4.4  Comparison to Other Countries

Table 4.6 - Profile of Comparison Countries

As part of this evaluation a comparative analysis was performed between VAC’s benefits and services and the benefits and services offered to Veterans in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.  These countries are considered to have structures similar to Canada and are often used for various types of international comparison.  Table 4.6 provides some background information on the relative size of each country’s Veteran population and the Department which supports them. 

Background information on the relative size of each country’s Veteran population and the Department which supports them.
Canada   Australia United Kingdom United States
Name Veterans Affairs Canada Department of Veterans Affairs Service Personnel and Veterans Agency United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Total Population

33,500,000 21,200,000 61,100,000 307,200,000

Number of clients served

220,000 415,000 900,000 23,800,000

Number of annual releases

Approximately 4,000 release annually. Approximately 5,000 release annually. Approximately 24,000 release annually. Approximately 200,000 release annually.

Budget
(2009-2010)

$3.4 billion $11.13 billion* $19.40 billion* $100.14 billion*

Number of staff

3,700 2,100 2,100 278,500

Programs Supporting Transition **

  • New Veterans Charter
  • Disability Awards
  • Rehabilitation
  • Financial Benefits
  • Health Benefits
  • Job Placement
  • Military and Compensation Act
  • Rehabilitation
  • Permanent Impairment
  • Incapacity Payments
  • Special Rate Disability Pension
  • Career Transition Assistance Scheme
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Lump-Sum Payment
  • Guaranteed Income Payment
  • Career Transition Partnership
  • VA Disability Compensation
  • VA Disability Pension
  • VA Health Care System
  • Independent Living Program
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill

Notes:

*   Currency was converted to Canadian dollars using current rates as of September 30, 2009.

**  The focus of this analysis was a comparison of the services and benefits available to Veterans in other countries to support their transition to civilian life.  It is important to note that each country provides a variety of additional services and benefits, such as public health care or old age security, not listed in the above table. 

It is important to note that there are significant differences in the design, delivery and type of services available to Veterans in each country.  However, all of these countries provide Veterans re-establishment support in five common domains: disability compensation, rehabilitation, income support, health services coverage, and career transition support.  Annex C provides a summary of the information contained in these tables.

Disability Compensation (Annex C-1)

All four countries compensate Veterans for any assessed disabilities incurred during service.  With the exception of the United Kingdom, there is no restriction on how long after the injury a Veteran can apply for this disability compensation.  However, each country provides this compensation differently.  In Canada and the United Kingdom, Veterans receive a lump-sum award.  In the United States, Veterans can receive either a lump-sum award or, for more serious disabilities, a monthly pension.  Finally, in Australia, Veterans have a choice of receiving a lump-sum award or monthly pension, although it is important to note that Australia is the only country which adjusts compensation based on the Veteran’s age.  It is also important to note that the three countries who recently modernized their programs (Canada, Australia, United Kingdom) moved from paying a monthly pension to providing a lump-sum award.  Finally, only Canada and Australia cover the cost of financial counselling to help clients manage this compensation which, in some cases, can be quite a significant amount of money.

Rehabilitation (Annex C-2)

In all four countries, Veterans receive medical, health and rehabilitation treatment for any service-related injuries.  However, the delivery of this treatment varies.  The United States has the only department which manages and delivers this rehabilitation treatment, whereas in Canada and Australia the Veterans departments manage this rehabilitation treatment that is delivered by external service providers.  Finally, in the United Kingdom, rehabilitation treatment is managed by the Department of Health and delivered by external service providers.  One key difference is that the United States is the only country offering a dedicated program for severely disabled clients which provides not only specialized medical, health and rehabilitation treatment but also services to address any personal or family adjustment issues and independent living skills training.

Income Support (Annex C-3)

All four countries provide a form of income support to Veterans who are unable to work as a result of a service-related injury.  In Australia, this benefit is based on the client’s pre-release income, whereas in Canada (Permanent Impairment Allowance), the United Kingdom and United States it is calculated based on the assessed disability.  Canada also provides Veterans with  an earnings loss benefit for Veterans receiving rehabilitation, the Supplementary Retirement Benefit to compensate for low retirement benefits resulting from lower career earnings and Canadian Forces Income Support to ensure that all clients meet a minimum standard of income.

Health Services Coverage (Annex C-4)

It is first important to note that coverage of health services for Veterans is influenced by the degree of health service coverage available to each country’s citizens.  For example, the United Kingdom, which provides the most comprehensive coverage to its citizens, does not provide any additional coverage for Veterans, whereas Canada and Australia provide citizens a similar degree of health service coverage.  In Canada, Veterans with a service-related rehabilitation need can receive health coverage for themselves and their families for a monthly charge.  In Australia, any Veterans with a severe disability or Veterans who are deemed to have low income receive free coverage.  Finally, the United States, which provides the least amount of health coverage for citizens, provides the most health services coverage for Veterans.  All Veterans are eligible for health coverage based on a means test and those clients under the threshold receive free coverage.  Finally, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia all provide dental coverage whereas Canada does not.

Career Transition Support (Annex C-5)

All four countries provide clients vocational training, employment services, one-on-one support and job finding assistance.  However, Canada is the only country which does not provide any counselling on housing or financial awareness.  In addition, the United States is the only country which provides all Veterans up to 36 months of education benefits.

Conclusion

While each country’s suite of programs is very different, there is general consistency in the services and benefits available to support a Veteran’s re-establishment.  For the most part, Canada’s NVC compares favourably to these countries by offering comparable or additional services and benefits.  Moreover, a recent study conducted by the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs identified the NVC as the closest to a “wellness” approach of the systems reviewed which included Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.  However, one exception was noted in that Canada does not provide Veterans with dental coverage.  This will be discussed further in Section 4.5.

Date modified: