43rd Dominion Convention: The Delegates Decide

August 31, 2010 by Legion Magazine
Delegates participate in a business session at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. [PHOTO: JENNIFER MORSE]

Delegates participate in a business session at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
PHOTO: JENNIFER MORSE

LEGEND

Committee abbreviations: DEF—Defence; P&R—Poppy and Remembrance; R&A—Ritual and Awards; VSS—Veterans, Seniors, Service.

Government abbreviations: CF—Canadian Forces; DND—Department of National Defence; VAC—Veterans Affairs Canada.

Legislation: NVC—New Veterans Charter; SISIP—Service Income Security Insurance Plan; VIP—Veterans Independence Program.

*Denotes non-concurred resolution brought back to the floor by a command and approved by convention.

DOMINION EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
1. (QUE; NS/NUNAVUT)—Directs Legion to petition federal government for statutory holiday on Feb. 15 to be known as Canada Flag Day.

VETERANS, SERVICE AND SENIORS
GENERAL

2. (VSS)—Urges federal government to declare Vimy Ridge Day (April 9) a national federal holiday.
3. (VSS)—Asks federal government to regroup all federal ombudsmen into a centralized ombudsmen office with wide-ranging legislated powers, similar to the investigate powers outlined in Ontario’s Bill 102.
4. (VSS)—Urges amendment of government legislation and regulations to give veterans and their dependants better priority access to health care.
5. (VSS)—Recommends Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) take steps immediately to provide sufficient qualified and trained case managers to ensure quality care for veterans.
6. (VSS)—Requests VAC to change its policy of deducting $5 from taxi fare reimbursement claims submitted by veterans and recommends VAC introduce a full refund for taxi fare expenses.
7. (VSS)—Asks VAC to improve veterans care by establishing guiding principles and appropriate training for its case management services.
8. (VSS)—Urges VAC and the Canadian Forces (CF) to improve communication and outreach to reservists and their families.
9. (VSS)—Asks VAC to continue educating its staff, service providers and the public on issues relating to veterans and their families’ right to services, to ensure family members have equitable access to services and continue to develop service models that treat veterans and their families with respect.
10. (ALTA–NWT)—Urges VAC minister to review composition of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) and consider appointing former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the board, particularly when active or former RCMP members appear for a hearing.
11. (MAN/NWO)—Asks VAC to designate a year as The Year of the Military Spouse, and promote it with distribution of pins and other memorabilia.
12. (NB)—Urges VAC to allow veterans who feel they still have a claim resulting from Agent Orange use at CFB Gagetown, N.B., to submit their claims to VAC for further consideration, even though the compensation program is considered closed.
13. (NB)—Asks VAC to review its communications and letter-writing policies to ensure comprehension for veterans who don’t have Internet access, possibly by having a copy of the particular Act, article or Table attached to the letter.
14. (NB)—Urges VAC and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) to apply “benefit of the doubt” in favour of applicants.

DISABILITY BENEFITS
15. (VSS)—Recommends that the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) offset of VAC disability pensions be terminated and that Treasury Board recognize CF members have different needs than those of public servants.
16. (VSS)—Recommends CF members have their annual reduction in coverage of paid-up death benefits delayed until age 66 to bring it in line with that of public servants.
17. (VSS)—Calls on VAC to recognize exposure to Agent Orange or Depleted Uranium as significant determinants of disability.
18. (VSS)—Urges improvement to the New Veterans Charter’s disability awards program so that eligible veterans and serving CF members benefit from a yearly adjustment to their award.
19. (VSS)—Asks the Department of National Defence to revamp SISIP so that the full cost of disability insurance for CF members is covered by the government and that, further, VAC no longer be required to align its programs and benefits with SISIP.
20. (VSS)—Recommends VAC ensure disabled veterans receive a fair income by setting the Earning Loss Benefit at 100 per cent of earnings while members are rehabilitating and searching for employment, and urges VAC to use a probable earnings approach when determining what the member’s career income would have been, with the minimum salary set at the level of corporal, and to continue to provide the benefit after age 65 or use the benefit as a basis to calculate the veteran’s pension; and increase the Supplementary Retirement Benefit and make it non-taxable.
21. (VSS)—Urges VAC to develop options for paying out the disability award and provide appropriate funding for veterans and their families to hire financial advisers.
22. (BC/YUKON)—Asks the government to seek reciprocal arrangements with other Commonwealth countries so that Commonwealth veterans receive equivalent services and benefits regardless of where they may settle in the Commonwealth.
23. (ONT)—Recommends a death benefit be granted to service personnel killed in action, regardless of marital status, and that such benefits be retroactive.

VETERANS INDEPENDENCE PROGRAM
AND HEALTH BENEFITS

24. (VSS)—Recommends VAC rationalize and streamline its provision of benefits and communicate with recipients in a simple and understandable manner.
25. (VSS)—Asks that the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) be made available to members of the RCMP.
26. (VSS)—Urges extending VIP benefits to frail veterans, irrespective of their having established a disability entitlement.
27. (VSS)—Recommends VAC cover groundskeeping and maintenance costs for veterans on VIP, living in condominiums or co-operative retirement housing.
28. (VSS)—Seeks the development of national guidelines for the use of chemical restraints in long-term care facilities, and urges that such restraints be used only as a last resort.
29. (VSS)—Asks VAC to work closely with veterans’ organizations as well as provincial and municipal authorities to define criteria for the allocation of beds to veterans to ensure their needs are met, and that such criteria include provision for accommodating spouses of veterans when appropriate at all facilities.
30. (VSS)—Urges VAC to create a transitional care program to ensure the dignified care for veterans transitioning to or from acute care.
31. (VSS)—Asks VAC to seek partnerships with provincial health authorities and contract facilities to provide a common level of palliative care for veterans, and recommends VAC establish arrangements to provide palliative care for veterans in community facilities and that all programs be well publicized.
32. (VSS)—Supports quality long-term care for veterans by asking the VAC minister to affirm the department’s responsibility for providing such care across Canada, and asks VAC to provide an update on the 25 recommendations made in June 2003 by the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
33. (VSS)—Asks VAC to find incentives that would encourage long-term care facilities to hire permanent, as opposed to part-time staff.
34. (VSS)—Urges VAC and the CF to cover the costs of professional bereavement support services for families of deceased members and recommends VAC extend VIP benefits to surviving spouses and families for at least one year, and tailor VIP services to meet families’ needs.
35. (ALTA–NWT)—Asks VAC minister to review current and future usage of beds in long-term care facilities, and develop a long-term solution prior to closing any beds.
36. (ONT)—Requests VAC add the cost of treatments for macular degeneration to their schedule of payments for health benefits.
37. (ONT)—Urges VAC to recognize immediate family members of veterans who reside with the veteran and who serve as their escort to qualify for all benefits and entitlements provided under the ‘escort fee’ policy.
38. (ONT)—Recommends that immediate family members of veterans who reside with the veteran and who serve as a ‘personal care provider’ be recognized by VAC as qualified recipients of all benefits and entitlements under the ‘personnel care services’ policy.

CANADIAN FORCES/RCMP
39. (VSS)—Urges that the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA) survivor allowances be paid in an amount equivalent to at least 70 per cent of the member’s pension.
40. (VSS)—Asks that the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) offset at age 65 be eliminated and that CFSA surplus funds be used to pay stacked benefits’ similar to the benefits paid to members of Parliament.
41. (VSS)—Urges federal government to provide VAC benefits to all Canadian civilian police officers who volunteer to serve on a United Nations mission.

FUNERALS AND BURIALS
42. (VSS)—Asks VAC minister to immediately increase the maximum allowable funding for a veteran’s funeral service to match that of the CF and RCMP.
43. (VSS)—Recommends that Last Post Fund funeral and benefits, equal to those provided to CF members killed on duty, be made available to all CF veterans who have insufficient financial means.
44. (QUE)—Urges VAC to restore and increase the Survivor/Dependant Estate Exemption to a level not less than the poverty level as determined by Statistics Canada, and that each year thereafter, to introduce a cost of living allowance equal to Statistics Canada’s annual adjusted CPI for this exemption.

PHYSICAL/MENTAL HEALTH
45. (VSS)—Recommends CF and VAC harmonize delivery of mental health care for CF members and veterans suffering from Operational Stress Injuries, and modify regulations to provide mental health care for families in their own right.
46. (VSS)—Directs the Legion to approach appropriate government agencies for help in funding Canadian military and veterans’ transition program clinics.
47. (VSS)—Urges VAC to include peacetime military service pensioners or award recipients in the provision for Group “B” health benefits or services.
48. (VSS)—Asks federal government to follow up on a Legion recommendation, subsequently adopted by the prime minister’s task force on seniors, that a national Seniors Independence Program be implemented to make it easier for seniors to live independently in their own homes and communities.
49. (VSS)—Recommends the enactment of a national seniors bill of rights to protect Canadian seniors in a standardized manner, irrespective of jurisdictional boundaries within the country and within provincial agencies.
50. (VSS)—Asks VAC to improve its rehabilitation program by adopting best practices, by educating VAC staff, by making contact with potential workplaces and employers early in the rehabilitation process, and by educating employers on the benefits of hiring veterans.
51. (VSS)—Recommends changing VAC eligibility requirements to ensure veterans and families with a health condition can apply for rehabilitation services, and urges changes that will make it easier for participants whose needs change to re-enter the program at any time.
52. (VSS)—Asks VAC to explore a range of strategies, such as contracting with family physicians, paying to train and employ physician assistants and nurse practitioners, etc., to ensure veterans and families have access to a wide range of health providers and benefits.

POPPY AND REMEMBRANCE
53. (P&R, NFLD/LAB, ATLA–NWT)—Resolves that under certain circumstance a portion of the Poppy Trust Fund account can be used to assist the CF’s Military Family Resource Centre’s non-funded family-oriented programs.
54. (ONT)—Directs that all proceeds from the sale of Memorial Cup commemorative items, such as sweaters and helmets, be directed to the local branch(es) Poppy Trust Fund.
*215. (NS/NUNAVUT)—Resolves that under certain circumstances a portion of poppy funds can be used to fund a veterans’ reading program for students.
*305. (ALTA–NWT)—Directs that great-grandchildren may now receive bursaries from the poppy fund.
*310. (NS/NUNAVUT)—Resolves that while branches will continue to make their poppy campaign financial statements available to the public, they no longer have to publish the statements in their local media.

MEMBERSHIP
55. (BC/YUKON)—Directs that Ladies Auxiliary members can carry over their years of continuous service to the branch, should their L.A. surrender its charter.
*221. (MAN/NWO)—Resolves to grant associate member status to those who have served in an emergency response service for not less than one year.

SPORTS
56. (ONT, NB)—Directs Dominion Command to sponsor an annual national Eight Ball Tournament within the same parameters and with the same support afforded other current dominion sports.

DEFENCE
57. (DEF)—Urges DND to review its Depart With Dignity program, and support creation of a pin to be awarded to those with less than 12 years service.
58. (DEF)—Directs the Legion to support the granting of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal to all those who volunteered without limiting time criteria.

RITUAL AND AWARDS
60. (R&A)—Resolves to create a service medal that will recognize Legion members for their efforts outside of, or prior to, acceptance of a leadership position.
61. (BC/YUKON)—Directs the creation of a Secretary Treasurer bar for presentation at the Legion district and zone levels.
62. (ONT)—Directs the Legion to petition VAC for the creation of a pin to honour the First Nations, Métis and Inuit veterans of Canada.
*232. (SASK)—Establishes that the Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence is to be worn on the right side of the Legion uniform.

LATE RESOLUTIONS
8. (QUE)—Urges VAC to retain Ste-Anne’s Hospital in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue, Que., as a federal government institution, and that the hospital begin caring for veterans with Operational Stress Injuries and those who require long-term full-time care. Also urges the hospital to provide veterans with the current level of care in the event it is administered by the Province of Quebec.
30. (ONT)—Directs the federal government to provide legislated protection for Canadians’ pensions.
31. (ONT)—Urges the federal government to designate the Canada Pension Plan’s death benefit as tax-free.
32. (ONT)—Recommends VAC, in conjunction with the Legion’s provincial commands, develop and maintain a program to serve homeless veterans.
33. (ONT)—Amends the Legion General By-laws, allowing branches to increase funding for cadets.

Email the writer at: writer@legionmagazine.com

Email a letter to the editor at: letters@legionmagazine.com

Last Post
Subscribe
MBP

CONNECT

Classified Ads
WATCH NOW
close-link