Tag Archives: Salute!

Salute! November 2021

A newsletter from the folks at Veterans Affairs Canada.

November 2021

Please share this email with your friends and contacts.

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing us.

In this edition:

Veterans’ Week 2021

Service, courage and sacrifice – at home, around the world and across generations.

Every year during the lead up to Remembrance Day on November 11, we honour those who have served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace.

This year marks a number of milestone anniversaries, including the 90th anniversary of Remembrance Day itself.

On November 8, we mark Indigenous Veterans Day. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada have a long and proud tradition of military service to our country.

Explore the stories of those who have served and sacrificed for our country and reflect on their contributions and courage by visiting here.

Lest we forget.

Remember Indigenous Veterans Day

November 8 is Indigenous Veterans Day, a day to honour the contributions of Indigenous Veterans like Corporal Russ Moses.

Russ Moses was a residential school survivor and Korean War Veteran. Since he passed away in 2013, his son John has worked tirelessly to keep his memory alive.

“Even though he was engaged in war and combat, he said the food was better and the discipline was less than it was in residential school.”

Read his story.

100 years of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada

2021 marks the centennial of the red poppy being officially adopted as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the First World War.

In July 1921, the Great War Veterans’ Association, a forerunner of The Royal Canadian Legion, adopted the poppy as the flower of Remembrance.

Today, millions of Canadians as well as people around the world wear the red poppy every November in memory of the sacrifice of those who have served in uniform over the years.

The Royal Canadian Legion is marking the 100th anniversary with a Gallery of Remembrance. The Legion invites you to submit photos and messages in honour of Canada’s war dead and Veterans to the Gallery here.

You can find more on the history of the Remembrance Poppy on Veterans Affairs Canada’s Quick Facts page.

Veteran Success Story 

Captain Judy Harper: Blazing trails all her life

Throughout her military career, Captain (Ret.) Judy Harper has always been the first woman in her role, either as an operational commander or in senior positions in National Defence Headquarters.

“As a child, I never knew how limited options were for women,” she says—in the military or in general. Perhaps that is why she led the way for many women to advance to senior roles in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Read more about Judy blazing trails during and following her military career.


65 years of Peacekeeping

23 November 2021 marks 65 years since the beginning of the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt.

It was the first large-scale international peacekeeping mission.

Thousands of Canadian peacekeepers served in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from 1956 to 1967, where they helped enforce a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel.

They faced many dangers, and 33 Canadians lost their lives during the mission.

We remember their sacrifices and the courage of all Canadian peacekeepers.

Learn more about the Canadian Armed Forces in Egypt.

Programs and services

Be heard in the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action settlement: File a claim by November 24

As part of the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement, individuals who experienced sexual misconduct while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and/or during employment with the Department of National Defence or the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces, can file a confidential claim for financial compensation and apply to participate in the Restorative Engagement program

Sexual misconduct includes any form of verbal or physical sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, and sexual assault.

Individuals can file a claim online with the independent court-appointed Claims Administrator or download a Claim Form and submit it to the Claims Administrator by email, fax or mail. Claim forms must be filed by the deadline, 24 November 2021.

For additional information, resources and support, visit the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement website or call 1-888-626-2611.

Adapting and improving for Veterans during COVID‑19

Since the pandemic began, we have reached out to over 20,000 Veterans. While offices remain closed, you can continue to connect with us through My VAC Account secure messaging or by calling 1-866-522-2122.

Here are some other ways we have adapted to better serve you during the pandemic:

  • Operational stress injury clinics group therapy sessions are offered online.
  • Career transition services continue to be delivered virtually.
  • Vocational rehabilitation providers are offering virtual assessments tailored to each Veteran’s unique situation
  • Certain prescription requirements have been waived and coverage for virtual health services is extended.
  • Some health assessments are taking place virtually, allowing our health professionals to provide more accessible services.

To stay up to date with the latest information, bookmark and visit the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus page.

Resources for homeless Veterans 

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Veterans experienced homelessness in Canada in 2019, and together we can change this.

Staff at Veterans Affairs offices across the country are available to help Veterans who are experiencing homelessness, and connect them with organizations in their communities that work to solve homelessness.

VAC also offers immediate supports like the Veterans Emergency Fund, which can provide funds quickly for urgent and unexpected needs. These can include essentials like food, shelter or medical expenses while we identify long-term needs and look for more long-term solutions.

Further support for low-income Veterans includes:

There are also support systems for homeless Veterans offered by other organizations such as:

How you can help

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless, the first step is to contact a local area office by calling us at 1-866-522-2122.

Free and confidential professional mental health support is also available for Veterans, their families and caregivers toll-free, 24/7 through the VAC Assistance Service, at 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (TTD/TTY).


McGill seeking Canadian Veterans to participate in cannabis use study 

The MissionVAV program from McGill University is developing new strategies to improve the health of Veterans who deal with physical and mental health issues. McGill is looking for Veterans to participate in an anonymous cannabis use study. Your experiences as a user, positive or negative, are invaluable to researchers.

Currently, knowledge of medical cannabis treatment for conditions like chronic pain, stress, poor sleep and post-traumatic stress disorder is largely driven by trial and error. By participating in this study, you can help researchers find better ways to use medical cannabis to improve the health and well-being of your comrades, their family members and other Canadians.

Visit the Active Veterans website to share your experience by completing a brief and anonymous online survey. For more information, call 1-800-461-3006. McGill will not collect your name nor contact information while conducting this study.

You are invited to take part in an online study: 

Pain and mental health in Canadian Veterans and their children

The Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans invites Veterans, serving members and their children to take part in a new study on chronic pain.

Chronic pain can run in families. While many children are resilient, pain can sometimes be transferred from parent to child. This University of Calgary study will examine this process and seek ways to manage chronic pain transmission to future generations.

Who can participate: Canadian Veterans and serving members, along with their children aged 10-24 years.

How to participate: Veterans and their children will be asked to complete an online survey, which will take 30 to 45 minutes to finish.

For more information or to take part in the study, please contact the research team directly by emailing, or by calling 403-210-7846.

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! October 2021

A newsletter from the folks at Veterans Affairs Canada.

October 2021

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

Let us know what you think about the new Salute! by emailing us.

In this edition:

Programs and services

World Mental Health Day 

World Mental Health Day is October 10. This day is a time to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. Did you know that in 2020, 71% of Veterans who received disability benefits for a mental health condition had PTSD?

Mental health is important for well-being and quality of life. There are a variety of resources to help Veterans, family members and caregivers take care of their mental health:

  • VAC Assistance Service is available 24/7 to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, or caregivers, including those who aren’t clients of VAC. Get support right now from a mental health professional by calling 1-800-268-7708 (TDD/TYY: 1-800-567-5803).
  • Operational stress injury clinics provide in-person and virtual assessment, treatment and support to address mental health issues related to service. Veterans, CAF and RCMP members can access the clinics through referral. Family members may also receive or participate in some of the services provided through the clinics.
  • Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) is a national peer support network that provides social support to CAF members, Veterans and their families who are living with the impacts of an Operational Stress Injury .
  • Pastoral outreach services are available to Veterans or their immediate family for spiritual support if they are dealing with end of life issues, or experiencing loss of a loved one.
  • The HOPE Program is another resource where bereaved families can obtain confidential peer support by connecting with families who have gone through a similar experience as their own.
  • The Veteran Family Program connects medically releasing and released Veterans and their families to community supports.

Veteran success story 

Roger Chabot: Veteran artist

Retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces allowed Roger Chabot to pursue his lifelong passion full-time, while keeping him connected to his military family.

Read about how Roger’s CAF career inspires his art. 

Veteran success story: Roger Chabot – Veterans Affairs Canada

Engagement with the Veteran community

Rehabilitation Program: Let’s Chat! 

Are you a Veteran or family member with experience in our Rehabilitation Program? If so, we want to connect with you to hear how we can improve our rehabilitation services. Please reach out by 31 October 2021 to share your thoughts and perspectives.

We are looking for a broad group of Veterans and their families, including those who identify as Indigenous, a racialized group, LGBTQ2+ and persons with a disability, to ensure our rehabilitation service delivery is inclusive and equitable.

Over the next several months, you’ll be invited to virtual discussions in the official language of your choice. The goal is to understand how proposed changes to the Rehabilitation Program would affect program participants. Sessions will last 30 minutes to an hour.

In your email, please include any accessibility requirements you may have so that we can best support your participation.

Know a Veteran or family member who may want to chat? Tell them about these discussions too, so that everyone has the chance to participate.

Indigenous Veteran rocks Indigenous Day Live 2021

More than 500,000 people watched Chief Petty Officer (Retd) Debbie Eisan on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) on Indigenous Day Live this summer. It’s one success of the new partnership between APTN and Veterans Affairs Canada.

In her 60-second video, Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class (Retd) Eisan spoke about her experience as an Indigenous Veteran. It highlights the many sacrifices Indigenous Veterans have made to Canada.

Indigenous Day Live is the nation’s largest event in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21. Cultural and musical performances bring Canadians together in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ unparalleled contributions to Canada.

Learn all about this year’s Indigenous Day Live.

The Faces of Freedom Podcast series will return 

Stay tuned for a brand new edition of our Faces of Freedom Podcast series coming your way just in time for Veterans’ Week 2021.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out our previous series covering a wide variety of stories from generations of Canadians.


Deadline approaches for Commemorative Partnership Program Community War Memorial funding

Is your community looking to create or expand on an existing war memorial? Look no further than our Commemorative Partnership Program.

Don’t miss out! November 1 is the deadline for Commemorative Partnership Program applications for community war memorial projects.

The Commemorative Partnership Program can provide financial support for projects commemorating the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada. Your community can help create a lasting legacy to remember our Canadian heroes.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit our website, or contact the Commemorative Partnership Program directly.

Bring the spirit of Remembrance Day into your classroom

We have new learning resources for students of all ages, just in time for Veterans’ Week.

Our popular classroom materials are now available in both print and digital formats. Best of all, they’re free.

The deadline for ordering print editions to make sure they reach you by Remembrance Day is October 27.

We have a limited number in stock, so submit your order today. Because when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Learn more here.

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! 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.


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.

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! 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.


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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