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Agent Orange Payout

December 26, 2011 by staff 

Agent Orange Payout, Canada’s veterans ombudsman is slamming the federal government over its handling of Agent Orange payouts, saying it is using a too-narrow interpretation of the rules to deny some veterans the money they are owed.

“The definitions used by Veterans Affairs Canada would not withstand public or legal scrutiny,” ombudsman Guy Parent wrote in a statement, adding, “This is nothing short of scandalous.”

In 2007, the federal government offered a one-time payout of $20,000 to veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange during tests run by the U.S. military at a Canadian Forces base in New Brunswick.

The veterans had to prove they had been on or near the base when the tests were run and later diagnosed with a medical condition associated with Agent Orange exposure, such as Hodgkin’s disease, respiratory or prostate cancer or type two diabetes.

In cases where a veteran died before the payments began, a primary caregiver was allowed to apply for the money.

A spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney said the department has been fair in compensating veterans.

“Our government promised to deal with the Agent Orange issue and we delivered on this promise,” Codie Taylor wrote in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail.

But Mr. Parent says the government is using a narrow definition of the term “primary caregiver” that excludes people he believes should be eligible.

“In one case, the widow of a man who met the eligibility criteria was denied payment… because her husband was in a long-term care facility at time of his death and she did not live with him at the facility,” Mr. Parent wrote.

He said the couple had been married for 50 years and the woman continued to care for her husband in the facility during the 17 months he spent there.

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