November 18, 2014 5:18 pm
Updated: November 19, 2014 11:12 am

Ottawa to change reservist death benefits following Global News story

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WATCH: After Global News reported the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo would not be entitle to the same death benefit as other soldiers because  he’s a reservist, the federal government confirms it will make an exception. But could that have repercussions for other reservists. Jacques Bourbeau reports. 

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

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“We are working on fixing this discrepancy for other reservists killed in the line of duty,” a spokesperson for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino said 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 of Corporal 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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