ANAVETS Shoulder to Shoulder

July 2017

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Page 6 of 33

6 SHOULDER TO SHOULDER MESSAGES FROM THE ANAVETS' DOMINION Vice-Presidents ADVOCACY COMMITTEE REPORT Comrades, As the increase to the disability award and the changes to the career impact allowance that were promised in the 2016 budget have just been implemented at the start of April, budget 2017 has also promised changes and new programs that have implementation dates of April 1st 2018. The new education and training benefit will see up to $40,000 for 4 years of education after service for those who complete at least 6 years of service and up to 80,000 for those serving over 12 years. The time limit for use will be 10 years post release or 10 years post benefit introduction for those who have released on or after April 1st, 2006. This is a taxable benefit and for those only interested in a certification program or professional development they will be able to access up to 5,000 to offset those costs. Also introduced were enhanced career transition services including job placement assistance which will be available to reservists as well and regulars force veterans, spouses and survivors. The government has promised to increase the money given to caregivers by replacing the family caregiver relief benefit which was a non-taxable grant of 7,427.41 with a new $1,000.00/month tax free benefit paid directly to the caregiver. Also promised in the budget is a Centre of Excellence on mental health and PTSD which will have a residential care component along with a research arm striving for innovation in treatment research and getting health care practitioners the tools for effective treatments. They also announced the expansion of the Military family resource centre (MFRC) pilot project to all 32 locations across Canada allowing Veterans and their families that have been medically released to still access the programs of those centres. They will institute a Veterans Emergency Fund for emergency shelter, food and medication for case managers to access for Veterans in crisis as well as a Veteran and family well-being fund where individuals/groups or organizations can propose research or innovation programs to help with Veteran and family well-being. The government announced that they will remove the one year time limit for surviving spouses to access the rehabilitation program and have pledged to work on a convergence action plan to ensure the smooth transition of Veterans out of the military. Of course the elephant in the room is the promised return of pensions for life. Although promised to be worked out within the year, it was glaringly missing from this budget. We hope that they are able to communicate their vision on how this will be implemented as we have found with the recent implementation of the two 2016 budget items, the disability award retroactive increase and the changes to the Career Impact Allowance, communication was not their strong suit, leaving many Veterans unaware that there would be CPI clawbacks to their pension increases and we have serious concerns if the CIA changes will be adequate to help Veterans in need. We will however continue to press the government on these items and try to ensure that there are the right benefits in place when we need them. We have always tried to advocate the government for better services and benefits for our Veterans and their families. Sometime the fights were long but perseverance by ours and other Veterans associations were able to bring about movement and recognition. This is due to the membership of our Association always keeping abreast of the needs of our Veterans, by supporting them, listening to their issues and trying to do everything in our power to ensure that they and their families are well cared for. As generations pass us by, let us always remember the work of the generation before and ensure that the legacy that was passed down to us through this great Association is passed onto the next generation and the ones to follow. Yours in comradeship, Jerome Burke, ANAVETS Dominion Command Vice President

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