Government strengthens benefits for reservists
Tom Lukiwski, MP for Regina – Lumsden – Lake Centre, welcomed the announcement by the Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, that part-time Reserve Force Veterans will have the support they deserve, honouring a pledge made by the Government of Canada.
This announcement focused on the Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Earnings Loss (EL) Benefit, which provides income support for Veterans with service-related injuries while they are participating in VAC’s Rehabilitation Program or who are unable to be suitably employed.
Currently, part-time Reserve Force Veterans in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit are eligible for an annual EL Benefit of $24,300. Through changes aimed at ensuring respect for reservists, beginning in April 2015, all Veterans of the Reserve Force eligible for the EL Benefit will be ensured a minimum annual income of $42,426, which is the current EL Benefit of a basic corporal in the Regular Force. This is a big step forward for those who need it the most, and responds to concerns raised by the Veterans Ombudsman and the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs regarding fair treatment of Canada’s reservists.
Survivors of part-time Reserve Force Veterans who lose their lives as a result of service will also benefit from this change.
• The EL Benefit is a taxable monthly benefit that ensures Veterans’ total income will be at least 75% of their pre-release military salary while they are participating in rehabilitation or unable to be suitably employed.
“We are recognizing the critical role played by the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves. Reservists served with distinction in Afghanistan and when they deploy, they share the same risks in duty that Regular Force members do. Canadians respect the commitment to juggle civilian employment and military service and today, we are ensuring reservists injured in the service to Canada are treated fairly. Our Government will extend the Earnings Loss Benefit to our Reserve Force Veterans to help the Veterans and their families recover from their injury and make a successful transition to civilian life.”
Tom Lukiwski, MP