Canadian veterans have made untold sacrifices for our country. To honour their service, we need to offer the best care and support possible when they come home.
Unfortunately, for too long, veterans have had to fight for the benefits they’ve earned. For a decade, the Conservative government denied and clawed back benefits, took veterans to court, and cut access to basic care. Nine regional offices were closed and nearly 900 staff that provided services for tens of thousands of veterans across Canada were fired.
While hopes were high that the Liberal government would improve veterans care, after almost a decade in power they’ve broken their commitments, failing to improve long wait lists and left billions in money earmarked for veterans care unspent. Years of court cases and broken promises have deepened the disappointment and mistrust that’s felt by many of Canada’s veterans.
It’s time to do right by our veterans.
We must honour the special bond of mutual obligation between Canadians and veterans, and deliver the services that veterans need and deserve. The federal government should be working with veterans to design a system that provides fair benefits to all veterans, including equal access to lifetime pensions.
Veterans shouldn’t have to wait weeks or even months or years to receive the services they need. We have to get rid of backlogs and step up high-quality, personalized service delivery by actually providing one caseworker for every twenty-five veterans, hiring more disability adjudicators to clear the backlog, putting in place automatic approvals for the most common injuries, and improving services that are delivered by phone and online.
Sometimes a sacrifice abroad means being unable to care for yourself when you return, so the caregiver allowance needs to be expanded to include veterans and their famillies.
Finally, to hold all governments accountable to the sacred commitments we make to veterans, the Veterans Ombudsman must be made fully independent so they can report transparently and directly to Canadians.