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1.0 Introduction

During World War II, the Government of Canada developed a comprehensive framework of programs, services, pensions and allowances to support the re-establishment of Veterans into civilian life. An important component of this framework was health care. Over time, Veterans Affairs Canada's (VAC) health care assistance and its delivery have evolved to meet the changing needs of Veterans and the changing Canadian health care system.

VAC's Health Care Benefits and Services Program provides access to, and funding for, eligible Veterans to obtain extended health care services and benefits. The Program offers a comprehensive range of benefits and services that are organized into 14 benefits and services groups, which are described briefly in Appendix A:

  1. Aids for Daily Living
  2. Ambulance Services
  3. Audio (Hearing) Services
  4. Dental Services
  5. Hospital Services
  6. Medical Services
  7. Medical Supplies
  8. Nursing Services
  9. Oxygen Therapy
  10. Prescription Drugs
  11. Prosthetics and Orthotics
  12. Related Health Services
  13. Special Equipment
  14. Vision (Eye) Care

In 2011-2012, the Program provided 129,000 eligible war service and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans Footnote3 with access to health care benefits and had program expenditures of $262 million. Program funding allows recipients to obtain benefits and services to meet their health care needs. VAC administers the Program from its offices across the country in conjunction with a health claims processing contractor.


VAC's health care benefits and services are provided to eligible recipients under two categories:

  • A-line coverage: for the treatment of service-related pensioned/awarded conditions; and
  • B-line coverage: for the treatment of any approved health need, to the extent that the benefits are not available as an insured service under a provincial health care system nor available to them as a former member of the CAF. B-line coverage is available to medium and seriously disabled Veterans, income qualified recipients, and some Veterans Independence Program and Long Term Care Program recipients.
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