new homes, we will move forward with a national employment and training support service. This service will provide career counselling, job matching, and other employment help tailored to the unique needs of military and policing families. We will also give families a tax-free $2,500 benefit every time they relocate, to help with retraining, recertification, and other costs of finding new work.
Enshrine, in legislation, a Military Covenant between the Government of Canada and all Canada’s Veterans. This will guarantee that every Veteran is treated with respect and is provided services in a timely manner.
Clear the current backlog of Veterans’ benefit applications within 24 months.
Create a reliable, dependable pension system that, unlike the Liberal status quo, is fair to Canada’s most disabled Veterans.
Strengthen transition services to support discharged or retired Canadian Armed Forces members.
Strike an independent inquiry to provide answers about Canadian Armed Forces members who were administered mefloquine.
Provide more service dogs to Canadian Veterans in their communities.
Put vital commemoration projects, like the National Memorial for Canada’s War in Afghanistan, back on track.
A New Democrat government will honour the special bond of mutual obligation between Canadians and veterans, and deliver the services that veterans need and deserve. As part of this process, we will launch a full review of benefits and work with veterans to determine the best way to provide fair benefits to all veterans, including tackling the issue of equal access to lifetime pensions.
Veterans shouldn’t have to wait weeks or even months to receive the services they need. We’ll get rid of backlogs and step up high-quality, personalized service delivery by providing one caseworker for every twenty-five veterans and improving services that are delivered by phone and online.
There’s also much more that we can do to ease the transition from service for veterans. A New Democrat government will give Canadian Forces members access to care and support before the transition and make sure that their benefits are in place before they are released from service.
To give more veterans access to post-secondary education and training that works for them, we will expand the education benefit to more people. We will also help support veterans and their families by reviewing the caregiver allowance and making it available to more people.
New Democrats will work with partners in community services and the veterans community to end veteran homelessness for good – because one veteran on the streets is one too many.
And to ensure that taxpayer money earmarked for veterans care actually gets spent on it, we will automatically carry forward all annual lapsed spending in Veterans Affairs to improve services. There should never be an incentive for any government to save money on the backs of veterans.
Provide support for all veterans including disabled veterans that allows them to live in dignity. Ensure that services to veterans and their family members are fully integrated and funded.
Launch a national re-examination of veterans’ issues in December 2019 based on good-faith engagement with military families and veterans, including issues relating to pensions and benefits. The goal is to identify necessary reforms and changes to programs to better meet veterans’ needs.
In the meantime, restore periodic payments to veterans at pre-2006 levels.
Repeal the section of the Superannuation Act the denies pensions to surviving spouses of certain workers, including RCMP and veterans, who married after 60.
Work with veterans’ organizations to review and update the Veterans Charter and the processes, structure and mandate of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to ensure all veterans are treated fairly and with respect.
Ensure that all veterans have access to health care, mental health support and treatments. Military personnel with PTSD must be treated as highly valued people whose health needs to be restored, rather than as liabilities who need to be removed.