A SOCIAL COVENANT BETWEEN

THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND

THOSE WHO SERVE IN THE ARMED FORCES OF CANADA (THE “CANADIAN MILITARY COVENANT”)

 The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised to defend Canada and protect its people, free institutions and interests in a manner that best serves the nation’s parliamentary democracy. The service men and women who make up the Canadian Forces, while serving, must forego basic Human Rights enjoyed by other Canadians. They must obey and support lawful authority and comply with the additional legal and disciplinary requirements of military service. When necessary this will include taking up arms against Canada’s enemies and resisting them in battle using lethal force. They will be called upon to take risks to life and limb and to make personal sacrifices – including the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice of their lives – and in every sense to act honourably in the service of the Canadian people.

This Covenant recognizes that there is no equivalent profession to that of service in the Canadian Forces and the uniqueness of military service extends to the experiences of military families.

In return for their sacrifice and endurance, Members of the Canadian Forces must always be able to expect, from the Government of Canada on behalf of their fellow Canadians, to be valued and treated with dignity and respect as individuals and to receive adequate recognition and benefits for the sacrifices they make, including fair care and treatment, fair compensation for injury or death and re-establishment in civil life. They further must always be able to expect that the families of those who die as a result of their service to Canada will be fairly cared for and supported.

All enactments of Canada shall be liberally construed and interpreted to the end that this Covenant and the recognized obligation of the people and Government of Canada to provide compensation to those members of the forces who have been disabled or have died as a result of military service, and to their dependants, may be fulfilled. The guiding principle for their recognition, care and compensation must always be compassion and must always properly take into account the unique nature of military service.  No current or former member of the  Canadian Forces or their families shall be put at a disadvantage compared to other Canadians because of their service in the Canadian Forces and they shall be given the benefit of doubt in all applications for and proceedings related to military service benefits.

This mutual obligation forms the Military Covenant between the people and Government of Canada, the Canadian Forces and each individual member of the Canadian Forces. It forms an unbreakable common bond of identity, loyalty and responsibility that has emerged during the service of the Canadian Forces throughout the history of Canada.

Equitas Society is also advocating for a Veterans Bill of Rights which can be found below with descriptions of what each point means.

A MILITARY BILL OF RIGHTS

 

1. Be treated with respect, dignity, fairness, and courtesy.

We will listen carefully to what you have to say and be fair and polite.

2. Take part in discussions that involve you and your family.

We will talk with you to learn about your needs. Your family and your community are important to you and your well-being. We will keep this in mind when making decisions that involve you.

3. Have someone with you for support when you deal with Veterans Affairs.

You can choose to have a family member, friend or other trusted person with you for support when you visit our offices or when we visit you.

4. Receive clear, easy-to-understand information about our programs and services, in English or French, as set out in the Official Languages Act.

We will give you information that is clear, easy to understand and in the language of your choice, whenever we write to you, talk to you, or visit with you.

5. Have your privacy protected as set out in the Privacy Act.

Information we have about you will be kept private as set out by applicable law, including the Privacy Act.

6. Receive benefits and services as set out in our published service standards and to know your appeal rights.

We have put our service standards in writing. We will provide services and benefits to you in the time set out by these standards. We will inform you of your appeal options and how to get help with an appeal, at the same time that we give you our decision about a service or benefit.

7. Receive counselling and assistance in filling out applications.

We commit to assisting you complete your applications so that claims will be appropriately processed without unreasonable delay. We will also provide this service at any time throughout the application process.

8. Preference in public service employment.

We commit to assisting you gain priority hiring for employment in the federal public service and also commit to supporting you in sustaining that employment.

9. Receive all entitlements, benefits and services you qualify for without need of additional applications.

Veterans Affairs has the responsibility to ensure you receive everything you qualify for.

10. Right to Government funded representation.

You will be provided with free legal representation to assist you with your claims throughout all aspects of the application process including representation in the courts.

Why is this needed?

During the legal challenge between 30 October 2012 and 30 August 2018 of rights of injured veterans, It was established that the duty of care by the Government of Canada to injured soldiers is that of provincial welfare. Any benefit above welfare to injured soldiers is at the sole discretion of the Government of Canada of the day. The court system reaffirmed the government’s position and stated that any improvements to veterans’ rights would have to be provided through legislation. On numerous occasions, the government of Canada has reaffirmed its desire to enshrine rights for disabled veterans but has vet to bring in place a social covenant to do so. Therefore the Equitas Society goal is to advocate for and put in place the social covenant.