Ottawa expected to unveil $1B veterans package News Staff

Date: Wed. Apr. 6 2005 6:00 AM ET

Veterans groups that have long decried their treatment by the federal government could soon have something to cheer about, CTV News has learned.

Veterans Affairs Minister Albina Guarnieri is set to help with a $1-billion overhaul of the Veterans Charter.

Sources tell CTV Ottawa that the plan calls for:

  • Financial support for veterans undergoing rehabilitation;
  • Uninterrupted health coverage for veterans and their families;
  • Income support for veterans who can’t work;
  • Job training and job offers in the public service for those who can work; and
  • A tax-free lump sum payment of up to $250,000 for veterans with disabilities.

For Sean Bruyea, who fought for eight years to get Ottawa to pay for his medical treatment after he was discharged from the military, the promise of assistance is long overdue.

“There was no assistance provided whatsoever in negotiating the soul-destroying process,” he told CTV News of his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder — a disease that leaves veterans fearful, depressed and unable to work.

Now, he welcomes the about-turn.

“I think that’s wonderful,” he said. “Anything that can help the veteran.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs Canada has already briefed MPs and veterans groups on the package, ahead of briefings with military personnel next week.

Legislation is expected later this month.