Mar 30, 2015

By Michael Kramer

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A new lump-sum payment to Canada’s most critically wounded soldiers has been introduced by the Harper government – as it tries to silence complaints that the existing pain and suffering awards are too mean.

The Critical Injury Benefit unveiled today by Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole would provide a $70,000 tax-free award to injured soldiers and veterans.

The move still has to be approved by parliament.

It’s a one-time payment meant to compliment the existing lump-sum awards system – which has been constantly criticized since being introduced in 2006 – as part of the federal government’s overhaul of veterans benefits and entitlements.

The proposed scheme is separate from the Disability Awards system.

A Commons committee has said that system is less generous to soldiers wounded on the battlefield – than the courts are to civilians – hurt in workplace accidents.

O’Toole says the new benefit is retroactive – and troops injured since 2006 can apply.

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