Proceedings of the Subcommittee on
Issue No. 5 - Evidence - May 18, 2016 (12:05 p.m. meeting)
OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence met this day at 12:05 p.m. to examine the subject
matter of those elements contained in Division 2 of Part 4 of Bill C-15, An Act
to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22,
2016, and other measures.
Senator Joseph A. Day (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: I call to order this meeting of the Subcommittee on
Senators will know that the purpose and objective for our meeting today is to
study a portion of Bill C-15. It is what we sometimes refer to colloquially as a
budget implementation bill.
In that bill, there is a portion that has been referred to this subcommittee,
and that would be Division 2 of Part 4. There are certain changes to legislation
pertaining to veterans.
We're doing this as a pre-study, which means that the bill has not been
referred to us, and we do not have the benefit of knowing what the House of
Commons is thinking. In the normal course, we would receive a bill after the
House of Commons has made any amendments and has had their deliberations. They
would send it to us after, and we would go through it with the benefit of their
work but looking at it from a different perspective — a Senate perspective —
which means we look at it from how it impacts our regions, minorities and the
So in this case, we are pre-studying Division 2 of Part 4. We are very
pleased to welcome from Veterans Affairs Canada's Policy and Research Division,
Director General Faith McIntyre. She normally, I understand, works out of
Charlottetown, which is where the headquarters for Veterans Affairs is.
Ms. McIntyre, you have some introductory remarks, which I'll ask you to
present. Then, before we go into a discussion, we would like to have a rolling
discussion to do a sort of clause-by-clause analysis of the changes that are
there, so that we can understand the purpose and what the government is hoping
to achieve with these amendments. Is that satisfactory?
Faith McIntyre, Director General, Policy and Research Division, Veterans
Affairs Canada: Understood, sir. Thank you very much.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, senators, distinguished guests, and ladies and
gentlemen. Thank you very much for the kind introduction. I am honoured to be
here today to speak regarding the budget implementation act and the section
pertaining particularly to veterans, their families and survivors.
I would like to take a few moments, if you don't mind, and go through the
remarks, because I think it will help situate you. I certainly would not be the
first one to state that our programs and benefits are complex, and I think it's
important that we situate the context under which these changes are being made.
I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear before you
today. Providing support to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans and
their families remains our first priority. I hope that the information you
receive today will be helpful to your study.
As you are no doubt aware, the government is committed to improve benefits
and services provided to Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans and their
families through various mandate commitments provided to the Minister of
Veterans Affairs, who is also the Associate Minister of National Defence.
These enhancements that will be achieved through Division 2 of Part 4 of Bill
C-15 will deliver on several of those mandate commitments. In general terms, the
proposed amendments will address concerns raised by Canadian Armed Forces
members, veterans, their families, stakeholders and the Veterans Ombudsman that
seriously disabled veterans are not assured financial security from the suite of
programs currently available under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans
Re-establishment and Compensation Act, also known as the New Veterans Charter.
This bill is intended to provide improved financial security for veterans,
and in particular, seriously disabled veterans. As a result of these
enhancements, Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans with service-related
disabilities will see an increase in the benefits they receive, and those who
incur a severe and permanent service related disability will benefit most from
Now, if I may, I'd like to describe those changes in more detail.
First of all, the proposed amendments would make changes to the permanent
impairment allowance, a monthly benefit payable to Canadian Armed Forces
veterans whose job prospects or career advancement opportunities have been
limited as a result of a severe and permanent impairment caused by a
service-related illness or injury. This allowance is a taxable financial benefit
payable for life. The bill would change the terminology in order to better
reflect the program intent. The permanent impairment allowance would therefore
become the career impact allowance.
As well, the term "totally and permanently incapacitated'' will be changed to
"diminished earning capacity,'' a term used when a veteran is incapacitated by a
permanent, physical or mental health problem that prevents the veteran from
performing any occupation that would be considered suitable, gainful employment
inside or outside the military.
Through regulatory amendment and operational policy changes, Veterans Affairs
will then introduce a functional capacity assessment which, on an individual
basis, will consider the impact of service-related impairment on remaining
career advancement opportunities.
In doing so, it will consider the veteran's diminished earning capacity as
well as their years left to serve. These changes to the Permanent Impairment
Allowance will be implemented on April 1, 2017, and by approximately 2020, 2,700
veterans will be eligible for this increased benefit. So that is one area where
amendments are being proposed under this act.
The second area is that relating to the earnings loss benefit. The earnings
loss benefit is also a taxable, monthly benefit that ensures a veteran's total
income is at least 75 per cent of his or her gross pre-release military salary.
This proposed amendment will actually increase the earnings loss benefit from
the current 75 per cent to 90 per cent of a veteran's monthly military salary as
of October 1, 2016.
Changes will also be done in regulations that will see the minimum monthly
military salary for the earnings loss benefit be that of a senior private in the
Canadian Armed Forces as well as remove the 2 per cent indexation cap. The
minimum monthly salary is currently at that of a basic corporal. By 2021,
approximately 15,000 veterans and survivors are expected to be eligible for this
The next area, an award proposing modifications under the implementation act,
relates to the disability award. The proposed amendments will increase the
maximum lump sum of the disability award from approximately $310,000 to
The disability award provides injured Canadian Armed Forces members or
veterans with a tax-free award for an injury or illness resulting from military
service. The amount depends on the degree to which a veteran's disability is
related to his or her service and on the extent of the actual disability. The
amendments will also make consequential changes to both the death benefit and
the detention benefit, as the latter are calculated on the same schedule as the
As a result of this particular amendment, a top-up payment will be issued to
individuals who received a disability award, a death benefit or a detention
benefit payment between April 1, 2006, which is the coming into force date of
the New Veterans Charter and the coming into force date of these changes.
Upon implementation on April 1, 2017, 70,000 Canadian Armed Forces members,
veterans and survivors are expected to benefit from a retrospective adjustment.
On the whole, these amendments follow through on the government's plan to
invest in the financial security and independence of veterans and their families
as they make the transition to civilian life. The government expects that $1.6
billion over five years would start flowing to veterans and their families in
the form of higher direct payments. This amounts to an accrual-based figure of
$5.6 billion over six years, starting in 2015-16.
Thank you for the opportunity to make an opening statement. I would now be
happy to answer any questions you have.
The Chair: Thank you very much. As part of your presentation, I had
hoped that we could then go to division 2, and you could explain — looking at
what we're going to have to vote on — what we're changing and that would flow
from what you have just said.
Senator White, is your comment in relation to something that we should
clarify at this stage?
Senator White: We can wait, thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: I have you on the list.
Senator Lang: I want to get it clear in my mind what exactly is the
full financial amount that the government is committing per year over the next
Ms. McIntyre: It is $1.6 billion.
Senator White: Billion with a "b''?
Ms. McIntyre: That's over the first five years.
Senator White: That's an increase from the budget that was allocated
already? You're stating it's a $1.5 billion increase?
Ms. McIntyre: That I will have to verify.
Senator Lang: Mr. Chairman, I don't know if the witness has this. I
want to get a sense of where we're at and where we're going.
The Chair: These kinds of questions will flow better after she
finishes her presentation. Then we'll have a full understanding of what Ms.
McIntyre feels we should know about.
So go ahead and do your clause-by-clause element, which I look upon as the
second half of your presentation.
Ms. McIntyre: Certainly. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I have a document that I do believe was shared with you for the
clause-by-clause part. Is that the document you wish that I go through?
The Chair: It's Bill C-15. You've listed on the front page of this
document, "An Overview.'' Is this the one we're looking at?
Ms. McIntyre: It says at the top right, "Clause By Clause.''
The Chair: "Clause By Clause.'' Okay. There we go. It shows clause 80,
81, et cetera?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes. I have them numbered differently, but I will pull
The Chair: What I would like you to do is go to Bill C-15, Division 2,
Part 4. Part 4 is other matters. Division 2. Start at clause 80 and just tell us
what clause 80 is doing, and then go to clause 81, clause 82. You can go through
this rather quickly, but it will tell us what you're trying to achieve with this
Ms. McIntyre: Understood.
The Chair: Thank you.
Ms. McIntyre: In clause 80, we are changing the terminology of
"totally and permanently incapacitated'' to "diminished earning capacity.'' It
better reflects the program intent.
The Chair: Any questions on that particular section before we go on?
Senator Lang: With the change of the definition, that then will bring
more individuals into the program. Is that correct from the point of view of
Ms. McIntyre: Thank you for the question. In terms of this change,
this is a pure change in terminology, so "diminished earning capacity'' is
exactly what the intent of the assessment is when we determine if an individual
is going to receive a permanent impairment allowance. So in this case it's just
a straight adjustment to the language, to the terminology.
Senator Lang: So this doesn't bring an expansion within the program or
anything other than the description of what exactly —
Ms. McIntyre: Not with this particular clause, sir. However the
changes to the permanent impairment allowance, as a whole, will increase the
benefit amount within that program.
The Chair: Has there been any court decision, or for what reason is
this terminology change being brought about?
Ms. McIntyre: So the term "totally and permanently incapacitated,''
certainly in the words themselves, leads one to believe that the individual, in
this case, the veteran, would not be able to work at all, that they are totally
disabled and incapable of earning any income. The intent of this program is
actually to reflect the fact that they have a diminished earning capacity
because of their service-related injury, that they are not capable of earning
what they could have earned prior to their disability.
The Chair: But this is just a policy decision to change the
Ms. McIntyre: Correct.
The Chair: To better, as you say, reflect the intent of the
Ms. McIntyre: Correct, sir.
The Chair: No other questions on that? Okay, can you move to the next
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, so, in clause 81, it is the same wording, so,
again, the reference to "diminished earning capacity.'' Once again, it's
simplified language to better reflect the intent of the program.
The Chair: Not based on any court decision, just your experience in
dealing with veterans, perhaps.
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. I think, if I might add, as well, the
perception. "Totally and permanently incapacitated'' would generate and does
generate a certain reflection of self, which is not an accurate reflection of an
individual. They are still certainly capable of earning an income.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you. No questions from honourable senators. Go
ahead. I have clause 82.
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, clause 82. That is the reference to the adjustment
for the earnings loss benefit, and the earnings loss benefit is currently
payable at 75 per cent. So this will modify the formula that is used to
calculate that benefit, and it will be increased to 90 per cent. So the change
will increase the amount of the earnings loss payment to veterans.
Senator Lang: It's more of a pragmatic question. An individual who has
been incapacitated is on the program, but he or she is capable of doing certain
things, maybe a far cry from the career that they had before. If that individual
takes a position, and goes, for example, to work in Walmart or something like
that, which helps put in the time in the day and brings in added income, does
this amount of money decrease if they are able to earn money elsewhere?
Ms. McIntyre: Thank you for the question, sir. So the earnings loss
benefit is payable to eligible veterans who are participating in a vocational
rehabilitation program. So through the duration of that program, they could be
participating in education or another type of career development or learning to
assist them to achieve an ultimate outcome. They are managed very closely by a
case manager. They are paid that earnings loss benefit. Should they be working,
which certainly they might be working part-time elsewhere, depending upon the
amount that they are earning, there may be an offset to the earnings loss
benefit to reflect those employment earnings that they would be receiving.
In successful outcomes, the individual will complete their vocational
rehabilitation plan and go on to work and would not need further supports. There
are other benefits, certainly, that they would be entitled to, but specific to
the earnings loss benefit. However, if an individual is unable to work
post-completion of their vocational rehabilitation program, then there are
extended earnings loss benefits, which, again, would be at the 90 per cent, as
we are proposing in this act. Those are payable until age 65.
The Chair: With or without being in any sort of a rehab program?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. The extended earnings loss benefit would be
post-rehabilitation, in a situation where they are not successfully able to be
The Chair: Suffering from a mental difficulty would be an example?
Ms. McIntyre: As an example, yes, sir.
The Chair: Any other questions on this one? You did mention, I think,
that corporal is the base salary. It was a private; now it's a corporal?
Senator White: Senior private, was it?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, that change will be made in regulation. Again, 75
per cent is the current amount, and —
The Chair: Seventy-five per cent of —
Ms. McIntyre: For earnings loss benefit, it is the current amount.
Currently, the minimum monthly amount is that of a basic corporal salary. So
when we increase it to 90 per cent, of course, we need to look at the minimum to
adjust it accordingly as well. So the minimum amount would actually be that of a
The Chair: You are dropping down the minimum?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct, but increasing the benefit payable.
The Chair: Increasing to 90 per cent of that?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct.
Senator White: So if that's right, what would be the difference?
You're dropping down the minimum but increasing. So I have my head around this,
what would be the net gain, as an example?
Ms. McIntyre: Very good question. Not everyone, to your point, will
receive the 15 per cent difference. If they are currently receiving the minimum
amount, that of a corporal, it's about $3,500 a month. With the 90 per cent
increase, certainly their benefit from Veterans Affairs would be increased, and
the minimum amount of a senior private is about $3,700 a month. So an individual
who is receiving minimum to minimum would see about a 5 per cent increase in
their benefit, post change.
Senator White: Okay.
The Chair: You got your head around that?
Senator White: I'll tell you this is why I didn't take accounting in
university. Thank you very much.
The Chair: No other questions on that one? We will go on to the next
one. Clause 84; is that the next one we're on?
Ms. McIntyre: Clause 83, which is, again, a change to the term
"totally and permanently incapacitated'' to "diminished earning capacity.''
The Chair: Yes, okay.
Ms. McIntyre: Change four, again, is a change in order to reflect the
formula for the earnings loss benefit from 75 per cent to 90 per cent increase.
The Chair: Same minimums we have talked about previously?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct, which would be reflected in regulations.
The Chair: Are these regulations generated now? Can we take a look at
Ms. McIntyre: The regulations will be coming forward post-budget
implementation act. So they are currently being written, developed, and will go
through the appropriate Treasury Board process.
The Chair: So they are not in a form that they can be circulated?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. Eighty-five is to clarify when a disability
award becomes payable. So it is an amendment to section 53 of the act, and it's
a reference to a new section that had to be added with the changes made to the
The Chair: Do we see that section 53 somewhere here? The reference to
section 53 is not being amended.
Ms. McIntyre: No, you would need the full act in order to see that.
The Chair: I have the full act, but that's not being amended. So you
are making reference to something that is already in existence.
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. Part 2 of number 85 is where we are
acknowledging another change in terminology, if you will. The permanent
impairment allowance will be changed to "career impact allowance.'' That is to
reflect the intent of program better.
So a permanent impairment allowance is awarded to an individual who because
of their service-related illness or injury cannot earn what they would have
earned had they continued on within their military service. It is that
diminished earnings capacity we talked about earlier.
The Chair: A lost opportunity.
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. That career advancement, that potential that
they would have had should they have remained in the military but due to
circumstances beyond their control they had to medically release in this case.
As well, this section is adding the element to clarify that there will be an
assessment. The wording will be a functional capacity assessment, which will be
an individual assessment to again determine, for each individual, what their
lost earnings capacity would have been, so that potential for career
advancement. This will be further defined in the regulations and in operational
policies, but this is where we get into the point that the permanent impairment
allowance program will be adjusted for those currently in receipt of the
permanent impairment allowance.
There will be an individual capacity assessment completed, and the
individuals will have the opportunity, for the most part, to see an increase in
benefits. There are currently three grade levels within the permanent impairment
allowance. Through an individual capacity assessment, we will determine
precisely where that individual could have fallen should they have continued
their earnings and career advancement in the military and adjust their grade
Senator Lang: I'm a bit confused. With these changes, does it mean
that everybody under the existing program will be reassessed?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, it does.
Senator Lang: How many people are involved? I think you gave us the
numbers, but tell us again how long will the reassessment take?
The Chair: How many veterans or military personnel?
Ms. McIntyre: I said by about 2020 there would be approximately 2,700
veterans who would benefit from this increase. Because of some of the pieces we
need to do, the implementation for the program will be April 1, 2017.
Senator Lang: And how many again, 2,700?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct.
Senator Lang: That's a lot of reassessments.
Ms. McIntyre: Certainly, yes, but it's to the benefit of the
Senator Lang: I'm not disagreeing with that, but do you have the
resources to do that within the period of time?
Ms. McIntyre: Certainly. That's why the implementation will be April
1, 2017, to make sure we have the resources and system requirements. In order to
do the functional capacity assessment, we potentially need a service provider;
so we are looking at the simplest ways and means to achieve that outcome.
The Chair: If Veterans Affairs assesses a veteran, and you have
determined that he has a life-time diminished earning capacity by virtue of the
injury or illness, does that create another monthly payment in addition to any
other lump sums or payments that the veteran might be receiving?
Ms. McIntyre: In simple terms, yes. The permanent impairment allowance
is a separate benefit payable monthly, nontaxable for life, compared to an
earnings loss benefit, which is tied to a vocational rehabilitation program,
taxable, payable to age 65, depending on the outcomes of their rehab, and aside
from the lump sum disability award.
The Chair: I hope there are lots of people in your department that can
help the veteran understand all these different ways and different potential
benefits he or she may have available.
Ms. McIntyre: Sir, that is a very important point and one of the areas
that we are focusing on through our service delivery and service excellence
principle is reducing the complexity, and simplifying not only the process —
example, forms — but also in ensuring we have resources. And under Budget 2016,
we were provided an increase to our field resources in order to do what you
indicate and as well further support veterans and their families.
The Chair: Thank you. Let's carry on then.
Ms. McIntyre: Well, 85.3 is a reference to the change in names and 86
used to say permanent impairment allowance and now it would say "career impact
The Chair: The underlined portion, career impact.
Ms. McIntyre: The underlined portion is the change. Once again, 87
would have said "totally and permanently incapacitated,'' and now it is
"diminished earning capacity.'' And then an adjustment to the French, and we're
at 88, I believe.
The Chair: In the French version, the word concernant is being
amended, is it not?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes.
The Chair: In clause 88?
Ms. McIntyre: It was simply to update the French version.
The Chair: An update, very well.
Ms. McIntyre: Clause 88, we are looking at when the award would become
payable. It refers to the disability award.
The Chair: That is the lump-sum payment at this stage.
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. It corresponds to what was immediately before
the disability award became payable. There is a schedule and amounts in the
schedule which are in this document, so where the individual's disability would
have been immediately before the eligibility for the award is the amount they
would receive from that schedule, to a maximum of $360,000. Again, 89, so when
an award is payable and it refers to the changes when both of the following
conditions are met.
The Chair: You have added the words, ". . . when both of the following
conditions are met,'' so previously both of them didn't have to be met?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, it clarifies that the award is payable. I
believe the previous version was not clear that both conditions had to be met.
The Chair: If that qualifier was not there, it was pretty clear that
only one of those conditions had to be met.
Ms. McIntyre: Understood. The disability has to be stabilized and the
extent has to be assessed, which certainly is in line with what the objective of
a disability award is. It's a lump-sum payment to recognize pain and suffering.
It is a noneconomic loss award. First, in order to pay out that award, you would
have to know what the percentage or the extent of the disability is; and second,
the disability would have to have been stabilized. Otherwise, a week or month
later, that extent of disability would shift, and that is not the intent. The
intent is to pay for pain and suffering. We do have another benefit, the
critical injury benefit, which is a lump sum amount of $70,000, payable to
eligible veterans during a period of pre-stabilization. That is a period where
they were immediately injured, hospitalized — other criteria. So they are still
in that period of up and down in terms of their injury or illness.
The Chair: So they can get the $70,000 up front to help take care of
things. Then, once they are assessed, and assessed at the top, he gets another
Ms. McIntyre: Potentially. So once the condition has stabilized, it
would be up to $360,000, depending on the extent of disability.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you.
Ms. McIntyre: Clause 90 is our transitional provisions that actually
provide regulation-making authority to support the information that we need in
order to make payments to recipients and to reimburse payments for financial
advice fees. The transitional provisions are important, because that is where
the retrospective payments come into play. That is where we want to be able to
pay individuals who have been in receipt of a disability award since April 1,
The Chair: And the financial advice is where the veteran would go to a
private-sector person and get advice on how best to deal with this lump sum?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct.
The Chair: Would the regulations say who that would be?
Ms. McIntyre: No, the regulations do not indicate who the provider
could be, but we do indicate a maximum amount of $500 — I will verify that —
that they would be reimbursed afterward. So there is a maximum amount.
The Chair: That maximum amount will probably determine to whom the
person can go.
If the surviving spouse seeks the outside advice — is that a new initiative?
Ms. McIntyre: What clause are you referring to?
The Chair: Clause 90.
Ms. McIntyre: It certainly would be anyone eligible for the disability
The Chair: We are trying to act in the best interests of the veterans
here, so any advice we can get — but you are the one who says "yes'' or "no'' to
any of these comments.
Ms. McIntyre: Anyone eligible to receive the disability award would be
The Chair: Which would include surviving children or —
Ms. McIntyre: It would include survivors, yes.
Clause 91 was repealed, as it was no longer valid.
The Chair: Are we taking away a right or benefit?
Ms. McIntyre: I would need to check that.
The Chair: You could let us know. I'm assuming that is not the case,
but if I'm wrong, I'd like to know that.
Jean-Rodrigue Paré, Aboriginal Affairs and Social Development Section,
Parliamentary Information and Research Service, Library of Parliament: In
the previous act, there was a provision that had a time stamp on it that time
had elapsed. Now, with the revision of the act, it has become obsolete, because
with the new coming-into-force different aspects have made that provision
Ms. McIntyre: Thank you for the information.
The Chair: Does that sound right?
Ms. McIntyre: It does. I just don't have the full act in front of me.
The Chair: If it turns out to be otherwise, you will let us know.
Ms. McIntyre: I will.
The Chair: Good, thank you.
Ms. McIntyre: We are at clause 93. The schedule is updated to remove
reference to the piece that we just discussed, which was repealed.
The Chair: That's the same for 92 and 93, is it?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes.
The Chair: Let us go to 94.
Ms. McIntyre: Clause 94, as well, is the terminology, so rather than
"permanent impairment allowance,'' we are at "career impact allowance.''
The Chair: I think we've seen that terminology change before.
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, you will see it a few more times through these
Clause 95 is the change to the death benefit.
The Chair: The $360,000?
Ms. McIntyre: Correct.
Clause 96, again, is terminology, as is 97. All of those changes indicated
there are basically replacing the "permanent impairment allowance'' with the
"career impact allowance.''
The Chair: Usually we don't have to go through the transitional
provisions, but is there anything in here that we should know about coming into
force? You did tell us the date for coming into force, which is April 6 of next
Ms. McIntyre: There are three main program changes, Mr. Chair. A
program change for the permanent impairment allowance and the disability award
will come into effect on April 1, 2017, and the change for the earnings loss
benefit will come into place as of October 1, 2016.
The Chair: Okay, 2016. So six months earlier. Are you doing that
because you have to generate regulations for the permanent impairment award? Is
that why it is being delayed and not coming into force right now?
Ms. McIntyre: The reason is mostly due to implementation. Going back
to an earlier question, they also need the resources and system changes that are
required for the permanent impairment allowance and the disability award. If
you'll recall, the disability award is retrospective, so we need to go back all
the way to April 1, 2006. Therefore, we need to put all of that in place in
order to be able to do that.
So it's more of an implementation requirement that we have, internally.
The Chair: Is there a retrospective aspect to the $360,000 going up to
Ms. McIntyre: That is the one benefit where there is a retrospective
The Chair: Is there anything else in the transitional provisions that
we should be aware of?
Ms. McIntyre: No, I think those are the main ones, the implementation
and the retrospective nature of the disability award.
The Chair: And coordinating amendments — that's typical.
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. There are consequential amendments to other
The Chair: Must have kept the lawyers busy figuring out what else
might be changed. Unintended consequences, as we sometimes refer to them.
Senator Lang, any further clarification you need?
Senator Lang: Not on the specific sections, but I do have general
The Chair: We are at general ones now. We have finished that, so you
have the floor.
Senator Lang: Thank you. I really appreciate your time going through
I want to go back on one issue that has been brought to my attention, and I
wonder if you have had to deal with this kind of situation. My understanding is
that there are approximately 6,000 reservists who have never had a medical that
has been put on file. I'm told that puts them in peril if there is an accident
or an injury in that not having had a medical prior to that happening, they
would not be eligible for the benefits that would flow, maybe in some cases from
Can you comment on that? Have you run across any situation where someone has
not had a medical that wasn't on file and subsequently wasn't eligible?
Ms. McIntyre: I can comment generally. I have to say that I'm not
familiar specifically with that type of situation. Reservists would have
eligibility that may differ from regular forces, depending upon the program and
Having said that, the key to some of our gateways is demonstrating that the
injury or illness is attributable to service. There would be medical information
required; however, how that works is really a question that our medical officers
would have a conversation with the medical individuals treating that individual
in order to be able to determine if it is attributable to service.
The example we often hear is if you have an individual who has jumped out of
a helicopter 3,000 times and has bad knees or a back. Certainly, our evidence
base would be quite low in that regard because it is straightforward that that
clearly is attributable to service, if you look at the relationship between the
military activity that they are doing and the injury or illness.
If we can distinguish between the two, we have a low bar for a lot of these
types of issues. I am not particularly familiar with this situation, but I would
be surprised if that was a limiting factor to eligibility to any program or
Senator Lang: That was brought to my attention and I will follow up in
another forum on that.
I'm trying to get a sense of the financial commitments being made here. When
the amount of money is spread over 5 or 10 years and everybody's eyes glaze over
and they acknowledge it will be over that period of time, so often the
ramifications of exactly what it does on an annual basis on a budget does not
really come home to the listener out there, and to the benefactors who deserve
the care and attention that we've committed ourselves to doing.
Let's take 2017-18, that one year. What is the actual increase for that year
over and above what we normally would give without these particular changes?
Ms. McIntyre: I can give you 2016-17. If you require other
information, we can certainly follow up. I know it stems back to your initial
question that I could not answer immediately.
Indeed, based on current projections in terms of demands of programs, we
forecast what our client numbers would be. We expect that that increase for the
three main program changes that I have outlined would be $1.6 billion over five
years starting in 2016-17. So over five years starting in 2016-17. I do not have
the breakdown per year. Starting in 2016- 17, over five years it would be $1.6
Senator Lang: We are talking about $300 million a year?
Ms. McIntyre: If you divide it, certainly yes. There might be some
considerations in terms of forecasting that I cannot respond to today.
Senator Lang: I understand. I understand that it is not firm. At least
it gives a projection.
The Chair: You would expect a bulge at the front end because of the
Ms. McIntyre: Correct. For the disability award, in particular, there
would be 70,000 eligible from the retrospective adjustment initially.
Senator Lang: I'm fine, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: What, if any, of these benefits that we're dealing with go
to retired RCMP officers?
Ms. McIntyre: That's a very good question. The RCMP is not covered
under the New Veterans Charter.
The Chair: There is a memorandum of understanding for administration
of certain benefits for RCMP members and retired members?
Ms. McIntyre: Yes, there are. Those are under the Pension Act
and not under the New Veterans Charter.
The Chair: The Pension Act is the act for a lot of the retired
military personnel who had lifetime pensions for disability. When the New
Veterans Charter came in and the Pension Act was replaced by this New Veterans
Charter for recently retiring veterans, that's when we heard an awful lot from
veterans. But we are now trying to sort out some of those problems and growing
pains; is that correct?
Ms. McIntyre: That is a very fair statement. So the New Veterans
Charter came into force in April 1, 2006. Prior to that, as of 1919, it was the
Pension Act system. Certainly, the department is currently looking at that whole
pension aspect, which again is a mandate commitment for our minister in trying
to determine the best way forward.
The Chair: Thank you for that.
Senator White: My question is only because you raised it. How long
have you been there, Ms. McIntyre, with Veterans Affairs?
Ms. McIntyre: I've been with Veterans Affairs for 10 years.
Senator White: When the New Veterans Charter came in, was there a
formal offer to the RCMP to participate?
Ms. McIntyre: I don't know, sir. I do know that they are currently
looking at other options to work with us. I can certainly ask the question and
Senator White: There are no recent discussions that you could
Ms. McIntyre: Not that I'm aware of.
Senator White: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Would the Library of Parliament be able to help us with
respect to that particular issue?
Mr. Paré: In a previous appearance by RCMP officers to the Veterans
Affairs Committee in the house, they mentioned that they were offered to be
under the New Veterans Charter, but they declined the offer because some of the
services offered were already covered. They felt the financial stability that
was provided by the Pension Act for pain and suffering was more appropriate to
the needs of RCMP officers than what was provided by the New Veterans Charter.
But they remain covered under the health care regulations for veterans, the
medical part of the health care regulations, which included the mental health
The Chair: Thank you for that background.
If you determine anything that was said is incorrect or you would like to
expand on it, please do so.
Senator White: Mr. Chair, in light of Bill C-7 that will be flowing
through soon, the words "they refused'' was really not representing the
membership. They were representing the organization. We already know there is a
bit of a challenge in the MOU because they pay for what they desire and they can
Perhaps we can have a discussion as to whether or not the membership of the
RCMP should be offered consideration to attach to the New Veterans Charter
The Chair: My understanding is that Bill C-7, which is the
unionization within the RCMP, will be coming to our committee. If it does come
to our committee, let's make note of that. That's a good point.
You are here for Bill C-15, but probably the whole committee or subcommittee
will be dealing with this. The parent committee will be dealing with Bill C-7,
which deals with the RCMP, but we do know that there is a relationship between
Veterans Affairs and the RCMP, which was just explained to us, and all of this
is very interesting to us.
Thank you very much for being here and for the work that you are doing for
our veterans of Canada.
Ms. McIntyre: Thank you very much.
The Chair: Colleagues, this meeting is concluded.
(The committee adjourned.)