#Ontario; #Quebec; #CanadianArmedForces; #SpecialDutyOperation
Ottawa, May 29 (Canadian-Media): Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in the Ontario and Quebec's pandemic-stricken long-term care homes are now eligible for the same benefits paid to troops serving overseas, the country's top military commander said May 29, media reports said.
Canadian Armed Forces. Image credit: Twitter handle
Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. said in his weekly letter to the troops posted online this evening that the deployment of the Canadian soldiers was designated as a "special duty operation" both by the defence and veterans ministers ensuring that Canadian Armed Forces] members can access to disability and pension programs," Vance said.
The initiative will effective from when the troops began training for the deployment earlier in the spring and will continue until their return to their home units.
As of May 28, 40 members of the military serving in long-term care homes, 25 in Quebec and 15 in Ontario, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The total number of troops are 1,675 troops comprising medical technicians and general purpose soldiers deployed to as staff in the facilities, many of which have become virus hotspots in both provinces.
Liberal government had been pressurized by a veterans' group to declare the deployment a special duty operation, especially considering the possible unknown long-term health effects for those infected.
Mike Blais, president and founder of Canadians Veterans Advocacy said that the they had been fighting for this since they were deployed and are pleased troops' efforts have been recognized with a special duty operation.
The Department of National Defence said it has taken measures to protect the soldiers, some of whom are caring directly for seniors.