Progress on Veterans' benefits

Honouring the Veterans who reside in our riding has always held particular importance to me and I do what I can to ensure that our Veterans and their families are receiving the help they need.
As a former member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, I can attest to the fact that the Department and its services needed to be modernized, especially when it came to meeting the needs of our newest and youngest veterans. 
In the course of the last five years, a number of pressing issues, some of which go back decades, have been addressed.  Our Government has established the Veterans Bill of Rights, appointed the first-ever ombudsman for Canadian Veterans, extended the Veterans Independence Program to thousands of low-income survivors, and restored benefits to pre-1995 cutback levels for allied veterans and the inclusion of Korean war veterans and their families.
Today, we are recognizing and supporting those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and doubling the number of Veterans Affairs Canada operational stress injury clinics so that veterans scarred psychologically as a result of their service can get the assistance they need.
On October 6, 2011, our Government announced that enhancements to the New Veterans Charter are now in effect which will improve financial support for thousands of Canadian Veterans while providing full physical and psychological rehabilitation services, vocational assistance, health care benefits, and one-on-one case management to help Veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.
Key enhancements include:
  • A minimum pre-tax income of $40,000 a year for Veterans who are in rehabilitation or, if they are no longer able to be gainfully employed, until age 65;
  • Expanded eligibility for additional monthly allowances (worth up to $1,632 per month, payable for life) for seriously injured Veterans;
  • A new $1,000 monthly supplement to the Permanent Impairment Allowance (payable for life) to help our most seriously injured or ill Veterans who are unable to return to suitable, gainful employment; and
  • New payment options for Canadian Forces members and Veterans receiving a disability award. While these men and women still have the choice of a lump-sum payment, they are also now able to receive a disability award as either an annual payment (with interest) over any number of years they choose, or as a combination of a partial lump-sum payment and annual payments (with interest).
We realize that there is more to be done and that is why I appreciate meeting with Veterans and their families to learn of their stories and how we can continue to find ways to make their lives better. 
I would like to thank our Kelowna and Oyama Legions and all their volunteers for their great support for our Veterans.  Recently my wife and I had an opportunity to attend appreciation dinners hosted by the Legions and it was a great opportunity to say “thank you” to our veterans for their years of service and sacrifice. 
Canadians have a deep sense of responsibility and gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country and made it the best place in the world to call home.  The annual Remembrance Day poppy drive will be starting soon and I encourage everyone to show their appreciation by buying and wearing one. 
If you are a Veteran or a family member of a Veteran and need more information on the benefits and services available, please visit www.veterans.gc.ca.  If you cannot find the answers you are looking for, or require assistance, do not hesitate to contact my office at [email protected].
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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