Canadian Mefloquine(Lariam) Veteran Support
12 April 2020
VVi 24 Apr 2020
Were do I
start, I was ordered and had to sign a paper at the FOBs in
Afghanistan to take Mefloquine or I will be charged. On my 2nd tour
Afghanistan 2007 roto 3 I was told at the beginning to take it,
after awhile I noticed I couldn't sleep at all, I was paranoid as
hell and the night mares and night tears were horrible. One fact and
if he is in this group my driver Doug Forsythe (Dougie) asked why
did I put water bottles all around our tent while OTW outside the
wire. I told him that if the taliban try to sneak up on us we will
here the crunch of the water bottle. So for the whole tour I had to
take and sign a piece of paper and take the drug against my will.
|while back home even after the 3 day vacation in Greece I still
felt the affects of the drug, night mares paranoia. When back home
things that happen that I believe are a direct cause of this drug. I
woke up one night and my spouse told me I had my hands around her
neck and was talking in a foreign language. When I tried to go out
in public it wasnt a good thing yelling at people at poker games.
Blowing up at people for little things and making my children cry
thats what really broke me, Doctors said I had PTSD but I knew it
was something different I went over as an analyst and came back a
Lots of people from my tour committed suicide, lots
of friends from my unit did so as well. This drug is to blame 100
percent proof of this is it all happen on tour not after, the
effects were real over there every one had them and complained about
them. The government knew all along but I imagine the money exchange
from the pill maker was a better deal then keeping our health and
our safety a priority. What keeps me alive is the love of my family
and the memory of my fallen heroes.
Armed Forces reports 20 military suicides last year, largest
number since 2014
The Canadian Press
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 2:44PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 8,
2020 5:28PM EDT
VVi 10 Apr 2020 db
A Canadian flag patch is shown on the shoulder of a member of the
Canadian forces in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.
Canadian troops returning from Ukraine this month have not been told
whether they will allowed to quarantine at home with their families
or forced to spend the two weeks somewhere else. (THE CANADIAN
OTTAWA -- The Canadian Armed Forces has
quietly revealed that 20 service members took their own lives last
year, the largest number of military suicides since 2014.
increase came despite the federal government having introduced a
suicide-prevention strategy for military members and veterans in
2017, underscoring the complexity of the challenge facing the
military and government in preventing such tragedies.
figures quietly published online by the Canadian Armed Forces in
January showed 17 full-time regular-force members and three
reservists died by suicide in 2019.
Not only was that an
increase of five military suicides over the previous year, it was
the largest number of suicides among those in uniform since 23
service members took their own lives in 2014. The figures did not
break the numbers down by gender.
A total of 175 Canadian
military personnel have died by suicide since 2010. That is more
than the 158 killed while serving in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.
Military officials did not issue an accompanying report to
explain the increase or what additional steps may be needed to
address the situation, but Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le
Bouthillier said in an email Wednesday that an analysis will come
later in the year.
Such reports have been published each year
since a rash of military suicides first cast a spotlight on the
issue in 2013, leading the government and military commanders to
promise to address the problem.
The subsequent Defence
Department and Veterans Affairs Canada suicide-prevention strategy
promised to improve the services and support available to military
members and veterans in the hope of increasing awareness and
reducing the number of suicides in both populations.
included adding more medical staff, training personnel on how to
respond if someone showed warning signs for suicide and introducing
new measures to ease the transition to civilian life for those
leaving the Forces.
National Defence's suicide-prevention
strategy was endorsed by a variety of groups, including the Canadian
Psychological Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association
and the Mood Disorders Society of Canada.
"The CAF has
provided leadership in the area of mental health and remains
committed to working with its partners to ensure that our personnel,
with their families, who are called to sacrifice so much in service
to their country, receive quality care and support," Le Bouthillier
"Suicide is a tragedy and an important public health
concern that affects everyone -- both in and out of uniform -- which
is why we will continue to assess capabilities and adjust resources
to ensure we meet the increasing complexities and demands associated
with caring for our own."
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan
acknowledged last year that "we must always strive to do better,"
adding: "Every time we lose a member of our Canadian Armed Forces to
suicide, it is felt by us all. One suicide is too many.
"While there is no simple solution or easy answer, we will continue
to evolve and improve the strategy as we expand our understanding of
suicide and mental health and move forward on implementing
The Canadian Armed Forces for years resisted
suggestions service members were more at risk of suicide than the
general public, but reversed course after a landmark study from
Veterans Affairs Canada in 2017 suggested that was true.
with the vast majority of service members now ordered to stay home
so they are ready to respond if the military is called to help out
with COVID-19, commanders have been encouraging their troops to
reach out and stay connected to ensure their mental health.
"These are unique and stressful times," chief of defence staff Gen.
Jonathan Vance told all Forces members in a letter on March 27.
"Take care of yourselves and your families both physically and
mentally, say in contact with your colleagues and reach out to
support one another."
This report by The Canadian Press was
first published April 8, 2020.
Warriors Canada (WWC)
VVi 10 Apr 2020
We hope you and your family are staying safe
during this most challenging time for Canada and the international
community. While we do our part to help contain the spread of the
COVID-19 virus by practicing physical distancing, I wanted to update
you on the things we’re working on to provide innovative means to
support our injured Veterans, First Responders and their families.
Clinically facilitated (in-person) group delivery is a central
aspect of our mental health services. And while we’ve had to
postpone our scheduled programming until such time that we can get
back together in group again, technology offers us new and impactful
ways to help those we serve. As we speak, we are working with our
clinical team and program developers to adapt our programs to remote
delivery methods.This will help us both in the situation we find
ourselves at present and (long-term) as we work to find ways to
breakdown geographical barriers to care that exist in a country the
size of Canada.
In the meantime, our National Clinical
Advisor, Dr. Tim Black, is developing a series of videos to
introduce some of the central psycho-educational concepts taught on
our programs. These are being distributed to those who are waiting
to access our services and to frontline Canadian Armed Forces
members, First Responders and their family members to help them cope
during these especially difficult weeks and months. You can view the
videos and learn more on our COVID-19 information page by following
the links below.
We are committed to doing our best to
support those who serve our country at home and abroad and are
pleased to be finding new ways to connect and help them get started
on their path to healing and recovery.
Of course, none of
this would be possible without your care, compassion and generosity.
Please take care of yourselves while staying healthy, staying home,
and staying in touch. We wish you and yours a very safe and happy
Wounded Warriors Canada
CERB is TAXABLE income
at 8:47 AM
VVi 08 Apr 2020 no
For everyone applying
for the CERB tomorrow. It IS a TAXABLE income. Meaning you will be
required to pay taxes on it. BUT - here’s the kicker - they WILL NOT
be taking off the required taxes! So if you receive the full $8000
over the next 4 months you must put aside $2400 (high tax bracket -
most will fall in the lower tax bracket of 15% and will owe $1200)
to pay back at tax time next year if you don’t want it to bite you
in the a$$! Money isn’t free! Be smart!
EDIT: Wow I didn’t
realize how far this would reach. Editing to reiterate this is just
a generalized margin for the higher tax bracket. Everyone will owe a
different % of taxes in 2021 based on your 2020 income. I only
posted this because believe it or not, I have friends who think the
CERB is not a taxable benefit. Yes it is like EI, but where it
differentiates is that EI will deduct the necessary taxes for you
before putting the money in your pocket - CERB does not. The
reasoning for this is to get the money in your pockets faster and
they’re not wasting time calculating everyone’s 2019 income to see
how much individuals are entitled to. Thank you. Disclaimer* I am
not educated to give advice on EI/CERB benefits - just passing along
information I got from a CPA relative so people aren’t in for a
shock come tax time next year - so please talk to a CRA
representative if you’re still confused.
Scams and phishing attacks about COVID-19 benefits
VVi 08 Apr 2020 no
(le français suit l’anglais)
Stakeholders and Advisory Groups Members,
Due to the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase
in scams and phishing attacks about COVID-19 benefits.
the Government of Canada introduces new supports for Canadians who
are facing hardship during this time, we remind you to be vigilant
when receiving phone calls, emails and text messages that refer to
these new benefits. The best place to find information on Canada’s
Economic Response plan is at Canada.ca/coronavirus.
way to defend yourself against cyber-attacks is with information. If
you can recognize the signs of a phishing campaign, you’ll be better
equipped to protect your personal information from cyber scammers.
Please visit Get Cyber Safe for details on signs of a phishing
campaign, and how to stay safe.
Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Team
Veterans Affairs Canada
Chers intervenants et membres des groupes consultatifs,
raison de la pandémie de maladie à coronavirus (COVID-19), les
fraudes et les attaques d’hameçonnage au sujet des avantages offerts
pour répondre à la COVID-19 ont augmenté.
Alors que le
gouvernement du Canada met en place de nouvelles mesures de soutien
pour les Canadiens aux prises avec des difficultés pendant cette
période, nous vous rappelons d’être vigilants lorsque vous recevez
des appels, des courriels ou des messages textes qui portent sur ces
nouveaux avantages. Le site Web Canada.ca/le-coronavirus est le
meilleur endroit pour trouver de l’information sur le Plan
d’intervention économique du Canada.
Vous informer est le
meilleur moyen de vous défendre contre les cyberattaques. Si vous
pouvez reconnaître les signes d’une campagne d’hameçonnage, vous
serez mieux outillés pour protéger vos renseignements personnels des
Veuillez consulter Pensez cybersécurité
pour savoir quels sont les signes d’une campagne d’hameçonnage et
comment vous protéger.
mobilisation et de sensibilisation des intervenants
Feds asked to automatically approve veterans' claims backlog amid
The Canadian Press Staff
Thursday, April 2, 2020 4:34AM EDT ; Last Updated Thursday, April 2,
2020 5:21AM EDT
VVi 08 Apr 2020 db
OTTAWA -- One of
Canada's largest veterans' organizations is urging the federal
government to automatically approve the roughly 44,000 outstanding
applications for disability benefits from injured veterans to help
them better deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The call from the
National Council of Veteran Associations, which represents more than
60 veteran groups, comes amid fears about the financial and
emotional toll the pandemic is taking on veterans struggling with
mental and physical wounds.
Veterans Affairs Canada says
staff are still processing claims as they work from home and that
there are no immediate plans to automatically approve the backlog,
which was already a source of frustration and anger for many
veterans forced to wait years for support even before COVID-19.
But the COVID-19 crisis presents yet another barrier for
veterans to get their applications approved, said council chairman
Brian Forbes, who is also executive director of The War Amps Canada
and a member of Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay's policy
"It was bad enough as far as the backlog and
the delays and the number of new claims (before COVID-19)," Forbes
said in an interview "And then when you put the coronavirus on top
of it, you've got a perfect storm. Things are just not getting
One of the issues facing some veterans is that they
require a doctor's assessment of their medical condition before
their applications will be processed by Veterans Affairs. Yet many
doctors are not seeing patients in person except in extreme
circumstances, Forbes said.
Veterans Affairs recently
reported more than 18,000 of the 44,000 applications in the backlog
The federal government has long faced
pressure to automatically approve applications for disability
benefits for veterans, with Veterans Affairs going back after the
fact to conduct audits and verify eligibility.
Not only are
approval rates for most categories of injuries -- including
post-traumatic stress disorder -- extremely high, advocates warn
delays add undue stress on veterans while potentially exacerbating
difficult financial and medical conditions.
suggests it doesn't make sense for veterans to keep waiting months
when the government is promising tens of billions of dollars in
support to Canadians and companies to help with COVID-19 -- much of
which is expected to be disbursed quickly and verified later.
Veterans Affairs says the past week or so has seen more
employees whose job is to process the disability claims continuing
their work from home to ensure veterans are receiving decisions,
especially those with the most urgent needs.
"Although we are
not currently using automatic approvals with audits, we are
encouraging decision makers to work more efficiently, using
available evidence to reach the fastest decision possible," Veterans
Affairs spokesman Josh Bueckert said in an email.
for automatic approvals comes as some veterans' organizations are
expressing concerns about the impact that the COVID-19 crisis is
having on the mental and physical health of Canada's wounded
Veterans Affairs says it has been checking up with
former military personnel deemed "at risk" while some organizations
are using telephones and video conferences to continue providing
therapy, counselling and other support.
Yet many veterans
suffering from physical injuries are now unable to get physio or
rehab because of COVID-19 while the pandemic undermines one of the
key messages broadcast to vets suffering from PTSD and other mental
injuries in recent years: Don't isolate yourself.
been talking for many years about getting our veterans out," said
Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Tom Irvine, whose branches
are helping former service members get groceries, access financial
services and stay connected.
"It is a concern. There are
going to be veterans or members of the Legion that are going to slip
through the cracks. Hopefully it's minimal, but it is a concern. And
that is why we're reaching out on a daily basis."
voiced his support for the government to just sign off on the
backlogged applications for help.
VETS Canada president Jim
Lowther, whose charity provides emergency financial assistance and
other services to homeless veterans or those at risk of losing their
homes, says the organization has had more calls for help in the past
two weeks than usual.
A former Canadian Forces member who was
previously diagnosed with PTSD, Lowther says many veterans are
worried about keeping roofs over their heads while for those
suffering from mental injuries, "this is a dangerous time right now
and hopefully it won't last too long."
executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, says his non-profit
has also received more calls for mental-health assistance, which he
took as a hopeful sign veterans suffering from mental injuries
aren't retreating and instead are reaching out for help.
while he says person-to-person contact is the "secret sauce" to his
organization's successful therapy services, he was hopeful its
forced shift to online and telephone assistance could eventually see
it better supporting veterans in more remote communities.
Judge rules in favour of class action launched by special
Decision could mean bump in
disability benefits for thousands of injured Canadian veterans
Richard Cuthbertson · CBC News ·
Posted: Mar 25, 2020 5:03
PM AT | Last Updated: March 25
VVi 30 Mar 2020
Simon Logan received an involuntary medical release from the
Canadian Forces in 2016 after a career that included serving in the
infantry, air force and special operations. (Submitted by Simon
Thousands of injured Canadian military veterans who
served under especially arduous conditions are entitled to higher
disability payments after a judge ruled Tuesday in favour of a
former special operations soldier who challenged how the support is
The lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit
against the federal government is Simon Logan, who served in
Afghanistan and was a warrant officer when he received an
involuntary medical release from the Canadian Forces in 2016
following a 28-year career.
The military calculates long-term
disability at 75 per cent of a member's monthly pay, but the
Department of National Defence had only used Logan's base salary to
determine his payments, and did not include an allowance he earned
as a "special operations assaulter." It meant Logan received only
$5,100 per month in disability payments, instead of nearly $8,000.
The case was heard in Federal Court in Halifax in February. In a
decision this week, Justice Richard Southcott ruled in favour of
Logan and other former military members in similar situations,
writing that monthly allowances should be used in disability
"When you're in the military, you're kind of
handcuffed in what you can say or do," Logan, 58, who lives in the
Ottawa area, said in a phone interview Wednesday. "But when I became
a civilian, I just wanted to take matters that I thought were unjust
and try and fix it."
Daniel Wallace, a partner with the Halifax law firm McInnes Cooper,
represented Logan in the class-action lawsuit. (Shaina Luck/CBC)
He said the court's decision "means a lot for a lot of people"
who earned allowances for working in particularly difficult
environments, but didn't see that recognized when they were injured
while serving under those conditions.
Logan said he wanted to
keep private the nature of the injuries that led to his medical
discharge and that he was not permitted to describe his role in
The Canadian Forces says special
operations assaulters include personnel trained to perform
counterterrorism missions, hostage rescues, special operations
patrols and special reconnaissance and surveillance.
Halifax lawyer Daniel Wallace, who
helped launched the class action on behalf of Logan, said there are
roughly 6,800 former Canadian military personnel who received
monthly allowances on top of their salaries and were involuntarily
medically released from the Forces.
payments to certain specialized groups like paratroopers, rescue
specialists and divers, and for conditions like isolation, work on
submarines or serving on a flight crew. There are also allowances
covering things such as being posted to an area with a high cost of
Wallace said he can't estimate how much disability
money members of the class action would be owed, but said it should
be retroactive for members who were released after 1999, when the
current policy was adopted.
"We hope that now that the court
has heard the arguments on both sides and decided in favour of the
class, we hope that the federal government will accept that
decision," he said in an interview.
If there's no appeal, he
said the next stage would involve sorting out interest and the
timing of payments.
'Dramatic drop in pay'
spokesperson for the Department of National Defence said in
statement the federal government is now reviewing the decision and
will determine next steps in consultation with the Department of
"The Department of National Defence and the Canadian
Armed Forces are committed to ensuring that all Regular and Reserve
Force military members receive their due benefits," the statement
said. "Taking care of our members is our utmost priority and we will
continue to take steps to improve services."
At the time of
his discharge, Logan was earning $10,665 a month, of which $3,730
was a "special operations assaulter allowance."
He said he
subsequently learned of other veterans who had earned allowances
while serving but had received less than they thought they were owed
in disability payments.
"It's a dramatic drop in pay from
what I was making. My expenses didn't go down, my mortgage didn't
change," he said. "I know I made good money when I was in the
military, I'm not denying that. But to take such a drastic change in
income — doesn't matter how much money you make, that's a big deal,
dropping 40 per cent, 50 per cent."
Federal Court rules in favour of injured veteran's class-action
The Canadian Press
March 24, 2020 03:44 PM
VVi 26 Mar 2020 db
A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are
leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on Oct. 16, 2014.
Thousands of injured veterans could be in line for payments from the
federal government after the Federal Court ruled in favour of a
former special-forces soldier whose class-action lawsuit alleged he
was shortchanged on his long-term disability payments. THE CANADIAN
OTTAWA — Thousands of injured veterans
could be in line for payments from the federal government after a
Federal Court ruled in favour of a former special-forces soldier
whose class-action lawsuit alleged he was shortchanged on his
long-term disability payments.
Retired warrant officer Simon
Logan was medically discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces in
February 2016, at which point he expected to begin receiving monthly
payments equalling 75 per cent of his pre-release salary of $10,665.
Yet the disability payments only
accounted for his base pay as a warrant officer and did not include
nearly $4,000 in monthly allowances he had received while in the
Forces, most of which were related to his service as a
The omission of those allowances
represented a difference of nearly $3,000 per month in Logan's
Logan's lawyers had argued in Federal
Court that the allowances should have been included because they
reflect the special skills and increased hazards that he faced while
serving in uniform.
Government lawyers said the allowances
should not have been included because Logan stopped being a
special-forces soldier when he left the Forces.
But in his
ruling on Tuesday, Federal Court Justice Richard Southcott said
monthly allowances should count in the calculation for long-term
disability. Allowances that are not received each month should not
be included, Southcott added.
It was not immediately clear
whether the government would appeal the decision.
lawyer, Daniel Wallace of Halifax-based firm McInnes Cooper, said
his client was pleased with the decision and expressed the hope that
the government would implement the decision and not appeal.
Wallace said approximately 6,800 veterans are part of the
class-action lawsuit, though he could not say how much the
government could end up paying out should it implement the court's
This report by The Canadian Press was first
published March 24, 2020.
Canadian doctors urge caution on repurposing malaria medication
to fight COVID-19
Canada part of a global study launched by the
WHO to look into the use of chloroquine and other existing drugs
Amina Zafar · CBC News ·
Posted: Mar 24, 2020 4:00 AM ET
| Last Updated: March 24
VVi 24 Mar 2020 db
which treats malaria, has shown some efficacy against
COVID-19-associated pneumonia in early research, but more study is
required, experts say. (Barcroft Media/Getty Images)
top public health doctor warned against using malaria medication to
treat COVID-19 on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump touted
the option during a recent news conference.
People have taken
chloroquine to prevent and treat malaria for decades. A related
medication called hydroxychloroquine is mainly used to treat
inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for
COVID-19. People in more than 180 countries have been sickened by
the respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus humans have no
Last week, Trump told reporters
hydroxychloroquine had shown "very, very encouraging early results."
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was also quick to say that
officials are trying to strike a balance between making the
potential therapy available to physicians to use on seriously ill
COVID-19 patients on an emergency basis while ensuring it is truly
safe and effective through clinical trials.
On Monday, Dr.
Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, added her own
"My message is that you should not take medication
without the scientific evidence," Tam said. "It can be quite
dangerous. These drugs are not without side-effects. In fact, there
are quite significant side-effects."
The World Health
Organization (WHO) is running a research network called Solidarity
that has identified a "vast suite of potential drug therapies and
combinations" that could be repurposed to treat COVID-19.
said part of Canada's participation in the network includes making
sure patients will receive drugs in the most scientific and safest
Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical
pharmacology and toxicology at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre, is writing a review on the safety of chloroquine and
Trump suggested using hydroxychloroquine
together with an antibiotic based on the results of a small study by
Juurlink said that study involving just 36
patients is the extent of the human research so far on using
hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment for COVID-19 —
research with "so many holes you could drive a truck through it," he
Normally, an antibiotic is never recommended to treat
a virus. But the antibiotic and antimarlarial combination has
off-target effects beyond what it was designed to do, infectious
disease experts say.
Juurlink said he's concerned about
possible toxic overdoses from chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and
side-effects such as:
Mood changes and psychosis.
"These are not
drugs to be toyed with," Juurlink said.
The only way to tell
if a treatment really works is to randomly assign a large number of
patients to either take it or a placebo. Even then, rarer
side-effects may not crop up until years later, once more people
have taken the medication.
In the U.S. and Canada, doctors
and pharmacists said hoarding hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 could
hurt others, such as those who take the drug long term to keep
chronic inflammatory diseases like lupus under control.
Pharmaceutical companies in Canada and worldwide are donating
hydroxychloroquine to help medical researchers collect high-quality
data on the safety and effectiveness of using the medication to
Trial to protect hospital staff
Kevin Kain is an infectious disease physician at Toronto General
Hospital, where he's part of a team of researchers designing a
randomized placebo-controlled trial into the safety and efficacy of
using hydroxychloroquine prophylactically to prevent COVID-19
infection. Their goal is to protect front-line health-care workers
in emergency departments and intensive care by preventing the
infection from taking root.
"This seems like the
appropriate, high-risk group to establish that it works," Kain said.
"Right now, people are using it without good evidence. I was around
long enough to remember SARS, where a number of treatments were
tried without appropriate trials, and in retrospect, a lot of those
things actually caused harm."
In the lab, chloroquine works
by suppressing the growth of coronaviruses such as SARS and
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the French researchers
"It isn't entirely clear, but there's intriguing
evidence that if you can get high levels of a mineral called zinc …
inside a cell that's infected, it will inhibit replication of
coronaviruses," Kain said. "Taking a lot of zinc by mouth doesn't do
this because getting zinc into a cell is tightly regulated.
Chloroquine seems to facilitate it getting into the cell."
Elsewhere in the world, Doctors Without Borders is preparing to
treat patients with COVID-19, potentially with chloroquine or
hydroxychloroquine. The medical charity operates in more than 70
Jason Nickerson, humanitarian affairs adviser for
Doctors Without Borders in Ottawa, said if a treatment stops the
severe illness from COVID-19, then it would be incredibly
beneficial, particularly in countries with less resourced health
"How do we get these new technologies, once they're
developed, to patients in all countries, everywhere?"
called on governments worldwide to apply policies to ensure
technologies like drugs that are developed with public funds remain
affordable and globally accessible, since in a pandemic, the virus
needs to be stamped out everywhere to protect people everywhere.
Liberals defends $4M transfer from operating budget amid
veterans' backlog fury
Mar 10, 2020 5:59 PM By: Canadian
VVi 22 Mar 2020
OTTAWA — The Liberal government is defending its decision to
take more than $4.1 million from Veterans Affairs Canada's operating
budget at a time when the department is struggling with a backlog of
tens of thousands of disability applications from injured
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay
found himself under fire for the move during an appearance before a
parliamentary committee on Tuesday, where he noted the reallocated
funds went mainly to providing emergency help to veterans, and their
families, who are considered especially at risk.
minister, who insisted eliminating the backlog of 44,000
applications for assistance from injured veterans is his top
priority, later sidestepped questions about why the government
didn't add more money to meet veterans' needs instead of taking
funds from the department.
Veterans' advocates, including
Canada's veterans ombudsman, have said long delays mean stress and
frustration for veterans already suffering from physical and
MacAulay pointed to the department's
efforts to speed up the processing of applications through
digitization and other internal changes even as he emphasized the
billions in new benefits and services promised to veterans in recent
"The fact is we're doing everything to digitize the
program, remove the paperwork," MacAulay told The Canadian Press.
"What we want to do is make sure that we simplify the process, make
it more efficient, and there's a large amount of money put into
Veterans Affairs itself."
Veterans Affairs Canada's top civil
servant, retired general Walter Natynczyk, told the committee the
money transfer did not affect efforts to address the backlog and
highlighted the department's internal efforts to approve
Yet while the department has
significantly increased the number of requests for assistance it is
approving, Natynczyk acknowledged it has not been able to keep up
with the applications filed each year.
Nor could MacAulay or
Natynczyk say when the backlog will be eliminated. Veterans
ombudsman Craig Dalton last month called on the government to
produce a detailed plan and timetable for dealing with the problem.
"It's pretty irresponsible to give figures on something,"
MacAulay told The Canadian Press when asked about Dalton's request.
"We do not know what the applications will be."
and NDP MPs were unimpressed with the government's decision to take
resources from the department's operating budget as the backlog
grows and demanded to see a detailed plan to address the overall
"I always hope that money is getting right out to
the veterans who desperately need it," said NDP veterans-affairs
critic Rachel Blaney. "But when we look at the depth of the backlog
... having those resources to address that should be more urgent in
Conservative veterans-affairs critic Phil
McColeman blasted the government and department for not having
produced a detailed strategy for eliminating the backlog, including
securing more resources, to ensure veterans receive the benefits and
services they need in a timely manner.
he said. "Why isn't someone who is doing the planning of solving the
problem recognizing that funds are there for the resources that they
need and aggressively going after getting those resources in place
so that we can solve this backlog problem?"
This report by
The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2020.
Veterans Affairs office aimed at advancing gender equality
Mar 03, 2020
VVi 22 Mar 2020
OTTAWA — Veterans Affairs Canada is opening a new office
intended to better serve women and those with specific needs
stemming from their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The office is aimed at removing barriers to helping veterans who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or two-spirit.
Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says the government is
responsible for providing these members with the care and support
The idea for the office flowed from discussions
during the first annual Women’s Veterans Forum held in Charlottetown
Since then, the department has spoken with
veterans and interested parties to identify barriers some face due
to their gender or sexual orientation.
Women account for 14
per cent of the estimated 670,000 veterans in Canada.
report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2020.
Veterans never saw the $105 million promised to them by Trudeau
Trudeau has shut down veterans’ calls for more funding in
the past and has fought veterans in court.
by True North
February 1, 2020
VVi 10 Mar 2020 db
did not see a penny of the $105 million promised to them by Justin
Trudeau last year.
The sum remained untouched, despite being
earmarked for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
Since 2018, the
Liberal government has failed to deliver on $327 million worth of
funds promised to help veterans, according to Global News.
Trudeau has shut down veterans’ calls for more funding in the past
and has fought veterans in court.
In 2018, during a town hall
meeting, Trudeau was questioned by former corporal Brock Blaszczyk
on why he continued to fight veterans groups in court while also
re-integrating former ISIS fighters and awarding Omar Khadr several
million dollars in an out-of-court settlement.
to the question, the prime minister told the former corporal that
some veterans were asking too much of the government.
“Why are we
still fighting against certain veterans’ groups in court? Because
they are asking for more than we are able to give right now,”
Trudeau told Blaszczyk, who lost his leg to a roadside bomb while
serving in Afghanistan.
According to VAC, the department
failed to meet a majority of basic service standards in the
2017-2018 year. 15 out of 24 service areas are behind on targets,
including the rehabilitation program, disability benefits, and
One key area of mismanagement by the Liberal
government is a growing backlog of veterans waiting to qualify for
As of November 2019, up to 40,000 veterans
were still waiting for a decision on their application. Among those
waiting for a decision from the government, over one-third had been
in the queue for over four months.
Parliamentary Budget Officer says the government saved tens of
billions by abandoning old Pensions Act for disabled veterans
Gloria Galloway, Parliamentary Reporter Ottawa
February 21, 2019 Updated February 21, 2019 Published February 21,
This article was published more than 1 year ago. Some
information in it may no longer be current.
VVi 10 Mar 2020
The federal government put itself on track to save tens of
billions of dollars over the lifetimes of disabled veterans – and
significantly reduce benefits it pays them – when it replaced the
old Pension Act with the New Veterans Charter in 2006, says a new
report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says, while most disabled
veterans will get a small increase in their lifetime benefits when
the government’s new Pensions For Life program takes effect on April
1, the most severely disabled vets will get less than they would
have if the benefits remained unchanged. About 3 per cent of
veterans will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each between the
day they retire and the day they die.
Veterans with the most
severe impairments “will be the main losers of the transition to the
Pension For Life regime,” Mr. Giroux told reporters after the
release of the report on Thursday morning. That’s because the
government will remove the Career Impact Allowance Supplement that
pays $1,145.36 every month to highly impaired vets with diminished
Veterans have been saying since 2006, when
the New Veterans Charter took effect, that the plan paid disabled
former soldiers much less than the tax-free monthly payments awarded
under the old Pension Act.
The aim of the Charter, which
relied heavily on lump-sum payments to compensate for disabilities,
was to move to an approach based more on rehabilitation than
monetary compensation. But it left less money in the pockets of
veterans who applied for benefits after April 1, 2006.
severely disabled veterans of Afghanistan took the government to
court in 2012 demanding that they receive compensation equal to that
paid to veterans who applied for benefits before the Charter became
law. Justin Trudeau campaigned with them in 2015 and promised to
bring back the lifetime pensions should his Liberals win power.
But the veterans – who lost their case last year when it went to
the Supreme Court – say the Pensions for Life that were introduced
by the Liberal government in late 2017 do not come close to meeting
what is given to Pension Act vets. And the PBO report proves them
Had the Pension Act remained in place, the PBO says
the government would have spent $50-billion over the lifetimes of
veterans who are currently in the system and of those who will apply
for benefits over the next five years. The introduction of the New
Veterans Charter – now called the Veterans Well-being Act – cut that
figure to $29-billion, the PBO says.
The Pensions For Life
will increase it slightly to $32-billion.
Harjit Sajjan, who
is now both Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister after the
resignation from cabinet last week of former veterans minister Jody
Wilson-Raybould, said the new program will look at all of the
potential needs of veterans.
“When it comes to our veterans,
our government is absolutely committed to making sure that we look
after them. We need to make sure that we went through a very
thorough assessment, talked to veterans’ groups, talk to veterans to
make sure that we’re meeting their needs,” Mr. Sajjan told
reporters. “We knew that the Pension Act itself didn’t look at the
totality of the current veterans. So that’s one of the reasons we
had to look at the uniqueness to each veteran. And that’s why the
Pensions For Life is so important.”
One of the people who has
been the most critical, both of the New Veterans Charter and of the
planned Pensions For Life, is veterans advocate Sean Bruyea.
He has launched a defamation suit against Seamus O’Regan, the
Indigenous Services Minister who had the veterans’ portfolio prior
to Ms. Wilson-Raybould. Mr. O’Regan accused him of “stating
mistruths,” and making “numerous other errors” after Mr. Bruyea
wrote a column last year saying the Pensions For Life will pay some
veterans less than those who are already in the system – and much
less than what is given to veterans such as him who fall under the
old Pension Act.
Mr. Bruyea said he felt vindicated after the
release of the PBO report.
“On average, there’s a small
increase for the vast majority of veterans," Mr. Bruyea said, “but
those are not the ones that have the most needs. The ones that have
the most needs, the most severely injured veterans, will be worse
off under this Pensions for Life.”
Collateral damage: Families of soldiers with PTSD struggle after
Veterans Affairs counselling cut
'The department is disconnected
from ... what goes on in injured veterans' households,' says one
Murray Brewster · CBC News ·
Posted: Feb 28,
2020 4:59 PM ET | Last Updated: March 3
VVi 02 Mar 2020 db
Shane Jones's combat tour in Afghanistan ended in 2005. But the
war followed him home.
The retired corporal's family —
including his teenage daughter — have had to walk on eggshells often
in the years since.
An armoured vehicle rollover left Jones
with a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress, injuries
that changed him forever.
"My husband is not a violent man,"
said Veronica Jones, Shane's wife. "My husband suffers from severe
"And for our daughter, growing up ... If you live by
the cesspool, everybody gets splashed."
The Eastern Passage,
N.S., family is among many affected by Veterans Affairs' move to
tighten access to department-sponsored mental health services for
veterans' family members.
The crackdown was prompted by the
embarrassing revelation almost two years ago that a convicted killer
— the son of a former soldier — received PTSD counselling for the
murder he committed.
Veterans Affairs issues a denial
In an appearance before a House of Commons committee last week, a
senior Veterans Affairs official denied that any families had been
"cut off" from counselling services.
That comes as startling
news to Jones and other veterans' families, whose therapy bills are
now being paid out-of-pocket after initially being covered by the
Those relatives now want the opportunity to plead
their cases before the Commons veterans committee when it reconvenes
next month for hearings on the restrictions.
debate over the last several years has been limited to whether
former soldiers are getting adequate help and treatment, said
"There needs to be an actual conversation
about what the families are going through and how the families need
support," she said.
Her 14-year-old daughter Ruth was
diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder by two
doctors, who have attributed her condition to the stress of living
in a home with someone who has a severe brain injury.
Veterans Affairs paid for her counselling — then cut her off in
September as part of a sweeping reinterpretation of its guidelines.
'I am heartbroken'
She no longer fits one of the criteria
for receiving funded treatment — that treatment be "short-term."
Veterans Affairs also questioned her diagnosis.
are now paying $600 per month for counselling and hoping the backlog
in the provincial system eases.
"I am actually heartbroken,"
said Veronica Jones. "I think the department is disconnected from
the reality of what goes on in injured veterans' households."
The couple has fought repeated battles with Veterans Affairs for
the better part of a year over the support provided to Shane Jones.
Their confrontations with the bureaucracy have been heated at
Shane Jones's family says his file was red-flagged:
Veterans Affairs staff filed a complaint with the RCMP that went
nowhere. Now, the Canadian Human Rights Commission is looking into a
claim of discrimination filed against the department by Shane Jones.
A scandal triggers a policy shift
If the department knows
"there are minor children living in the house with someone who has
severe PTSD, then they should be covering the children," Veronica
The department tightened the rules governing when
families can receive subsidized counselling after facing a firestorm
of criticism in the summer of 2018 over the case of convicted killer
Christopher Garnier, the son of a former soldier who was given
taxpayer-funded PTSD treatment because of the murder he committed.
Former veterans minister Seamus O'Regan, blindsided by the
revelation, asked for a review. That's when the bureaucracy kicked
The current minister, Lawrence MacAulay, has asked
his officials to be as flexible as possible in deciding whether
family members qualify.
As part of a year-long review, the
department has notified 133 families, in writing, that their
counselling benefits may be discontinued, according to numbers from
The figures do not include, however, the
number of families who were informed directly by case workers or
counsellors that their mental health services had been cut off.
That's a very different picture from the one Michel Doiron, the
department's assistant deputy minister of service delivery, offered
MPs last week when he told the Commons veterans affairs committee
that no one had been cut off.
"When people say they've been
cut off, nobody has been cut off," he said on Thursday.
individuals did receive information saying that we're giving you an
additional year and working with you to say either you stay in the
program, or, if you're no longer eligible based on the criteria of
the program, we will work with you to find a mental health
Challenged during the hearing by Conservative
MP Dane Lloyd, Doiron later said he wanted to "clarify" the remark.
He confirmed that "some people had been refused" coverage
but said he could not tell the committee whether the individuals'
bills had been covered by the department previously.
cases where family members were cut off, Doiron said, the mental
health services they were receiving could not be linked to a
veteran's recovery. According to the department's guidelines,
taxpayer-funded treatment for family members must help a former
soldier — a rule that clearly was not followed in Garnier's case.
Kim Davis of Lawrencetown, N.S., found out she had been cut off
when she arrived at her counsellor's office for a session in
She said she was astonished that Doiron would
say what he said before the Commons committee.
"Oh my God,
I've met him," said Davis, whose husband, Blair, is a former soldier
who has struggled with mental health issues since returning from
"He knows my husband is a veteran with PTSD. He knows
I receive counselling as a result of my husband's PTSD."
Davis has spoken out on behalf of veterans' families in the past and
has appeared before Commons committees on three other occasions. She
has even pointed federal officials to international research on the
impact a soldier's PTSD can have on spouses and children.
Veterans Affairs "constantly touts that their decisions are based on
research and backed up by research," she said.
policy ... goes against every research paper out there."
Veterans claim victory at Ste. Anne’s Hospital, continue fight
for better health care in Quebec
Post WWII veterans gain access
to Ste. Anne's Hospital
By Kwabena Oduro Global News
Posted February 28, 2020 5:57 pm
VVi 01 Mar 2020
Anne’s Hospital in the West Island, has opened up more beds for
veterans. The move will allow those who served after the Second
World War to receive care and services at the hospital. Global's
Kwabena Oduro explains
There’s good news for veterans who,
until now, have been denied access to Ste. Anne’s Hospital.
leader in the fight for better care for veterans, Wolf Solkin
recently shared this victory on his Facebook page.
an entente arrived at between the federal and provincial government
to permit eligible long term care to those categories,” wrote Wolf
Solkin, a Second World War veteran and the acting president of the
Veteran’s Committee at Ste. Anne’s Hospital.
Solkin refers to include post-Second World War vets who did not
serve overseas, as well as vets who served with the allied forces,
peacekeepers, those who participated in Cold War deployments and
also fought in Afghanistan.
“It took considerable effort from
vets and cooperation between federal and provincial authorities but
this news means vets barred from this special service will soon be
able to benefit from it,” Solkin said.
Thanks to the new
agreement, Solkin says there has already been a change in admissions
at the hospital.
“Even in the last few weeks, we have
received several eligible veterans. The caveat is they must be
eligible for admission under the provincial protocols and criteria
for long-term care beds,” he said.
The CIUSSS de l’ouest de
l’ile de Montréal, that oversees the hospital, told Global News that
more beds are indeed being made available to vets.
think this is a major improvement and a change we have been fighting
for the last several years and it’s a very positive action,” said
Solkin began fighting for better treatment for vets
not long after the federal government transferred management of the
veterans’ hospital to Quebec in 2016. After complaining about the
province’s standards of care, Solkin finally launched a class action
lawsuit in February 2019.
“The judges that initially reviewed
our situation recognize that we are dying here every day, which is
natural at our age. We came here to die, not to live, but to die
with dignity, with care, with respect — which I maintain we’re not
getting,” he said.
In a statement, the health care agency
told Global News they will not comment on the allegations raised by
Solkin concerning the class action lawsuit because a judicial
process is currently underway.
“We reiterate that providing
our veterans and residents with the care and services to which they
are entitled is always at the forefront of our priorities,” the
The court date for the class action law suit has
been set for November 2020.
Scathing critique of the way veterans with PTSD are treated
February 24, 2020 05:47 pm
VVi 29 Feb 2020
15th day of testimony at the Desmond Fatality Inquiry in Guysborough
The day was spent with Dr. Paul Smith, the
family doctor who treated Lionel Desmond in 2015 and 2016, and
signed off on his firearm license application.
He delivered a
scathing critique of the way veterans with PTSD are treated.
Dr. Smith told the inquiry they lose their jobs and community.
“They’re treated like lepers. They’re cast to the wind, and it’s
all about pills and psychotherapy. It’s pathetic,” he said. “There’s
a large percentage of guys that no longer want to deal with the
system at all, and they’re the ones that I see, and they’re probably
the most volatile and dangerous people in the world, in terms of
risk to themselves.”
He said many of them lose trust in the
military stress clinics they’re sent to after discharge; they feel
betrayed by the armed forces.
Dr. Smith said veteran’s affairs
doesn’t treat them like they’re valuable either and, whether that’s
a resource issue or an attitude, many take it personally.
Near the end of the day, inquiry lawyers asked Dr. Smith how
treatment could be improved.
“It’s all about allowing people
to develop relationships,” he said. “Without relationships they
commit suicide, it’s that simple.”
Testimony continues Tuesday.
Veterans Affairs taking a harder line on therapy for families of
former soldiers, ombudsman says
Veterans Ombudsman Craig Dalton
says the shift in approach caught him off guard
Brewster · CBC News ·
Posted: Feb 23, 2020 4:00 AM ET | Last
Updated: February 23
VVi 29 Feb 2020 db
Dalton, as chief of staff for Task Force Kandahar, speaks to
reporters July 15, 2010 in Kandahar. Dalton, now the veterans
ombudsman, says Veterans Affairs has been quietly restricting
therapy funding for veterans' family members. (Bill Graveland/The
Veterans Affairs has been quietly tightening
access to the mental health services received by families of injured
former soldiers, the country's veterans ombudsman said Friday.
Craig Dalton, who said his office has received a flood of
complaints about the policy shift, added the new restrictions were
imposed not through a change in policy but more subtly, through a
reinterpretation of the existing rules by the bureaucracy.
"The more restrictive interpretation will result in less support for
family members," said Dalton, who has been seeking answers from the
department after receiving calls from worried family members — some
to his direct line. "We've heard from a number of folks over the
last 48 hours."
Some families have been told in writing, he
said, that their counselling and support services will cease. Others
have gotten phone calls from Veterans Affairs staff to explain how
things are changing.
Dalton said it all caught him off guard.
"We were aware they were looking at changing the interpretation
of the policy. We didn't know exactly what that would be like," he
A half-dozen families who've been told their mental
health support was being limited or scaled back have reached out to
CBC News, refusing to speak publicly for fear of retribution.
Veterans Affairs' policy of paying for the counselling of family
members came under intense fire in the summer of 2018, when it was
revealed that a convicted killer was getting taxpayer-funded
treatment for the PTSD caused by the murder he committed.
Christopher Garnier had never served in the military, but his father
was a member. He was sentenced almost two years ago to life in
prison for the second-degree murder in 2015 of an off-duty Nova
Scotia police officer, Catherine Campbell.
No policy change,
According to the department's policy, last
updated in 2010, Veterans Affairs must meet three conditions when
paying for family members' counselling: the treatment must be for a
short period of time, a veteran must be relying on the family member
as a caregiver and the services being funded "must focus on
achieving a positive outcome for the veteran, not on treating a
family member's own condition."
CBC News asked the department
if there had been a change of policy or if the existing guidelines
were being more strictly enforced.
Veterans Affairs spokesman
Josh Bueckert insisted the policy had not changed but, in an emailed
response, did not say whether the department's interpretation of the
rules had become more strict.
He did say family members who
require long-term support or mental health treatment for their own
conditions will be assisted in "locating other resources" by
Veterans Affairs staff.
Backlog of applications for veterans'
benefits grows by the thousands
A spokesman for Veterans
Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay stood behind the department,
saying the policy "has remained fundamentally the same" for a decade
and the bureaucracy has been told that it must be applied with
"Minister MacAulay has reminded his officials
that the policy is to be applied as flexibly as possible, with the
goal of ensuring that our veterans and their families receive the
care and support they deserve," said John Embury, the minister's
Dalton said both he and and his
predecessor, Guy Parent, have argued that the existing policy is too
"We've called and recommended for family members
to have access to mental health support in their own right," he
deserve better': Veteran shares frustration over claim application
Veterans waiting too long for benefits and aid
A major back log within Veteran Affairs is affecting benefits
and aid for thousand of former service members. CTV's Jeremie
Charron has more
Videojournalist/Producer Jeremie Charron
Published Friday, February 21, 2020 7:42PM CST
VVi 29 Feb 2020 db
WINNIPEG -- A growing number of veterans
across the country are being affected by a major backlog within
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
In an annual report, the
veterans ombudsman highlights the issue which is keeping thousands
of former service members waiting to find out if they qualify for
benefits and aid.
Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton is calling
on the federal government to come up with a clear plan to eliminate
the backlog within Veterans Affairs.
Most recently, Veterans
Affairs Canada revealed that there were 44,000 applications waiting
to be processed at the end of September, which was a 10 per cent
increase from six months earlier.
WINNIPEG VETERAN SPEAKS OUT
Winnipeg’s Cameron Jones wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on
Feb. 8, expressing his frustration with VAC.
Jones spent 37
years serving with the Canadian Armed Forces. Last June, he
submitted a claim for ongoing treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress
“It took them six weeks to send me the information
package," said Jones. “I then booked an appointment with my
specialist, he did his part of the report, I did mine, and the
specialist sent it off and it took them basically 32 weeks to say
‘no you filled out the wrong paperwork’”
Jones was told he
needed to reopen a claim he started in 2016, which had taken two
years to complete.
Now – he said he’s forced to start over
and wait once again.
“Thirty nine weeks on average, so
they've already wasted 32 weeks, now I've got the new paperwork,
which they don't have yet because the specialist has to fill it out,
once they receive that, the 39 week clock starts,” said Jones.
He said the delay has impacted him financially and emotionally.
'WE KNOW THERE'S MORE TO BE DONE': VAC
In a statement to
CTV News Friday, the department said: "The work to improve our
operations is ongoing and the Veterans Ombudsman’s Office (OVO) has
provided valuable insights and recommendations in this report."
"We know there is more to be done – that is why we are changing
how decisions are made and looking to find better ways to
communicate with Veterans and their families."
the Royal Canadian Legion, it’s an area which needs work.
“The turnaround times have to improve, but more importantly for us
the transparency is a must, and that will alleviate a lot of the
calls we get here,” said Ray McInnis, Director of Veterans Services,
The Royal Canadian Legion.
“They need to hire more people or
do what they have to do to get the system better,” added Jones.
He said he’s been able to receive some treatment on his own -
but is adamant changes need to be made, in order for veterans to get
the help they need in a timely manner.
“We served the country
with distinction, we deserve better,” he said.