Advocating for changes to the Veterans Well-being Act
Canadians are hearing more and more about the deep gaps in care and benefits for Veterans. At the forefront of
discussion is the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act (CFMVRCA),
commonly referred to as the New Veterans Charter (NVC), and as of April 2018, renamed the Veterans Well-being Act. The
Veterans Well-being Act is a set of benefits adopted in 2006 without clause-by-clause review in the Parliamentary
Committee and in the Senate because of a perceived view that the Pension Act did not meet the modern needs of many
injured and ill Veterans.
Below is The Royal Canadian Legion’s position on the Veterans Well-being Act (referred to below as the New Veterans
Charter for historical relevance).
The history of the Legion’s involvement in the development of
the Veterans Well-being Act
The Legion and the New Veterans Charter — Then and Now
The Royal Canadian Legion’s position on the Veterans Well-being Act
When the New Veterans Charter (NVC) was established, replacing the Pension Act, it brought a holistic approach to
Veterans’ care and benefits. For many, the Disability Pension did not provide enough for the basic necessities, and the
Pension Act did not adequately look after ill and injured Veterans and their families or facilitate their transition to civilian
life. The NVC offered a number of benefits that the Pension Act did not provide, including additional financial benefits,
disability benefits, rehabilitation services, health services, education assistance, and job placement assistance to address
not only financial support, but also continuing care and quality of life. However, the NVC did not come without its faults.
Recommendations for change were identified early on, yet, despite assurances the Charter would be amended as gaps
were identified, the government left it neglected for five years before making the first amendment. Progress has been
excruciatingly slow since.
After years of little progress and no significant amendments, updates to the New Veterans Charter were announced by
the Government in December 2017, with a specific focus on a new ‘Pension for Life’ option. In addition to a revised name,
new elements of the Veterans Well-being Act were scheduled to be implemented starting April 2018 and January 2019.
It is the Legion’s understanding that the Pension for Life plan will enhance the Veterans Well-being Act and that this will
continue to be a living document that can be amended as needs or gaps arise. The Legion has been vocal in our belief
that while progress is being made, we’re not 100% there yet, including achieving lifelong financial security and definitive
financial support for families.
With the recent implementation of the Pension for Life plan, our greatest concern is exactly what those supports mean
for all Veterans and their families.
The following areas of the Veterans Well-being Act are not well
defined, and details are urgently needed to understand their impact on
all Veterans and their families:
• Information provided by the government around the new Pain and Suffering Compensation, implemented April 1,
2019, is not clear. It is unclear if gaps will remain in a disabled Veteran’s lifelong financial security.
• Information provided by the government around the new Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation, implemented
April 1, 2019, is not clear. Three grades of compensation have been identified, but there are no details on how those
grades are calculated.
• Information provided by the government around the Income Replacement Benefit, implemented April 1, 2019, is not
clear. There are no details on what the adjustments will be for eligible Veterans who have not yet served a full career in
In addition to pressing Government for information on the above areas, the Legion is advocating for renewed assurance
that the Veterans Well-being Act will remain an ‘evergreen’ document, flexible to change as new information comes to
While the Legion continues to support the concept of the Veterans Well-being Act, the Legion is advocating for a full
review and explanation of Pension For Life and continues to press the Government for changes.
For those who served to protect the very rights and freedoms we enjoy today, we owe our Veterans our commitment to
work on their behalf. We stand committed, working to ensure the care and benefits of Canada’s Veterans are the best they
can possibly be and that all governments honour their obligations to the men and women who serve in the Canadian