OTTAWA – The federal government has left unanswered several recommendations to improve the health and financial security of veterans, says the veterans ombudsman in a report released Tuesday.
In his Bulletin 2018, Ombudsman Guy Parent notes that 18 out of 64 recommendations issued by his office in the last ten years have been ignored. The government has implemented 46 recommendations.
“It gives a final score of 72%. If my child came out of school with a score of 72%, I would tell him that he still has work to do, “said the retired Chief Warrant Officer in an interview.
Despite some progress since 2017, the veterans’ watchdog notes that, among other things, Ottawa has not acted to make medical benefits payments retroactive.
Currently, a veteran is reimbursed from the moment the treatment is approved by the federal government. Instead, the ombudsman wants compensation to be made from the date the claim is made.
“It sometimes takes 50 weeks before an application is approved. So for about a year, some veterans have a quality of life diminished by lack of treatment, “said Mr. Parent.
The recommendation to extend the death benefit of unmarried soldiers to their parents or siblings has also remained unanswered. For the time being, compensation is lost for military members who have no spouse or dependent children.
Parent also complains that veterans and their families lose access to dental services if they retire from the Armed Forces before 10 years of service.
The Department of Veterans Affairs responded to the bulletin by saying it has invested $ 10 billion since 2015 in various measures for veterans. Ottawa will, among other things, reinstate the lifetime pension starting in April 2019, a program that meets some of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
“Are there other things to do? Yes, “said Alex Wellstead, spokesman for Minister Seamus O’Reagan.
However, he argued that Veterans Affairs Canada was not only setting its priorities according to the ombudsman. “We also consider the views of all members of the veterans community,” said Wellstead.