April 21, 2020 – A number of member organizations have inquired concerning new developments with respect to the Veterans Emergency Fund, as Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has indicated a more active and liberal approach will be adopted during these troubled times.
The Veterans Emergency Fund was created through the 2018 federal budget, providing VAC with funds to address financial emergencies confronting individual veterans and/or their families.
As outlined on the VAC website, the Veterans Emergency Fund provides "…financial support to veterans, their families or their survivors whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation."
The VAC documentation goes on to describe that the emergency fund covers essentials such as food, clothing, rent/mortgage, medical care/expenses, expenses required to maintain safety and/or shelter.
The department is quite enthusiastic about this program as it creates immediate relief for veterans in dire straits on a temporary financial basis. Prior to the enactment of the Veterans Emergency Fund program, VAC was without statutory authority to expend dollars to deal with urgent situations impacting veterans and their families.
The Ministerial Policy Advisory Group, which I co-chair together with Andrea Siew, president of the Canadian Military Intelligence Association, evaluated this program at our last meeting and proposed that the program's funding be enhanced, as it is clear there is a demonstrated need in the veterans' community and that additional funds are required to support the demand. We also recommended that the program be added to the general funding model for VAC, with funds available based on the requirements of the veterans' community as is the case with VAC's other benefit programs.
Should you encounter individual veterans in your organization who may qualify for this emergency funding, it is noteworthy that VAC is widening its scope of operations by authorizing service agents and case managers to approve such funding applications. Time will tell, but it would appear that the department is expanding its application procedures and increasing the maximum contribution under the program, which will indeed represent a valuable complement to other VAC benefit policies.
The material found at veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-vac/legislation-policies/policies/document/2690 will provide you with further detail on the program, the criteria and the application process.
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