Larry Maguire Highlights Pilot Project for Service Dogs to Assist in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans

OTTAWA, ON - Today, Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, highlighted Veterans Affairs Canada's (VAC) plan to support a pilot project to assess the benefits and risks of using psychiatric service dogs to assist in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Veterans.

"Since elected I have been meeting with local Veterans to discuss not only ways to improve the New Veterans Charter but how we can continue to treat Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder," said Maguire. "I wasn't elected to defend the status-quo but rather to continue to enhance the services and benefits for Canada's Veterans."

The two-and-a-half-year pilot project has a goal of having up to 50 Veterans who are in receipt of a disability benefit for PTSD and have approval from their treating mental health professional, participating in the project. VAC will provide up to $500,000 to cover expenses and new research for the pilot project.

Just recently the Government also announced the New Veterans Charter will be enhanced. Even though benefits and investments for Veterans have increased by more than $4.7 billion since 2006, the Government of Canada is committed to improving the service and benefits for Veterans.

During the coming weeks and months the Government will continue to cut red tape and introduce new supports for those Veterans who are the most seriously injured, including support for their families.

To strengthen support for Veterans and their families, our government is taking immediate action to implement the following initiatives:

  • Ensure Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are not medically released until they are in a stable medical condition;

  • Enhance transition services for all CAF personnel who are medically released;

  • Ensure rehabilitation and health care professionals are in place to provide service post-release;

  • Increase the number of psychological counselling sessions for families of Veterans;

  • Develop an online training program for caregivers of Veterans with operational stress injuries;

  • Undertake measures to combine payments and benefits into one monthly recurring payment, where possible; and,

  • Amend existing legislation to reinforce the Government's commitment to support Veterans and their families.

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