Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said late last week that the salaries of Canadian military and police officers serving in international missions will no longer be taxed.

This tax exemption is retroactive to January 1 of this year and will cover over 1,400 officers who are currently serving in operations overseas.

The cost of this tax exemption, according to the CBC based on current deployment status will result in about $43 million in revenue that will not be collected annually. But this figure is likely to rise as the Trudeau government is looking to provide more military personnel and police officers overseas as part of the UN peacekeeping missions.

Historically, tax exemption for those serving overseas was given based on the level of risk of each mission, for example, Canadians serving in Kuwait lost their tax exemption status late last year when the mission’s risk level was downgraded. But this has now been changed, with this latest announcement all overseas assignments will qualify for tax exemption status regardless of the level of risk.

For those serving in dangerous missions, they will be rewarded by an extra pay in the form of a hardship allowance. This according to the minister is “just one portion of the defence policy, which is going to be focusing on our people.”

The new defence policy is expected to be released on June 7.

Regarding the challenges that the military faces in leadership, negative role models, inadequate training, bullying and sexual misconduct, the Defence Minister said, “There are no simple answers to how we deal with these challenges.”

He went on to add during his speech to the graduating class at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. “But you should know the government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces chain of command are focused on taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure the college and the entire military family emerge stronger than ever before.”