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  • Battle of Passchendaele (N/A, Ontario ) - November 10, 2021 November 10, 2021
    Canadians have a proud history of bravely serving in the cause of peace and freedom over the years. A name from Canada's First World War military heritage that still stirs emotions is “Passchendaele.” On a muddy battlefield in northwest Belgium, Canadians overcame almost unimaginable hardships to win an impressive victory in the fall of 1917. […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Battle of the Scheldt (N/A, Ontario ) - October 2, 2021 October 2, 2021
    The Battle of the Scheldt was a military operation in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands that took place during the Second World War. On September 12, 1944, the First Canadian Army was given the task of clearing the Scheldt of German occupiers. The first attacks began on September 13, with little success. Click here to […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Dieppe Raid (N/A, Ontario ) - August 19, 2021 August 19, 2021
    The Raid on Dieppe, France, on August 19, 1942, was a pivotal moment in the Second World War. With virtually all of continental Europe under German occupation, the Allied forces faced a well-entrenched enemy. Some method had to be found to create a foothold on the continent, and the Raid on Dieppe offered invaluable lessons […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • The 76th Anniversary of end of war in the Pacific - Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association (Ottawa, Ontario ) - August 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
    The Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association will be hosting a commemorative ceremony on on August 15, 2021 at 0930am, to honour the Veterans of the Defense of Hong Kong and to mark the 76th year of Victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War.   The ceremony will be held at the Hong […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • VJ-Day / End of the Second World War (N/A, Ontario ) - August 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
    August 15, 1945 marked the end of the war in the Pacific and the end of the Second World War. Click here to discover more on the Second World War: Second World War - Veterans Affairs Canada
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Veteran's Appreciation Golf Tournament (Milton, Ontario ) - August 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
    Come and show your appreciation and support for our Veterans! All veterans will have the entire day compliments of Granite Ridge Golf Club and The Albatross Restaurant. Non Veteran Fee is $75 (includes dinner and golf)
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Battle of Hill 70 (N/A, Ontario ) - August 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
    Canadian soldiers saw heavy action in the First World War and the names of some of their major battles—like Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele—still resonate today in our country's collective memory. An important chapter in our wartime history that is less well remembered, however, came at Hill 70 in France where the Canadian Corps won an […]
    Government of Canada; Veterans Affairs Canada
July 27, 2021

Veterans News

Remember Everyone Deployed

Bill C-55, Veterans Ombudsman's Speaking Notes, House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs

4 min read


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Mr. Chairman

Committee Members,

Thank you for allowing me to say a few words today. I know that you have a very full agenda, so I will be brief.

I have followed with great interest the discussions in the House of Commons pertaining to Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and the Pension Act. As the Veterans Ombudsman, as a Veteran with 37 years of military service, and as the proud father of a son who has served in the Canadian Forces, I am grateful to all Members of Parliament for their commitment to do right by Veterans and still-serving members of the Canadian Forces.

The men and women who put on the uniform implicitly agree to risk their lives to defend our country and the values that we hold dear. In return, they have the right to expect from their government an integrated series of measures to support them throughout their career and beyond. This country has the moral obligation to provide the very best support to them, particularly when they sustain career-ending service-related injuries or illnesses, and to their families, who, in my opinion, do not get sufficient recognition for the sacrifices they make in support of their loved ones’ military careers.

There is broad, if not unanimous support among Parliamentarians, Veterans’ organizations and others for the spirit of the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, better known as the New Veterans Charter, in regard to its focus on wellness and transition to civilian life, compensation and its more holistic approach to the needs of Veterans and their families. The New Veterans Charter was seen when it came into force on April 1, 2006 and continues to be characterized as a significant improvement over the Pension Act.

Based on recent discussions on Bill C-55 in the House and elsewhere, I venture to say that this support for the spirit of the New Veterans Charter remains strong. However, there are also questions and concerns about the effectiveness of some of the programs and measures implemented under the Charter and there is certainly room for improvement.

Over the past five years, there have been consultations, and sustained efforts by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, the Senate Sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs, the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group and other advisory groups, Veterans organisations and the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, to identify shortcomings and improvements.

The New Veterans Charter is complex. Because it was difficult to anticipate in advance its shortcomings or unintended consequences, the Government made a commitment to continuously review its programs and services and to amend the legislation, if necessary, to address emerging needs or unanticipated consequences. In this way, the New Veterans Charter was intended to be a ‘living charter’, and I believe that the principle of a ‘living charter’ is as important as ‘the spirit of the charter’ itself. However, it has taken five years for this principle to become reality.

On November 17, 2010, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs, introduced Bill C-55 in the House of Commons, which is now before this Committee for review. I urge you to return it to the House for third reading as quickly as possible. Some may view Bill C-55 as modest in scope because it does not address all the shortcomings of the Charter, but it is a very important step in setting the precedent to make the Charter a truly ‘living’ document, as envisioned by you and your fellow Parliamentarians five years ago.

Bill C-55 may not be as comprehensive as some would like, but by passing Bill C-55, you will immediately affect the lives of the most seriously disabled Veterans receiving disability benefits under both Acts who could not receive the Permanent Impairment Allowance or the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance because of a technical flaw in the Charter. This change, combined with the introduction of a monthly $1,000 supplement for permanently and severely injured Veterans, represents significant improvements.

There is, of course, much debate about the disability award and whether or not the payment options provided under Bill C-55 go far enough to address the concerns around the lump sum payment. They don’t, but it is important to remember that Bill C-55 is the first opportunity to make changes to the New Veterans Charter; it is not, nor should it be your last opportunity.

The discussion about improvements to the disability award and financial benefits is an extremely important one and it must continue. The issues raised are complex and, in order to make informed decisions, cannot be reduced to a comparison of the disability award and the disability pension in isolation of the Charter’s other programs and benefits.It may be that the next series of amendments to the New Veterans Charter will address improvements to the Charter’s dual compensation approach. That would certainly be consistent with the principle of the Charter as a ‘living’ document.

Bill C-55 is a small but important step in making the Charter a ‘living’ document, and bringing about changes to the legislation to better address the needs of Canada’s Veterans and their families. It should be considered as the beginning of the promised ongoing renewal process that is needed to afford Veterans the care that they deserve. Other steps must follow, and soon. Waiting another five years to bring about further improvements to the New Veterans Charter would be unacceptable.

Thank you.

SCVA – ReportBill C-55, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and the Pension Act.



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