Ottawa to change reservist death benefits following Global News story

November 18, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny and Jacques Bourbeau, Global News

The federal government is fixing a decades-old inequity in the way families and survivors are compensated after a reservist is killed serving Canada.

“We are working on fixing this discrepancy for other reservists killed in the line of duty,” a spokesperson for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantinosaid in an email Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday, Global News published a story outlining the way Ottawa’s bending its own rules to ensure the family ofCorporal Nathan Cirillo, a reservist shot to death at Ottawa’s National War Memorial last month, gets all the benefits due to a regular forces member.

Were Cirillo treated as any other Class B reservist in Canada, his family would be entitled to $1.8 million less – by the time his benefits expire when he would have turned 65- than a member of the regular forces who was the same age and died in the same year.

Canada’s military ombudsman is one of many who’ve been raising the issue of unequal treatment for reservists for years.

It was a recommendation in a report on Canada’s new Veterans’ Charter. At the time, Fantino said he’d consider changes.

His office’s statement Tuesday indicates he’s made a decision – at least as far as death benefits go.

When it comes to reservists who get badly hurt doing the same service as their better-compensated regular force colleagues – many of whom have wounds that will stay with them for life – it appears the Minister is still thinking.

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