Category Archives: Veterans Affairs Canada

Salute! September 2021

A newsletter from the folks at Veterans Affairs Canada.


September 2021

Please share this e-mail newsletter with your friends and contacts.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing consultation-consultation.acc@canada.ca.


In this edition:


Programs and services


Veterans struggling with events in Afghanistan

The current situation in Afghanistan is distressing for many Canadians, Veterans and their families, especially for those who served there. During this time, Veterans may be asking themselves difficult questions or revisiting experiences and relationships formed during their service or deployments. Their families may be struggling along with them.

In reaction to current events in the region, Veterans may:

  • feel frustrated, sad, and helpless
  • feel distressed and preoccupied
  • feel angry or betrayed
  • experience moral distress
  • struggle with questions of the meaning of our time in Afghanistan
  • experience an increase in symptoms of operational stress injuries like PTSD or depression
  • sleep poorly
  • increase alcohol or drug use, or participation in other addictive behaviors
  • overconsume or try to avoid media
  • isolate themselves
  • have more disturbing memories and nightmares about military service
  • worry about those left behind.

All of these reactions are understandable in this distressing context. If you are a Veteran or a family member struggling in reaction to current events, please know that you are not alone. Talk to your friends and family members, connect with your Veteran network and peer support resources, or contact a mental health professional.

Resources available right now:

  • Crisis Services Canada: If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call 1‑833-456-4566 to talk safely and judgement-free. If this is an emergency, call 911.
  • The VAC Assistance Service: Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional for psychological support. Available 24/7 at no cost to Veterans and their family members.
  • OSI Clinics and Satellite Service Sites: Services include in-person and virtual mental health assessment and treatment to address mental health issues related to service, or that interfere with your rehabilitation. To request a referral, send a secure message via your My VAC Account, or call 1-866-522-2122.
  • Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS): Talk to a peer support worker who understands operational stress injuries and can offer support.
  • HOPE program: Helping Our Peers by providing Empathy provides you and your family with peer support if you have experienced the loss of a loved one.
  • Wellness Together Canada: This online mental health and substance-use support portal provides 24/7 access to free evidence-based tools and resources.
  • PTSD Coach Canada: This mobile app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that can occur after trauma.

Some positive strategies: 

  • Stay connected. Spend time with people who best understand what you are going through, and who give you a sense of security, calm, hope and happiness.
  • Contact the various resources available to you
  • Practise good self-care. Look for positive strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practising breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, or journaling are some common ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
  • Be patient with yourself. Understand that it takes time to recuperate.
  • Stick to your routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
  • Limit media exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage increases your distress.

Shortening processing times for benefits decisions

To make decisions on your application for disability benefits, VAC decision makers need access to your health information. We are working with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to allow select VAC decision makers access to health information on the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS). This gives them more direct access to the specific information they need to make decisions. The goal is to speed up delivery of benefits.

The CFHIS houses most of the health information for serving CAF members as well as Veterans who served since 2012. In 2018, we began working with the CAF on a solution that would provide up to 50 VAC decision makers with direct access to view and extract key information from the CFHIS.

Protecting your personal information and privacy is paramount. That is why decision makers access the CFHIS information only with Department of National Defence (DND)-issued laptops connected to the DND secure network.

Visit the Disability benefits page to find out how you can apply and our efforts to reduce wait times.


World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10

Asking for help can be hard, but connecting with someone who cares can make all the difference in the world. Please know that you are never alone.

If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, Crisis Services Canada provides a safe and judgement-free place to listen and talk. Please call 1-833-456-4566 anytime, or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and midnight ET. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts through proven means.

Do a buddy check. Reach out to a friend or loved one today and let them know that you’re there for them.


The Shining Light of HOPE marks 15 years

Losing a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences. For family members of Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans living this reality, their grief isn’t always fully addressed by bereavement programs.

The Helping Our Peers by Providing Empathy (HOPE) program offers compassionate understanding and confidential support by pairing volunteers who have lost a loved one in the military with a bereaved military family newly coping with a loss. In this peer-to-peer model, HOPE helps both those who volunteer and those they mentor as they work through their grief together. Peer support has shown to have a significant impact on emotional healing and family well-being.

The program seeks to demystify grief and provides family members with realistic and honest expectations so they can learn how to cope with their loss. It is available to adult family members in the military and Veteran community. The loss doesn’t have to be as a direct result of military service and it doesn’t have to be recent.

If you or someone you know is grieving the loss of a military loved one and needs support, please contact HOPE at 1-800-883-6094, or email HOPE-ESPOIR@forces.gc.ca.

Learn more at HOPE.


Let’s Talk Veterans: Online Engagement at VAC

2,700 Veterans have their say

Thank you to all who participated in the first two online consultations, on the future of remembrance in Canada, and on the application process for disability benefits. The Let’s Talk Veterans platform provided Veterans, families, organizations and stakeholders with the opportunity to make suggestions and provide feedback.

Stay connected at Let’s Talk Veterans and stay tuned for upcoming consultations. Your voice matters—and we want to hear from you!


Save the date: Virtual discussion series on military sexual trauma

Military sexual trauma (MST) has impacted the lives of many still-serving and former CAF members. Join the Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice, McMaster University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and the Centre of Excellence on PTSD for two live symposiums on military sexual trauma.

Clinicians, academics and people with lived experience will discuss such topics as: supports, treatments and resources for those affected by MST, creating a common definition for military sexual trauma and culture change in the CAF.

If you are a researcher, clinician, policy-maker or frontline worker, or if you have been impacted by MST, please tune in to these free events:

Services and Supports for People affected by Military Sexual Trauma: Thursday, 16 September 2021 from 1:00 – 3:30 Eastern Time

A Path Forward: Thursday, 23 September 2021 from 1:00 – 3:30 Eastern Time

To find out more or to register, check out the Centre of Excellence on PTSD’s website.


Commemoration


Commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Britain

This year marks the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain during the Second World War. From July to October 1940, a small group of Allied fighter pilots took to the skies against the much larger German Luftwaffe. The first major battle was fought exclusively in the air.

More than 100 Canadian pilots served in the skies over the United Kingdom during the four months of aerial combat. Twenty-three died in the battle, which was a key turning point in the war. The Allied victory in the Battle of Britain thwarted the planned German invasion of Great Britain.

In Canada, we commemorate the Battle of Britain on the third Sunday of every September. Listen about the battle from Gilbert John Hyde who was there.


Remember Canada’s Merchant Navy 

Merchant Navy Veterans Day was September 3, when we pay homage to the sailors who put themselves in harm’s way to ensure vital supplies reached Europe during the Second World War.

More than 12,000 people served in Canada’s Merchant Navy during the war. They played an important role in supplying Allied forces in Europe with  equipment, fuel, supplies and personnel needed to achieve victory.

The casualty rate amongst merchant mariners was high as they sailed across the frigid and perilous North Atlantic. The heavily-laden, slow cargo vessels offered tempting targets for enemy U-boats. Some 1,600 members of the Canada’s Merchant Navy were killed, and 59 Canadian-registered merchant ships lost.


Celebration of life for Canada’s first female general, BGen Sheila Hellstrom

Brigadier-General (Retired) Sheila Anne Hellstrom CD, BSc, LLD, a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Veteran and the first Canadian woman to reach the military rank of Brigadier-General, passed away in Ottawa, Ontario on 7 December 2020.

There will be a livestreamed celebration of her life on 23 September 2021 at 1 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

BGen Hellstrom was born in Lunenburg, NS, in 1935. Her military aspirations were kindled during the Second World War after hearing many stories about military life from the Norwegian sailors located at Camp Norway, a military training base in Lunenburg.

In 1954, Hellstrom joined the RCAF University Reserve Officer Training Plan at Mount Allison University. She was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer in 1956 and began her RCAF career in Manitoba as Gimli Station Services Officer.

In 1973, then Major Hellstrom became the first military woman to attend the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto. In 1980, she became the Deputy Director Women Personnel and supported and monitored the Service Women in Non-Traditional Employment and Roles (SWINTER) trials.

On 19 June 1987, she became the first woman to achieve the rank of Brigadier-General and assumed the role of Director General Military Personnel. Brigadier-General Hellstrom’s career culminated in 1989 with an assignment as Chair of the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces. After her military retirement in 1990, Sheila continued to champion the recruitment and full integration of military women by serving on the Minister of National Defence’s Monitoring Committee on Change.

You can learn more about BGen Sheila Hellstrom on our website.


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Salute! August 2021

A newsletter from the folks at Veterans Affairs Canada.


August 2021

Please share this e-mail newsletter with your friends and contacts so they can keep up on issues that matter to Veterans and their families.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing consultation-consultation@veterans.gc.ca.


In this edition:


Programs and services

Mental Health support for Afghanistan Veterans

If you or a loved one are having difficulty coping with the news of the fall of Panjwaii in Afghanistan, mental health supports are available to you. You are not alone. You can call the VAC Assistance Service at 1-800-268-7709 to speak to a mental health professional. It is free and available 24/7.

You can learn about additional mental health resources on the VAC website. You can also hear from the Acting Chief of Defense Staff on the situation in the Maple Leaf.

Veterans served—and sacrificed—in the war in Afghanistan. Long after Canada’s combat role in the country ended, the mission continues to touch those who served in the region and their families.

We will continue to honour and remember their sacrifices.


New employment tool for Veterans

A new online tool can connect you directly with employers looking for the skills gained through military service.

The recently launched Hire a Veteran LinkedIn group is for Veterans and CAF members preparing to release, who are seeking career opportunities directly with employers.

Public service and private sector organizations have begun posting jobs to the group, looking specifically for employees with the types of skills gained through military service.

Join the group and stay tuned for regular postings. Veterans and military members looking for new careers can also create a LinkedIn personal account and follow the Veterans Affairs Canada LinkedIn page for information about webinars, career fairs and other opportunities to connect with employers.


More options for education and training support 

The Education and Training Benefit now offers more funding options for Veterans pursuing technical education.

As of 30 June 2021, Veterans may receive funding for courses shorter than 12 weeks that meet all other technical education funding requirements. To qualify, courses must be:

  • offered by a recognized institution
  • offered to the Canadian public
  • conducted online or in a public forum, and
  • publicly advertised.

This change means more flexible funding options for technical education in fields like heavy equipment operations, professional driver training, safety and rescue training and others.

Funding for completed technical education courses cannot be approved retroactively, but students are encouraged to apply for upcoming periods of study.

For more information, have a look at the Technical Education section of the Education and Training Benefit FAQs.


Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund

Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund accepting new applications for funding

If you are part of a private, public or academic organization wishing to do research or create a project to improve the lives of Veterans and their families, are invited once again to submit new applications for funding from the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund, to create projects or conduct research.

Applicants should submit projects that focus on supporting Veterans during the post‑COVID‑19 recovery, including addressing homelessness, unemployment, retraining, and health challenges. Veterans Affairs Canada welcomes applications from equity-seeking groups that serve women and LGBTQ2+ Veterans.

The Government of Canada has committed $15 million over the next three years to the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund. Check out our funding guidelines and apply. Applications will be accepted until 1 October 2021.

Did you know?

Since 2018, the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund has provided more than $25 million to help over 60 organizations improve the lives of Veterans and their families. These organizations work to address issues and concerns of Veterans in areas like homelessness, mental health, the transition to post-service life, supporting women Veterans, and more.


Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund supports new initiatives

The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund (VFWF) continues to support initiatives that advance the well‑being of the Veteran community. This summer, Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced funding for more organizations that are working to improve the lives of Veterans and their families.

You can find all the details on the organizations that have received VFWF support on Veterans Affairs’ Funding Recipients – 2021 page.


Veteran success story

“Re-tooling” your career 

Many of those who release from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) worry that their military skills and experience won’t count for much when they start a new, post-service career. Certainly that was on the mind of Reserve Sergeant Drew Semper. But after releasing from the Regular Force as an avionics technician, he grew his skillset and is now an electrician’s apprentice in the private sector.

Drawing from his own experience, he has some advice for CAF members approaching release from service.

Read Drew’s full story and advice.


Commemoration

Faces of Freedom podcast returns 

Our Faces of Freedom podcast is back this summer, with a new series focused on the experiences of Canadian peacekeepers. Every Tuesday in August, we’ll release a new episode. We’ll feature those who’ve served on peacekeeping missions around the world, in places like the Balkans, East Timor and many more.

You can subscribe through your favourite podcasting app by searching for Faces of Freedom, or check out our podcast webpage.


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Do you know other Veterans, family members or others who would benefit from the information in this newsletter? Feel free to share it with them.


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Salute! July 2021

A newsletter from the folks at Veterans Affairs Canada.


July 2021

Please share this e-mail magazine with your friends and contacts so they can keep up on issues that matter to Veterans and their families.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing consultation-consultation@veterans.gc.ca.


In this edition:


Thank you for your input 

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Disability Benefits Application Process consultation. We have received great feedback on how to improve the application process.

Now, we are reviewing the information you provided. We expect to have recommendations for improvements developed this summer, and will publish them on the Let’s Talk Veterans page when completed.

We hope that you enjoy your summer and look forward to additional opportunities to consult with you in the future.


Thinking of going back to school after your military career? Consider the Education and Training Benefit

The Education and Training Benefit can be a part of your successful transition to life after service. It provides financial support to achieve your education and training goals. This is a great way to round out the skills you developed during your service with the Canadian Armed Forces.

You can use this benefit for:

•        a full-length program toward a diploma, degree, or certificate

•        training that leads to a certification or designation

•        short courses for career and personal development.

The Education and Training Benefit is taxable, and once you’ve finished your education or training, you can apply for a $1,000 completion bonus.

Applying is easy. You can follow the guided form in My VAC Account, a secure online portal, or download the form and send it in by mail.

Visit veterans.gc.ca for more information about the Education and Training Benefit, including how to qualify and getting started with the application.


Apps to support Veteran mental health

Apps for our mobile smart devices help us connect with loved ones for support and information, and even support mental health. They can connect us easily to evidence-based information and guidance that can help us take care of our mental health.

Here are some mental health-focused apps and websites specifically designed for Veterans:

LifeSpeaka self-help website with videos and information about mental health, nutrition and other issues that matter to you.

Wellness Together CanadaCOVID-19 continues to affect and challenge Canadians in a number of ways. Whatever you’re going through, Wellness Together Canada is available to provide mental health and substance use support with a range of resources. It also has tools to help you track your progress.

OSI Connect: a mental health learning and self-management app developed to help operational stress injury (OSI) patients and their families understand the nature of operational stress injuries and to provide help through the OSI Clinic Network across Canada.

PTSD Coach Canada: mobile app can help you learn about and manage symptoms of PTSD.

HighRes: Developed by Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the HighRes app can help still-serving members, Veterans and their families build their resilience and mental fitness. The app contains easy-to-use tools to help set goals and practice skills.


Veteran success story

Melanie St-Jean: Finding the missing link after service

Melanie (Mel) St-Jean followed her dreams to a successful military career. By many measures, as a mother and independent business owner, she also had success in life after service. Still, this Army and Navy Veteran felt something was missing. Reconnecting with military Veterans has empowered Mel to pursue new dreams.

Read Mel’s full story.


We’re stronger thanks to the Veteran Family Program

Life after service isn’t always easy. Jo Anne Truskoski and her husband Michael are no strangers to the challenges a military family can face.

Michael is a 35-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He released for medical reasons in 2012, and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other health challenges.

In 2018, the Veteran Family Program, the local Military Family Resource Centre, and Louise, their Veteran Family Program Coordinator, stepped up to help.

Thanks to this continuing support, Jo Anne and Michael participated in a Mental Health First Aid course as well as the Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday (COPE) program, designed to help couples overcome the effects of PTSD.

For those who may be on the fence about contacting the Veteran Family Program, Jo Anne has the following advice: “Stop thinking about it and do it… you will be glad you did!”


August 9 is National Peacekeepers’ Day

Peacekeeping is an important part of our country’s military tradition—and our Canadian identity.

More than 125,000 Canadians have served in peace missions around the world.

Peacekeeping is difficult and demanding. From patrolling buffer zones to protecting refugees, our peacekeepers face situations and challenges that would be unimaginable to many of us at home.

On August 9, let’s take a moment to thank our country’s peacekeepers who sacrifice so much to help make the world a better place.


Be heard! Join one of the six ministerial advisory groups

Review of applications for the six Veterans Affairs Canada Ministerial Advisory Groups will begin on July 22, 2021. There is still time to bring your voice and share your perspective on important issues related to one of the ministerial advisory groups:

  • policy
  • service excellence and transition
  • mental health
  • care and support
  • families, and
  • commemoration.

To learn more and to apply, visit ministerial advisory groups.


Get support for your commemoration

Are you and your organization planning any commemorative activities or initiatives? Veterans Affairs Canada can provide financial support.

Our Commemorative Partnership Program is there to provide financial support for projects commemorating the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada.

Need inspiration? Check out some our previously funded projects:

You have until 1 October 2021 to apply for any projects taking place in 2022–2023 and requesting more than $10,000. Requests for $10,000 or less continue to be accepted on an ongoing basis.

For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, visit our website, or contact the Commemorative Partnership Program directly at cpp-ppc@veterans.gc.ca.


Open Forum: Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans

The Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans’ first Open Forum was held Tuesday, 6 July 2021. This event featured a review of the research and work accomplished in 2020–2021, the first year of operation for the Centre. The Forum also described the research goals and plans for 2021-2022.

You can watch the recording of this hour-long open event at the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence’s website.


Have you completed the Census?

It’s not too late to complete the 2021 Census! Complete your census and help your community plan for the services you want and need.

For more information, or to complete your census questionnaire, visit the census website at www.census.gc.ca.


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Consultation is open! Shape the future of remembrance and recognition in Canada/ La consultation est ouverte! Façonnons l’avenir de la commémoration et de la reconnaissance au Canada

We would encourage all of our members to take advantage of these consultations and have their voices heard.


le français suit

Hello,

We are pleased to announce that our consultation on the future of remembrance is now live.

As Canada’s Veterans evolve, so too should the ways we commemorate them. Earlier this year, we introduced our broadened approach to commemoration that aims to recognize all those who have served our country in uniform, here at home and around the world.

How do you think we should recognize and commemorate those who served in Canada’s military, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions over the next decade?

Starting today, we invite Veterans, their families and all Canadians to share their thoughts on this important topic through our online consultation on the future of remembrance.

The online consultation is open from 18 June to 9 July 2021. We encourage you to share this widely within your network.

Thank you!

****************************************

Bonjour,

Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que notre consultation sur l’avenir de la commémoration est maintenant ouverte.

À mesure que les vétérans du Canada changent, la manière dont nous les commémorons doit également changer. Plus tôt cette année, nous avons présenté notre approche élargie de la commémoration qui vise à reconnaître toutes les personnes qui ont servi notre pays en uniforme, ici à la maison et partout dans le monde.

Comment croyez-vous que nous devrions reconnaître et honorer les personnes qui ont participé aux missions militaires, humanitaires et de maintien de la paix du Canada au cours de la prochaine décennie?

À compter d’aujourd’hui, nous invitons les vétérans, leur famille et tous les Canadiens à formuler leurs commentaires sur cet important sujet par l’intermédiaire de notre consultation en ligne concernant l’avenir de la commémoration.

La consultation en ligne se déroulera du 18 juin au 9 juillet 2021. Nous vous encourageons à partager la nouvelle dans tout votre réseau.

Merci!

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Salute! June 2021

A newsletter from Veterans Affairs Canada.


June 2021

Please share this e-mail magazine with your friends and contacts so they can keep up on issues that matter to Veterans and their families.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing vac.consultation-consultation.acc@canada.ca.


In this edition:


Indigenous Veteran Debbie Eisan to be featured on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

Indigenous Veteran Debbie Eisan will be featured in a 60-second video airing on APTN, with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, for the Indigenous Day Live event on 20 June.

Indigenous Day Live is Canada’s largest event celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Veterans Affairs Canada has a new partnership with APTN. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about programs and services to an Indigenous-based audience. The partnership also recognizes the significant contributions of Indigenous Veterans. Through this partnership, we are increasing engagement with Indigenous communities and Indigenous Veterans across the country.

The partnership will be renewed for the Indigenous Day Live in 2022, when we hope to attend in person, engaging directly with Indigenous Veterans and the communities that support them.

Follow VAC on social media and the web for updates on events.


Honouring the memory of Indigenous Veterans

Indigenous peoples have always had an important place in our military history, even though many needed to overcome barriers to serve in uniform.

The contributions of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous peoples are woven through every conflict and every era: from the thousands who answered the call during the First and Second World Wars, to those who served in Afghanistan and in peace missions around the world.

Join us this month as we remember all the Indigenous people who have served Canada, and how much our country honours them for their service.

Learn more at our Indigenous Peoples Remembrance page.


Pride Week: June 8–11

LGBTQ2 Veterans have played an important role in our country’s military efforts, and continue to contribute to our rich history and heritage.

Pride Week took place June 8 to 11. We invite you to read more about women and LGBTQ2 Veterans.

  • Listen and read about engagement of the LGBTQ2+ Veteran community.
  • The Office of Women and LGBTQ2 Veterans was established to contribute to advancing gender equality, diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ2 Veterans.
  • In 2020, VAC hosted the LGBTQ2+ Roundtable virtual series.
  • Veteran Patti Gray was pushed out of the Canadian Armed Forces during the LGBT purge. She excelled in her post-military career also continued a life of service to her community. Today she proudly wears her Pride Citation as a badge of honour.
  • Filmmaker Sarah Fodey’s documentary, The Fruit Machine details personal accounts of former public servants affected by the LGBT purge.

Veterans share experience of applying for disability benefits

We are collecting valuable insights into improving the application process for VAC disability benefits. To better understand their first experiences in applying for benefits, Veterans Affairs Canada is holding a consultation with Veterans, former RCMP and still-serving CAF members, their family members, until 17 June 2021.

This consultation is done through our Let’s Talk Veterans consultation platform, focusing on first applications. We’ve heard from hundreds of Veterans so far, and we want to hear from you too!

To read a report on the consultations when it’s published, and to stay connected on Veterans’ issues, visit Let’s Talk Veterans.


Help applying for benefits and services

Would you like advice or guidance when applying for VAC benefits or services? They’re available, free of charge.

You can get free guidance with your application by contacting:

  • a Command Service Officer at the Royal Canadian Legion at 1-877-534-4666 (You don’t have to be a member; visit their website for more information)
  • VAC through My VAC Account secure messaging
  • Veterans Affairs Canada at 1-866-522-2122.

Be heard! Join one of the six ministerial advisory groups

Are you passionate about making a difference for Veterans? Interested in speaking up about issues and sharing your perspective? Then join one of VAC’s ministerial advisory groups.

Ministerial advisory groups at Veterans Affairs Canada are your opportunity to share your knowledge, expertise, and experiences with the Minister to help guide change and improve services for Veterans and their families.

We are currently seeking Veterans, Canadians, and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and experiences across Canada who want to make a difference.

Bring your voice and share your perspective on important issues to one of the ministerial advisory groups:

  • policy
  • service excellence and transition
  • mental health,
  • care and support
  • families, and
  • commemoration.

To learn more and apply, visit ministerial advisory groups.


Why do the Battles of Beaumont-Hamel and the Somme matter to you? 

Even after 105 years, the Battles of Beaumont-Hamel and the Somme during the First World War resonate throughout Canada.

As we approach the 105th anniversary of those battles, we want to hear from you why they still matter today.

More than 24,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were killed, wounded or missing during the battles. With so many lives cut short, Canada and Newfoundland were forever changed.

Please share your thoughts. You can join the conversation on social media using:

#Somme105
#BH105
#CanadaRemembers.

Learn more here.


Veteran Howard Elson benefits from the Veterans Independence Program

Howard Elson has experienced his share of action and adventure in his 31-year career with the Canadian Army’s Artillery division. His advice to CAF members and Veterans in life after service is to take advantage of all the benefits and services available.

Mr. Elson joined the Army from his home in Newfoundland and served with the Artillery in postings was posted across Canada, and even on the Rhine river in Germany. He achieved the rank of Master Corporal, and then in the Reserves Rangers, rose to Lieutenant.

An accident in 1979, while working with 155mm artillery shells, left Mr. Elson with a permanent back injury. He transitioned out of the CAF and pursued a number of opportunities, including as a training officer for the Canadian Rangers.

Now 78, Mr. Elson receives support like snow removal and assistance around his Nova Scotia home through the Veterans Independence Program.

He encourages any Veteran who feels they might benefit from the program to apply. “By all means, look into it. I’ve been happy with what the program has to offer, and it’s always easy to get answers if ever I have questions.”

If you’d like to know more about what the Veterans Independence Program can do for you, please click here to visit our website.


Veteran success story

Todd Ross: Success in spite of harassment

Todd Ross had loved the military since childhood. As an adult, he excelled in his position in the Royal Canadian Navy—until he was dismissed in 1990, through no fault of his own, caught up in the LGBT purge.

Since then, Todd has applied his considerable talents and skills to build an impressive career. He also helped lead the class action that led to an apology to LGBT members and compensation.

A life in the military

Todd Ross joined the Army Cadets in his home town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, just before his thirteenth birthday. “I absolutely loved it,” he remembers. The Cadets took him to Germany, among other adventures. When he got older, he became a summer instructor with the organization.

Read Todd Ross’s whole story here.


Veteran success story: David Fraser

Retirement doesn’t mean doing nothing

Major-General (Ret) David Fraser, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan, has excellent advice for those about to transition from military service.

As Corporate executive, bestselling author and financial mentor at one of Canada’s leading business schools, Major-General (Retired) David Fraser has certainly had a successful career after his time in uniform. His post-military career focuses on guiding fellow Veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces through various post military activities.

Read his full story.


Join the Navy Bike Ride

Do you roll?

If you love to bike, join the 2021 Virtual Harry DeWolf Challenge.

The annual Navy Bike Ride challenges everyone on two, three or more wheels to ride a cumulative 30,000 kilometers to raise money for the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund and Support Our Troops.

The 2021 Navy Bike Ride runs June 21 to August 28. Find out how to join and share at NavyBikeRide.ca.


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