Budget highlights new programs to help servicemen and women adapt to civilian life

Budget highlights new programs to help servicemen and women adapt to civilian life

The 2017 Federal budget included a number of new initiatives the government says will assist servicemen and women and their families who are leaving the armed forces better adapt to civilian life.

A new education fund will be created to allow for more veterans to receive a post-secondary education. This would initially be funded with an investment of $133.9 million over 6 years, then a further investment of $10.3 million every year after. This would apply to veterans who were honourably released after April 1, 2006.

The budget also outlined plans to establish a new Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. Initial funding would be $17.5 million over four years starting in 2018-17, with $9.2 million being added for each additional year.

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A new emergency fund will also be set up. The government said this would be for "times when veterans and their families do not have immediate access to the food, shelter or medication they need." This fund would receive $4 million over the first four years and an additional $1 million every year after that.

The government has also promised to expand the Veteran Family Program to all Military Family Resource Centres including the MFRC located in Charlottetown. The program was initially piloted in 7 MFRCs, but will now be offered in all 32 nation-wide.

Rounding out the new funding to the Departments of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada will be removing the one-year time limit for survivors and spouses of servicepeople who die or become permanently disabled to attend vocational rehabilitation, there will now be no time limit and creating a Veteran and Family Well-being Fund.

The budget also includes funding to enhance the Career Transition Services Program, to create a Caregiver Recognition Benefit for modern-day veterans and establishing a Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund.

The 2017 Federal budget was introduced in Parliament on March 22. As the governing Liberals have a majority government the budget is expected to pass.

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