3.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW VETERANS CHARTER

As described in Section 1.0, the original Veterans Charter legislation, enacted at the end of World War II, provided a comprehensive set of programs and services designed to facilitate the transition and rehabilitation of Veterans from military to civilian life. As these Veterans aged, their needs changed, and the programs changed with them. However, the unique needs of the now releasing CF Veterans and their families require the assurance of a secure future. These clients also require assistance as they transition from their specialized career in the Forces to civilian employment. In addition, some clients require support to address chronic pain, permanent disability and operational stress injuries resulting from their service to our country.

The New Veterans Charter shifts the focus from one of disability to one of wellness, and responds to Canada’s commitment to injured CF members and Veterans. “VAC’s suite of modernized programs is a needs-based, co-ordinated system of resources designed to support CF Veterans and their families through the transition from military to civilian life.”Footnote4 The services and benefits provided include a lump-sum disability award and other allowances, rehabilitation, financial benefits, group health insurance, job placement assistance and support to families. A summary description of each NVC program is presented in Annex A.

The expected outcomes from VAC’s modernized programs, as outlined in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement accompanying the Regulations, are that CF members, Veterans and their families:

  • experience optimal levels of health as a result of access to health benefits and rehabilitative services;
  • actively participate in the civilian workforce as a result of access to employment-related supports in the form of rehabilitation services, vocational assistance, training and job placement assistance;
  • are supported and compensated where disabilities are of a severe, permanent nature and full reintegration is not possible;
  • have a level of income adequate to meet basic needs as a result of enhanced employment opportunities provided by job placement assistance, and access to rehabilitation services;
  • actively participate in and are integrated into their communities; and
  • feel recognized for their contribution to the safety and security of the country.

Table 3.1 below provides a snapshot of the clients accessing the various NVC programs during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. It should be noted that clients can access multiple programs at the same time or various programs separately based on their need. As a result, the total number of NVC clients presented in this Table is not intended to be the sum of the previous columns.

Still serving members are eligible for a disability award and components of the Job Placement Program, but they are not eligible for the Rehabilitation, Financial Benefits or Health Benefits Programs. Also, there are no clients in the Job Placement Program who released prior to 2001 because eligibility is limited to within two years of release.

Since April 2006, there have been 17,670 CF released members. From this population of released CF members, 14% (or 2,431) accessed NVC programs with only 6% (or 1,068) requiring rehabilitation treatment. This adds important context to this report in that the majority of releasing CF members are relatively healthy and the NVC programs are designed to promote “wellness” and support any re-establishment needs not simply fulfilling treatment needs.

Table 3.1 - Number of NVC Clients as of March 31, 2009
Clients Clients who Received a Disability Award Clients in Rehabilitation Program Clients Receiving Financial Benefits Clients Receiving Health Benefits Clients in Job Placement Program* Total Number of NVC clients
Released before April 1997 5,763 607 351 208 N/A 6,194
Released from April 1997 to March 2001 429 242 131 54 N/A 619
Released from April 2001 to March 2006 547 601 261 102 8 1,056
Released after April 2006 1,533 1,068 248 218 233 2,431
Still Serving 3,221 28 ** 11 ** 4 ** 159 3,389
Survivors/ Spouses 216 44 138 9 1 341
Total 11,709 2,591 1,140 595 401 14,030

* Numbers represent clients who applied for the Job Placement program (ie. career counselling or job finding assistance). As described in Section 4.2.5, 1,490 clients have attended a workshop.

** Data error. Still serving members are not eligible for the rehabilitation, financial benefits or health benefits programs.

Some additional observations noted are that clients who received a disability award would have been eligible to receive a disability pension prior to the NVC. In addition, some disability conditions such as hearing loss don’t develop until many years after release which explains the large number of clients receiving an award in 2008-2009 who released prior to 1997.

For the Rehabilitation Program, it is important to note that 56% of clients receiving rehabilitation treatment were released prior to 2006. This is important because, as discussed further in Section 4.2, many of these clients have been released for a number of years without the benefit of timely rehabilitation programs focussing on wellness and they now have chronic conditions requiring long-term support. Additionally, a significantly higher percentage of these clients require financial benefits and health benefits support which was not available prior to the NVC. It should also be highlighted that 44 survivors or spouses were able to access support through the Rehabilitation Program. This support was not available prior to the introduction of the NVC.

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