Veterans salute at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Montreal. As this year's ceremonies approach, Ottawa says that because of a calculating "error" hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors were short-changed over seven years. The government says the veterans will be repaid but payments are unlikely start before 2020. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa vows to repay short-changed disabled veterans


The federal government has confirmed a CBC News report that more than 270,000 former Canadian soldiers have been short-changed because of an accounting error worth at least $165 million.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan says all the veterans, their spouses or their estates will be compensated, but those payments are unlikely to begin before 2020 because of the large number of veterans affected.

Most of the veterans were short-changed several hundred dollars.

However, some losses are in the thousands.

Veterans Affairs Canada says The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO) uncovered the error when they analyzed the math behind the implementation of a change to the Disability Award.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan (shown speaking in the House of Commons on Sept. 27) says the federal government is preparing to compensate 270,000 disabled veterans and/or their families a total of $165 million. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)

When examining VAC’s worksheets, Veterans Affairs said, the OVO noticed that from 2003 to 2010 the provincial basic tax credit was not factored into the calculation of provincial income tax as it was supposed to be, resulting in lower payments for Veterans.

As many as 120,000 of the affected veterans have died, but a spokesperson for O’Regan says their survivors and estates will still be eligible.

The announcement comes the same day the opposition New Democratic Party tabled a motion in the House of Commons aimed at pressuring the Liberals to spend $372 million earmarked for veterans that has never been spent and it just the latest chapter in a long-running dispute between Ottawa and veterans.

MPs are scheduled to vote on the measure Tuesday.

Canadians celebrate Remembrance Day this Sunday, Nov. 11.

With files from CBC, CTV, Huffington Post, CP, Veterans Affairs Canada

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