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Erin O'Toole says part-time reservists to have same benefits as regular force

03/13/2015 06:55 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
The federal government has announced that part-time reservists will have the same benefits as regular force members. 

The minister of veterans affairs, Erin O'Toole, was in Halifax to make the announcement.

"Today is about respect," said O'Toole, adding that more than 25 per cent of the Canada's mission to Afghanistan was made up of reservists.

He says beginning next month, part-time reservists will be eligible for the same minimum earnings loss benefit as regular forces. 

The change fills a gap identified by the House of Commons veterans committee in a report last June.

O'Toole says reservists already enrolled in rehabilitation will see the benefits as well. Survivors of part-time reservists will also benefit, he says, "No one will be left out."  

"A veteran, is a veteran, is a veteran," says Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent.

The unequal treatment of reservists has been a sensitive topic for the Conservatives, who have put a politically charged overhaul of the reserve force organization on hold.

National Defence was supposed to have delivered a new structure for the part-time, volunteer force by this spring's budget, but it likely won't be done until after the election, scheduled for October.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay was also at the announcement at the navy base on the Halifax waterfront.

"You are among our finest citizens," says MacKay. "We must honour you back as you have honour us."

The technical briefing follows O'Toole's announcement.

CBC's Molly Segal is live blogging from the news conference.

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