CLIQUEZ ici! / CLICK Here!
Latest News


Updated: 
08 Jul 2020

 

Return to News Index

 


  
  Learn how to connect with VAC from home | Apprenez comment communiquer avec ACC de chez vous

VVi 08 Jul 2020

(Le français suit)


We are offering online information sessions about My VAC Account. The focus of these sessions will be on ways to connect with VAC from your home; applying for benefits or services; setting up direct deposit; and showing you all the resources available in My VAC Account. Plus there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Please share with anyone who may be interested and the details are below:

Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 from 5-7 pm EDT (English session)
https://gts-ee.webex.com/gts-ee/k2/j.php?MTID=t7aa7b896ee96301185096d1dd9389a0d

Thursday, 23 July 2020 from 5-7 pm EDT (French session)
https://gts-ee.webex.com/gts-ee/k2/j.php?MTID=tfe569cf2c7161b3b6ec69022228230ea

Who: Sessions are open to all

What: My VAC Account is a secure, authenticated web application that allows Veterans, CAF and RCMP members to access VAC services from anywhere, and at any time. Family members who are receiving benefits directly from VAC can also sign up for My VAC Account.

How: To register for the online webinar session:
1. Open the link
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Click “Register”.
4. A confirmation email will be sent to you with a link to join the session when it starts. A reminder email will be automatically sent with the link prior to the date of the session.
Note: If you are joining with a smartphone or tablet you will need to download the WebEx application.

If you need help joining the Webinar:

On the left navigation bar of the WebEx home page, click "Support"
OR
Call 1-800-226-6338 or 613-941-9554

Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested in joining. If you have any questions, please send them to the My VAC Account team at vac.myvacaccount-mondossieracc.acc.@canada.ca.

Sincerely,

Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Team
Veterans Affairs Canada
vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca




Anciens Combattants Canada offrira des séances d’information en ligne sur Mon dossier ACC. Les séances porteront sur les méthodes de communication avec ACC de chez vous, la façon de soumettre des demandes de prestations ou de services, et les ressources que l’on peut trouver dans Mon dossier ACC. Vous aurez également la possibilité de poser des questions.
Veuillez transmettre ce message à toute personne qui pourrait vouloir y participer.

Voici les détails des séances :
Quand : Le mercredi 22 juillet 2020, de 17 h à 19 h HAE (en anglais)
https://gts-ee.webex.com/gts-ee/k2/j.php?MTID=t7aa7b896ee96301185096d1dd9389a0d

Le jeudi 23 juillet 2020, de 17 h à 19 h HAE (en français)
https://gts-ee.webex.com/gts-ee/k2/j.php?MTID=tfe569cf2c7161b3b6ec69022228230ea

Qui : Les séances sont ouvertes à tous.

Quoi : Mon dossier ACC est une application Web authentifiée et sécuritaire qui permet aux vétérans, ainsi qu’aux membres des FAC et de la GRC d’accéder aux services d’ACC à tout moment et de n’importe quel endroit. Les membres de la famille qui reçoivent des avantages directement d’ACC peuvent également s’inscrire à Mon dossier ACC.

Comment : Pour vous inscrire à la séance en ligne :
1. Cliquez sur le lien
2. Entrez votre nom et votre adresse de courriel.
1. Cliquez pour vous joindre à la séance (Register).
2. Un courriel de confirmation vous sera envoyé vous donnant le lien à suivre pour joindre la séance lorsqu’elle commencera. Un courriel de rappel comprenant le lien vous sera envoyé automatiquement avant la date de la séance.
Remarque : Si vous participez à la séance sur un téléphone intelligent ou une tablette, vous devrez télécharger l’application WebEx.

Si vous avez besoin d’aide pour joindre la séance :

Cliquez sur « Soutien » à gauche de la barre de navigation de WebEx;
OU
Composez le 1‑800‑226‑6338 ou le 613‑941‑9554.

N’hésitez pas à transmettre le présent message à toute personne qui souhaiterait assister à la séance. Si vous avez des questions, veuillez les poser à l’équipe de Mon dossier ACC par courriel à l’adresse suivante : vac.myvacaccount-mondossieracc.acc.@canada.ca.

Cordialement,

L’équipe de Mobilisation et sensibilisation des intervenants
Anciens Combattants Canada
vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca
Page top
Passing of John Labelle

01 Jul 2020

Just found out today, that back in Dec we lost a good man, John Labelle.

John was the lead advocate on reversing the CFSA Clawback. He advocated to his very last day.
Personally, I will miss working with this dedicated veteran. I will miss his friendship.

RIP, John.
https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/halifax-ns/john-labelle-8949238

CJ
Major (Retired) CJ Wallace CD, BA, BAS, plsc
Page top
Link to Departmental plan to address wait times / Lien vers le plan ministériel visant à réguler les temps d’attente
07:36 02-Jul-20


(Le français suit)

VVi 30 Jun 2020

Dear Stakeholders and Advisory Group members,

As you have heard me say before, tackling the backlog is my top priority. With that in mind, I am pleased to share with you the Department’s plan to address wait times: Timely Disability Benefit Decisions: Strategic Direction for Improving Wait Times. This plan focuses on the tactics and initiatives in progress to improve wait times for Veterans applying for Disability Benefits.

I wanted to share this response directly with you, our stakeholders and advisory group members, so you can see exactly how we plan to address this issue, including the concrete steps we will be taking in the coming months.

There is no one single initiative that will reduce wait times. This is why our plan includes hiring, digital solutions, innovation, all in an integrated approach. In the plan you will see details on initiatives like our Veterans Benefit Teams—integrated teams that will serve as one-stop-shops for all applications, reducing the potential wait time at each step of the process.

We encourage you to read the full plan and share it on your social media channels.
Your support in helping us inform the Veterans community and your advocacy on their part is much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs and
Associate Minister of National Defence

************************************************************************
Chers intervenants et membres des groupes consultatifs,

Comme je l’ai déjà dit, la prise en charge de l’arriéré est ma priorité absolue. Dans cette optique, je suis heureux de vous communiquer la réponse récente du Ministère au rapport du Comité permanent des anciens combattants au sujet de la façon dont nous réduirons les temps d’attente : Prise de décisions en temps opportun relatives aux prestations d’invalidité – Orientation stratégique pour améliorer les temps d’attente. Ce plan est axé sur les tactiques et les initiatives en cours visant à améliorer les temps d’attente pour les vétérans qui présentent une demande de prestations d’invalidité.

Je tenais à transmettre cette réponse directement à vous, à nos intervenants et aux membres des groupes consultatifs, y compris les mesures concrètes que nous prendrons au cours des prochains mois, afin que vous puissiez voir exactement comment nous planifions régler ce problème.

Une initiative unique ne suffirait pas pour réduire les temps d’attente. C’est pourquoi notre plan comprend l’embauche, les solutions numériques et l’innovation, selon une approche intégrée. Le plan contient les renseignements sur les initiatives comme nos équipes intégrées responsables des prestations aux vétérans qui serviront de guichets uniques pour toutes les demandes, ce qui réduira le temps d’attente possible à chaque étape du processus.

Nous vous encourageons à lire la réponse complète et à la partager sur vos réseaux de médias sociaux.

Je vous remercie de nous aider à informer la communauté des vétérans et votre groupe consultatif.

Cordialement,

Lawrence MacAulay
Ministre des Anciens Combattants et
ministre associé de la Défense nationale
Page top
VVi Website

VVi 25 Jun 2020

This website, www.veteranvoice.info is now available on all devices, including smart phones, and all OSs.

If you note any problems, contact webmaster@veteranvoice.info .

 
Page top
Twice-forgotten soldier sues Veterans Affairs over 'abandoned' case file

Critics say Charles Scott's case describes an overwhelmed VAC unable to keep up with veterans' pleas for help


Murray Brewster · CBC News ·
Posted: Jun 23, 2020 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: June 23

VVi 25 Jun 2020db
 

Former master corporal Charles Scott in Kabul in 2004. 'I missed out on a lot, just like a lot of other Canadians.' (Contributed)

When former master corporal Charles Scott left the army in 2008, a note was scribbled in his Veterans Affairs file warning that he faced a significant risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

The warning was never followed up on by the department; no one ever contacted him about it and no one ever arranged for treatment. Scott himself didn't know about the assessment until more than a decade later, after he applied under privacy law to see his file — and several years after he had sought treatment for PTSD on his own.

It wouldn't be the last time the former combat soldier and army intelligence operative, who served with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Bosnia and Afghanistan, fell through the cracks of the bureaucracy.

Scott launched a lawsuit in Federal Court last month accusing Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) of negligence and of violating federal law (the Veterans Well-being Act) in its handling of his file.

"It gives me no pleasure to sue Canada, a country that I joined to serve for benefits that impact me and my very young family," Scott, 45, told CBC News.

Scott said that his Veterans Affairs case manager stopped returning his calls and emails in the winter of 2019, just as the Liberal government was preparing to launch its long-awaited pension-for-life plan for Canada's former soldiers.

Buried and forgotten

What Scott didn't know at the time — and what it took an access-to-information request filed by him with the federal government to fully explain — is that his case manager had been gone from the department since early 2019. Scott's file, and possibly those of others, lay buried and forgotten in the Edmonton VAC office — and no one noticed until Scott called the veterans' crisis line in late April 2019.

"My file was abandoned and not handed over," he said. "The veteran team service manager in Edmonton did not hand over my file to another case manager."

As a result, Scott said, he missed his chance to lock in the supplementary career replacement benefits which had been a feature of Veterans Affairs' old benefits system before being phased out with the introduction of the current Liberal government's revised system.

He was forced to join the new system of benefits — a system that, prior to its introduction on April 1, 2019, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said was less generous than the old system to the most severely disabled veterans.

Scott's statement of claim doesn't cite a sum at this point, but he estimates the federal government's error has cost him as much as $1,000 per month.


Former master corporal Charles Scott in 2019. (Contributed)

Scott, who worked for several years as a federal occupational health and safety inspector before PTSD overwhelmed his life, said he did not want to sue the federal government but was left with no alternative.

"I have made every attempt to contact the minister of Veterans Affairs. I have made every attempt to contact members of Parliament without success," he said.

'It's not fair'

Critics tracking the veterans file — like NDP MP Rachel Blaney — say Scott's experience fits with what they've heard from other veterans, and describes an overtaxed Veterans Affairs bureaucracy that can't keep up with veterans' pleas for help.

"It's absolutely unacceptable," said Blaney. "We have heard from folks working at VAC they have a lot of concerns about this very thing happening and that they're under-resourced in terms of staffing to deal with these issues.

"It's not fair that our veterans are the ones paying for the consequence of that."

It's also a perfect illustration of what the Liberal government was warned about when it implemented the overhaul of veterans benefits, Blaney said, adding the government should have "listened more closely to the people who are analyzing the system."

The Liberal government under Paul Martin proposed in 2005 to replace the decades-old system of veterans benefits under the Pension Act with a new system called the New Veterans Charter.

The subsequent Conservative government under Stephen Harper adopted the charter, then tweaked it in response to protests from veterans. The campaigning Liberals promised in 2015 to restore to veterans a choice between a pension for life and a lump-sum payment as compensation for service-related injuries.

But before the Liberal plan could be implemented, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux wrote a report warning that while the plan would be slightly more generous than the system it replaced, it still would leave many in worse financial shape they would have been under the old pre-Veterans Charter system.

"From the perspective of the veteran, virtually all clients would be better off if they received the benefits of the (pre-2006) Pension Act," Giroux's report says.

'I missed out on a lot'

Scott is bitter.

"All of my occupational injuries and illnesses are pre-2006," he said. "I missed out on the Pension Act. I missed out on those financial services. I missed out on a lot, just like a lot of other Canadians."

VAC spokespeople won't speak to the particulars of Scott's case, citing privacy protections. They also haven't explained why Scott's file was allowed to languish, or say how many other soldiers might be affected by forgotten files.

VAC spokesperson Marc Lescoutre told CBC News in an email that, normally, the department "proactively" reassigns files as required — when a case manager is set to retire soon, for example.

When a case manager leaves unexpectedly, or calls in sick, the on-duty case manager is supposed to take over the manager's files.

The Forgotten: Afghan-Canadian combat advisers seek help and recognition

As for the problems with the department's services for veterans and the pension plan, another VAC spokesperson, John Embury, issued a statement noting that the "Pension for Life" program represented a $3.6 billion federal investment, and citing the government's promise to review how the "Pension for Life" plan is being administered.

"As directed by both the prime minister and the minister of Veterans Affairs, VAC is thoroughly reviewing the implementation of Pension for Life, and may recommend changes, where needed, to improve the outcomes and experiences of veterans and their families," said the statement.

See more...
Page top
Federal government tosses dozens of claims from vets who died without survivors

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Published Saturday, May 16, 2020 8:41AM EDT Last Updated Saturday, May 16, 2020 9:04AM EDT

VVi 25 May 2020 db

veterans
A sign is placed on a truck windshield as members of the advocacy group Banished Veterans protest outside the Veterans Affairs office in Halifax on Thursday, June 16, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

It wasn't the phone call Robert Nordlund's family had been expecting but one that dozens of other families across the country receive each year: Veterans Affairs Canada was tossing the deceased Mountie's application for disability benefits because he didn't have a surviving spouse or dependant child.

That was despite the fact that his application had sat in a backlog for two years, during which time both he and his wife died.

Nordlund had spent 36 years in uniform before retiring about nine years ago as a sergeant in the RCMP. A former rugby player for Team Canada in the 1970s, he was a tough, quiet Mountie who had loved nothing more than being in his cruiser patrolling the roads of British Columbia.

Following his retirement, however, Nordlund had started to experience mood swings and depression. There was also growing hip pain, which doctors later traced to either one of the two car accidents he'd had as a Mountie or from sitting in his car for years with a holstered gun.

"He was not sort of the type to make (disability) claims," Scott Nordlund recalls of his father. "He was kind of a tough old guy. So we always thought his hip was hurting but it got really evident about five years ago and he was like: 'Oh, it's fine. Don't worry about it."'

Nordlund did eventually submit a claim to Veterans Affairs Canada for assistance and compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder, which was approved. Then, more than two years ago, he submitted a claim for the hip.

And then he waited. And waited.

When Nordlund died of lung cancer in November at the age of 72, his application was still waiting to be assessed by Veterans Affairs. Initially, his family was told that it would continue to be processed. But then came the call on April 21: the claim was being tossed out.

"When my sister got the phone call, she said: 'I guess they were just waiting for him to die off before they put the claim through,"' Scott Nordlund says. "It's a unique situation obviously, but at the same time, you just have to wonder."

Veterans Affairs would not comment on Nordlund's specific case, citing privacy laws.

However, it confirmed that 95 applications for disability benefits were withdrawn in the last fiscal year with similar circumstances to Nordlund's claim: the military veteran or retired RCMP officer had died without an eligible surviving spouse or dependant child.

"If a veteran or RCMP member with an eligible survivor or dependant applied before their death, the application would continue and a decision would be rendered," Veterans Affairs spokesman Marc Lescoutre said in an email.

"If the applicant dies before a decision is made and there is no eligible survivor or dependant, the estate is not entitled to be paid and VAC stops processing the application."

The rule, which Lescoutre said is contained in legislation, applies even if the application has been sitting in the queue for longer than 16 weeks, which is the standard by which Veterans Affairs is supposed to complete 80 per cent of all applications.

Forty-one of the 95 applications that were withdrawn last year had been waiting more than 16 weeks to be processed. The department had a total backlog of 44,000 applications for disability benefits at the end of September, a number that has continued to increase every year.

Scott Nordlund questions why claims that have been waiting years to be processed are treated the same as those only recently submitted.

"Obviously it makes sense if the person is on their death bed and they decide to put a claim in at the last second," he says. "But not if the person has been sitting in the queue for X number of years, right?

"When my dad put the claim in, he had stage 1 cancer. So between the claim and his death obviously from cancer, you had a full cancer illness that went through its entire course before they even touched (the application) and it was still in the queue. So it's like, 'Come on, give me a break."'

The fact that his mother Elizabeth Nordlund was alive when his father initially applied for compensation for his bad hip also raises questions and concerns. She died of cancer in July.

"So if she was still alive and had held on, they still would have processed that claim," says Scott Nordlund. "So it's seems a little bit arbitrary."

Lescoutre said when the department learns a veteran is facing medical risks, their claim can be fast-tracked.

Scott Nordlund, who can appreciate the difficult task Veterans Affairs staff face in assessing claims, says his family did not expect much money from his father's claim for a bad hip. Perhaps enough to help with the funeral costs. But at this point, it's a matter of principle.

"Our situation is a little bit easier where it wasn't going to be probably a significant amount of money," he says. "I feel more bad for a situation where the person dies suddenly and their kids just turned 18 and entered university and are no longer a dependant."

See more...
Page top
Letter - Canvassing Other Veterans

VVi 14 May 2020

To the Canadian Veteran community,

Hello, my name is Charles Scott. I served Canada for eleven years as an infantryman with 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and also as an army intelligence operator. I deployed operationally to the Former Yugoslavia (Bosnia) and Afghanistan. I reside in Edmonton, Alberta with my wife and young family (2, 6 & 11 yrs old).

The reason for my public post is to canvass other veterans about the recent Veterans Ombudsman report “ Financial Compensation for Canadian Veterans, a comparative analysis of benefits regimes”. In this report, the Veterans Ombudsman identifies the inequality of receiving a Diminished Earning Capacity (DEC) prior to April 1, 2019 when Pension for Life rolled out (PFL). The removal of the Career Impact Allowance (CIA) and Career Impact Allowance Supplement (CIA-Sup) affects the most injured veterans. Perhaps surprisingly to some, I fall into that statistic. I am also a veteran who has injury claims under all three of the veteran legislations (pension Act, Veterans Well-Being Act (NVC) and Pension for Life).

I fall into the category of veterans who are entitled to receive the Career Impact Allowance (CIA-Sup), however, my case manager mismanaged my Veterans Affairs Canada file AND terminated employment in the weeks before April 1, 2019 when Pension for Life was implimented. It was not until April 24, 2019 that I was informed my case manager had left Veterans Affairs and my file and all applications were abandoned (during a legislation change).

Despite being assigned a new case manager who worked tirelessly on my file, we were forced to resubmit a new Diminished Earning Capacity referral with Career Impact Allowance Supplement under the new legislation. Since then, I have been engaged in appeal after appeal with VAC to correct the wrongdoings. I am currently being denied access to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) as they do not have jurisdiction over DEC and CIA benefits.

My complaint is registered with the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman and I await their analysis. Due to time constraints, my only avenues of approach are to give up or take the matter to court.

I have obtained 2300 pages of Access to Information and Privacy Act documents identifying numerous errors. Internal Veterans Affairs Canada emails identify management personnel who knew of the wrongdoings and placed the onus on myself to plead my case. Despite the evidence provided in my appeals, Veterans Affairs Canada continues to gaslight my concerns and there is no other internal recourses available.

I have exhausted all means to resolve these matters with Veterans Affairs Canada with no success. Veterans Affairs Canada is failing to meet my needs as an injured/ill veteran.

What I am requesting from the Canadian veteran community is to canvass folks who may have had to fight for lost CIA Sup benefits before the change to PFL? There is an internal Veterans Affairs Canada email that was sent from mid-management to all Veteran Service Teams across Canada (Case Managers) days before April 1, 2019. This email directed case managers to provide Diminished Earning Capacity decisions to veterans who were; close to requiring one, were forecasted to need one in the future and waived criteria such as being on the Rehab Program as some examples. They did this to secure the soon to be removed CIA and CIA-Sup. I am looking for a copy of this email without having to wait for Access to Information.

The current situation; I am consulting with my legal counsel on how to proceed. We have two weeks left to file a statement of claim in court. My member of parliament is making a last attempt to reason with the Minister of Veterans Affairs. If you are able to assist me obtain the March 2019 email or have fought this battle with Veterans Affairs Canada, please reach out to me, we are not alone.

Thank you for sharing in my vulnerability.

Warm regards,

Charles Scott MCpl (Ret’d)
Edmonton, Alberta
 
Page top
Liberals defends $4M transfer from operating budget amid veterans' backlog fury

The Canadian Press

Publishing date: March 10, 2020 • 1 minute read


Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on January 27, 2020. Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is defending its choice to take more than $4 million from Veterans Affairs Canada’s operating budget at a time when the department is struggling with a backlog of tens of thousands of disability applications from injured ex-soldiers.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says the money moved went mainly to providing emergency assistance to at-risk veterans, including some who are homeless or in crisis situations.

But MacAulay, who was grilled over the transfer during a parliamentary committee appearance this morning, later sidestepped questions from The Canadian Press about why the government didn’t add more money from the federal treasury instead.

The department’s top civil servant, retired general Walter Natynczyk, told the committee the transfer did not negatively impact efforts to address the backlog of 44,000 applications, a number that has steadily grown for the past few years.

Conservative and NDP MPs were unimpressed with the government’s explanation, questioning why it took more resources from the department’s operating budget as the backlog continues to grow, instead adding more money to deal with the problem.

Opposition parties also called on the government to produce a detailed plan for eliminating the backlog, echoing a call from veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton last month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2020.

See more...
Page top
Veterans ombudsman calls it quits after 18 months


Lt.-Col. Craig Dalton, chief of staff for Task Force Kandahar, tells reporters in Kandahar, Afghanistan that Canada has given command of Kandahar city to the U.S., Thursday, July 15, 2010. Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton is calling it quits after only 18 months on the job.Bill Graveland / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian Press, Lee Berthiaume
May 11, 2020 2:48 PM EDT Last Updated May 11, 2020 4:35 PM EDT

VVi 14 May 2020

OTTAWA — Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton is calling it quits, leaving former service members without a key advocate at a time when many are worried about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their requests for assistance from the federal government.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced Dalton’s departure Monday, saying the former army colonel was beginning “a new chapter in his distinguished career.”

The announcement caught many within the veterans’ community and even some within the ombudsman’s office by surprise, as Dalton had spent only 18 months on the job.

It also raised questions about why Dalton, who previously served in Afghanistan and commanded Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, decided to leave.

The ombudsman’s office said Dalton, the third person to serve as veterans ombudsman since the office was created in 2007 and whose last day is Friday, was not available for an interview.

Dalton’s predecessors, retired colonel Pat Stogran and retired chief warrant officer Guy Parent, served as ombudsman for three and nine years, respectively. Dalton began his time in the role in November 2018.

While the office has helped some veterans access services and benefits, it has also been criticized for years for its lack of independence from government. The ombudsman reports to the minister of veterans affairs rather than Parliament.

There have also been concerns about the office’s narrow mandate, which largely focuses on reviewing individual cases in which veterans are denied benefits rather than studying and addressing systemic problems in the system.

Dalton echoed some of those sentiments in a February interview with The Canadian Press, in which he specifically took issue with the lack of independence within the office — and worried about the effect that has on its trust and credibility within the veterans’ community.

“Those that are recognized as being the most effective and being true ombuds offices are all independent in their structure,” he said.

“They have true independence. And that really matters when it comes to trust and even the perception of independence matters when it comes to trust.”

He also urged the federal government to conduct a review of the office’s mandate. He noted it had not been updated since the position was created, even though the intention at the time was to take a close look at it every five years.

Dalton’s decision to leave comes at an unusual time, given the federal government is currently consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Veterans Affairs Canada has been struggling to address a backlog of 44,000 applications for assistance from disabled veterans.
Many veterans and their advocates worry that backlog has only grown because of the pandemic.

Brian Forbes, chair of the National Council of Veterans’ Associations, which represents dozens of veterans’ organizaton across Canada, nevertheless urged the government to use Dalton’s departure as an opportunity to finally review the ombudsman’s mandate.

Dalton “was doing a pretty decent job,” Forbes said. “He was consulting well with the veterans’ community and stakeholders and put out some pretty decent reports. But the reality is the veterans ombudsman’s office doesn’t have sufficient independence.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.

See more...
Page top
Mental Health Week and update on Government of Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada Supports during COVID19 / Semaine de la santé mentale et mise à jour sur le soutien du gouvernement du Canada et d’Anciens Combattants Canada pendant COVID19

VAC

VVi 06 May 2020

(Le français suit)

Dear Stakeholder and Advisory Group members,

The Government of Canada (GOC) continues to support Canadians, at risk populations, businesses, non-profits and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In doing so, the GOC has introduced a range of financial relief programs to assist Canadians as well as non-profits and charity organizations impacted by this pandemic. Information on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is available here. However, we would like to highlight of the following benefits that may be applicable to you or your organization:

Emergency Community Support Fund: Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through these national partners or their local entities. Our partners and their networks are working as quickly as possible to set up application processes. Community organizations should check the websites of the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the new CEBAhas been implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75 %. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25 %, the property owner 25 %, while the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50 %.

Deferral of filing – non-profits: The Canada Revenue Agency website provides information on income tax filing and payment deadlines in response to COVID-19.

Deferral of filing – registered charities: Information specific to income tax filing as a registered charity is provided on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

In addition, during this exceptional time, employees at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are using the Veterans Emergency Fund to the full extent possible to support Veterans’ safety and well-being. The fund helps us react quickly to address urgent needs of Veterans and their families. Given the exceptional circumstances of this pandemic, VAC is being more flexible and permitting payments of up to $10,000. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about the Veterans Emergency Fund.

Mental Health

As part of Mental Health Week, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and I issued the following statement:
Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada mark Mental Health Week.

For more information on mental health services offered by VAC, please visit https://www.veterans.gc.ca/…/hea…/mental-health-and-wellness

A number of resources are listed below:

VAC Assistance Service (1-800-268-7708) is a free, 24/7 mental health resource that connects you to psychological support and counselling. You do not have to be receiving VAC benefits to use this service.

Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) is using alternative ways to continue to support those with an operational stress injury (OSI) and their families. For those finding these times particularly challenging or simply wanting to reach out and chat with a peer, you can call 1-800-883-6094 or email OSISS-SSBSO@forces.gc.ca

Providers may be offering alternate options, such as telehealth supports, for physiotherapy or other treatments. Always check with your health provider to see which treatment options are available to you and what may be covered. If you need assistance in finding local supports, please call us at 1-866-522-2122 or secure message us on My VAC Account.

Veteran Family Program - Military Family Resource Centres are offering services virtually. The Veteran Family Program is still available to medically releasing CAF members and medically released Veterans and their families to support them as they make the transition to post-service life.

The Veterans Affairs Canada website and social media channels continue to be updated with the latest information, and I encourage you to visit and to check back often.

Thank you for all the work you and your organization are doing to help Veterans during this difficult time.

Stay healthy and safe,

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
***************************************************************************
Chers membres de groupes consultatifs et d’intervenants,

Le gouvernement du Canada (CG) continue à soutenir les Canadiens, les populations à risque, les entreprises, les organismes sans but lucratif et d’autres pendant la pandémie de COVID-19. À cette fin, le GC a mis en place une série de programmes de soutien financier destinés à aider les Canadiens ainsi que les organismes sans but lucratif et de bienfaisance qui sont touchés par cette pandémie. Vous trouverez ici des renseignements sur le Plan d’intervention du Canada pour répondre à la COVID-19. Nous souhaitons toutefois attirer votre attention sur les avantages suivants qui pourraient s’appliquer à vous ou à votre organisation.
Fonds de soutien communautaire d’urgence : Les organismes communautaires pourront demander des fonds par l’entremise de ces partenaires nationaux ou de leurs entités locales. Nos partenaires et leurs réseaux travaillent à mettre en place des processus de demande le plus rapidement possible. Les organismes communautaires sont invités à consulter les sites Web de Centraide United Way Canada, de la Société canadienne de la Croix-Rouge et de Fondations communautaires du Canada pour en apprendre davantage sur la façon et le moment de présenter une demande.

Subvention salariale d’urgence du Canada : Si vous êtes un employeur canadien dont l’entreprise a été touchée par la COVID-19, vous pourriez être admissible à une subvention de 75 % des salaires de vos employés pour une période allant jusqu’à 12 semaines, et ce, rétroactivement du 15 mars 2020 au 6 juin 2020.

Compte d’urgence pour les entreprises canadiennes (CUEC) : Afin de s’assurer que les petites entreprises ont accès aux capitaux dont elles ont besoin pour relever les défis actuels, le nouveau CUEC a été mis en œuvre par les institutions financières admissibles en collaboration avec Exportation et développement Canada (EDC).

Aide d’urgence du Canada pour le loyer commercial (AUCLC) : Aux termes d’une entente de remise de loyer qui prévoit un moratoire sur l’expulsion, le propriétaire d’un immeuble commercial hypothéqué réduirait d’au moins 75 % le loyer mensuel payable par la petite entreprise en location. Le locataire et le propriétaire devraient couvrir chacun 25 % du loyer, tandis que le gouvernement fédéral et les provinces se partageraient les 50 % restants.

Report des délais de production des déclarations – organismes sans but lucratif : Le site Web de l’Agence du revenu du Canada fournit des renseignements sur les délais de production des déclarations d’impôt sur le revenu et de paiement en réponse à la COVID-19.

Report des délais de production des déclarations – organismes de bienfaisance enregistrés : Le site Web de l’Agence du revenu du Canada fournit des renseignements particuliers concernant les déclarations d’impôt sur le revenu pour les organismes de bienfaisance enregistrés.

Par ailleurs, pendant cette période exceptionnelle, les employés d’Anciens Combattants Canada (ACC) utilisent le Fonds d’urgence pour les vétérans dans toute la mesure du possible afin de soutenir la sécurité et le bien-être des vétérans. Ce fonds nous aide à réagir rapidement pour répondre aux besoins urgents des vétérans et de leur famille. Compte tenu des circonstances exceptionnelles de cette pandémie, ACC fait preuve de plus de souplesse et autorise des paiements pouvant atteindre 10 000 $. Nous vous invitons à visiter notre site Web pour en savoir plus sur le Fonds d’urgence pour les vétérans.

Santé mentale

Dans le cadre de la Semaine de la santé mentale, l’honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, ministre de la Défense nationale, a fait la déclaration suivante :

Le ministre de la Défense nationale et le ministre des Anciens Combattants soulignent la Semaine de la santé mentale
Pour en savoir plus sur les services de santé mentale offerts par ACC, veuillez consulter le site https://www.veterans.gc.ca/…/hea…/mental-health-and-wellness

Vous trouverez ci-dessous une liste de ressources :

Le Service d’aide d’ACC (1-800-268-7708) est une ressource gratuite en matière de santé mentale, disponible 24 heures sur 24 et 7 jours sur 7, qui vous permet d’avoir accès à du soutien psychologique et à du counseling. Vous n’êtes pas tenus de recevoir des prestations d'ACC pour utiliser ce service.

Le Soutien social; blessures de stress opérationnel (SSBSO) offre d’autres moyens pour continuer à soutenir les personnes atteintes d’un traumatisme lié au stress opérationnel (TSO) et leur famille. Les personnes qui trouvent ces moments particulièrement difficiles ou qui veulent simplement prendre contact et discuter avec un pair peuvent composer le 1-800-883-6094 ou envoyer un courriel à OSISS-SSBSO@forces.gc.ca.

Les fournisseurs de services peuvent offrir d’autres options, comme la télésanté, en appui à la physiothérapie ou à d’autres traitements. Vérifiez toujours auprès de votre fournisseur de soins de santé quelles sont les options de traitement dont vous pouvez bénéficier et qui peuvent être remboursées. Si vous avez besoin d’aide pour trouver des services de soutien locaux, veuillez nous appeler au 1-866-522-2022 ou nous envoyer un message sécurisé dans Mon dossier ACC.

Programme pour les familles des vétérans – Les centres de ressources pour les familles des militaires au Canada offrent des services virtuellement. Le Programme pour les familles des vétérans continue d’être offert aux membres des FAC en voie de libération pour des raisons médicales, aux vétérans libérés pour des raisons médicales et à leur famille afin d’appuyer leur transition vers la vie après le service militaire.

Le site Web d’Anciens Combattants Canada et les plateformes de médias sociaux continuent d’être mis à jour pour fournir les renseignements les plus récents. Je vous encourage à les consulter fréquemment.

Je vous remercie pour tout le travail que vous et votre organisation accomplissez afin d’aider les vétérans durant cette période difficile.

Restez en santé et en sécurité,

L’honorable Lawrence MacAulay, C. P., député
Ministre des Anciens Combattants et ministre associé de la Défense nationale
 
Page top
Canadian Mefloquine(Lariam) Veteran Support

Dave Mckay‎

12 April 2020

VVi 24 Apr 2020

Were do I start, I was ordered and had to sign a paper at the FOBs in Afghanistan to take Mefloquine or I will be charged. On my 2nd tour Afghanistan 2007 roto 3 I was told at the beginning to take it, after awhile I noticed I couldn't sleep at all, I was paranoid as hell and the night mares and night tears were horrible. One fact and if he is in this group my driver Doug Forsythe (Dougie) asked why did I put water bottles all around our tent while OTW outside the wire. I told him that if the taliban try to sneak up on us we will here the crunch of the water bottle. So for the whole tour I had to take and sign a piece of paper and take the drug against my will.

|while back home even after the 3 day vacation in Greece I still felt the affects of the drug, night mares paranoia. When back home things that happen that I believe are a direct cause of this drug. I woke up one night and my spouse told me I had my hands around her neck and was talking in a foreign language. When I tried to go out in public it wasnt a good thing yelling at people at poker games. Blowing up at people for little things and making my children cry thats what really broke me, Doctors said I had PTSD but I knew it was something different I went over as an analyst and came back a killer.

Lots of people from my tour committed suicide, lots of friends from my unit did so as well. This drug is to blame 100 percent proof of this is it all happen on tour not after, the effects were real over there every one had them and complained about them. The government knew all along but I imagine the money exchange from the pill maker was a better deal then keeping our health and our safety a priority. What keeps me alive is the love of my family and the memory of my fallen heroes.
 
Page top
Armed Forces reports 20 military suicides last year, largest number since 2014

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 8, 2020 2:44PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 8, 2020 5:28PM EDT

VVi 10 Apr 2020 db

CAF, Canadian Armed Forces
A Canadian flag patch is shown on the shoulder of a member of the Canadian forces in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. Canadian troops returning from Ukraine this month have not been told whether they will allowed to quarantine at home with their families or forced to spend the two weeks somewhere else. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg)

OTTAWA -- The Canadian Armed Forces has quietly revealed that 20 service members took their own lives last year, the largest number of military suicides since 2014.

The increase came despite the federal government having introduced a suicide-prevention strategy for military members and veterans in 2017, underscoring the complexity of the challenge facing the military and government in preventing such tragedies.

The new figures quietly published online by the Canadian Armed Forces in January showed 17 full-time regular-force members and three reservists died by suicide in 2019.

Not only was that an increase of five military suicides over the previous year, it was the largest number of suicides among those in uniform since 23 service members took their own lives in 2014. The figures did not break the numbers down by gender.

A total of 175 Canadian military personnel have died by suicide since 2010. That is more than the 158 killed while serving in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.

Military officials did not issue an accompanying report to explain the increase or what additional steps may be needed to address the situation, but Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email Wednesday that an analysis will come later in the year.

Such reports have been published each year since a rash of military suicides first cast a spotlight on the issue in 2013, leading the government and military commanders to promise to address the problem.

The subsequent Defence Department and Veterans Affairs Canada suicide-prevention strategy promised to improve the services and support available to military members and veterans in the hope of increasing awareness and reducing the number of suicides in both populations.

That included adding more medical staff, training personnel on how to respond if someone showed warning signs for suicide and introducing new measures to ease the transition to civilian life for those leaving the Forces.

National Defence's suicide-prevention strategy was endorsed by a variety of groups, including the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Mood Disorders Society of Canada.

"The CAF has provided leadership in the area of mental health and remains committed to working with its partners to ensure that our personnel, with their families, who are called to sacrifice so much in service to their country, receive quality care and support," Le Bouthillier said.

"Suicide is a tragedy and an important public health concern that affects everyone -- both in and out of uniform -- which is why we will continue to assess capabilities and adjust resources to ensure we meet the increasing complexities and demands associated with caring for our own."

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan acknowledged last year that "we must always strive to do better," adding: "Every time we lose a member of our Canadian Armed Forces to suicide, it is felt by us all. One suicide is too many.

"While there is no simple solution or easy answer, we will continue to evolve and improve the strategy as we expand our understanding of suicide and mental health and move forward on implementing solutions."

The Canadian Armed Forces for years resisted suggestions service members were more at risk of suicide than the general public, but reversed course after a landmark study from Veterans Affairs Canada in 2017 suggested that was true.

Now, with the vast majority of service members now ordered to stay home so they are ready to respond if the military is called to help out with COVID-19, commanders have been encouraging their troops to reach out and stay connected to ensure their mental health.

"These are unique and stressful times," chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance told all Forces members in a letter on March 27.

"Take care of yourselves and your families both physically and mentally, say in contact with your colleagues and reach out to support one another."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2020.

See more...
Page top
Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC)

VVi 10 Apr 2020

WWC Friends and Supporters:

We hope you and your family are staying safe during this most challenging time for Canada and the international community. While we do our part to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus by practicing physical distancing, I wanted to update you on the things we’re working on to provide innovative means to support our injured Veterans, First Responders and their families.

Clinically facilitated (in-person) group delivery is a central aspect of our mental health services. And while we’ve had to postpone our scheduled programming until such time that we can get back together in group again, technology offers us new and impactful ways to help those we serve. As we speak, we are working with our clinical team and program developers to adapt our programs to remote delivery methods.This will help us both in the situation we find ourselves at present and (long-term) as we work to find ways to breakdown geographical barriers to care that exist in a country the size of Canada.

In the meantime, our National Clinical Advisor, Dr. Tim Black, is developing a series of videos to introduce some of the central psycho-educational concepts taught on our programs. These are being distributed to those who are waiting to access our services and to frontline Canadian Armed Forces members, First Responders and their family members to help them cope during these especially difficult weeks and months. You can view the videos and learn more on our COVID-19 information page by following the links below.

We are committed to doing our best to support those who serve our country at home and abroad and are pleased to be finding new ways to connect and help them get started on their path to healing and recovery.

Of course, none of this would be possible without your care, compassion and generosity. Please take care of yourselves while staying healthy, staying home, and staying in touch. We wish you and yours a very safe and happy Easter.

Sincerely,
Scott Maxwell
Executive Director
Wounded Warriors Canada
#INTHISTOGETHER
Page top
CERB is TAXABLE income

Chanlika Holgersen
April 5 at 8:47 AM

VVi 08 Apr 2020 no

For everyone applying for the CERB tomorrow. It IS a TAXABLE income. Meaning you will be required to pay taxes on it. BUT - here’s the kicker - they WILL NOT be taking off the required taxes! So if you receive the full $8000 over the next 4 months you must put aside $2400 (high tax bracket - most will fall in the lower tax bracket of 15% and will owe $1200) to pay back at tax time next year if you don’t want it to bite you in the a$$! Money isn’t free! Be smart!

EDIT: Wow I didn’t realize how far this would reach. Editing to reiterate this is just a generalized margin for the higher tax bracket. Everyone will owe a different % of taxes in 2021 based on your 2020 income. I only posted this because believe it or not, I have friends who think the CERB is not a taxable benefit. Yes it is like EI, but where it differentiates is that EI will deduct the necessary taxes for you before putting the money in your pocket - CERB does not. The reasoning for this is to get the money in your pockets faster and they’re not wasting time calculating everyone’s 2019 income to see how much individuals are entitled to. Thank you. Disclaimer* I am not educated to give advice on EI/CERB benefits - just passing along information I got from a CPA relative so people aren’t in for a shock come tax time next year - so please talk to a CRA representative if you’re still confused.
Page top
Scams and phishing attacks about COVID-19 benefits

 VVi 08 Apr 2020 no

(le français suit l’anglais)

Dear Stakeholders and Advisory Groups Members,

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase in scams and phishing attacks about COVID-19 benefits.

As the Government of Canada introduces new supports for Canadians who are facing hardship during this time, we remind you to be vigilant when receiving phone calls, emails and text messages that refer to these new benefits. The best place to find information on Canada’s Economic Response plan is at Canada.ca/coronavirus.

The best way to defend yourself against cyber-attacks is with information. If you can recognize the signs of a phishing campaign, you’ll be better equipped to protect your personal information from cyber scammers.

Please visit Get Cyber Safe for details on signs of a phishing campaign, and how to stay safe.

Sincerely,

Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Team
Veterans Affairs Canada
vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca

***********************************************************************
Chers intervenants et membres des groupes consultatifs,

En raison de la pandémie de maladie à coronavirus (COVID-19), les fraudes et les attaques d’hameçonnage au sujet des avantages offerts pour répondre à la COVID-19 ont augmenté.

Alors que le gouvernement du Canada met en place de nouvelles mesures de soutien pour les Canadiens aux prises avec des difficultés pendant cette période, nous vous rappelons d’être vigilants lorsque vous recevez des appels, des courriels ou des messages textes qui portent sur ces nouveaux avantages. Le site Web Canada.ca/le-coronavirus est le meilleur endroit pour trouver de l’information sur le Plan d’intervention économique du Canada.

Vous informer est le meilleur moyen de vous défendre contre les cyberattaques. Si vous pouvez reconnaître les signes d’une campagne d’hameçonnage, vous serez mieux outillés pour protéger vos renseignements personnels des fraudeurs potentiels.

Veuillez consulter Pensez cybersécurité pour savoir quels sont les signes d’une campagne d’hameçonnage et comment vous protéger.

Cordialement,

L’équipe de mobilisation et de sensibilisation des intervenants
Anciens Combattants Canada
vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca
Page top
Feds asked to automatically approve veterans' claims backlog amid COVID-19 fears

The Canadian Press Staff
Published Thursday, April 2, 2020 4:34AM EDT ; Last Updated Thursday, April 2, 2020 5:21AM EDT

VVi 08 Apr 2020 db

OTTAWA -- One of Canada's largest veterans' organizations is urging the federal government to automatically approve the roughly 44,000 outstanding applications for disability benefits from injured veterans to help them better deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

The call from the National Council of Veteran Associations, which represents more than 60 veteran groups, comes amid fears about the financial and emotional toll the pandemic is taking on veterans struggling with mental and physical wounds.

Veterans Affairs Canada says staff are still processing claims as they work from home and that there are no immediate plans to automatically approve the backlog, which was already a source of frustration and anger for many veterans forced to wait years for support even before COVID-19.

But the COVID-19 crisis presents yet another barrier for veterans to get their applications approved, said council chairman Brian Forbes, who is also executive director of The War Amps Canada and a member of Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay's policy advisory group.

"It was bad enough as far as the backlog and the delays and the number of new claims (before COVID-19)," Forbes said in an interview "And then when you put the coronavirus on top of it, you've got a perfect storm. Things are just not getting done."

One of the issues facing some veterans is that they require a doctor's assessment of their medical condition before their applications will be processed by Veterans Affairs. Yet many doctors are not seeing patients in person except in extreme circumstances, Forbes said.

Veterans Affairs recently reported more than 18,000 of the 44,000 applications in the backlog were "incomplete."

The federal government has long faced pressure to automatically approve applications for disability benefits for veterans, with Veterans Affairs going back after the fact to conduct audits and verify eligibility.

Not only are approval rates for most categories of injuries -- including post-traumatic stress disorder -- extremely high, advocates warn delays add undue stress on veterans while potentially exacerbating difficult financial and medical conditions.

Yet Forbes suggests it doesn't make sense for veterans to keep waiting months when the government is promising tens of billions of dollars in support to Canadians and companies to help with COVID-19 -- much of which is expected to be disbursed quickly and verified later.

Veterans Affairs says the past week or so has seen more employees whose job is to process the disability claims continuing their work from home to ensure veterans are receiving decisions, especially those with the most urgent needs.

"Although we are not currently using automatic approvals with audits, we are encouraging decision makers to work more efficiently, using available evidence to reach the fastest decision possible," Veterans Affairs spokesman Josh Bueckert said in an email.

The call for automatic approvals comes as some veterans' organizations are expressing concerns about the impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on the mental and physical health of Canada's wounded warriors.

Veterans Affairs says it has been checking up with former military personnel deemed "at risk" while some organizations are using telephones and video conferences to continue providing therapy, counselling and other support.

Yet many veterans suffering from physical injuries are now unable to get physio or rehab because of COVID-19 while the pandemic undermines one of the key messages broadcast to vets suffering from PTSD and other mental injuries in recent years: Don't isolate yourself.

"We have been talking for many years about getting our veterans out," said Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Tom Irvine, whose branches are helping former service members get groceries, access financial services and stay connected.

"It is a concern. There are going to be veterans or members of the Legion that are going to slip through the cracks. Hopefully it's minimal, but it is a concern. And that is why we're reaching out on a daily basis."

Irvine also voiced his support for the government to just sign off on the backlogged applications for help.

VETS Canada president Jim Lowther, whose charity provides emergency financial assistance and other services to homeless veterans or those at risk of losing their homes, says the organization has had more calls for help in the past two weeks than usual.

A former Canadian Forces member who was previously diagnosed with PTSD, Lowther says many veterans are worried about keeping roofs over their heads while for those suffering from mental injuries, "this is a dangerous time right now and hopefully it won't last too long."

Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, says his non-profit has also received more calls for mental-health assistance, which he took as a hopeful sign veterans suffering from mental injuries aren't retreating and instead are reaching out for help.

And while he says person-to-person contact is the "secret sauce" to his organization's successful therapy services, he was hopeful its forced shift to online and telephone assistance could eventually see it better supporting veterans in more remote communities.

See more...
Page top
Home

Latest News

Self Help VAC Links

VVi Database

CSAT Forum

Email Webmaster

VeteranVoice.info Disclaimer and Non-Endorsement

      The Veteran's Duty

 

    

         We, the veterans of today, 

         are  to prepare the way  

        for those that follow..... 

Tell Another Vet About VVi

VAC www.veterans.gc.ca

OVO www.ombudsmanveterans.gc.ca

Service Canada www.servicecanada.gc.ca

Your MP www.parl.gc.ca