EX-GRATIA COMPENSATION PACKAGE UPDATE
Veterans Affairs Canada's authority to issue payments expired on December 30, 2011. The Department is no longer able to accept any requests related to the Agent Orange ex gratia payment.
“UPDATE FOR EX-GRATIA”
December 22, 2010
The Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc. advocated for and supports the changes announced on December 22, 2010 in Fredericton, N. B. by the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Minister Blackburn, as a step in the right direction but there is a lot more work to do!
Items our Association have been advocating for and as of December 22, 2010 our Federal Government has APPROVED & IMPLEMENTED:
1. The Ex-Gratia payment has been continued until June 30, 2011 to obtain a relevant medical diagnosis and to submit an application for the ex gratia payment.
2. Applicants will no longer have to prove that a medical diagnosis was in progress prior to February 6, 2006.
3. The requirement for applicants to have been alive on February 6, 2006 has been removed.
Please Note ... There seems to be a misconception that the changes as of December 22, 2010 are just for widows. That is in-correct. Please be advised that Ex-Gratia includes Military and Civilians alike not just widows!
Links for the ex-gratia and forms updated information:
LINK for illness, phone # for information, download for form, and detailed eligibility
Applications and Forms to apply
On September 12, 2007, the Conservatives announced an ex-gratia payment of $20,000 to be paid to those who have an illness related to the testing of U.S. military herbicides, including Agent Orange and Agent Purple, at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in 1966 and 1967.
The ex-gratia payment is not an admission of liability or an acknowledgement of the effects of their spraying program according to the Conservatives.
Individuals must have an illness related to exposure to Agent Orange. The list of illnesses was determined by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, (IOM). Individuals must have worked at, trained at or been posted to CFB Gagetown, or lived within five kilometres of CFB Gagetown, when Agent Orange and Agent Purple was tested in the summers of 1966 and 1967.
To qualify for the ex gratia payment, individuals must have been alive on February 6, 2006 and meet the following conditions:
Between June 1, 1966, and February 6, 2006, the individual must have been in the process of being diagnosed and no later than April 1, 2009, must be diagnosed with any one or more of the following medical conditions.
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
soft tissue sarcoma
respiratory cancer (of the lung/bronchus, larynx or trachea)
early onset transient peripheral neuropathy
porphyria cutanea tarda
type 2 diabetes
From June to September of either 1966 or 1967 the individual must have
1) worked or lived at CFB Gagetown
2) been posted to or trained at CFB Gagetown
3) or resided in a community of which any portion lay within five kilometres of the perimeter of CFB Gagetown
Those who believe they qualify, call 1-866-522-2122 for an application. Applications will not be accepted by the Government after April 1, 2009.
In June of 1966, Census Canada did a nation-wide census. Thus, if you have to prove that you lived in Oromocto or one of the communities surrounding CFB Gagetown, you can call Statistics Canada at 1-800-263-1136 and ask for a form called "Authorization to Search the Census". It will be mailed out to you free of charge. You fill it in as directed and return it to the provided address. Our advice is to send it by registered mail, that way you can track when they receive it and you will have proof of your request being received. They will send you a letter stating they have received your application to search for your information and then usually within 60 days of your application they will send you, by priority post, your information contained on the Census.
If you wish to ascertain the status of your Census application, you can call this number 1-613-951-9483, if you are elderly and wish to have the information more quickly, you can ask them to put an "Urgent" flag on your application to speed things up, and ensure that you get this information ASAP.
REMEMBER THIS IS A FREE SERVICE
If a member of your family died of one or more of the above listed diseases before Feb 6th, 2006, then the life of your loved one is worth nothing to the Conservative compensation package. It should be noted that the Conservatives came into office on February 6th, 2006 and have tied the ex-gratia payment to the date they took office.
In essence, they have appointed themselves as a deity, dictating when cancer or one of the other illnesses on the list will develop or not develop in an individual. This is morally wrong and unacceptable to the thousands of families who lost spouses, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles or grandparents.
The Conservatives cannot put time limits on the date someone died, or the date that someone will develop a disease according to the date they took office. This is wrong and immoral. There should be an expansion of the time & diseases for those who were poisoned over a period of fifty years by the spraying of CFB Gagetown and surrounding communities to make them ALL eligible for the ex-gratia payment.
No one is going to stand for the Conservatives winnowing down fifty years of spraying to two summers and think that they have taken care of the problem.
The issue of compensation is a disgustingly long way from being addressed.
Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs - Speaking Notes on the Announcement of
Ex-Gratia Payments for Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown. (click here)
Information on illnesses, eligibility, criteria, downloadable application and contact phone # for further information. (click here)
CBC News Story - The Announcement of the Compensation Package. (click here)
Comments about this Ex-Gratia Payment:
Class Action Lawyer
SEP 12, 2007 CBC RADIO - AS IT HAPPENS - The Ex-Gratia Payment Compensation Interview with lawyer Tony Merchant
CBC: After decades of lobbying and legal action, people who claim they were made sick by Agent Orange have been offered a compensation package from Ottawa. The chemical defoliant was sprayed at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick in the 1960's and both Veterans and civilians have complained that the spraying caused various types of cancer. Tony Merchant is a lawyer who has filed a class-action lawsuit in the Agent Orange case. Mr. Merchant, what exactly is in this compensation package?
TONY MERCHANT (Lawyer): Not very much as far as the victims are concerned. It's a pittance of money - $20,000 is an insult. It's about the cost of a used truck for daily pain and suffering if people have a problem. Second, the rules surrounding it are ridiculous, requiring illness to manifest before 2006 is ridiculous. There should be no time cut-off and whoever heard of a time cut-off based on when the Conservatives came into power.
CBC: Let's just take some of this apart, $20,000 is per person.
CBC: And the time cut-off is what? Tell us what that is.
MERCHANT: Well, the time cut-off is that people have to have manifested illness as of February 2006, a selected date because that's when the Conservatives got elected. I don't know whether they say that people can't get sick in Canada when the Conservatives are in power, or what the justification for that time cut-off is, but if you think about it, supposing somebody was entitled in every other way, the program is running for two or three years and the last couple of months they have lymphoma's and problems emerge, why wouldn't they be allowed to apply at that time? What's the magic of February of 2006?
CBC: And what do they...have you heard anything from the government as to why they have that cut-off date?
MERCHANT: Nothing, and that's really one of the mysteries, it's as though they say we're going to pay for the past. It's really a mystery why they selected their date of taking power.
CBC: This...$96-million compensation package from the government is it in any way an admission of liability on the government's part?
MERCHANT: First they'll never pay $96-million and I can come back to that. It'll be $16-million probably, but it is an admission. They can say that it's without prejudice and fair enough for the courts, but the public will see it as an admission and members of the judiciary will know and see it as an admission and it is. The government is now saying there's wrongdoing, but what's silly even about that is they say that they only admit wrongdoing for 1966 and 1967, which is disingenuous, dishonest.
It's essentially saying these products, these defoliants were only dangerous when they were sprayed by the Americans. They were not dangerous when they were sprayed by Canadians.
They sprayed up to 1984, two million, 38 thousand, 461 pounds of dry spray and up to 1984, one million, 328 thousand, 767 litres of wet defoliants. So it isn't the product so much that are at fault, Agent Orange; Agent Purple; Agent White, it's these huge quantities. They didn't stop until we launched the class-action in 2005. They were still spraying in 2005, notwithstanding an Agent Orange Association, notwithstanding all the people who were coming forward with the medical problems.
CBC: The 1966-67 period represents the time that U.S. chemicals were used, is that correct?
MERCHANT: No. It represents the time when they actually allowed the American government to come up and do the spraying. The Congress had stopped any kind of similar spraying in the United States and the Agent Orange litigation I think had started in the United States. It was settled in 1985 for $180-million U.S., which in today's dollars would be about $500-million Canadian.
And there was clear evidence even then that Agent Orange was a problem and the Americans were allowed to come and spray here, so it doesn't matter whether it's an American produced product or a Canadian produced product, I think all the products are produced in the United States, it's just that they've selected these two years as sort of an artificial admission. It was wrong if the Americans did it, even though we let them, but it isn't wrong when we did it.
CBC: Now, but this compensation package doesn't mean that you can't proceed with your class-action lawsuit does it?
MERCHANT: It does not. It does not affect the class-action lawsuit. I think it helps the lawsuit by drawing attention to the problem and I think it helps the lawsuit by...in essence being an admission that at least something was going wrong at Camp Gagetown.
CBC: And what's the schedule now for proceeding with the lawsuit?
MERCHANT: The government, Dow and Monsanto, have sought leave to appeal which is returnable on September 18. We think that will be adjourned. We're very hopeful that we'll have the case concluded within about 12 months, and I think we're going to serve the members of the class well and quickly.
CBC: Well, we'll certainly be following the story on this show and I know CBC News certainly will as well. Thanks for speaking with us, Mr. Merchant.
MERCHANT: Good to be with you.
CBC: Bye-bye. Tony Merchant is a Regina lawyer representing about 3,000 people in a class-action lawsuit against the federal government. We reached him at his office and it's believed that approximately 4,500 people are eligible for today's offer.
Canadian Press (CP)
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | At 3:21 PM
The federal government announced on Wednesday a $96-million compensation package for people exposed to chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange on a military base in New Brunswick.
A CBC investigative report two years ago first revealed the extent of the spraying at CFB Gagetown that started in the 1950s to clear dense brush.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said a one-time, lump sum payment of $20,000 each will be paid to those who qualify for compensation from health problems they say are caused by the defoliants.
The U.S. military tested Agent Orange, Agent Purple and several other powerful defoliants on a small section of the base over seven days in 1966 and 1967.
The government's offer includes tight restrictions, with payments only available to veterans and civilians who worked on or lived within five kilometres of the base between 1966 and 1967, and only those who have illnesses associated with Agent Orange exposure.
The illnesses include Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, respiratory cancers, prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes, as determined by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.
It is anticipated roughly 4,500 people will be eligible for the payment.
Government package 'totally inadequate' The announcement comes as a blow to those pushing for a wider settlement to reflect the time frame in which various herbicides were sprayed over the area.
"Prime Minister Harper said we will disclose all information concerning the spraying to veterans and civilians, and will provide medical testing to any person who may have been exposed."
PROMISES MADE...PROMISES BROKEN
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