OPINION: Let’s stop the veterans’ benefits claw backs
We owe all Canada’s veterans a profound debt. For the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who sustained injuries during their service, our responsibility is even greater. That’s why we’re calling for a concrete change that supports injured veterans to live with dignity.
In Ontario, there are injured veterans who lose their homes. There are veterans with disabilities who cannot afford to eat enough.
Through Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) injured veterans are expected to live on a monthly income that’s typically about $700 for a single person.
It’s impossible for anyone to live a healthy, safe and dignified life on that amount. And, shamefully, when a veteran with a disability receives a one-time Disability Award from the Government of Canada in recognition of their sacrifice, the Ford government claws back their OW or ODSP payment.
ODSP and OW rates are too low for everyone, and the NDP is committed to raising them. Clawing back some of that paltry amount from injured veterans is callous.
In October, the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command sent a letter to the Ford government on this topic.
“We have numerous veterans who are fearful of even applying for compensation knowing the Ontario provincial government will claw back their basic needs and shelter until the Disability Award is spent. This requires the veteran to re-apply and prove they once again have no way to provide basic needs and shelter,” wrote Gary Pond, the provincial president of the Legion’s Ontario Command.
This is not the first time the Ontario Command, the Ontario NDP and injured veterans have asked for this cruel claw back to stop. It’s time for the government to hear us all, and act.