Just the Facts: How much is spent on Veterans?
Ottawa - 17 September 2010
When one looks at the current Federal Main Estimates, Veterans Affairs has a budget of approximately $3.4 Billion. Now the Government is always throwing dollar values around in the millions and billions so it is hard to really get an understanding of whether something is affordable or not. Just by using the words millions and billions we often miss the scale of the decision that is being made. Did you know that a million seconds equals a little over 11 days whereas a billion seconds is 32 years? (If you don’t believe me do the math.) That certainly provides perspective.
So lets put spending on Veterans into perspective. Did you know that for the last twenty years spending on Veterans has averaged 1.35% of Federal spending. Spending on Veterans has been very stable regardless of which political party has been in power or whether the Government has been in a deficit or surplus financial situation. (One could almost read into those figures that very little attention has been paid to the Veterans Affairs portfolio to see so little change.) This year’s budget is no different as the $3.4 Billion allocated is 1.32% of the estimated $259 Billion the Government is going to spend this year. So is this affordable?
Now let’s put this into the context of something we are all familiar with: the family budget. Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian family’s income for 2007 is $66,550. So 1.32% (VAC’s allocation of the Federal budget) of $66,550 equals $878 or $2.40 per day or basically an extra large cup of coffee per day. For the Federal Government the scale of expenditures on Veterans is equivalent to us buying a coffee a day. Put in this context it begs the question whether we as Canadians should be spending more?
In the upcoming months much is going to be said about changing how Veterans benefits are administered and determining what type of benefits need to be provided. Obviously, there will be a cost associated with some of these initiatives. When those costs are identified, they need to be kept in perspective.
$3.4 Billion is a lot of money, but for the Federal Government it is pocket change. Now you know.
Date Modified: 2013-01-31
Paul Franklin MCpl (ret) said:
Here is another Vet Affairs issue that needs to be addressed I posted earlier on CTV but doing here just to ensure the story gets out. Here is the Education program for Canada's ex serving mbrs: For members who participate in the SISIP vocational rehab program: (ex serving members) Tuition and Book Fees Supported by receipts, 100% of the tuition and book fees required for an approved vocational program will be covered by the VRP. Payments will be made through the use of a sponsorship letter to the vocational institution. Where alternative funding is available for tuition and books, the VRP will top up the difference to ensure the claimant incurs no expense. The total VRP maximum support for tuition costs is set at 60% of projected first year earnings, up to a maximum of $20,000 for the full VRP. Projected first year earnings of the new occupation will be determined by the SISIP VRP Manager based on estimations provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada or another professional assessing organization. Family members and the their spouses: Education Assistance Program "The Education Assistance Program provides post-secondary education assistance to those children of deceased Veterans or Canadian Forces members who have died as a result of military service or who were pensioned at 48% or greater at the time of death. Assistance may be provided for four years or 36 academic months, whichever is less. Qualified clients must enter the program before they are 25 and assistance cannot be extended beyond the year in which they turn 30." So what we find is that the Canadian program is first geared for ex soldiers to not attend a University level courses but vocational education (up to a max of only $20 000). The children of the fallen or wounded soldier (48% disability ... a single amputation is only 45% disability) are allowed to go to University level education provided they enter the program at 25 and are no older than 30. The committment of the government to the fallen Canadian soldier's children is only for 5 years. Here is the new American post 9 -11 education Gi bill. www.huffingtonpost.com/hon-eric-e-shinseki/investing-in-veterans_b_257725.html Change can happen if there is political will. Paul Franklin (MCpl ret) Fundraising Chair Franklin Fund- Amputee Coalition of Canada www.vac-acc.gc.ca/clients/sub.cfm?source=dispen
September 28, 2010 5:30 PM
André Pilon said:
Encore une fois dans le système, ce sont ceux qui se tiennent debout qui écopent ! Merci de la part de tous les anciens combattants Col Pat Strogan ! Et bon vent! :o)
September 27, 2010 11:01 PM
Paul Franklin MCpl (ret) said:
The new changes are a good thing but lets not mix words.... more needs to be done. DVA (Australia) has a budget of 12.1 billion (2009) for 380 000 vets. That works out to an annually of $31 842 per vet. VAC (Canada) has a budget of 3.4 billion (2009) for 218 612 vets. That works out to an annually of $15 552 per vet. The math shows itself. Just for comparison the CF has a budget of 19 billion (2009) for 89 000 mbrs. (reserve and reg force including rangers) That works out annually to $214 600 Of course once you realize the costs involved what is actually spent for each soldier or vet is strikingly small due to the fact that these are total budgets. The CF is fighting and securing Canada's borders here at home and in Afghanistan. The VAC budgets include St Anne's hospital, lump sum payouts, purchases of equipment, VAC employees and the rest. So lets have a debate with facts and make sure we always help those that have helped us. Paul Franklin MCpl (ret) Fundraising Chair Franklin Fund- Amputee Coalition of Canada www.amputeecoalitioncanada.org www.franklinfoundation.ca
September 27, 2010 1:11 PM
Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow-citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of Rome. If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions! Marcus Flav...inius, Centurion of the 2nd Cohort of the Augusta Legion
September 23, 2010 10:57 AM
Old Silverback said:
I see the government is getting ready to make some changes to the current New Veterans Act (NVA). I have heard it is a minor change to allow additional soldiers at lower ranks to receive an income of least 40K per year if they are totally disabled. The lump sum award for total disability is still 278,000- which most of us feel is chump change. It is clear that the current max level of 278,000 is less than one third of what the unfortunate individual received from the City of Montreal (see below). In addition this guy's parents will receive 125K- I assume to take take of him. So an injured soldier is only worth 278K but a civilian is worth almost 1 million? WTF??? "A suburban Montreal police force has agreed to pay $1.5 million to three men who survived a deadly highway shooting rampage by an RCMP officer who was once former prime minister Jean Chretien’s bodyguard. A judge had earlier ruled that Laval police were negligent in dismissing Lucie Gelinas’ complaint about death threats from her ex-boyfriend Jocelyn Hotte. He later shot and killed Gelinas during a wild car chase in north-end Montreal in June 2001. The attack left passenger Pierre Mainville paralyzed from the waist down while two friends, Hughes Ducharme and David Savard, were also seriously injured. Under terms of the settlement, revealed Monday at the Laval courthouse, Mainville will be paid $850,000 for permanent injury, lost salary and moral damages. His parents will be paid $125,000 in damages. Ducharme, who was shot in the jaw, gets $493,000 and Savard will be paid $62,000 after he was shot in the arm." PLease keep a sharp eye on the changes the government is making. I am confident it will be window dressing only and will not address the main complaint of a lump sum award vice disability pension.
September 20, 2010 7:10 PM
Hang in there Pat! We all know about being " stonewalled ! " Thanks for standing up the way you did. It was long overdue! We hope to keep you there in office for us, but in the chance it doesn't, you will always be in our hearts!!
September 20, 2010 5:19 PM
Old Silverback said:
I am very suspicious of the current announcement on Sunday. I read an articlew that some measures need to be passed in the House- that is not required for changes to the New Veterans Act. So, what exactly is being annouonced. As I understand there will be a minium income level of 40K for income support- which will assist our younger, lower ranks but it will not address the main concern of Lump Sum payments. As I understand the government will announce some additional changes to the Lump Sum this week. I am assuming there will be an option to take funds over a period of time vice in a lump sum, which is smoke and mirrors. The bottom line is that if you were released medically from the CF- you lost your job, career and the opportunity to have an increased pension. The government needs to address the economic effects vice the pain and suffering and reinstitute the pension system for those who cannot work full time.
September 20, 2010 4:29 PM
Kevin Vallieres said:
I'm sickened with the latest from Mr. Blackburn... Despite the fact that I "may" stand to gain from the "alleged announcement" by the minister today, Yet I know enough to know that it's still an illusion.. and even if the initiative is passed in parliament, it's still a sham and falls short of everything that the people and former governments of Canada wanted for her veterans. Veterans affairs Canada is sick from head to foot! The department over employs people who are required to process letters of denial, stage reviews of unfavorable decisions, and in essence, they're not employed in the service of veterans but rather in the service to a government that demands of them the strict adherence to policy, that on the surface seemingly exists to provide service and benefits to veterans but in reality, something quite different is happening. There are literally hundreds of thousands of disabled Canadian veterans who over the last several generations, have been denied the pensions they should have been entitled to, and all for the sake of money! And right now, words fail me, ideas of right and wrong come crashing down, and the very idea that this country once had a dept. empowered by parliament to care for those who stepped over the line because they believed it was the right thing to do, is something I no longer believe in. I will always believe that my conviction to serve this country was well placed and I would do it all over again if I had the choice. But I no longer believe in this thing called veterans affairs Canada.. it's a lie and a sham.. and it sickens me to say that I need the pity of such an organization to just -get by in life. I'm fairly new to things with vac but not new enough and not st-st-stupid enough to realize that I'm at the mercy of the merciless.
September 20, 2010 12:56 AM
ca fait depuis 1985 que je me bat avec les forces pour une pension d invalidite et qu ils me refuse a chaque fois pourtant j ai perdue l audition complet de mon oreille gauche durant un exersice militaire a gagetown en 85 pourquoi c est si difficile de ce faire respecter par les forces armees une fois sortie c est comme on existe plus pour eux s.v.p aider moi quelqu un car j ai contacter l ombudsman des veteran et ils ne veulent pas me contacter et meme avec des messages personnes me rappels merci de votre lecture attentive au plaisir d avoir de precieux conseil.
September 19, 2010 11:14 PM
I see that Mr Harper is making an announcement today at 2pm. He can say what he wants, and make all kinds of promises, but it is up to the Minister of VAC to ensure that things are done legally, and that the Pension Act, and NVC, are followed to the letter, and that we get our full legal benefits. That has not been happening for years!! Someone made the comment the other day that the Auditor General should do an Audit. One was done in the 90's, and issues were pointed out, but nothing changed! It can be found on the internet. Let's just see what the "Dept" does to screw Veterans out of these payments! The Minister has the final say when decisions, and changes need to be made, but the Ministers I have dealt with do nothing to fix things! Why does the Government of Canada have this poistion of Minister of Veterans Affairs, and pay someone to fill it, but they don't do their "job". I'd love to have a job where I flew around the country, had photos taken of myself, and never had to confront issues. Just refer it to the Dept, and let them write another BS letter, with "appeal if you don't like the answer" at the end of it.
September 19, 2010 1:09 PM
Johanne St-Amour said:
Support Col Pat Strogan, he is no yes man! Please sign this petition to keep him on as our Ombudsman. S.V.P. Suppotez ol Strogan, C'est un homme de conviction, qui n'a pas peur le parler. S.V.P. signez cette pétition. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/vetspeakingout/blog
September 19, 2010 12:14 PM
The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman replied:
The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman has no affiliation with this website. The fact that the comment is posted does not mean that Office of the Veterans Ombudsman is endorsing this activity.
October 5, 2010 9:51 AM
Pat keep it up! This is what we need to see and for the media to understand. This explanation was bang on. How about a blog on the annuities? Break it down so the common man can understand that the Lump Sum is not working. Again keep the blogs coming and if you can put some faces to names.
September 19, 2010 12:52 AM
Janet Sherbanowski said:
hi pat: I have been in contact with the PR person at the Natinal association of Federal retirees- 165,000 members ( lump sum service awards make my son ineliglble to join but my father 90 can) and have asked them to contact the organizers of the Nov 6 protest. In addition they apparenty have it on their adgenda to contact the OVO re their concerns about former service members under the new veterans charter being ineligible to be considered former federal employees becuse they don't get pensions. In comment about your 3.5 billion dollar budget....it is interesting to note the following facts available on the Crown Corporation: public sector pension investment board website. - Canadian Forces Pension Plan Account In going through their booklet I thought I would look up what the canada forces pension plan is worth...this is created from the net contributions paid by government contributions and service personnel contributions and less payouts each year ...the value in 2010....is 9 billion, 107 million dollars...it increased in value over 2 billion in one year!!!! When we talk about there not being any money available to pay vets pensions we really need to look into the crown corporation holding onto the pension funds...why if there is all this money are vets not getting taken care of? regards and thanks again for your contined service to vets. Janet
September 18, 2010 8:53 PM
armyman 1966 said:
well if this government can hand over six hundred milliion to a country that should be held responsible for the deaths of hundreds of our soldiers,hundreds more who are mamed both physically mentally and emotionally and yet those vets have so much red tape to go through just to get benefits in lump sum form which will be gone very quickly then this government should be ousted to make room for a government who will not give in to pressures from other countries and take care of our own, not just our vets but also the hungry we have in this country and housing those who have no where to live. to make sure our children are safe and fed and clothed and are given the same advantages as other children. what has become of canada. to steven harper.....take a look in our own backyard and see how families are struggling with high taxes that are used to make lives of others across this world better. steven harper ...your legacy in this country is going to be terrible and i can gaurantee that come the next election you and your cronies will not have power and you will be disgraced by the votes the people in canada will do. you should be ashamed of yourself mr harper. i think an ndp government could probably do much better in office and make sure all vets and all families are taken care of. oh by the way .....if this government has six hundred million to give away then i suggest it goes back to the taxpayers who with their taxes put it there to begin with
September 18, 2010 10:39 AM
Tim Andersen said:
Way to break the numbers down into manageable bites. Buy you a coffee next time you are in Edmonton.
September 17, 2010 4:36 PM