12/11/2012 10:57 EST | Updated 02/10/2013 05:12 EST

Ombudsman urges Ottawa to adopt veterans ID card for delivery of benefits

OTTAWA - The veterans ombudsman is recommending that the federal government produce a national identity card for ex-soldiers and former members of the RCMP.

In a new special report, Guy Parent says an ID card would help Veterans Affairs Canada track the roughly 750,000 veterans and allow them better access to health and financial benefits.

He says it would also assist in their transition to civilian life.

The card should be renewable, allowing federal officials to maintain contact with vets to keep them informed about changes to programs and services.

Parent says the card should also be personalized and include the bearer’s eligibility for benefits.

The ombudsman is also urging the government to expand the definition of veteran to include Mounties as well as former soldiers.

Shortly after the report was released, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney poured cold water on the idea.

"We thank the Ombudsman for his report and working with DND we will review its contents," said Jean-Christophe de le Rue.

"However, due to the current fiscal climate, any changes resulting in new expenditures will only be made after careful consideration."