Myths about Veterans' Life in Canada
November 5th to November 11th has been declared Veterans Week in Canada.
A recent survey conducted by the Corps of Canadian Commissionaires found that Canadians are ill informed about Canadian Veterans. The survey found that Canadians believe that at half of Canada's war veterans receive a pension.
The fact is that only about 30% of veterans receive a pension. A soldier must serve at least 20 years in the Canadian military to receive a Pension. Veterans on the average serve 11.5 years in the military.
Soldiers pay into a pension fund and their pension is calculated at 2% for each year served, based on the best five earning years of their career. To qualify 20 years must be served for 40% pension. The pension does not take into account allowances for risk pay such as parachuting, diving, or submarine duty, but is based on basic pay only.
Needless to say most veterans must look for a second career after leaving the military. This can be disheartening as the lifestyle change is immense. Soldiers are used to a fast paced life, loyalty within their peer group and being their for each other, especially during combat.
Canadian soldiers have been involved in multiple tours since the early 90s, starting with involvement in the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia) and later on in Afghanistan.
After leaving the military, former servicemen have difficulty to find a job and, when they do, they find that the civilian world is cut-throat with a lack of loyalty. This is true among co-workers and also loyalty up and down the food chain.
Organizations like the Corps of Commissionaires, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Royal Candian Legion try to ease this transition, but not always with success.
But in fact, only 30 per cent of veterans have served the Canadian Forces long enough to have earned a pension for retirement.
A veteran must serve 20 years with the Canadian Forces before being eligible for a pension but the average duration of a veteran's service is 11.5 years -- a fact only 14 per cent of respondents knew.
The Commissionaires, an organization dedicated to easing a veteran's transition back to a regular civilian lifestyle, said most Canadians believe veterans serve longer than they actually do.
About 35 per cent of people thought veterans serve an average of 20 years in the military.