I think the Legion is right!
The Legion has launched a national letter writing campaign for improved funeral and burial benefits for Veterans. The cost to us taxpayers would be another 5 to 7 million dollars its been estimated and I think it money well spent. Read their position below.
Mr. Gordon Moore, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, accompanied by Mr. Phil Fredette, the Government Relations Chair of the Funeral Service Association of Canada and Mr. Jean-Pierre Goyer, Executive Director of the Last Post Fund, announced the launch of a national letter writing campaign to request that the government improve the Funeral and Burial Benefits Program for Veterans, earlier today at Legion Branch 469.
“At every biennial Dominion Convention since 2004, the Legion has requested the federal government make some important improvements to the Veterans Funeral and Burial Benefits Program and is dismayed by their inaction,” said Mr. Moore. “There should be no doubt that the issue of adequate funeral and burial support is an urgent issue for Second World War and Korean War Veterans. The majority of these men and women are in their 90s; approximately 2,000 pass on each month,” added Mr. Moore.
“Starting today, we are calling on our approximately 330,000 members to send a letter to their respective MPs highlighting the need for government action to improve the Funeral and Burial Benefits program. All Canadians who wish to support our efforts are encouraged to do so by visiting our website and downloading our letter at http://legion.ca/Veterans/BurialBenefits_e.cfm,” concluded Mr. Moore.
There are three key issues which need to be resolved:
1. The rate of $3,600 provided to cover the cost of funeral services is greatly inadequate and has not been increased since 2001;
2. The eligibility for funeral and burial benefits should be granted to low income Canadian Forces Veterans. These Veterans were prepared to lay their lives on the line for our country and they deserve a dignified funeral. It is the last, and most fitting tribute we, as Canadians, can provide them;
3. The survivor estate exemption was reduced in 1995 from approximately $24,000 to $12,000 as part of Veterans Affairs budget reductions. So this means that a Veteran’s estate if valued at more than $12,000 would not make that person’s surviving spouse eligible for support for a dignified and respectful funeral. This amount is considerably less than the poverty level.
This issue was fully analyzed in the Veterans Ombudsman’s 2009 Report (Serve with Honor, Depart with Dignity), fully supported by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs Report 2011 (Commemoration in the 21st Century), fully supported by 17 Veterans organizations that unanimously endorsed the requirement for immediate improvements in 2011 and 2012; and by the Legion at every one of their biennial Dominion Conventions since 2004 as a high priority issue.
About The Legion
Established in 1926, the Legion is the largest Veterans service organization in Canada with more than 330,000 members. Its mission is to serve all Veterans including serving Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, and their families, to promote Remembrance and to serve our communities and our country.
The Royal Canadian Legion’s Service Bureau Network Service Officers can assist and represent still serving CF members Veterans, RCMP members and their families regarding disability claims or related issues with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB). We provide professional counselling, and representation services at all stages of the disability claim process under the Pension Act or the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, commonly referred to as the New Veterans Charter.