Author Topic: Return to Pension for Life?  (Read 14873 times)

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Offline Teager

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Return to Pension for Life?
« on: September 12, 2016, 10:42:05 »
This comes from Facebook don't have a link at the moment. There has been some disagreement with the Pension and the CVA. Here is an update from Major Ret Campbell.


Please Share
Mark C.
THE PENSION UPDATE

I recently attended the latest gathering of the Minister of Veterans' Affairs {MVA) Policy Committee in Ottawa on 31 Aug 16. Significant progress was made in terms of further refining/defining the Committee's recommended Financial Compensation model for the Minister's decision and subsequent efforts within Cabinet and Treasury Board. All done with a view towards eliminating the current financial gap that exists between recipients of the former Pension Act (PA) versus those disenfranchised under the New Veterans Charter (NVC}. We are confident that with further adjustment to offsets/clawbacks, the propsed financial compensation model will be more generous than any previous package in terms of net income. We are proposing a compensation model that is in everyone's best interests and that is fair/equitable to all.

Unfortunately, it has now become abundantly clear that one dissenting member of the MVAC's Policy Committee is dead set against the otherwise unanimously recommended proposals of the majority. This individual is currently ignoring the committee's non-disclosure agreement to cast single-sided aspersions against the work of the committee and even the motivations of is volunteer members. This is all extremely distastefull and unfortunate, but I for one will not stand for a rogue individual compromising the incredibly important work of the all-volunteer Policy Committee simply because he self-styles himself as some sort of "singular saviour of the veteran cause". Ego aside, there is qute frankly little apparent substance in this individual's ceaseless insistence upon a different path. "Equality in National Recognition of Sacrifice" is the buzz-phrase he tosses around with no real meaning and no coherent basis in achievable reality - at least not as proposed by the dissenter. However, this is simply my equally personal view, and you are therefore free to side however you see fit.

I believe that the Policy Committee is recommending a reasonable, affordable and achievable solution to the problem of multiple, modern-day veteran compensation schemes within Canada. You will all be able to judge for yourselves when the recommendations and proposals of the Policy Committee are briefed to the next Stakeholder's Summit on 5/6 October 2016. Until then, I suggest that we all turn down the rhetoric and cease casting personal aspersions based on what amounts to simple disagreement between a Committee of 10 Veteran advisors and one dissenting member.

No matter their other interests or affiliations/representations, all of the Policy Committee members are CAF veterans volunteering their time (and their family time) for the best interests of the Canadian Veteran community. As such, all members of the Policy Advisory Committee are equally deserving of respect and "air time". It is NOT a venue for ego-challenged members to quantify the comparative value of their inuries based on severity and cirucumstance. "Dick-measuring" in this instance is both unecessary and ultimately ill-advised. The only people it pleases as those who would see fit to deny Canada's veterans their due. This, among other reasons, is why the in-fighting must cease. It simply feeds those who would do us harm.

FWIW, I stand by the recommendations that I and my fellow veterans on the Policy Advisory Committee have developed. We honestly believe that our recommended meaures represent a fair and achievable way ahead for both the injured veteran and the taxpayer.. This is not to say that our recommendations will be adopted in whole or part, as the government has other imperatives to consider at the same time. All we can do is put the best possible recommendations forward to our elected officials for their consideration and action.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 10:47:16 »
Well, that's gonna start a fine internet discussion......


Policy Advisory Group Members

•Michael Blais, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
•Major (Retired) Mark Campbell
•Brian Forbes, National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada
•Michel Houle, Veterans UN-NATO Canada
•Brigadier-General Michael Jorgensen, Canadian Armed Forces
•Master Warrant Officer (Retired) William MacDonald
•Luc O’Bomsawin, Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones
•Brigadier General (Retired) Joe Sharpe
•Commodore (Retired) Andrea Siew
•Brad White, Royal Canadian Legion
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 10:52:13 by Lightguns »
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

Offline Teager

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 10:59:29 »
I believe the real discussion will come on Oct 5/6 when everyone can see the recommendations that have been made. The real question will be will the government adopt those recommendations?

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 11:02:24 »
Funny, how I knew exactly who he spoke of.  Here's the other side of the story, he is calling for a Protest action on 4 October against the committee:

NVC- Pension Act promises - Smoke, mirrors, bait and switch.

Turning point.

I am in consultation mode, feeling betrayed on principle at a whole new level. Not sure we should remain on advisory level, please comment yeah or nayyy below.

I founded the CVA on Equality in recognition of National Sacrifice standards and as a proud Royal Canadian -RCR I can remember back this past decade, watching the war in TV, struck with the horror of recognizing names as Operation Medusa passed. Since 2010, as an advocate, I would bear personal witness to the great sacrifice shared by widows, mother, father, spouse and children and extended families when the catastrophic consequences consumed a life or imparted war time wounds on mind, soul and body and was profoundly disgusted that, with the support of the nations stakeholders, the disrespectful pain and suffering award replaced pension for the wounded and the previous pensions for wife and child eliminated.

We discussed the Lump Sum Award today, once again, there was consensus that the award was sufficient and I was reminded that it was the major stakeholders platform in the past to compare the lump sum award to tort law. I recommended that the LSA be at least raised to the 500 thousand dollar threshold, that this would differentiate between negligence at the work site and getting shot.... but I was over ruled. I think I even heard one person laugh. They do not respect your sacrifice enough to fight for the ideal that national sacrifice is more worthy than negligence at the work site, that getting blown up or taking a bullet for queen and country is no different work site NEGLIGENCE, that you, my friends, your sacrifice is equitable only a tort law statistic.

We are the only dissenting position. I believe that equating national sacrifice on the killing fields of Afghanistan to an negligence injury at a safety regulated workplace in Canada disrespects national sacrifice, that the bar mist much higher, that it is not a money grab and was profoundly disappointed that there was no support. ZERO!

Re establish the life time pension. Lets be clear, their was only one lifetime pension to e-establish an the promise was clear and supported by the opportunity of choice between what was or the LSA. I believe the Pain and Suffering Award as was provided to me should be accorded to those who fought on the Panjawaii as decade ago and the multitudes of those who have been wounded since and as Founder of the CVA fighting on the equality issues, we have consistently presented a platform that restored the balance through choice of a revised Lump Sum Award -now denied- or the option to return to the existing provisions accorded through the Pension Act through a simple harmonized approach that would provide monthy payments when the enforced LSA expired through monthly increment and continue to life.

I asked fo this option to be put forward... denied.

There must be equality in recognition o national sacrifice and, having fought so hard at that level, having explained exactly what equality meant to the PM and dozens of MPs, after attaining promises at the highest levels, going to Trenton last year to bear witness to Mr Trudeau's grandoise announcements....

Bullshit!

The promise to RE-ESTABLISH the life time pension has been corrupted, there will be choice, just not to what we were led to believe prior to the election.

BAIT and SWITCH!

If you were accorded a LUMP SUM AWARD, if you believe that you were promised the choice to return too the pension act, to have the same standard of respect as do I and thousands of other veterans? Did you think that you sacrifice was equal to mine? That your wife's pain and sacrifice was equal to mine. Did you think that a small pension for your kids as was for mine and thousands of other disabled mom and dad vets would be yours?

THINK AGAIN....

I have fought, my God, I have fought so hard to have our voices heard on equality, to ensure those of The RCR to whom I passed the torch and others who proudly carried the banner into battle would have the same level of respect for their sacrifice as do I and everyone else prior to 2006.

But it is the same old, same old...

AS the ONLY stakeholder at the table, then and now, that fought for equality on this issue, I can tell you there will never be consensus support at the Policy Advisory Group, they do not not support the equality principles the CVA and/or, I suspect, want to use this opportunity to create THEIR version of the life time pension, not one that was promised, not one that we have fought so hard for these past five years without wavering.

You must understand, after the teleconference today, I/the CVA will always stand alone at the table.

If I return to it, frankly. Same old, same old, whats the point when there so many contesting equality and, get this, now declaring a portion of the pain and suffering award is income replacement and must be taken into consideration for future economic support.

I hope, however, that we will not stand alone on Parliament Hill October 4th or at Riding offices across the nation October 4th.

I do not like being lied to. Or being used as a prop on a scooter.

I will consider resigning position on Advisory over the weekend, I am not keen on having my name or the Canadian Veterans Advocacy's name being sucked in the dross of consensus when we are adamantly opposed. Feel free to offer any advise on this level.

This will be a political decision, the decision will be rendered there, not at the advisory level.

This is where we must fight

OCTOBER 4TH PROTEST...

I will rep a new ops order this weekend, first they dick us over on SISIP ELB equality now, with the "same old same old" golly gee, what did we Reeealllly mean, they are going to dick up over on THE promise, the Sacred Obligation promise.

For that, they deserve NO allegiance.

Equality between the PENSION ACT PAIN AND SUFFERING AWARD and the LUMP SUM AWARD will be the focus of the protest on October 4th.
 Mike
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 11:08:56 »
Lightguns

You were not the only one to figure it was the "usual suspect".    :facepalm:
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Offline Teager

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 11:12:58 »
I find it rather insulting that he wants a protest on Oct 4th the day before the information is to be released. At least let Veterans have the information first.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 11:17:41 »
Funny, how I knew exactly who he spoke of.  Here's the other side of the story, he is calling for a Protest action on 4 October against the committee:

Here is a link to the info on this protest, for those who may be wondering what it is about:

SISIP Equality in Recognition of National Sacrifice Protest
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 11:18:10 »
Lightguns

You were not the only one to figure it was the "usual suspect".    :facepalm:

I am actually a little surprised.  After being declared persona non grata by O'Toole before the election, he campaigned like a good liberal trooper during the election.  He got his reward of a committee spot and I expected a good slurping lap dog would be his response.  I think he believes he is bigger than the government which makes him a very loose cannon.  Maybe a second banishment will result?  I will wait for the package and then see. 
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 11:23:08 »
I find it rather insulting that he wants a protest on Oct 4th the day before the information is to be released. At least let Veterans have the information first.

Makes one wonder doesn't it.  Not at all logical.  If you are going to protest, at least know what you are protesting.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 11:27:13 »
So basically, If I am reading this right, he wants everyone who was disabled under a SISIP covered injury to have the same benefits as those disabled in an operation theatre where SISIP does not cover them.  What would be the purpose of SISIP then?
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 11:34:09 »
Makes one wonder doesn't it.  Not at all logical.  If you are going to protest, at least know what you are protesting.
Not if you want your version of events out before the version you don't want people to buy into #PutYourSpinOnEarly
I find it rather insulting that he wants a protest on Oct 4th the day before the information is to be released. At least let Veterans have the information first.
It could be worse - there was also some FB canvassing of opinion about protesting linked to the Invictus Games.
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Offline Occam

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 12:04:37 »
So basically, If I am reading this right, he wants everyone who was disabled under a SISIP covered injury to have the same benefits as those disabled in an operation theatre where SISIP does not cover them.  What would be the purpose of SISIP then?

No, the issue is that ELB is about to be bumped from 75% to 90% of pre-retirement salary.  However, for those still on SISIP, SISIP does not have the authority to increase the income loss replacement threshold to 90%, and nobody can order them to do so.  VAC doesn't even know who you are if you're on SISIP.  That's why those on SISIP should be brought over to VAC where they would be entitled to the ELB increase.

I believe the real discussion will come on Oct 5/6 when everyone can see the recommendations that have been made. The real question will be will the government adopt those recommendations?

Blais has already stated that he is the lone dissenter on the return to lifetime disability pension issue - which leads me to believe that the committee has wheeled and dealed something less.  The gov't promised an option to return to a lifetime disability pension - why are we letting them off the hook?

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2016, 12:25:40 »

Blais has already stated that he is the lone dissenter on the return to lifetime disability pension issue - which leads me to believe that the committee has wheeled and dealed something less.  The gov't promised an option to return to a lifetime disability pension - why are we letting them off the hook?

I'll wait and see what the libs roll out before I decide whether we were short changed or not.

Personally, I don't like Blais. In three years he caused more dissention amongst Veterans than the RCL ever has.

YMMV.
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Offline gryphonv

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2016, 12:43:06 »
No, the issue is that ELB is about to be bumped from 75% to 90% of pre-retirement salary.  However, for those still on SISIP, SISIP does not have the authority to increase the income loss replacement threshold to 90%, and nobody can order them to do so.  VAC doesn't even know who you are if you're on SISIP.  That's why those on SISIP should be brought over to VAC where they would be entitled to the ELB increase.


A recommendation from my VAC case manager with this issue is to apply for ELB from VAC even if you are on SISIP Manulife Voc Rehab. Approval should be all but guaranteed if you are accepted for Voc Rehab. Under the old rules there is overlap, so while SISIP is paying you 75%. VAC's top up to 75% is 0, so they don't pay you anything. But after the new rules kick into effect. VAC's top up will be 15%, to bring you to the stated 90%.

One issue I see from this is how does SISIP Manulife account for the cash. If they look at the 15% as extra income, you could get clawed back 50% of it, as their rules on extra income is clawed back at 50% until you reach 100% of your pre release salary and then it's clawed back at 100%.

Most likely it won't be affected by the claw back, but time will tell.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2016, 13:02:54 »
You already know more about the situation than I do.  What I know about it was explained to me, as I'm personally not in that situation so I haven't had the need to go into it in-depth.  I hope it's addressed, but it does illustrate how not all the different scenarios for veterans are being examined and consequently people are being left out in the cold with regard to policy changes.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2016, 13:30:29 »
Thank you for the discussion, and posting your comment today gryphonv.

I'm one of the rare pers receiving SISIP ELB vice VAC's version.
So I've been reading this discussion with interest.
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Offline prairefire

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2016, 14:46:40 »
I am starting to have difficulty separating the actual issues from the personalities involved. Admittedly my perspective is limited. I left the CF in 1989 and I am what is best called a hybrid as I receive a 20% pension and have received a 65% award. I would prefer to have received just pension and I still feel that since I was out of the FOrces long before the NVA I should be covered only under the pension act. However that is my position and I believe strongly that I should not be under the NVA at all because many of the benefits are not available to me. Yet I also understand that lifetime pensions are not the only issue in play.

What I am having problems with is that how can I protest what I know nothing about except gossip and hearsay.....??? Many of the other benefit related issues are also worthy of consideration and that there may have to be several different approaches to resolve this.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2016, 15:00:44 »
Because that's what the government does. They force their agenda by making impossible for clients to understand where we're headed.
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Offline MCG

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2016, 15:05:22 »
The gov't promised an option to return to a lifetime disability pension - why are we letting them off the hook? 
Maybe, when those with a vested interest got into the details, it was found that a full return of the old pension was not worth the lump sum and other benefits that came with the NVC.  Maybe guys like Mark C found a middle ground that is better for us.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2016, 15:10:09 »
Yeah, I've been watching this for a few days now and trying without success to get a straight answer out of Mike Blais. I don't beleive for a second that Mark Campbell et al have sold other vets down the river. For those who don't know him, Mark was a PPCLI Major. He's receiving benefits under the New Veterans Charter for the loss of both legs and a testicle. He's one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas lawsuit. He knows exactly what is achievable and how it's going to be achieved. I consider the burden of proof to be on Mike Blais in this one, as he's making the extraordinary claim that he alone at that table is pushing for the right thing to happen. I suspect that it's more a matter of him insisiting on certain labels and terms being applied that the others won't go for. I suspect he's looking solely at that part of the benefit that is deemed to be for pain and suffering and saying it needs to equal the total historical payouts under the pension act, even though that was also an economic benefit.

I've asked him directly, and am still waiting for an answer. Either way we'll find out on the 5th. I'll be there.
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Offline Teager

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2016, 16:48:30 »
Either way we'll find out on the 5th. I'll be there.

Keep us posted. I bet it's going to be a very interesting weekend.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2016, 17:18:52 »
Have your say

“Have Your Say” is an engagement tool to further involve Veterans, stakeholders and Canadians in a constructive dialogue on Veterans’ issues and priorities.

Your input will help ensure we are moving in a direction that will make a real and substantial difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Read the records of discussions from the Stakeholder Summits and VAC's six advisory groups and join the discussion!

To help answer those questions, a stakeholder summit and six Ministerial advisory groups have been established. Read the records of their discussions and tell us if you agree, disagree or have a brand new idea. Join the discussion.


All members for each commite can be found on the link above, by clicking on the appropriate advisory committee.

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2016, 19:42:28 »
Good link John.

Thanks
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2016, 22:24:46 »
I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2016, 23:45:53 »
That article popped up on my feed today. While I generally try to avoid making snap judgements, i was pretty certain who was being referred to when I read through it. Good to see that my spidy senses are intact.
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Offline loadiecc150

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2016, 23:51:09 »
Just like prairiefire, I am both new and old charter! I would prefer the monthly pension hands down; however, I will wait to see the options on 4 Oct.

 I am an open supporter of Mike Blais, he is fighting for what he believes, as do I about the return to the life long monthly pension.

Currently it's quite confusing to navigate the system and what's available. One needs a case manager who is willing to point us in the right direction as opposed to what seems the majority who keep it all a secret!

As some of you are aware I am well over the 100% limit, I also have numerous claims in appeal and two in first stage. I know things will end up in a positive way; however, it takes FOREVER to get there!

Even some of the case managers aren't fully aware of how the systems works. Why isn't there a definition for PIA levels and what are the criteria to get to those levels. I know I'm messed up pretty bad, both physically and mentally. I'm betting I will only get the lowest level of PIA with the supplement (hopefully).

Now things will change yet again, God, I hope for the better!

The way I see it, I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL WHO FIGHT THE FIGHT FOR US. I don't care how it gets done as long as it gets done!

I was a Regular member for 20+ years and my family and I suffer for those 20 years on a daily basis. Why should I have to fear living in poverty because of something that wasn't my fault? We all need to feel normal and not live pay cheque to pay cheque! Also when we turn 65, we shouldn't lose The benefits we currently receive, they should continue, just like the old charter is! Life long pensions.

Rant over, my brain is spent!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2016, 06:42:54 »
Like many here, I am Old System and NVC and would prefer a monthly pension.  I will wait til 6 October before storming the gates. 
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2016, 19:52:57 »
Looks like the Minister wants everyone to be patient or as some think  the Liberals are waiting to see the outcome of the Equitas lawsuit.

Quote
Hehr: Be Patient With Veterans Lifelong Pension

Matt Carty
September 23, 2016 12:30 pm
Hehr: Be Patient With Veterans Lifelong Pension
WINNIPEG – Canadian veterans are being asked to be patient when it comes to the re-establishment of their lifelong pension.

Canada’s Veteran Affairs Minister Kent Hehr was in Winnipeg on Friday to meet with new office employees and service members.


He was asked about his party’s election promise to bring back the lifelong pension for veterans after it was eliminated in 2006 by the former Conservative government in favour of a controversial lump sum payment.

“We’re going to continue to work towards having a clearer option for a lifetime pension and I ask people to be somewhat patient,” Hehr said.

There is currently a lawsuit making its way through the courts in British Columbia that was filed by six severely disabled Afghanistan veterans in 2012.

It was halted in 2015 during the election campaign with the hopes that a new government would create new legislation on lifelong pension for veterans, but as of June the lawsuit is back on.

A judge is expected to make a decision some time in the fall.

“We can’t run government by lawsuit, but we can implement good public policy and that’s exactly what we’re doing and I can say we are very proud of the work we are doing,” Hehr said.

The lack of action on the government’s part has not sat well with veterans who preferred the lifelong pension over the lump-sum.

Winnipeg military reservist Harvey Gingras says he took the lump sum of about $93,000.

“You get a large check, does not last very long. Especially people who have PTSD or any psychological problems – impulses spend it. Especially the younger ones who are getting out now don’t really know how to manage funding,” Gingras said.

http://www.inews880.com/syn/107/161101/hehr-be-patient-with-veterans-lifelong-pension

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2016, 15:27:27 »
Have to add, Maj (Ret'd) Campbell is a stand up guy (no pun intended so none of you smartasses out there...) so I'll take his word for it. Note, the lawsuit is still on, so he obviously feels there is more to be done.

As for SISIP/ELB: SISIP is not regarding the top-up to be income, and therefore will not be reducing their payments in any way.

That's a direct quote from my case manager from about 20 minutes ago, and she seems pretty switched on.

Now, the old Log O Fin side of my brain says that computers do funny things and are only as good as the data we put into them...sooo I will wait and see for:
1) The calculation from VAC;
2) The actual payment from VAC; and,
3) if Manulife will be asking for income statements the month after.

If anyone on SISIP out there has not applied for ELB, get your *** in gear and fill out the paperwork. You have nothing to lose. I applied for ELB upon release (2013) and was granted it, but since SISIP fulfilled the 75% payment, no top-up.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2016, 14:45:46 »
October 6th has come and gone and I was left with the impression from earlier comments in this thread that there was likely to be some sort of either stupendously horrible announcement or wondrous achievement. Especially with some individuals comments calling for a protest...........

So after all the donner and blitzen what real news is there?? :argument:


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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2016, 14:55:36 »
If you're holding your breath- don't.

The wheels of government turn extremely slowly, particularly on this.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2016, 18:35:54 »
Was thinking the very same thing today. Nothing in the forums or news related.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2016, 14:22:37 »

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2016, 14:46:00 »
I received a letter from Manulife about the top up yesterday and where to apply.  Not sure that is news but it is news!
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2016, 15:14:41 »
Not exactly sure what progress or decision this explains.

http://m.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2016-10-13/article-4662487/KENT-HEHR:-Working-together-for-veterans/1
Based on this:
Quote
... I had three main objectives going into the Summit. I wanted to reach a common understanding of the challenges we face; I wanted all participants to hear and discuss the progress the Advisory Groups are making; and I wanted a solid understanding of their best advice and recommendations to help inform the government about the best way forward.

I am confident that we accomplished that.

(...)

I made a commitment to veterans’ organizations and stakeholders - and to all Canadians - to be more open and transparent and to engage them in a dialogue on how we can better support veterans. ...
... here's the plain text:
-- Held the big meeting 5-6 October - hoped to come away with everybody being on the same page, everybody updated on everyone's work and understanding exactly what participants wanted.
-- "I am confident that we accomplished that."
-- Minister promised to be open/transparent in working with them on how to improve the system.

I'd love to hear from anyone with better information from the meetings themselves -- especially given some social media ... static around what did or didn't happen.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2016, 15:50:05 »
To me, it sounds like nothing got done, and it was just more political double speak.

I fully expect the next thing to happen is that, based on the "wonderful feedback" given at the meetings, the GoC has decided it's necessary to convene another dozen committees to REALLY put the boots to that dead horse for the next 18-24 months. Gotta beat it, and beat it, and beat it again.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2016, 17:34:50 »
I was there at the summit in my capacity as a member of one of the six advisory groups (mental health in my case). What do you guys want to know? I'm happy to answer any questions about it, within the scope of what I can speak to.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2016, 18:54:28 »
I was there at the summit in my capacity as a member of one of the six advisory groups (mental health in my case). What do you guys want to know? I'm happy to answer any questions about it, within the scope of what I can speak to.

Tanks! Brihard,

What has been said about the return to lifelong pensions (how and when) and what is the status of the 90% top up and how will it be applied.?
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2016, 21:58:29 »
I was there at the summit in my capacity as a member of one of the six advisory groups (mental health in my case). What do you guys want to know? I'm happy to answer any questions about it, within the scope of what I can speak to.

So 60 days to answer medical questionnaire is normal for VAC?  With new medical staff? Of course I'm mad, this is my 3rd kick in over 800 days. The RCL has hurt my efforts more than helped....and I'm an ordinary member!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #39 on: October 14, 2016, 06:32:05 »
Thanks, Brihard!

Meantime, here's what the Vets' Ombudsman says he thought of the summit:
Quote
Last week, I participated in the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Stakeholder Summit in Gatineau, Quebec. It had broad engagement from Veterans’ organizations and advocates from across the country. I was particularly impressed by the situational analysis and recommendations presented by the Ministerial Advisory Groups on Policy, Service Excellence, Mental Health, Families, Care and Support, and Commemoration as well as status updates from the leaders in the room.

As General Vance emphasized, we need to put as much effort, structure and support in place for serving members and their families at the time of release as we did at the time of recruitment. We also need to recognize that this is not a “one-size-fits-all affair” – particularly for the approximately 1,500 members who are medically released each year.

If you are told to leave the military because you can no longer meet the occupational requirements of the job – known as ‘universality of service’ – then the government has an obligation to ensure that you are supported and are able to transition to civilian life successfully.

The first thing that ought to be done is to make sure that the CF Pension of all releasing members is waiting for them when they take off their uniform for good. For many, this is the main contributor to financial security post-release.

Over the last two years, my team and the DND/CF Ombudsman’s team have worked together to fix the system. In our project summary “Joint Transition Project - Closing the Seam”, we map the transition process and highlight to government the top three things that need to be done now to make a difference: applying once for all VAC benefits and having a navigator help members through the process; reducing wait times for the Canadian Forces pension; eliminating duplication and overlap between the different programming offered by DND and VAC.

VAC also needs to improve how it delivers services to Veterans and their families. I recently submitted a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs with suggestions on how VAC can modernize its service delivery and make it more Veteran-centric. I support change that would improve wait times for benefits, and I believe that there are other ways to improve the backlog.

I urge Parliamentarians to use all of their political will to reduce program complexity for Veterans. This would go a long way to improving service delivery so that Veterans get the services and benefits they need.

I and members of my team remain committed to ensuring fairness for ill and injured Veterans so that they obtain the care, support and compensation they need. While it is recognized that there are challenges, what is needed is constructive discussion and a focus on the end game. Now is the time to get it done.

That was also the broad consensus that I found amongst Summit participants and I am pleased that DND and VAC are working diligently together towards the desired outcome of successful transition. I will continue to monitor progress in this area and push for change.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2016, 06:41:53 »
Thanks, Brihard!

Meantime, here's what the Vets' Ombudsman says he thought of the summit:

This is a political hockey puck that everyone is going to make careers and expense accounts out of stick handling the rest of their lives without ever crossing the blue side on either end.  Every one of those so and so's that stood on that stage and announced the NVC should be dragged through the streets and set upon by their victims.   
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2016, 10:08:27 »
Every one of those so and so's that stood on that stage and announced the NVC should be dragged through the streets and set upon by their victims.
Sadly, that'd be a pretty looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong line ...  :(
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2016, 13:10:46 »
What has been said about the return to lifelong pensions (how and when) and what is the status of the 90% top up and how will it be applied.?

90% top up- already done for pure ELB cases. I'm not 100% sure for SISIP cases, but anecdotally a bunch of people have gotten it already. Tehre is some very jusitfied griping that people who are totally and permanently disabled deemed by SISIP still ned to apply for Rehab through VAC to get the remaining 15%. I have not heard of anyone being denied it in these circumstances, but it may hapen and if so will be the next stink bomb to drop on the department. SISIP remains a big issue, and general consensus is it needs in its entirety to die in a fire.

Pension option Nothing confirmed yet. The policy group presented their suggestion, and it's essentially a blended model of the two systems. I will not do it justice, but I'll try to get the gist of it. Picture two columns- Pain and suffering, and economic loss. Pain and suffering, in their vision, would include both the existing lump sum, and would essentially bring back the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance, tax free, with easier access. There would also be an enhanced caregiver benefit probably analogous with the attendance allowance. Critical Injury Benefit would go away. On the economic loss side, ELB would continue to exist, but would be tax free like the old pension act payments. Income offset would be reduced to incentivize return to work. I believe ELB would continue past 65, and RISB would cease to exist.

There's more to it than that, but those are the broad strokes as best as I can recall. One critical element that they explicitly included was that formulas would be structured to ensure that any vet receiving benefits under such a new, blended system would make NO LESS than they would have under the strict pension act system. That would ensure nobody was worse off than they were before and would restore pension act equity. Note that these are recommendations from one of the advisory groups tasked to generate them, this is not a government position. It is intended to be achievable for budget 2017. It is not a simple restoration of a pension as it previously existed, but in terms of providing a stable monthly income for serious disability, the elements as I saw them presented combined to achieve that. Again, I'm not presenting it particularly well here because I don't have access to the slide deck used.

So 60 days to answer medical questionnaire is normal for VAC?  With new medical staff? Of course I'm mad, this is my 3rd kick in over 800 days. The RCL has hurt my efforts more than helped....and I'm an ordinary member!

Sorry man, that's outside my arcs. I do know that VAC is chronically running behind on applications and assessments, and that it will stil be some time before increased staffing allows them to get back to hitting their service standards. I'm not making excuses for them, they're in a sorry state. It's an acknowledged reality that ramping capacity back up will take time.

Thanks, Brihard!

Meantime, here's what the Vets' Ombudsman says he thought of the summit:

Parent is basically saying all the same stuff everyone has been saying anyway. I don't thinkhe has much of an audience these days. However he did allude to a good key note speech from Gen Vance in which he heavily emphasized the need to properly address the transition to civilian life. The 'Vance Sends' that we took away from it is he intends to create a commanded unit rather than a bureaucracy in order to deal with transition, and to get it to the point where there is a smooth handoff where the day you take off your uniform, your benefits start. He got asked about simply not authorizing releases until pensions and benefits are set up, the answer that came back as best as I can tell is that it's not viable due to an organizational inability to hold that many people in limbo, occupying PYs. A disappointing answer, but the one he had to give. CAF however IS invested in sorting this one out as aprt and parcel of the 'looking after our people' theme.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2016, 17:35:07 »
Tanks! Brihard!
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2016, 10:53:34 »
WRT SISIP/ELB, VAC has told me that they are aiming for the payments to be done for end-Oct for those that were already approved for ELB. Caveat: that depends on people sending in the info they have from their pay stubs OR the very plainly worded letter that SISIP and VAC sent out with all the info and numbers on it needed for the calculation in a timely manner. I have to say, My VAC Account is so simple to use, especially for something like this. Scan, upload, confirm, done your part.

I think SISIP needs to go away as well as it just ends up being a barrier to so many VAC programs. I have been deemed "permanently disabled" by SISIP but VAC doesn't have the same criteria and it just ends up confusing so much crap.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2017, 11:47:35 »
One of the questions asked on Trudeaus tour. Not much of an answer.

Quote
Trudeau faces tough questions as he kicks off cross-country tour

Prime minister faces range of questions at Kingston, Ont., town hall on 1st leg of outreach trip


Another woman seemed to choke up as she criticized the Liberal government's handling of benefits for veterans.

"You promised the injured veterans you would restore the lifetime disability pension," she said. "So when are you going to be restoring these lifelong disability pensions for our injured? And stop pursuing this in court as [you promised]?" she asked.

"As you say, there are still more things to do and we are going to continue to work with veterans groups, continue to work with advocates, continue [to work with] MPs of all stripes," Trudeau responded.

"We're going to continue to work on keeping not just an electoral promise we made to Canadians, but a promise and commitment that every government makes to the parents and the families of young men and women who sign up for our forces."

The woman later stood up and complained the prime minister had not answered her questions.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-tour-grassroots-canadians-1.3932162

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2017, 19:23:27 »
Quote
Next week's federal budget will re-iterate the Liberal government's campaign promise of returning to injured veterans to a system of lifetime pensions, government sources told CBC News on Friday.

But there will be no dollar figures attached to the assurance in Wednesday's fiscal plan — something the sources say will change later this year.

The political trial balloon, which is also being reported by Radio-Canada, came on the same day the Veteran Affairs department issued a statement reminding the public, and the politically-charged veterans community in particular, that lump-sum injury payments to wounded ex-soldiers will increase on April 1.

Ottawa revives Harper-era legal arguments to block pensions for injured vets
In addition, those who've already received the contentious disability awards going back to 2006 will be eligible for extra cash.

It is the latest in a flurry of mostly behind-the-scene activity involving the sensitive veterans file.

The sources said the decision to reference the campaign promise in the budget, without providing dollar figures, was meant to ease growing unrest in the veterans community.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr was before a House of Commons committee last week, where he was decidedly circumspect about whether the government would fulfil the life-time pension commitment in next week's budget.

More at link.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vets-lifetime-pensions-1.4030353

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2017, 21:01:57 »
If it's not costed, it doesn't exist, and is easy to ignore. I won't hold my breath. Remember,  this is the same gang that engineered the NYC in the first place.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2017, 21:59:26 »
If it's not costed, it doesn't exist, and is easy to ignore. I won't hold my breath. Remember,  this is the same gang that engineered the NYC in the first place.

True but they have now committed to a timeline. Although no old system pension is coming back so who knows what this will look like when they draw it up.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2017, 11:05:12 »
Not surprised. The message has been fired at them loud and clear from the loud/obnoxious parts of the veterans community that there had better be something in this budget, or they will face a political revolt from a group that made a lot of loud and painful noise against the last government. Bear in mind this is also still against the backdrop of the Equitas lawsuit on almost exactly this issue, and which is presently awaiting a court decision that should allow it to go to trial.

It won't be a reversal to the Pension Act system. That was floated in December 2015 at the VAC stakeholders conference and was almost universally shot down. NVC has a lot of good components; really ONLY the lump sum is hated- the rest offers a lot. We will in all likelihood be seeing a hybrid system that will preserve the bulk of the current benefits, and will enhance monthly payments in order to achieve equity with the Pension Act payments. Some of the usual suspects will piss and moan about 'economic' benefits versus those for 'sacrifice', but thwere it really matters - bottom line dollars in pockets - I believe the government recognizes that post-2006 vets need to:
- Not be disadvantaged in comparison to the Pension Act;
- Have every opportunity to go through vocational rehab and education so they can have a meaningful future;
- Be compensated for the economic impact of restricted career growth (E.g., blown up as a Pte/Cpl instead of retiring as a WO/MWO /Maj)
- See appropriate comepsnation along similar lines for family members who are stuck being primary caregivers instead of pursuing their own careers.

I think we're going to see another layer of band aid for this one. NVC version 2.4, when what we need is a version 3.0 clean rewrite. Right now the total suite of possible benefits include but aren't limited to: Disability award, Earnings Loss Benefit, Permanent Incapacitation Allowance, Critical Injury Benefit, SISIP LTD, Retirement Income Security Benefit, Reserve Force Compensation, Employment Insurance disability benefits, Canada Pension Plan - Disability; Disability Tax Credit; Canadian Forces Pension payments...

It's baffling and dizzying. And a lot of these offset against each other, reduce each others' amounts, so on and so forth. It's brutal. Hopefully they can get an interim fix in place here, and then embark on a longer term 5 to 10 year analysis across all government benefits and services with an eye towards a comprehensive rewrite. There are differing definitions for ans assessments of 'disability' for things like VAC awards, CPP-Disability payments, and the disability tax credit. And we haven't even touched provincial level yet, which in some cases will add another layer. It's a goddamned mess.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2017, 16:24:09 »
The short version is that in an attempt to (successfuly) trap the Conservatives, the Liberals screwed vets in the balance. I won't go so far as to claim this was on purpose, more likely the law of unintended consequences at work. None the less, they have an obligation to undo the damage. As I've said elsewhere,  standing on the mound of dirt beside the hole you dug doesn't qualify as occupying the moral high ground.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2017, 23:24:14 »
Not surprised. The message has been fired at them loud and clear from the loud/obnoxious parts of the veterans community that there had better be something in this budget, or they will face a political revolt from a group that made a lot of loud and painful noise against the last government. Bear in mind this is also still against the backdrop of the Equitas lawsuit on almost exactly this issue, and which is presently awaiting a court decision that should allow it to go to trial.

It won't be a reversal to the Pension Act system. That was floated in December 2015 at the VAC stakeholders conference and was almost universally shot down. NVC has a lot of good components; really ONLY the lump sum is hated- the rest offers a lot. We will in all likelihood be seeing a hybrid system that will preserve the bulk of the current benefits, and will enhance monthly payments in order to achieve equity with the Pension Act payments. Some of the usual suspects will piss and moan about 'economic' benefits versus those for 'sacrifice', but thwere it really matters - bottom line dollars in pockets - I believe the government recognizes that post-2006 vets need to:
- Not be disadvantaged in comparison to the Pension Act;
- Have every opportunity to go through vocational rehab and education so they can have a meaningful future;
- Be compensated for the economic impact of restricted career growth (E.g., blown up as a Pte/Cpl instead of retiring as a WO/MWO /Maj)
- See appropriate comepsnation along similar lines for family members who are stuck being primary caregivers instead of pursuing their own careers.

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed to read this comment.  Those "loud/obnoxious" parts of the veterans community aren't advocating for a return to the Pension Act.  They're advocating for a return to the Pension Act Disability Pension to replace the woefully inequitable Disability Award.  I have not heard of anyone wanting the whole NVC tossed and the Pension Act suite of benefits to be reinstated.  Even the "loud/obnoxious" veterans acknowledge that there are some positives in the NVC that could be even better.

When you say that a return to the Disability Pension was almost universally shot down by the stakeholders in December 2015, it's important to put that into context.  The VAC Policy Advisory Group of stakeholders is comprised of:
  • Michael Blais, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
  • Major (Retired) Mark Campbell
  • Brian Forbes, National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada
  • Michel Houle, Veterans UN-NATO Canada
  • Master Warrant Officer (Retired) William MacDonald
  • Major-General John Milne
  • Luc O’Bomsawin, Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones
  • Brigadier-General (Retired) Joe Sharpe
  • Commodore (Retired) Andrea Siew
  • Brad White, Royal Canadian Legion

Out of that group, only one member remains steadfast that the restoration of the Disability Pension is what the government promised during the election, and he remains committed to holding them to that promise.  Despite this lone voice, the Group made some recommendations that completely dodged the issue of the Disability Pension, and dealt with issues that primarily concerned the most disabled veterans.  The group also recommended that no veteran should be any worse off under the NVC than they would have been under the Pension Act - something that is quite impossible to achieve given the delta between the Disability Award and the Disability Pension - but doesn't address exactly how to achieve the state of a NVC veteran (any/all of them) being no worse off than under the Pension Act. I wish I could be more specific about what the Group's recommendations were, but it appears that the Record of Discussion for that meeting is no longer present on the VAC website, so I'm going from memory.

To date, I haven't seen anything from Policy Advisory Group explaining why a return to a Disability Pension was shot down so quickly.  I'm not a strong numbers guy, but my back-of-a-cigarette-pack calculations don't see a return to a Disability Pension as being an undue burden on the government coffers, given that the liability is spread out over decades rather than in one given year for a Disability Award.  Dealing with members who have already received a Disability Award should also be a relatively simple exercise in accounting to switch them back to a pension system.  I have no idea why the Group insists on blurring the lines between compensation for non-economic losses (pain & suffering) and income replacement compensation.  Treat each as a separate benefit, and stop trying to mix them together.  That's what the legal system does.

To me (and to a lot of other veterans, from what I see), the Policy Advisory Group sold us out.  For what, or why, I'm not quite sure - considering that the Liberal election promise focused on a return to disability pensions - and there's only ever been one disability pension to return to.  The Policy Advisory Group only had to recommend that the government keep its promise - it didn't even involve having to bargain for something that hadn't already been promised by the government.

edited to add "almost"
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 23:59:05 by Occam »

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2017, 10:29:37 »
http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1465981-canadian-veterans-advocacy-blais-removed-from-policy-group

Canadian Veterans Advocacy: Blais removed from policy group

ANDREA GUNN OTTAWA BUREAU - May 5, 2017

An outspoken disabled veteran is fuming after what he claims was his unfair removal from a committee that provides guidance to government on policy issues.

Michael Blais, president and founding member of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, was informed by Veterans Affairs deputy minister General Walt Natynczyk on Monday he was being sacked from the Veterans Affairs ministerial policy advisory group formed by the Liberal government in 2016 for Facebook posts he made months prior.

During a stakeholders meeting in Ottawa in June and August, Blais, who served as an infantryman for 17 years before a major back injury forced him out of service, said he made several posts on Facebook group he runs for veterans about what happened during the meetings, specifically surrounding discussion on reestablishing lifelong pensions.

In 2006, the New Veterans Charter replaced lifelong pensions for injured and disabled veterans with lump sum payments. During the 2015 election the Liberal government promised to bring back that option for veterans but have, to date, failed to act on this promise.

The 2017 budget reiterates the promise, saying the government will provide an option for injured veterans to receive their disability award though a monthly payment for life, rather than a one-time payment of $360,000, but many argue this still does not bring veterans who retired after 2006 in line with benefits covered by the old pension act.

“Discussions got pretty intense. It was clear I was alone and when they came through with a policy on consensus that didn’t reflect what we had been looking for, which is the equality in recognition of national sacrifice, I said that on Facebook,” Blais told the Chronicle Herald. “Veterans should be aware that other groups that the government has chosen to serve are not reflecting what they want.”

The Facebook post that Blais said got him removed from the committee vaguely references the overall discussion, but doesn’t specifically refer to comments made by any members of the committee.

“We discussed the lump sum award today, once again, there was consensus that the award was sufficient <...> We are the only dissenting position,” it reads in part. “As the ONLY stakeholder at the table, then and now, that fought for equality on this issue, I can tell you there will never be consensus support at the Policy Advisory Group, they do not not support the equality principles the CVA and/or, I suspect, want to use this opportunity to create THEIR version of the life time pension, not one that was promised, not one that we have fought so hard for these past five years without wavering.”

Blais said he was to told Monday that other members of the committee, which include both active and retired military members, as well as representatives of groups like the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada, Veterans UN-NATO Canada, Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones and the Royal Canadian Legion, felt uncomfortable speaking while he was being so public about the discussions. Blais was not invited to the most recent meeting, which took place on Wednesday, two days after he found out he was being removed.

“I believe every policy advisory group should be full transparency and that every veteran we represent should be fully aware of what’s transpiring at these levels,” he said.

A formal letter received by Blais Friday, signed by the deputy minister, reiterated concerns that other committee members were upset by his Facebook activity and confirms his termination, citing the terms of reference for the committee which state members must respect the “trust and confidentiality” of deliberations and refrain from sharing “privileged/protected information or information of a personal nature.”

“I’m very upset because I never signed any confidentiality regulations nor did we ever speak about any confidentiality regulations,” Blais said “Had there been a confidentiality regulation that would have puzzled me and I would have declined.”

Blais said he feels he was targeted not only for his attempt at transparency, but for being an outspoken advocate and often dissenting from the opinions of others in the group.

A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs would not comment on specific exchanges between members, but confirmed that the department was formally asked by other members of the ministerial policy advisory group to remove Blais after he had repeatedly violated the terms of reference for the group by posting the contents of their meetings online.

“We value the contribution of all our advisory board members and want to ensure that they are able to engage on these pertinent topics in a safe and confidential environment,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2017, 02:46:05 »
One wonders just how much the many and varied advocate groups are in support of actual vets? It seems as tho, IMHO, that they talk the talk but lack walking ability or desire. Any others sense this?
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2017, 10:26:39 »
As someone who has been heavily involved in Canadian Veterans Advocacy (CVA) activities for several years, I'm personally getting a little tired of the lies and innuendo being spread about the organization.

I have personally invested hundreds of hours in direct assistance to veterans who have needed assistance from VAC.  This includes initial applications for disability benefits, encouraging veterans to pursue Departmental Reviews and VRAB appeals through Bureau of Pensions Advocates, and in general providing information about how to deal with VAC and other agencies that provide support that veterans need.  I know many other members of CVA who provide the same support.

I have personally seen the post that Michael Blais made that raised the ire of the other members of the VAC Policy Advisory Group.  The post was made directly to CVA membership, and was not public.  That said, there is absolutely nothing in the post that even remotely violates the confidentiality of "deliberations".  Nobody was mentioned by name.  The details that were revealed such as the fact that the Lump Sum Award (LSA) was discussed, and that the consensus (except Mike Blais) was that the LSA was deemed sufficient should not be privileged information; in fact, the veteran's community at large OUGHT to know what their stakeholder representatives are taking to the table during these discussions.  If the stakeholders were upset that it was revealed that their organization's position was against an increase to the LSA, or a return to a lifetime Disability Pension system, then perhaps they ought to re-evaluate whether they are truly representing the wishes of the members of their organizations.  The terms of reference for the Policy Advisory Group states:

Quote
The work of the Policy Advisory Group will be conducted in a manner that fosters openness, communication, fairness and respect.

If members cannot speak publicly about the positions other organizations are taking for or against various measures, then where is the openness?  The Records of Discussion for the Policy Advisory Group are a joke.  There is little to no detail about any discussion concerning the appropriateness of the amount of the Disability Award, or about any discussion concerning a return to the Disability Pension - only to a pension "option", whatever the hell that is.

Fact of the matter is, Mike Blais has, from the outset, demanded openness and transparency from the Policy Advisory Group.  The other members clearly want to operate in a cloud of secrecy, which raises a huge red flag about exactly what these other veterans group's agendas are.  If the other members of the PAG get their knickers in a bunch over the fact that Mike Blais commented in his post that he was fairly sure someone laughed when he proposed an increase in the LSA to $500K, then Mike Blais isn't the problem - the problem is with the individual who clearly shouldn't have the privilege of speaking on behalf of veterans, and can't conduct him or herself accordingly on discussions of a matter very important to wounded and injured veterans.  Mike Blais has always been completely up-front and open about what position he's taking to the table - the other organizations represented at the PAG cannot say the same.

My personal opinion?  The other members of the PAG complained using a hopelessly weak argument concerning Blais' openness with CVA members to oust a threat to their secretive ways of doing business.  If your veteran's organization can't come to the table with full disclosure about what their agenda is, then you don't belong at the table.
+1,200 « Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 10:32:45 by Occam »

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2017, 12:44:17 »
Mike Blais picked a political side by jumping on the ABC Vets platform for the last election. He didn't get his way with the Liberals, and is now salty about it. Zero levels of sympathy. A real veteran's advocate would have stayed apolitical, and hit all 3 parties on their record without favouring one or another.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2017, 12:56:16 »
As someone who has been heavily involved in Canadian Veterans Advocacy (CVA) activities for several years, I'm personally getting a little tired of the lies and innuendo being spread about the organization.

I have personally invested hundreds of hours in direct assistance to veterans who have needed assistance from VAC.  This includes initial applications for disability benefits, encouraging veterans to pursue Departmental Reviews and VRAB appeals through Bureau of Pensions Advocates, and in general providing information about how to deal with VAC and other agencies that provide support that veterans need.  I know many other members of CVA who provide the same support.

I have personally seen the post that Michael Blais made that raised the ire of the other members of the VAC Policy Advisory Group.  The post was made directly to CVA membership, and was not public.  That said, there is absolutely nothing in the post that even remotely violates the confidentiality of "deliberations".  Nobody was mentioned by name.  The details that were revealed such as the fact that the Lump Sum Award (LSA) was discussed, and that the consensus (except Mike Blais) was that the LSA was deemed sufficient should not be privileged information; in fact, the veteran's community at large OUGHT to know what their stakeholder representatives are taking to the table during these discussions.  If the stakeholders were upset that it was revealed that their organization's position was against an increase to the LSA, or a return to a lifetime Disability Pension system, then perhaps they ought to re-evaluate whether they are truly representing the wishes of the members of their organizations.  The terms of reference for the Policy Advisory Group states:

If members cannot speak publicly about the positions other organizations are taking for or against various measures, then where is the openness?  The Records of Discussion for the Policy Advisory Group are a joke.  There is little to no detail about any discussion concerning the appropriateness of the amount of the Disability Award, or about any discussion concerning a return to the Disability Pension - only to a pension "option", whatever the hell that is.

Fact of the matter is, Mike Blais has, from the outset, demanded openness and transparency from the Policy Advisory Group.  The other members clearly want to operate in a cloud of secrecy, which raises a huge red flag about exactly what these other veterans group's agendas are.  If the other members of the PAG get their knickers in a bunch over the fact that Mike Blais commented in his post that he was fairly sure someone laughed when he proposed an increase in the LSA to $500K, then Mike Blais isn't the problem - the problem is with the individual who clearly shouldn't have the privilege of speaking on behalf of veterans, and can't conduct him or herself accordingly on discussions of a matter very important to wounded and injured veterans.  Mike Blais has always been completely up-front and open about what position he's taking to the table - the other organizations represented at the PAG cannot say the same.

My personal opinion?  The other members of the PAG complained using a hopelessly weak argument concerning Blais' openness with CVA members to oust a threat to their secretive ways of doing business.  If your veteran's organization can't come to the table with full disclosure about what their agenda is, then you don't belong at the table.
I can't say this loud enough, the royal Canadian legion does not speak for the majority of veterans and hasn't for years.  There is literally 1 thing that all veterans agree on and that is a return to a true pension option is the right thing to do. A 25 year old with a full sum payout would receive 750 dollars a month to live on  if he took it until he turned 65. That is not taking care of veterans for life. I don't know Mike Blais, but he is 100% in the right on this issue. If any of these other so called veterans advocacy groups don't understand this, they don't speak for veterans.

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Offline Occam

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2017, 13:04:10 »
Mike Blais picked a political side by jumping on the ABC Vets platform for the last election. He didn't get his way with the Liberals, and is now salty about it. Zero levels of sympathy. A real veteran's advocate would have stayed apolitical, and hit all 3 parties on their record without favouring one or another.

Remember those lies and innuendoes I was talking about?  We got one right here.

Mike Blais didn't jump on any platform.  How do I know this?  I'm an admin on their group, and I can personally tell you that myself and the other admins were instructed to delete any political posts or comments during the election period - and we did so.  Tom Beaver (ABC) was told in no uncertain terms not to post anything even remotely related to ABC in the CVA group.  And he didn't.

Mike Blais criticized the governing party - the Conservatives - from inception until election day 2015.  When the Liberals showed signs of reneging on their election promises, he criticized them too.  There was no favoritism shown to any political stripe.

And to speak to the lengths that his detractors will go to smear him - there's a photo circulating of Mike shaking hands and leaning into PM Trudeau to speak into his ear.  Without context, it looks like a hug.  The context that belongs with it is that Mike was leaning in to remind him - for a second time face-to-face - of his promise to restore the Lifetime Disability pension.  Blais posted the photo the day it happened while quoting his words to the PM, and his detractors spread it without the context.  That's pretty shady behaviour from your so-called brothers in arms.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2017, 17:34:16 »
I can't say this loud enough, the royal Canadian legion does not speak for the majority of veterans and hasn't for years.  There is literally 1 thing that all veterans agree on and that is a return to a true pension option is the right thing to do. A 25 year old with a full sum payout would receive 750 dollars a month to live on  if he took it until he turned 65. That is not taking care of veterans for life. I don't know Mike Blais, but he is 100% in the right on this issue. If any of these other so called veterans advocacy groups don't understand this, they don't speak for veterans.

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Perhaps it's time that serving and ex serving members signed a petition to end the use of the RCL as a Veterans Advocate and have their government status removed? After all, they have lost their way and became a civilian club with pseudo uniform and military airs, Their focus seems to be huge gatherings of civie executive at members expense, protecting their useless poppy copyright and jet setting the Dominion Executive (of civies) around the world on junkets, along with their wives, etc. They didn't support us on life long pensions prior or after the NVC. They flip flop to whatever is more popular with the government. It's all about civies and money to them. Our service is only an excuse for them to exist. Time to remove their title.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2017, 18:36:48 »
Where do I sign.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2017, 20:57:16 »
Where do I sign.
I'm in.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2017, 05:14:46 »
Me as well!
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2017, 07:27:51 »
Has there been a petition started?

I'm don't have enough expertise to word it, but I'll certainly sign it.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2017, 09:00:54 »
I'll sign the petition.

Sadly, the RCL and government know that serving members are restricted from signing such a petition.
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2017, 09:10:37 »
Sadly, the RCL and government know that serving members are restricted from signing such a petition.

For reference,

Signing a Petition? Go or No Go?
https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,109788.msg1215292.html#msg1215292

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2017, 09:56:37 »
I'll sign the petition.

Sadly, the RCL and government know that serving members are restricted from signing such a petition.

Only with regards regulations pertaining to the canadian forces.

This will no doubt set off a lengthy argument about whether the out of date relationship between the legion and the government is related to the Canadian forces or not.

I would guess any petition would have to be written so as to address that directly, but then again.

Im a civilian, as are many (most?) veterans. We can sign what we damned well please.

Alternately, if petitions aren't your thing, you can certainly write your elected representative.

I'm just not clear on exactly what I should be complaining about, except that I don't want the government to be consulting with the local dart and bingo league on matters concerning health care and compensation.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 10:15:06 by Not a Sig Op »
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2017, 10:30:04 »
Sadly, the RCL and government know that serving members are restricted from signing such a petition.

Only with regards regulations pertaining to the canadian forces.

This will no doubt set off a lengthy argument about whether the out of date relationship between the legion and the government is related to the Canadian forces or not.

I would guess any petition would have to be written so as to address that directly, but then again, im a civilian, as are many (most?) veterans. We can sign what we damned well please.


I don't think that issue falls anywhere in a grey area, for a couple of reasons.  The RCL is not mentioned in the NDA.  Even the Legion says it "is a not-for-profit organization funded by membership fees, and operating without government grants or financial assistance from the government for our operations".  How could anyone argue that the issue pertains to regulations concerning the Canadian Forces, when the RCL is at arm's length from government, and membership in the RCL is not mandatory?

If VAC's numbers are correct, there are around 700,000 living veterans in Canada.  Even if you took out serving members, that's still a formidable number.  Couple that with the Legion's claims that fewer than one third of its 270,000 members are veterans.  I think the number of veterans who are fed up with the Legion's ambivalence on the advocacy front is significant.

The above is straying off-topic a little.  But to put it back on track, looking at the current composition of the VAC Policy Advisory Group, at least two out of the nine are RCL members; one is (or was) the Director of the RCL Service Bureau, and the other is the current Dominion Secretary.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2017, 13:04:10 »
Couple that with the Legion's claims that fewer than one third of its 270,000 members are veterans.  I think the number of veterans who are fed up with the Legion's ambivalence on the advocacy front is significant.

Am I right in saying, where things get confusing for non-veterans (i.e., the general public) is that the Pension for Life that many veterans are looking for is in addition to CAF pension and a disability pension, it is a sum of money to supplement those who do not receive a 35-year maximum CAF pension and therefore have a lower income level and cannot work due to health issues.  For me, a $60,000/yr CAF pension and six figure Lump Sum pay-out works fine as I am 50+. I was glad to take advantage (lump-sum) now rather than amassing monthly disability cheques until it was significant.

I wonder how true their statement, "While the majority of our members (Associates) are civilians, it’s important to note that these individuals are the wives and husbands, the sons and daughters, and the grandchildren of Veterans. They have lived with Veterans and are impacted by the care our Veterans receive. They are intimately connected to Veterans and the issues affecting them."

The SOHandbook (http://www.legion.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SOHandbook2013_e.pdf) states that the Service Bureau has been operating since 1926.  Eliminating such an embedded entity will take more than a petition.  I was trying to find a newer statistic but the last one from around 2010 showed that only 25% of retiring veterans accessed Veterans Affairs after their transition interview.



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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2017, 16:00:52 »
Am I right in saying, where things get confusing for non-veterans (i.e., the general public) is that the Pension for Life that many veterans are looking for is in addition to CAF pension and a disability pension, it is a sum of money to supplement those who do not receive a 35-year maximum CAF pension and therefore have a lower income level and cannot work due to health issues.  For me, a $60,000/yr CAF pension and six figure Lump Sum pay-out works fine as I am 50+. I was glad to take advantage (lump-sum) now rather than amassing monthly disability cheques until it was significant.

For clarity's sake, the Disability Pension that I am referring to is the former Disability Pension awarded under the Pension Act, pre-NVC.  The Disability Pension and Disability Award are meant to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life - and not income replacement.  The Manuge class action lawsuit proved that VAC Disability Pensions were not income and should not be clawed back against SISIP-LTD benefits.

The two pensions you refer to above in yellow are one and the same.  Comparing the Pension Act and NVC benefits is a pain in the rear sometimes.  Using your scenario under the Pension Act, sure, you could be in receipt of a $60K/yr CFSA pension, and be eligible for a monthly Disability Pension as well.  However, it's possible there are also three year 1-hook Ptes who are getting $3K/yr CFSA pensions (assuming they qualify for CPP Disability, otherwise they have to wait until age 60 to start drawing CFSA), plus a Disability Pension.  You have to use apples to apples when comparing benefits between Pension Act and NVC. 

The lump sum Disability Award is great for older veterans, who are more likely to be better off financially, with small or no mortgages, and CFSA pension income.  It also works in their favour that because they're older, they would receive fewer Disability Pension payments, so having the money "up front" as a lump sum is advantageous to them.

However, for the younger veteran, who may not be eligible for much of a CFSA pension (if any, due to the CPP Disability rule for getting the CFSA pension before 60), and who is less likely to be well-positioned in life to be financially independent, the Disability Award falls way short of the Disability Pension.

Some of the enhancements made to the NVC have closed the gap for the more seriously injured veterans.  However, there's a huge inequity for mildly to moderately injured veterans when comparing the Disability Award and Disability Pension.  Remember that I'm talking about compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life - not income replacement.

Using myself as an example - I have a 16% disability that was granted under the Pension Act.  I was awarded it when I was 40 years old.  Assuming I live to be 80, that means I will have been given approximately $240K in monthly disability pension payments, not counting annual CPI adjustments to the pension.  I also have a 10% disability under the NVC, and with the initial award and the recent top-up combined, it amounted to a lump sum payout of about $35K.  To compare apples to apples, a 16% rating under the NVC would have been a lump sum of about $57.6K.  That is a HUGE difference in pain and suffering compensation.  Why is my more recent disability worth so much less compensation than my first one?

The VAC Policy Advisory Group recommended some changes that benefit severely injured veterans, which is great.  However, like the Legion, they are against a return to a monthly disability pension, and appear poised to let the government off the hook for their election promise.  The Liberal election promise was "re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans".  I think that has a very clear meaning to veterans who know about the Pension Act - there is only one Pension to "re-establish", and that was the Pension Act pension.  Now it turns out that the government is exploring a "lifetime pension option", but it is based on the amount of the Disability Award.  Well, we already have that - you can take your Disability Award divided up into as many months as you like, but you won't get any more money.  Smoke and mirrors.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2017, 21:15:45 »
So! Isn't the Judge making some ruling in BC!!!

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2017, 22:07:51 »
So! Isn't the Judge making some ruling in BC!!!

Eventually...on the government's appeal to have the case dismissed.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2017, 22:22:05 »
So we wait, wait, wait and wait. The whole process is rigged. Govt always gets what it wants. All the decision makers are Civi's. We lose. Can Hardly wait next election not that it would matter.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #72 on: May 08, 2017, 22:49:37 »
So we wait, wait, wait and wait. The whole process is rigged. Govt always gets what it wants. All the decision makers are Civi's. We lose. Can Hardly wait next election not that it would matter.

Much like Marc Garneau stated Canadians need to know what the actual costs of defense are, so to do they need to know what the actual costs of taking care of our wounded are. That care involves lifetime pensions at a similar pre-release salary.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2017, 22:56:18 »
Much like Marc Garneau stated Canadians need to know what the actual costs of defense are, so to do they need to know what the actual costs of taking care of our wounded are. That care involves lifetime pensions at a similar pre-release salary.

Neither the Pension Act Disability Pension nor any likely future abomination have been tied to salary at release.  The old Disability Pension was based entirely upon degree of disability and degree of attribution to military service.

Now income replacement benefits, like ELB, I believe are tied to the rank on release.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #74 on: May 08, 2017, 23:31:31 »
For clarity's sake, the Disability Pension that I am referring to is the former Disability Pension awarded under the Pension Act, pre-NVC.  The Disability Pension and Disability Award are meant to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life - and not income replacement.  The Manuge class action lawsuit proved that VAC Disability Pensions were not income and should not be clawed back against SISIP-LTD benefits.

The two pensions you refer to above in yellow are one and the same.  Comparing the Pension Act and NVC benefits is a pain in the rear sometimes.  Using your scenario under the Pension Act, sure, you could be in receipt of a $60K/yr CFSA pension, and be eligible for a monthly Disability Pension as well.  However, it's possible there are also three year 1-hook Ptes who are getting $3K/yr CFSA pensions (assuming they qualify for CPP Disability, otherwise they have to wait until age 60 to start drawing CFSA), plus a Disability Pension.  You have to use apples to apples when comparing benefits between Pension Act and NVC. 

The lump sum Disability Award is great for older veterans, who are more likely to be better off financially, with small or no mortgages, and CFSA pension income.  It also works in their favour that because they're older, they would receive fewer Disability Pension payments, so having the money "up front" as a lump sum is advantageous to them.

However, for the younger veteran, who may not be eligible for much of a CFSA pension (if any, due to the CPP Disability rule for getting the CFSA pension before 60), and who is less likely to be well-positioned in life to be financially independent, the Disability Award falls way short of the Disability Pension.

Some of the enhancements made to the NVC have closed the gap for the more seriously injured veterans.  However, there's a huge inequity for mildly to moderately injured veterans when comparing the Disability Award and Disability Pension.  Remember that I'm talking about compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life - not income replacement.

Using myself as an example - I have a 16% disability that was granted under the Pension Act.  I was awarded it when I was 40 years old.  Assuming I live to be 80, that means I will have been given approximately $240K in monthly disability pension payments, not counting annual CPI adjustments to the pension.  I also have a 10% disability under the NVC, and with the initial award and the recent top-up combined, it amounted to a lump sum payout of about $35K.  To compare apples to apples, a 16% rating under the NVC would have been a lump sum of about $57.6K.  That is a HUGE difference in pain and suffering compensation.  Why is my more recent disability worth so much less compensation than my first one?

The VAC Policy Advisory Group recommended some changes that benefit severely injured veterans, which is great.  However, like the Legion, they are against a return to a monthly disability pension, and appear poised to let the government off the hook for their election promise.  The Liberal election promise was "re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans".  I think that has a very clear meaning to veterans who know about the Pension Act - there is only one Pension to "re-establish", and that was the Pension Act pension.  Now it turns out that the government is exploring a "lifetime pension option", but it is based on the amount of the Disability Award.  Well, we already have that - you can take your Disability Award divided up into as many months as you like, but you won't get any more money.  Smoke and mirrors.
The pain and suffering is definitely what is missing from the NVC. I am in a great deal of pain but actually pretty mobile considering all my injuries. I am in the middle of a shoulder claim and while I have reduced range of motion, the the real problem is that I am in pain every day, have trouble falling asleep most night and can't sleep all together some nights. The effects of pain on cognition are pretty well studied but we don't account for the detrimental effects it has and will continue to have for life. I got 10% for my knee but a strong case could be made for the fact that is cost me many times that in lost future earnings (long story) not to mention the mental anguish of having your career held up for years with no hope for advancement.



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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #75 on: Yesterday at 07:01:07 »
Still waiting ...
Quote
A group that advises Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr on policy issues has fired a warning shot over the Liberal government's plan to offer wounded veterans the "option" of lifetime pensions, CBC News has learned.

The panel, consisting of former soldiers and advocates, says the long-awaited overhaul must not be a simple redistribution of money that's already available.

(...)

The policy advisory group, which has acted as Hehr's sounding board, is getting signals that the Liberals mean to simply take the lump sum award and divide it into monthly payments.

In a May 12 letter, the panel warned that such a scheme "does not provide the lifetime financial security" that veterans were expecting from the Liberal campaign promise.

(...)

At the time of the budget, a senior government official speaking on background said the intention is to roll out the revised pension plan later this year and issue cheques to veterans by 2018 — a year ahead of the next election call.

The new plan, however, "would not seek parity with the old pension act," that pre-dates the Conservative changes, the official told CBC News last spring.

At the same time, the letter to Hehr expressed frustration that the advisory panel's recommendations were being ignored and "deliberately pushed down the line for further review and evaluation."

Specifically, the advisers pointed to their October 2016 report, delivered to Veterans Affairs, which suggested rolling a suite of already existing benefits and entitlements, including the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance and Attendance Allowance, into "a single stream of income for life." ...
Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice ...
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #76 on: Yesterday at 09:04:12 »
Still waiting ...Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice ...

Sure, why not?  They're pushing all their other commitments off the to the right and saving themselves a ton of money too boot.  Just like them to screw the guys further.

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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #77 on: Yesterday at 11:42:08 »
 :facepalm:
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Re: Return to Pension for Life?
« Reply #78 on: Today at 08:49:11 »
Still waiting ...Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice ...

Except they were not Conservative changes.  NVC was a liberal plan and they still cannot own it.  That is how far apart we are on this issue, they are still playing the blame game.  This is issue will never be resolved until there is an earnest outcry by a large majority of Canucks.
Done, 34 years, 43 days complete, got's me damn pension!