Reserve vets to get equal access to benefits


HALIFAX – The federal government is going to give veteran reservists access to the same benefits and support that full-time members of the Canadian Forces have available to them to cover injuries from their military service.

Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole says the change announced today in Halifax is about giving respect to reservists, who made up more than 25 per cent of Canada’s mission to Afghanistan.

He says starting next month, veteran reservists will be eligible for earnings loss benefits on the same basis as full-time veterans of the Forces.

The change fills a gap identified by the House of Commons veterans committee in a report last June.

The unequal treatment of reservists has been a sensitive topic for the Conservatives, who have put a politically charged overhaul of the reserve force organization on hold.

National Defence was supposed to have delivered a new structure for the part-time, volunteer force by this spring’s budget, but it likely won’t be done until after the election, scheduled for October.

Canada sent 27,000 reservists to Afghanistan.