Ombudsman calls for national consultations, plan for supporting veterans

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier's shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton is calling for nationwide consultations on a vision and plan for supporting former service members and their families.

Dalton says a great deal has been made over years of the financial compensation that veterans receive for service-related injuries.

The debate has largely revolved around the money available through the three different pension systems for veterans, the most recent of which was rolled out by the Liberal government last April to mixed reviews.

Yet Dalton says despite its spending billions of dollars on support and benefits for veterans every year, there is no comprehensive vision for what the government is trying to accomplish.

Dalton notes the federal government routinely conducts consultations on a variety of issues, including when it is developing the budget each year and to get feedback on potential legislation such as legalizing marijuana, banning certain firearms and medically assisted dying.

He says it is past time for the government to reach out to veterans and non-veterans alike, including service providers and advocacy groups, to find out what they really need and chart a path for accomplishing the task.