New funding to bolster education, other benefits for veterans

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New funding for education, career transition services, and other initiatives will better position Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members for success in their post-military lives.

The funding, which is part of Budget 2017, allocates up to $80 000 to support the costs of college, university, or technical education for Regular and Reserve Force CAF Veterans who have at least 12 years of service. Up to $40 000 in support is available to veterans with at least six years of service.

The initiative is part of nearly $134 million, funded over six years, to establish a federal Veterans’ Education and Training Benefit.

Budget 2017 also designated more than $74 million over six years to enhance Career Transition Services. This encompasses a number of improvements for veterans, including: an expansion of current eligibilities; removal of time limits to access benefits for veterans, reservists, and survivors; and a simplified application process.

While each facet of the new funding will have positive effects for veterans and their families, the education funding is paramount for veterans’ futures once they leave the CAF.

“If education truly is the great equalizer, as I believe it to be, then this new Veterans’ Education and Training Benefit has the potential to be a real game changer for Canada’s veterans and their families,” said Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Associate Minister of National Defence.

“Whether it is further education, job coaching, or help applying for jobs, we will support and guide veterans and their spouses in finding the work they want in their post-military life.”

The funding enhances the foundation set out in Budget 2016 and continues to recognize the crucial role of education, caregivers, family support, and mental-health initiatives for CAF members and veterans in life outside of the Forces.

Implementation of all Budget 2017 initiatives is expected on April 1, 2018.

Other VAC programs from Budget 2017

  • Veteran Family Program
    • The Veteran Family Program will expand across all 32 Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) and will provide uninterrupted access to all MFRCs for all medically released veterans and their families.
  • Caregiver expenses
    • A $1 000 monthly, tax-free benefit for caregivers improves and simplifies the current support for veterans’ families and caregivers. This replaces the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit.
  • Centre of Excellence
    • The Budget 2017 funding is also intended to create a Centre of Excellence in Veterans’ Care. This initiative, which is part of a joint mental health strategy between VAC and the CAF, will help foster advances in research, knowledge transfer, and the development of tools to support healthcare treatment across Canada. The centre will specialize in mental health, and post-traumatic stress disorder and related issues for veterans.
  • Veteran Emergency Fund
    • Some $4 million over four years is allotted to establish a Veteran Emergency Fund, which will allow VAC to address veteran-specific issues as they arise.
  • Veteran-Family Well-Being Fund
    • This initiative will receive nearly $14 million over the next few years and will work to fund various organizations to conduct research and implement projects to support veterans and their families.

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