Canada’s veterans, who face ongoing delays accessing the support they deserve, will gain extra help from the Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation (VLAF), as it expands its reach. Honouring new funding from the Toth Class Action award, VLAF now will offer free advisory services to military and RCMP veterans and their families.
VLAF previously paid for veterans’ eligible legal bills up to $10,000, often for disability-related or other claims that benefit veterans broadly. Going forward, VLAF also will help navigate the administrative hurdles veterans face when trying to access support for things like treatments and living expenses. These services will be provided by former Member of Parliament and current VLAF Board Chair, Peter Stoffer.
“The wellbeing of Canada’s veterans should be a top election issue,” said Stoffer. “Veterans shouldn’t have to navigate complex processes just to obtain the benefits they deserve. That’s why we need to help.”
Legal efforts take time and money, while many veterans continue to live in poverty – plagued by physical and mental health issues, homelessness and food insecurity.
“We have always focused on helping veterans pursue disability claims,” said Peter Driscoll, lead counsel on the SISIP Class Action and founding VLAF Chair. “With the new funding, we can do even more.”
“We want to help veterans beyond paying legal bills,” said Dennis Manuge, VLAF Ambassador and Representative Plaintiff for the SISIP Class Action. “Veterans need help with forms and documents, especially if they are dealing with physical or mental health disabilities. Sometimes a veteran doesn’t need court. Sometimes a veteran needs help just navigating the VAC website.”
“We must keep pushing for justice, and we want to hear from federal leaders on this need,” said Stoffer. “But in the meantime we’ll do as much as we can to give veterans the front-end support they need now.”