Salute! February 2022

February 2022

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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


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.


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.

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