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Veterans Affairs Canada’s Salute! is now a monthly e-newsletter.


Veterans Affairs Canada’s Salute! is now a monthly e-newsletter.


  • Salute! March 2022

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    by Alevans,

    March 2022

    Please share this email with your friends and contacts.

    Stay tuned for a fresh look and some new features. Let us know what you think about Salute! by emailing us.


    In this edition:

    • Funding announced to address wait times for Veterans
    • International Women’s Day
    • End of the mission in Afghanistan
    • Commemorating Peacekeepers in Cyprus
    • Veteran story: Helping others, healing herself
    • Help design mental health resources for Veterans
    • New VAC Assistance Service online chat
    • Supports for Veterans affected by military sexual trauma
    • Save the date: Virtual Careers & Employment Opportunities webinars
    • Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund recipients doing great work

    To learn more about our consultations and to stay connected on Veterans’ issues, visit Let’s Talk Veterans.

    Do you know other Veterans, family members or others who would benefit from the information in this newsletter? Please share this e-mail with your friends and contacts.

    View the latest issues of Salute! online.

  • Salute! February 2022

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    by Alevans,

    February 2022

    Please share this email with your friends and contacts.

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


    In this edition:

    • Black History Month
    • Remembering Private Mark Graham
    • VAC wants your opinion
    • Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund announces support for more programs
    • Job opportunities for Veterans, transitioning CAF members or serving reservists
    • Helping military spouses find jobs
    • New supports for Veterans who experienced sexual misconduct
    • Veteran story: Laurie White
    • Check in on your well-being

    Commemoration

    February is Black History Month

    Black Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. (Photo: VAC)

    Black Canadians have proudly served in uniform for more than 200 years. Many overcame barriers to enlist and faced discrimination in the ranks, yet still put their lives on the line for Canada. This month and all year long, we honour their sacrifices.

    Throughout Black History Month, we encourage you to learn more about the contributions of Black Veterans and service members throughout history.

    Discover inspiring stories, like those of Second World War Veteran Eleanor ‘Minnie’ Gray, Sergeant (Retired) Bill Toussaint and Sergeant (Retired) Joan Buchanan, on our website and on social media. Join the conversation using the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth.


    Remembering Private Mark Graham

    Private Mark Graham was an outstanding athlete and soldier.

    A world-class runner, he represented Canada at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, where he competed in the 4 x 400 metre relay.

    More than a decade later, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces to serve his country. He deployed to Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Regiment, where his comrades described him as an excellent role model.

    His life was sadly cut short in September 2006, when he was killed in a friendly fire incident in Kandahar Province. Learn more about his service and sacrifice on our People and Stories webpage.

    Discover more inspiring stories during Black History Month.


    Engagement

    VAC wants your opinion

    We need your help reaching Veterans who do not receive VAC benefits and services. We’re surveying the Veteran community on how they learn about and access our programs and services. We’re looking for Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, former RCMP members, family members and caregivers. Even if you have never contacted VAC or do not currently receive VAC benefits and services, we want to hear from you. This feedback will help us reach and serve more Veterans.

    We are also reaching out to Veterans who are, or have been, served by the Department. These names are being taken from a random sample.

    The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete. It is being conducted on our behalf by the independent Canadian research firm, EKOS Research Associates Inc.

    Please visit the EKOS Research website for more information and to participate.

    Participation is voluntary and your responses and personal information are confidential in accordance with the Privacy Act. Your responses are anonymous; they are not kept or shared with VAC, and will not have any impact on the benefits or services you receive or may receive in the future.

    This public opinion research study expands upon earlier consultations we did with the Veteran community into the topics of awareness and outreach related to our programs and services.

    We kindly ask that you share this information with your network.

    Thank you for your assistance!


    Programs and services

    Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund announces more resources for programs

    Thirty-six organizations will receive a total of $11.3 million from the Veteran and Family Well‑Being Fund, thanks to additional investments in Budget 2021.

    Four virtual events in January announced funding for 10 programs:

    • Serene View Ranch of Alexandra, PEI, will receive $400,000 to develop a stabilization, grounding and resiliency program for Indigenous and women Veterans.
    • The Lest We Forget Community Veterans Committee in Summerside, PEI, will receive $400,000 to improve the economic security of women and LGBTQ2 Veterans in PEI.
    • Helmets to Hardhats of Ottawa will receive $700,000 to assist women and LGBTQ2 Veterans in skilled trades careers.
    • The Ottawa Innercity Ministries will receive $175,000 to fund their Operation Inclusion Project.
    • Perley Health in Ottawa will receive $131,050 to fund a project that will gain a better understanding of older Veteran and family health and well-being over time.
    • Clinemetrica Inc. in Montreal, will receive $500,000 toward their Push Past the Pandemic Recovery Program, an online health promotion program.
    • The Quebec Veterans Foundation will receive $200,000 for Programme des vétéranes, which aims to reduce the rate of isolation and suicide among women Veterans.
    • Morrow Consulting and Training Inc. located in Dorval, QC, will receive $80,000 towards the A.T.H.E.N.A. Program, which aims to improve the health and well-being of women Veterans.
    • The Veterans Association Food Bank in Calgary will receive $210,000 to develop new programming to support LGBTQ2 Veterans as well as survivors of military sexual trauma.
    • Homes for Heroes Foundation will receive $250,00 to support Calgary Veterans Village: a unique, affordable and innovative urban village to house Veterans during their transition back to life after service.

    There will be more events to come. In the meantime, you can find the full list of recipients on our web page.


    Helmets to Hardhats job opportunities

    If you’re looking for a career where you can help other Veterans, this might be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) is looking to hire two people—Veterans, transitioning CAF members, or serving reservists—for full-time term Recruitment Specialist positions.

    If hired, your focus would be on creating and implementing recruitment strategies for women and LGBTQ2+ Veterans who are transitioning to a career in trades. You would also be developing skilled trade packages for clients and Veteran organizations across Canada and providing transition counselling and support services.

    Some of the skills needed for these positions are:

    • a strong knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community and the Women in Trades programs
    • the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including Board members and external partners, and
    • discretion in handling sensitive or confidential matters.

    Knowledge of the Canadian Veteran community, experience in non-profit organizations and being bilingual would be assets. Closing date: 18 February 2022.

    H2H is a registered not for profit organization providing opportunities in the construction and related industries for Veterans and is collaborating with the Rainbow Veterans of Canada on this initiative. For more information, visit the job posting.


    Helping military spouses find jobs

    Relocating military members can be hard on their spouses, who might need to find a new job. The Department of National Defence’s Military Spouse Employment Initiative (MSEI) supports spouses and common-law partners to find employment in the federal public service.

    The MSEI has recently expanded by adding new kinds of jobs, which are accessible to hiring managers from Government of Canada departments and agencies. These include:

    • information management
    • programming and development
    • health services, including nurses, psychologists and social workers
    • communications and public relations
    • office administration
    • social science services
    • human resources.

    If you are a military spouse or a common-law partner looking for employment, we encourage you to apply today.

    For more information, visit the Military Spouse Employment Initiative website.


    New supports for Veterans who experienced sexual misconduct during service

    Veterans who experienced sexual misconduct during service can now access support from the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC).

    Individuals can call the Response and Support line 24/7, toll-free at 1‑844‑750‑1648 to speak to an SMRC counsellor. These support counsellors will:

    • explain how the centre can help
    • provide supportive counselling and guidance
    • describe available options
    • facilitate referrals to CAF, provincial, territorial and community-based support resources
    • devote the necessary time and attention to every conversation.

    Veterans can also get continuing support and assistance from a dedicated Response and Support Program coordinator. This person can provide personal services that may include:

    • information and referrals to resources and services
    • advocacy to help you meet your needs
    • accompaniment to appointments, meetings and proceedings
    • assistance with workplace arrangements.

    Callers can choose to remain anonymous, and counselling is available in either English or French.

    For more information, please visit the SMRC website.


    Veteran story: Laurie White

    Former Mountie writes her memoir to offer hope

    Former RCMP officer Laurie White shared her story in a book, 10-33: An Officer Down Steps Back Up.

    Laurie White is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with a powerful story to tell.

    So she told it, in a book. 10-33: An Officer Down Steps Back Up is Laurie White’s story about her journey: the hard work she did after losing a leg in the line of duty to return to her RCMP career, her community and herself.

    Laurie shared her story to show the person behind the uniform, to increase awareness, empathy and compassion for the physical and mental health challenges of disabilities, and to offer hope.

    Read the full story of Laurie’s injury and journey back to her career.


    My VAC Account

    Check in on your well-being

    Many know that health is an important part of well-being. But did you know that it is just one of seven domains of well-being?

    You don’t have to take care of your well-being alone. Supports are available to assist.

    If you are a current or former member of the CAF or RCMP, the new My Well-being Check-in Tool can help you gauge your overall well-being, identify where you may need support, and learn about specific services and benefits that may help you.

    So, how does it work?

    • Access the My Well-being Check-in Tool by logging into My VAC Account, and answer eight quick questions.
    • Based on your answers, the tool will identify where you may need support and generate a list of suggested actions.
    • If your responses show you need support, it will direct you to contact VAC, the CAF or the RCMP to discuss your results. If you do, be sure to advise that you have completed the My Well-Being Check-In Tool, since you’re the only person who can see your responses and recommendations.

    Visit your My VAC Account to learn more and check out the My Well-being Check-in Tool today.


    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.


    Follow us on social media:

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    Facebook: Canada Remembers

    Twitter

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  • Salute! January 2022

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    by Alevans,


    January 2022

    Please share this email with your friends and contacts.

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


    In this edition:


    Engagement

    Thank you for your input on accessibility

    Thank you to all who participated in the recent consultation on accessibility at Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. Your participation will help prevent accessibility barriers and improve accessibility at our organizations.

    During the four-week consultation in November and December, over 200 Canadians shared their knowledge and ideas about accessibility. A final report on the consultation will be available in the coming months.

    Stay connected at Let's Talk Veterans for updates and information on upcoming consultations. Your voice matters—and we want to hear from you.


    Immediate coverage for mental health services is coming soon

    Mental health is a critical part of our overall well-being. That’s why we’re developing a way to give Veterans immediate coverage for mental health services.

    Starting on 1 April 2022, Veterans living in Canada who apply for a disability benefit for a mental health condition, as well as those who have already applied, will automatically qualify for mental health benefits coverage. Veterans will have up to two years of treatment for conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, or trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

    Mental health benefits will provide coverage for prescription drugs as well as treatments and examinations provided by psychologists, addictions counsellors, social workers or other approved mental health professionals.

    In case you are interested, the Mental Health Benefits regulatory amendments were posted here in the Canada Gazette on 1 January 2022. You are welcome to submit comments on the amendments by 30 January 2022 by emailing us. We will consider all comments and possible adjustments before submitting the proposed regulatory amendments to Treasury Board for consideration, and then to the Governor in Council for approval.


    Programs and Services

    Let’s talk about mental health

    It’s the beginning of a new year, a time when many people commit to taking care of their bodies and improving their physical health. This year, why not also strive to take care of our minds and improve our mental health? On January 26, Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s take the first step to focusing on our mental health.

    The journey toward mental wellness is different for everyone. It may begin with experiencing mental struggles and talking to a friend or family member. It may mean reaching out for professional support or becoming part of a peer support group. It could also mean supporting initiatives to end mental health stigma, an important step toward a healthier community.

    Whatever your mental wellness journey looks like this year, know that each step you take is meaningful and that there are resources to help you on your way. Here are just a few you can check out today:

    • VAC Assistance Service is a confidential and free service available 24/7 to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, or caregivers. Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now.
    • Peer support services will connect you to an understanding ear, a supportive community of people with similar experiences, and effective resources to help.
    • Operational stress injury (OSI) clinics provide in-person and virtual assessment, treatment and support to address mental health issues related to service.
    • The HOPE program offers bereaved families confidential peer support by connecting with families who have gone through a similar experience as their own.

    For more mental health resources, visit VAC’s understanding mental health web page.


    New year, new resources to help you manage your mental health

    Between the pandemic and natural disasters, many of us might find this new year difficult.

    Visit the LifeSpeak platform for guided meditations and tips on compassion fatigue, loneliness, stress and more.

    Brand-new, expert-led videos and blog articles include:

    Log in to LifeSpeak at veterans.lifespeak.com and enter access ID: canada.

    LifeSpeak provides expert-led and bilingual resources on physical and mental health and well-being, including wellness videos, blogs, awareness campaigns and monthly chat sessions.


    Launch of the Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative

    The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has announced the launch of a funding opportunity through the Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative.

    This is the second open call for proposals resulting from funding announced in Budget 2019 to support implementing Canada’s first national dementia strategy.

    The Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative aims to improve access to and use of high-quality dementia guidance in Canada. This funding opportunity is intended to improved the availability and adoption of high-quality dementia guidance.

    PHAC is currently accepting proposals. Please share this information with your network, as appropriate.

    An Invitation to Submit a Funding Request (ISFR) template can be requested from PHAC’s Centre for Grants and Contributions by email. Please be sure to include “DSF: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative” in the subject line. The deadline to submit a completed funding request is 12 P.M. (EST), 28 January, 2022.


    Powers of attorney can now use My VAC Account

    Are you concerned about maintaining access to My VAC Account if your affairs need to be managed by a power of attorney? New changes to My VAC Account mean the people you appoint to act on your behalf can now access your account.

    Over the years, powers of attorney have accessed our services on behalf of their clients or loved ones by calling us and submitting applications through the mail. As of 7 December 2021, a power of attorney can use My VAC Account to do business on your behalf. This will make taking care of your needs easier and more efficient.

    From My VAC Account, your power of attorney will be able to apply for benefits and services on your behalf. They will also be able to track applications, communicate with us via secure messages, access benefits and payment history, and more.

    If you are a power of attorney, contact us to request the information needed to create a My VAC Account. If you are a power of attorney and already have a personal account, log in to access your account and the accounts of those you represent.


    Commemoration

    Send a valentine to a Canadian Veteran

    Each year, we invite schools, individuals and organizations to make special valentines messages, which we then distribute to Veterans in long-term care facilities across the country.

    You, too, can send a valentine card and bring joy to a Veteran on Valentine’s Day.

    If you’re an educator or a member of a community organization, please get involved in sharing in this special program.

    Send your valentines by February 1 to us at:

    Valentines for Vets
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Commemoration, Distribution Unit
    125 Maple Hills Avenue
    Charlottetown, PE C1C 0B6

    Learn more at the Valentines for Vets web page.


    Now hiring: Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel monument student guides

    “This experience opened my eyes to what it means to be Canadian. Working here is an incredible privilege. Lest we forget.”—Graham, former Vimy student guide

    Do you know a student like Graham who is ready for the experience of a lifetime? We’re now hiring student guides to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in northern France.

    The application deadline is 10 January 2022. For more information or to apply, visit our Student guides in France page.


    Veteran story: Bruno Guevremont

    Changing mind, changing self

    “Being in the CAF becomes your identity. They break you down and build you back up. It’s a good thing, but when you leave, your identity doesn’t match the community you find yourself in anymore.”

    Bruno Guevremont is a man who knows how to adapt to change. He had two distinct roles, serving separate tours in Afghanistan with two different branches in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). After releasing from service, he learned new skills to be able to pivot to new roles more than once.

    Now, he’s sharing what he has learned about achieving goals in life after service with other Veterans and serving CAF members. He also coaches business leaders and employers on how to build teams and empower the best in their employees.

    Read more about Bruno’s military career and his career after service.



    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.


    Follow us on social media:

    Facebook: VAC

    Facebook: Canada Remembers

    Twitter

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  • Salute! December 2021

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    by Alevans,


    December 2021

    Please share this email with your friends and contacts.

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


    In this edition:


    Programs and services

    Take care of your mental health during this season

    The holiday season can be a busy time for people, with events to attend, gatherings to prepare, gifts to buy and often an especially busy period at work. This season can also be a time when many feel isolated and lonely. In short, it’s a time of increased stress that can take a toll on your mental health.

    There are resources to help you and your loved ones take care of their mental health.

    • The VAC Assistance Service is a free and confidential psychological support line available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-268-7708, or for 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. You can get a referral by calling 1-866-522-2122, send a request through a secure message via My VAC Account or ask your case manager.
    • The Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program 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.
    • The Helping our Peers by Providing Empathy (HOPE) program connects CAF members, Veterans and their families with others who can relate to their experiences.
    • 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 Veteran Family Program connects medically releasing and released Veterans and their families to community supports.

    Remember during this busy season to take the time you need to look after yourself.


    Winter is coming. The Veterans Independence Program can help!

    Reach out to the Veterans Independence Program to help you remain independent and self-sufficient in your home and community.

    You may qualify for the Veterans Independence Program if you have qualified for a disability benefit or the War Veterans Allowance, or receive the Prisoner of War Compensation.

    Services covered by the Veterans Independence Program include:

    • grounds maintenance like snow removal and lawn mowing
    • housekeeping, such as cleaning, laundry, meal preparation and running errands
    • access to nutrition, such as meal delivery services
    • professional healthcare and support, including nursing services and occupational therapy
    • personal care
    • ambulatory healthcare, such as assessments, diagnostics, activities and transportation to these services
    • transportation to social and community activities
    • long term care
    • home adaptations—contribution toward modifying the Veteran’s home so you can carry out everyday activities.

    You can apply directly through My VAC Account or download and mail a completed form.

    Our goal is to make sure your life after service is as independent and fulfilling as possible. You take the lead. We’re here to back you up whenever you need a hand.


    Meet your career goals with the help of the Education and Training Benefit

    Thinking about furthering your education or training after service? The Education and Training Benefit provides Veterans with financial support to achieve your academic and career goals.

    You could use this taxable benefit toward the costs of a full-length program towards a diploma, degree, certificate or training that leads to a certification or designation. You can also apply for short courses geared toward career and personal development. Also, once you’ve finished your studies, you can apply for a $1,000 completion bonus.

    You can submit applications for the Education and Training Benefit and Career Transition Services online using the guided form on My VAC Account, or by mail.

    If you’re not sure what education to pursue, consider applying to Career Transition Services.

    Check out our Fact Sheet to learn more about eligibility criteria and the application process. Need more info? Visit the Education and Training Benefit webpage and view the Frequently Asked Questions.

    Please note: You cannot receive the Education and Training Benefit while participating in VAC’s Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance program, or if you are receiving the Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS).

    Commemoration

    Not every war is fought on the battlefield

    On 3 December 1989, the United States and Soviet Union pledged to end the Cold War, which began shortly after the end of the Second World War.

    For over four decades, communist countries in Eastern Europe, led by the Soviet Union, competed for power on the world stage with democratic countries in the West, including Canada.

    Thousands of Canadians served during the Cold War, patrolling our waters and airspace at home, and deploying to countries in Western Europe, to guard against an attack that ultimately never came. Canadian Armed Forces members would serve in West Germany until 1993.


    80th anniversary of the Defence of Hong Kong

    The Defence of Hong Kong began eighty years ago this month, on the morning of 8 December 1941, when Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong during the Second World War.

    Almost 2,000 Canadians fought against Japanese forces during the Second World War. The battle lasted more than two weeks before the Allied troops, outnumbered and under-equipped, were forced to surrender on Christmas Day.

    Those who survived were taken prisoner, like Sergeant-Major (Ret’d) George MacDonell. They faced brutal conditions in labour camps for more than three and a half years, where over 260 Canadians would die before their liberation in September 1945.

    We remember their bravery and sacrifice.

    Lest we forget.


    Commendations

    Recognize people who help Veterans

    Do you know someone making a difference in Veterans’ lives? Nominate them for a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

    Every year, we recognize outstanding volunteers who help Veterans and serve communities. It’s one of the ways we give thanks to the many selfless Canadians who give so generously of their time.

    Canadians like Peter Morel, a personal trainer who helps ill and injured Veterans, often at no cost; or Lisa Gaylene Rose, whose efforts led to the construction of a new monument in Fortune Bridge, PEI. Learn more about previous recipients of the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

    Make certain to nominate those who you know for the recognition they deserve before the deadline of 31 January 2022. Use the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation Nomination Package.

    Veteran success story

    A man who loves to be busy

    Grant Finnigan is someone who seems to live 30 hours every day. This Veteran of 31 Combat Engineer Regiment (The Elgins) has a full-time job as a firefighter, delivers Christmas food hampers during the holiday season and stays in touch with his Army comrades. On top of that, he’s a Big Brother, mentoring a youth who needs a positive male influence.

    Read more about Grant’s military career and his life after service.


    Veteran releases album

    Just before Remembrance Day, PEI Veteran Dennis MacKenzie released his first music album, The Guardian Angel Platoon. It tells the story of a young man who joins the Canadian Armed Forces and finds a sense of belonging, purpose and family.

    MacKenzie says he hopes the stories told through the songs on the album will help raise awareness about the trauma that Veterans experience during conflict, and their difficulty coping with physical and psychological wounds after returning home.

    Dennis MacKenzie served nine years in the Royal Canadian Regiment, 2nd Battalion, releasing in 2013. His service included a deployment to Afghanistan, where six of his comrades and friends died in a roadside bomb attack on Easter Sunday in 2007. The song “Easter Sunday” commemorates them.

    Another song, “Why Didn’t You Say Goodbye,” is about other friends who died from suicide following their return home.

    CD copies of the album come with a commemorative pin inspired by the design of a lantern used in the military. Soldier On, a Canadian Armed Forces program committed to supporting Veterans and serving members to adapt and overcome permanent physical or mental health injuries, will support and distribute the album.

    Now living in Bonshaw, PEI, MacKenzie founded a support program for Veterans called Brave and Broken. “It helps Veterans through peer support and activities, from music to disc-golf.”

    Music has been a major part of Dennis’ life after service. “I’ve taken part in many different programs and modalities, but music has made the most difference to me,” he says.

    He hopes to have a live performance launch for the album in the spring of 2022. In the meantime, learn more about his journey and his music on his website.


    Engagement

    We need your feedback to improve accessibility at Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board

    Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board launched an accessibility consultation on November 17 with Veterans, their family members and other Canadians. We need your feedback to learn about any accessibility barriers you or others may experience.

    Canada has a vision of its public service being the most accessible and inclusive in the world. This includes working with persons with disabilities to help identify, prevent and remove accessibility barriers.

    You’ll find this consultation on our Let’s Talk Veterans platform until December 14. The final report will be published on the platform in 2022.

    To learn more about our consultations and to stay connected on Veterans’ issues, visit Let’s Talk Veterans.

    Reminder: Please 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.

    Follow us on social media:

    Facebook: VAC

    Facebook: Canada Remembers

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  • Salute! November 2021

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    by Alevans,

    November 2021

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    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.


    Commemoration

    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).


    Engagement

    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

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    by Alevans,

    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.


    Commemoration


    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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  • Let's Talk Veterans-September 2021

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    by Alevans,

    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@veterans.gc.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.


    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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  • Let's Talk Veterans-August 2021

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    by Alevans,

    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.


    Please share this newsletter

    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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  • Let's Talk Veterans-July 2021

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    by Alevans,


    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:

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

    Wellness Together Canada: COVID-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.


    Follow us on social media:

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  • Let's Talk Veterans-June 2021

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    by Alevans,


    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
    • Honouring the memory of Indigenous Veterans
    • Pride Week: June 8–11
    • Veterans share experience of applying for disability benefits
    • Help applying for benefits and services
    • Be heard: join one of the six ministerial advisory groups
    • Why do the Battles of Beaumont-Hamel and the Somme matter to you?
    • Veteran recommends the Veterans Independence Program
    • Veteran success story despite harassment
    • Veteran success story: David Fraser
    • Join the Navy Bike Ride

    Indigenous Veteran Debbie Eisan to be featured on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)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.

Page last updated: 01 Mar 2022, 01:04 PM