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Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.


Injured soldiers to get danger pay

Gloria Galloway, Globe & Mail, 16 Dec 06

Article Link


OTTAWA -- Soldiers serving in places such as Afghanistan who must quit their missions because of a serious injury will be compensated for the danger pay they would have received had they stayed on the job.


The issue, which came to the fore in October when badly injured troops found themselves docked the "operational allowance" after being flown from the war theatre, has been resolved with the creation of a new benefit called the Allowance for Loss of Operational Allowance.


"When an individual is destined to do a six-month tour, a nine-month tour, and they are foreshortened because they became a casualty, we're tying to make sure that there is no financial loss," Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said in a telephone interview yesterday.


"They're getting the equivalent of what they would have got had they stayed in the tour."


The danger pay varies according to several factors, including how many times a soldier has been sent to a particular country. Those currently serving a second tour of duty in Kandahar, for instance, receive and extra $2,111 a month tax-free above their regular pay. In addition, those on high-risk missions are given an income-tax exemption of up to $6,647 a month.


The new allowance will pay the soldiers what they would have earned in danger pay plus an additional $865. Those two amounts will then be added together and multiplied by 1.35 to account for the loss of the tax exemption.


It will be retroactive to include soldiers wounded since Jan. 1, 2006, estimated by the military to be about 115 people.


Many soldiers factor the extra pay for serving in dangerous missions into their family financing, Mr. O'Connor said, adding that it would be wrong to deprive the wounded soldiers of that.


Bill Hunter's 23-year-old son, Jeffrey, was injured in Afghanistan this fall, and was told while lying in a hospital bed in Germany that his danger pay had been cut off.


"I am extremely happy they've done something," Mr. Hunter said of the new allowance. But he expressed disappointment that the benefit would not be retroactive to all soldiers injured in the conflict since 2002.

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