Language selection

Principal Residence (Veterans Independence Program)

Issuing Authority: Director General, Policy
Effective Date: October 31, 2014
Document ID: 1229

Care has been taken to ensure these policies accurately reflect the acts and regulations. Should any inconsistencies be found, the acts and regulations will prevail.


This policy provides direction on interpreting the phrase "principal residence" in relation to administering the Veterans Independence Program (VIP). 



  1. Part II of the Veterans Health Care Regulations (VHCR) provides that eligible persons may receive VIP services, excluding intermediate care, at their principal residence.
  2. VIP services that may be provided at the principal residence are:
    1. Home Care;
    2. Ambulatory Health Care;
    3. Transportation; and
    4. Home Adaptations.

Principal Residence Defined

  1. The term "principal residence" is not defined in the VHCR. However, for the purpose of providing VIP services to an eligible client, the "principal residence" is deemed to be the place that has been the client's home, or that the client has adopted as their home, and the place to which the client intends to return when they are away from it - the dwelling in which the client normally lives. This may include, but is not limited to, the person's privately owned home, cottage or condominium; or any other place of residence such as an apartment, seniors' complex, retirement home, communal housing, assisted-living or supportive-housing unit, or home of a friend or relative where the client permanently resides.
  2. When a person is receiving VIP intermediate care or Long Term Care (LTC) as an eligible client, their accommodation does not constitute a principal residence.


  1. VIP services may only be provided at one "principal residence" at a time. A person may have two places of residence, such as one in the city and one in the country, but only one may be designated as the "principal residence" at any given time. For example, a client eligible for housekeeping at his "principal residence" may temporarily designate a summer home as his "principal residence" and receive housekeeping at the secondary location. In certain situations, this also applies to services provided under Home Care, Ambulatory Health Care, Home Adaptations and Transportation Services. In all cases:
    1. the same service cannot be provided at more than one residence at the same time; and
    2. the total costs of services provided at different residences must be included in the yearly maximum rates payable.
  2. For clients whose principal residence is an apartment, seniors' complex, retirement home, communal housing, assisted-living or supportive-housing unit, home modifications may only be provided within the client's individual living space; therefore, all common areas would be excluded.

VIP Services Continued at a Principal Residence

  1. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) will not terminate VIP services at a client's principal residence in situations where the client has been assessed as having type II or type III care needs and refuses a bed in a health care facility. This is in keeping with the intent of VIP to respect the client's wish to remain in their preferred care setting and retain a degree of independence. In these situations, VAC will:
    1. continue services up to the normal limits of the program, or at the level already approved and in place, whichever is greater (including cost of living increases); and
    2. notify the client in writing that their care needs would be more appropriately met in a care facility and that there are risks to their health if they continue to remain at their principal residence.

Continuation of Benefits

  1. Clients who have already been approved under the former Principal Residence policy to receive ambulatory health care and/or transportation service while residing in an institution before this policy comes into effect, will continue to be eligible for these services

Exceeding Rates

  1. The costs of VIP services should not normally exceed the maximum authorized rates payable. Refer to the Exceeding Rates (VIP and LTC) policy for information concerning under what conditions payment at rates higher than the maximum rates payable may be authorized.


Veterans Health Care Regulations

Home Care Services (Veterans Independence Program) policy

Ambulatory Health Care (Veterans Independence Program) policy

Transportation (Veterans Independence Program) policy

Home Adaptations policy

Exceeding Rates for Veterans Independence Program (VIP) and Long Term Care (LTC) policy

Primary Caregiver (Veterans Independence Program) policy

Date modified: