The Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs examines all matters relating to the mandate, management and operation of the Department of Veterans Affairs and of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. The Committee invited the RCMP Veterans’ Association to appear before them to discuss the issue of homeless veterans.

On Monday, February 4, 2019, Ralph Mahar, our Executive Officer, appeared before the Committee to brief them on the Association, and to inform them on the Association’s views respecting homeless veterans, and veterans at risk of homeless; most notably as it relates to RCMP Veterans.

As part of his prepared remarks, Mr. Mahar also addressed the Committee regarding the Veterans Emergency Fund and the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund.

The Veterans Emergency Fund provides financial support to Veterans, their families or their survivors whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation.

The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund provides grants and contributions to private, public or academic organizations to conduct research and implement initiatives and projects that support the well-being of Veterans and their families.

Our Association has been informed by VAC that our Veterans are not eligible for support from either of these funds.

We are writing Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Hon. Jody Wilson-Reybould to petition for revisions to the eligibility for both of these funds to make them available for RCMP Veterans.

Click here to read the prepared statement that Mr. Mahar presented to the Committee members.

We will keep our members advised of our engagement with the Minister of Veterans Affairs as it concerns this matter in the weeks ahead.

In addition to the foregoing, as you know, other benefit-related issues that the Association is petitioning Ministers to revise in our favour include actions to;

  • Ensure that surviving spouses of Veterans receive appropriate benefits by eliminating the marriage after 60 clawback.
  • Increase the Veteran survivor’s pension amount from 50% to 70%.

Both of these issues were included in the Mandate Letter issued by Prime Minister Trudeau to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, directing that they be resolved in favour of military veterans. There is no dual direction to the Minister of Public Safety, nor any documented corresponding commitment by the Government of Canada to include RCMP Veterans and their surviving spouses in the revisions to these policies to make them applicable to our Veterans as well.

I have recently written Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale seeking his commitment to ensure that the “marriage after 60 clawback” is also repealed for RCMP Veterans, and that survivor benefits for surviving spouses of RCMP members are also increased from 50% to 70%.

Click here to see my letter to Minister Goodale.

I will keep you posted of developments we are undertaking here on your behalf, and, of course, always welcome your comments and input which will inform our positions, moving forward.

Best regards,

Steve Walker
RCMP Veterans’ Association