End tax on Widows & Orphans Benefits
I am Chantal Roy, widow of the late David Byers 2 PPCLI during ‘Operation Medusa.’ My reason for writing is to attain more information with regard to these very important issue that continually affects the widows, and there child/children across Canada on an ongoing and daily basis since the untimely demise of our husband in the past years. These are the points and questions I have as to why our soldiers who sacrifice everything, are in the end, treated so differently than others when killed on duty. For example: workers in every other workplace where injury or death occur; benefits or pensions/child care benefits that are received by the widow/widower are tax free monies for as long as the widow/widowers are living. When a soldier killed while in the line of duty - and they too in fact; died on/at the Workplace; why are the benefits they receive not tax free? This seems highly unfair considering they died in the service of this country. Why are there no laws such as those which govern the Provincial Workers Compensation Legislation available to cover the families of our fallen military? I see this as shameful on the part of the incumbent government. Surely, a Federal Government could and should instate a law such as this that would govern our serving military personnel. When you are alone and faced with a young family to see through school and try to have funds available to them when/if they attend university or other institutes of higher learning every dollar counts. It takes two incomes in today’s world to ready our youth for the workforce. The way the Military/VAC benefit is set up for the fallen is - if the widow/widower is also in the workforce; they receive the benefit only to lose the bulk of it to taxes. Why are these monies/tax breaks not made available to the families who have given up their dads, moms, sons, daughters for a better tomorrow for all else supposedly? I know that some people who, may not speak out, and work in the force and are taxed at 47% each year since the death of their husband. Most widows find it difficult to justify why they even work, they work to pay taxes, is this what our late husband’s thought that would happen if they happened to come home in a casket, I think not! Some of the widows find it most difficult to justify a decision to stay on their career path or schooling to a new career path, as it will just be given to Canada Revenue Agency. The majority of Canadian Forces widows are stay at home moms, therefore do not run into the large tax back grab issue. Still others were common-law spouses which in some cases the x-wives receive the benefits putting them in low tax brackets. However; some mothers choose to make a living, their salary, added to their husband death benefit puts my total household income in the highest tax bracket possible. With my husband gone, I have no deductions. Why is that money taxable? Our children also fill tax returns for their again, Taxable orphan benefits last three years and they too will be taxed high when entering the workforce. What kind of fairness does this spell when they already have lost the one thing they need the most in this world. Example, my daughter never met her father as she was still in the womb, and since she was 1 years old she has been paying taxes. I certainly do not object to paying my fair share of taxes. However; I believe this country has to give back at least as much as they were willing to take. In the case of our husband and our childrens’ Dad, it was everything. When this country asked these soldiers to put their lives on the line and step up to the plate for Canada, they did it willingly. It would be nice for once to see just one politician respond in kind to the needs of the families left behind. When a soldier deploys overseas their allowances are all tax free or if receiving a medical pension that too is tax free, but when a member is KIA the love ones left behind to an inflexible set of taxes for the remainder of their lives. In desperation some widows have resorted to stop paying their taxes due to the inability to manage the debt load. They are losing their homes and living well below the standard to which they were once accustomed when their spouse was alive and well. We should revere our fallen and respect the families who have lost so much in an effort to make our world a kinder place for everyone. As a government you cannot give them, nor can you replace even in part; what they need the most. Their loss will be felt for the remainder of their days. However, I strongly believe it is incumbent upon our country and certainly of our government who would ask time and time again of our very finest to lay their life on the line for all, to do better by those who have done just that Laid Their Life on the Line. I would ask that they support; unwaveringly; their grieving loved ones in a manner that would reflect the respect these fallen loved ones truly earned and deserve. As a country we have the means and the ability to make these lives better. Just as our loved ones died trying to make life so much better for others far away, it is time for our country to step up and to make life for the families of our fallen - and especially their children; a little easier as they walk this world - forever without them.