Guy Parent says there are still gaps in systems designed to aid veterans

Veterans’ families need better support — and in some cases direct compensation — as the primary caregivers to injured ex-soldiers, the country’s veterans ombudsman is urging in a new report.

OTTAWA — Veterans’ families need better support — and in some cases direct compensation — as the primary caregivers to injured ex-soldiers, the country’s veterans ombudsman is urging in a new report.

The issue of caregiver support should be a priority for the federal government as it looks at ways of improving the lives of impaired veterans, Guy Parent has written in a chronicle detailing his office’s work over the past five years.

“When family members become the primary caregivers for severely impaired veterans, we, as a country, need to recognize their commitment in a tangible way,” Parent said in his 44-page report, released Thursday.

“These families have already sacrificed more than we can imagine. They should not be penalized financially as well.”

The Conservative government recently brought in a Family Caregiver Relief Benefit, providing veterans with a tax-free $7,238 annual grant, designed to give some relief to informal caregivers.

But the government needs to go beyond that benefit, said Parent.

Families need to be educated and trained to deal with disabled veterans, he said.

And when it becomes necessary for a family member to leave the workforce in order to care for a veteran, they should be paid, said Parent.

“What we’re looking for is a complete package to compensate a spouse who sacrifices his or her career to look after the other one,” he said in an interview.

“There should be some kind of a remuneration there.”

Parent points to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Family Caregiver Program, which provides post-9-11 veterans with the option of receiving in-home care from a family member who is trained and paid as though they were working outside the home.

The family caregivers are also eligible for mental health services and access to health care insurance if they don’t already qualify for government medicare.

The ombudsman also called on the government to come up with non-economic ways to compensate veterans for pain and suffering, such as cutting red tape, and better ways to help personnel transition from military to civilian life.

Parent added that the new Veterans Charter needs to be continually reviewed to make it work better as a “living” document.

His report also acknowledges that not all complaints can be addressed in favour of veterans.

But Parent said his office has had a direct impact on the lives of many veterans, even when the ex-service personnel weren’t aware they were being helped.

He cited the case of a veteran who called his office in 2011, inquiring about his eligibility for an $1,348 per month allowance provided to pensioners who are exceptionally incapacitated.

When his office contacted Veterans Affairs Canada to discuss the case, they discovered that half of the 1,800 veterans who were potentially eligible for the allowance were not informed of its existence.

“As a result, close to 600 veterans were found to be eligible and received retroactive payments totalling $14 million,” he said.

Just Posted

Rollover on Hwy 2 near Red Deer

Driver sustains minor injuries

City of Red Deer gets ball rolling on annexing more land

”It’s important we look ahead,” says Mayor Veer

Walmart melding online and in-store shopping

South Red Deer Walmart recently underwent six months of renovations

Video: Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

OTTAWA — More than one million jobs could be lost to the… Continue reading

Most Read