Newsletters

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Below are the newsletters shared with participants who register on the site. You want to receive them in your mailbox? Register to stay informed.


Below are the newsletters shared with participants who register on the site. You want to receive them in your mailbox? Register to stay informed.


  • Let's Talk Veterans-March 2021

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    09 Mar 2021
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    Veterans Affairs Canada’s magazine, Salute! is now an e-newsletter. Please share this e-mail with your friends and networks, and encourage them to register by visiting letstalkveterans.ca to 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.


    International Women’s DayWe marked International Women’s Day in Canada and around the world on 8 March. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality and to celebrate those who have played a role in advancing this goal. It is also a chance to raise awareness of the work left to be done.

    Women have served in Canada’s military for more than a century. Overcoming many barriers to serve in uniform, they’ve paved the way for future generations while making the world a safer, more equitable place.

    Meet two of these strong women: Corporal (Ret’d) Francine Beaudry and Sergeant (Ret'd) Marjorie (Worby) Stetson. Serving in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) in the Second World War, Stetson worked to help break enemy coded messages. More recently, Beaudry served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 18 years, including deployments to Egypt and Germany, and provided communications support to Canadians serving in the Gulf War from Canada.

    Get to know more of the women who served our country by visiting our web feature, They Proudly Served.


    Virtual Veterans panel – How should Canada commemorate our post-Korean War military efforts?

    Join us for an approximately one-hour exploration of this subject at 1:00 pm ET on 19 March 2021. Our virtual panel will feature three Canadian Armed Forces Veterans sharing their personal reflections: Lieutenant-General (ret’d) Lloyd Campbell, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Chris Hutt and Sergeant (ret’d) Geneviève Gauthier.

    To register, email us at vac.education-education.acc@canada.ca before March 15. Please indicate if you wish to watch in English or French.


    PPE and other Treatment Benefits options during COVID-19There are some things to know about Treatment Benefits during this pandemic period.

    Since the beginning of COVID measures in early 2020, you may have the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE – like masks) covered for medical appointments, including protective equipment for a medically required escort or family member joining you for an appointment.

    Virtual healthcare and telehealth are also accepted as an alternative to in-person medical appointments.

    For services other than prescription drugs (like physiotherapy or counselling) you don’t need to renew your prescriptions.

    To learn more about the Treatment Benefits options available to you during the pandemic, please check out our list of FAQs.


    Mental health and your familyFamily members play an important role in their loved one’s well-being and recovery. As a family member of a Veteran, it’s also important for you to take care of your mental well-being.

    There are a variety of services available to support your well-being, including:

    • Operational stress injury clinics which take a family approach to support treatment and well-being.
    • Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) provides a national peer support network for CAF members, Veterans and their families, close friends or caregivers.
    • VAC Assistance Service is available 24/7 to family members of Veterans, including those who aren’t clients of VAC. Call 1-800-268-7708 (TDD/TYY: 1-800-567-5803) to talk to a mental health professional.
    • Pastoral outreach programs are available to you for spiritual support if you are experiencing loss of a loved one.
    • HOPE program is another resource where you can connect with families that have gone through a similar experience as your own.
    • Veteran Family Program connects medically releasing and released Veterans and their families to community supports.

    Caring for your own mental health is the first step in supporting others. Remember that your well-being matters and that we have services available for you.


    Offer feedback on Canada’s proposed accessibility regulations

    Proposed Accessible Canada Regulations are now available in Canada Gazette, Part I.

    These proposed regulations provide details on how federally regulated entities must prepare and publish an accessibility plan, progress report, and feedback process, as required by the Accessible Canada Act (ACA). The proposed regulations also establish a framework for administrative monetary penalties.

    Canadians now have until 19 April 2021 to offer feedback on the proposed regulations. Information on how to provide feedback can be found in Canada Gazette, Part I.

    If you have any questions, please reach out to accessible-canada@hrsdc.gc.ca.


    Help us improve My VAC Account

    You are invited to participate in a short survey to let us know how we can improve My VAC Account and its features. For this study, we are collecting feedback from My VAC Account users to better understand how they use the platform and what other business they would like to do online.

    Your input is important to us. Thank you for helping us improve My VAC Account.

    https://phoenixspi.qfimr.com/MyVACAccount-MonDossierACC


    Transitioning to life after serviceThe road to life after service can be challenging. We are working with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to make the transition experience as seamless and stress-free as possible.

    Together, we have been exploring a new approach to transition focused on the individual needs of members and their families. A trial started at CFB Borden in February 2019, expanded to CFB Petawawa on 17 February 2021, and it will continue to roll out across the country over the next few years.

    As part of this new approach, each member has direct access to a transition advisor who can help you create a transition plan that suits your needs and goals.

    If you’re not in Borden or Petawawa, there are still many programs and services available such as the Education and Training Benefit and Career Transition Services.

    Your drive, courage, and determination are what brought you success in the CAF. The transition trial and our career, education, and financial programs are options to help you in life after service.


    Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund recipients to be announced soon

    Over the past two years, the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund has provided organizations with funding to support initiatives and research in areas like Veteran homelessness, mental health, and the transition to life after service. The most recent call for applications closed last month and we will soon announce the latest projects and organizations to receive funding.

    Shaping Purpose received support from the fund in 2018. Veteran Owen Parkhouse says Shaping Purpose helped him and his family set personal, post-retirement goals and make a realistic plan to achieve them. Read more about Owen and other success stories on our website.


    Help us reach more Veterans and families

    If you have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or RCMP, you may qualify for VAC programs or services that can support your financial, educational or family’s well-being.

    We will be promoting some of our services throughout March using advertising in the media and online.

    Please help us reach as many people as possible by sharing information with your networks. Our goal is to ensure all Veterans and their families know that services and supports are available.


    Sexual harassment at CAF-DND

    If you experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender or LGBTQ2+ discrimination in a CAF-DND workplace, you may make a confidential claim for financial compensation and participate in a restorative engagement program.

    Learn more: caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca/

  • Let's Talk Veterans-February 2021

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    11 Feb 2021
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    Veterans Affairs Canada’s magazine, Salute! is now an e-newsletter. Please share this e-mail with your friends and networks, and encourage them to register by visiting letstalkveterans.ca to 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.


    Celebrating Black History Month—The Niagara Military Museum’s Black Military History Travelling Exhibit

    February is Black History Month. Often having to overcome great challenges just to enlist in the military, the sacrifices and achievements of Black Canadians over the years have shone through.

    The Niagara Military Museum recently unveiled the Black Military History of Niagara Traveling Exhibit to share the stories of Black Canadians who served. The exhibit is tailored to youth and features personal stories of service from the First and Second World Wars, Korean War, Afghanistan, and other conflicts.

    Read more about this interesting project: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/art-hub/niagara-military-museum

    Interested in learning more about the Black Canadians who have served our country? Be sure to visit the Peoples and Stories section on our website.


    30th Anniversary of the end of the Gulf War

    We are fast approaching the 30th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War on 28 February.

    Veterans Affairs Canada has created an online space to mark this important anniversary and honour the Canadians who served in this conflict. The web page features a series of learning resources, profiles of Veterans who served in the conflict, a web gallery and more.

    Take a look to learn about the history and the people who participated: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/wars-and-conflicts/gulf-war/30th-anniversary

    Do you remember when Canada joined the war effort in the Gulf War? Share your memories to recognize the brave Canadians who served in this conflict, using the hashtags #CanadaRemembers and #GulfWar30.

    If you would like to share your story with us, please email vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca.


    Update on efforts to reduce wait times

    Reducing wait times for disability benefit applications is our number one priority. We understand why Veterans and their families are frustrated, and we are making changes to address these concerns head-on. In June 2020, we released a strategy to address the long-standing issue of wait times for disability benefits decisions: Timely Disability Benefits Decisions: Strategic Direction for Improving Wait Times.

    Veteran Benefit Teams

    One of the ways we’re working on reducing wait times outlined in our plan is by creating new Veteran Benefit Teams. These teams include Disability Services Assistants, Benefits Program Officers and Disability Adjudicators–-the people who move applications from intake to adjudication to payment.

    The pilot Veteran Benefit Team completed decisions in 17 weeks, compared to the previous 50.5 weeks; while it’s still early days with full implementation of this structure, we expect to see similar gains in the operationalized VBTs.

    Spike Teams

    Since the release of our plan, Spike Teams have also been hired, trained (virtually) and, as of January 2021, have started to make decisions on disability benefit applications. One quarter of these employees are French or bilingual.

    With the addition of Spike Teams, we expect to significantly reduce the number of claims waiting beyond the 16-week service standard by the end of March 2022.

    We are tracking progress and providing regular updates on our efforts to address wait times, which you can find in our Disability Benefits Processing Summary Report. As the efforts of the Spike Teams ramp up, the progress should show in future quarterly reports.


    Fighting the COVID-19 blues

    Mental health and substance use supports are more important than ever as Canadians deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a difficult time, but you aren’t alone. If you need support with mental health or substance use issues, resources are available to you and your family.

    Wellness Together Canada was launched with the challenges of COVID-19 in mind. Funded by the Government of Canada, this online mental health and substance use portal is led by three of Canada’s leading mental health and substance use organizations—Kids Help Phone, Homewood Health and Stepped Care Solutions.

    You can access free, confidential and immediate parenting, mental health and substance use support 24 hours a day. The portal contains resources and tools to support the well-being of people of all ages in English and French. It connects you and your loved ones with qualified mental health and substance use professionals or volunteers, depending on the type of assistance you need.

    Creating an account is simple and the information you provide is kept strictly confidential. Once your account is created, you can do a five-minute mental health self-assessment to tailor your wellness resources to your unique mental health journey. The self-guided courses, e-learning tools and one-on-one counselling are all available to you for free. There is also a dedicated phone line, accessible through the home page, to speak with Program Navigators that can help identify resources that best fit your needs.

    The VAC Assistance Service (1-800-268-7708) is also available for former members of CAF and the RCMP, their families and caregivers. It is a confidential and free service, available 24/7, that offers psychological support by trained mental health professionals.


    What We Heard: Veteran Community Consultation

    Veterans Affairs Canada recently consulted Veterans and their families who are not currently served by the Department on how we can improve our communication and outreach to all former military members.

    The final report from this public engagement is now online at: https://letstalkveterans.ca/veteran-community-consultation

    Thanks to everyone who participated in this engagement and shared information with your networks.


    Listening to your Feedback: Cannabis for Medical Purposes

    One of our readers asked about Cannabis for Medical Purposes. Generally speaking, Veterans who have qualified for disability benefits and have a medical authorization from their healthcare practitioner may be reimbursed for cannabis for medical purposes. Visit our website for the details, including the policy, FAQs, and more.


    Veterans Independence Program: Stay in charge of life

    There are times when we could all use a hand. Whether it’s shoveling snow during the winter, keeping your property in good condition during the summer, or help with housekeeping, meal preparation and personal care, the Veterans Independence Program is here for eligible Veterans.

    The Veterans Independence Program can also provide you with professional health and support services that will give you the freedom and quality of life you deserve. These services include transportation to and from appointments, long term care, ambulatory healthcare (assessments, diagnostics, and activities) and more.

    Applying for the Veterans Independence Program is easy. If you have qualified for a disability benefit or the War Veterans Allowance, receive the Prisoner of War Compensation, or qualify for (but can’t access) a Contract Bed, you can apply directly through your My VAC Account. You can also download the form and mail it to us.

    Our goal with the Veterans Independence Program 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.


    The Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund

    The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Canadians across the country hard and in different ways. Each passing month brought new challenges and forced us to adapt quickly to new ways of working and living. This has been especially true for organizations that serve Veterans and their families.

    Veterans organizations play a critical role in the lives and well-being of Veterans and their families, as well as the communities in which they are located. These organizations also provide support for homeless Veterans and those with disabilities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Veterans organizations haven’t been able to go into the community and hold events or run charity drives due to health and safety restrictions. Falling charitable donations and general revenue has meant some of these organizations risk closing their doors forever.

    The Veterans Organization Emergency Support Fund was launched in November 2020 to help organizations who have been hit hard financially. The $20 million fund supports charitable and non-profit Veterans organizations that have lost revenue because of the pandemic. This funding means organizations can continue their work during a time when it is needed most.

    This funding forms part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to protect millions of jobs, provide emergency support to families, and keep businesses afloat throughout the pandemic.


    Veteran profile: Col. (Retired) Mark Gasparotto

    Each month, we will bring you a Veteran’s story. Browse our full collection of profiles on our People and Stories page.

    The sooner, the better: When to start thinking about life after service

    Col. (Retired) Mark Gasparotto spent 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces before he released from service. By the time he turned in the last of his kit and signed all the necessary paperwork, he had been thinking about his transition for a decade.

    Here are five pieces of Col. (Retired) Mark Gasparotto’s advice:

    1. Pay attention to choices you make that have long-term implications

    Mark is a trained engineer. He spent his career sweating the details, whether he was leading the construction of Route Summit in Zhari / Panjwayi or commanding the 2 Combat Engineers Regiment at Petawawa. He paid similar attention to the life choices he made during his military and post-military careers.

    Read Mark’s story here.

  • Let's Talk Veterans-January 2021

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    The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund is open for applications

    Does your organization support the well-being of Veterans and their families?

    Apply for the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund. Funding is available to organizations from the private, public or academic sectors doing research and realizing projects and initiative in support of the well-being of Veterans and their families. Applications will be accepted until 8 February 2021.

    Not sure if you qualify? Check out our funding guidelines.

    Interested in applying? Find the application here.


    Valentines for Vets


    “Valentines for Vets” is back! Make special valentines to show your appreciation for those who have served our country in times of war, military conflict and peace. Each year, we invite schools, individuals and organizations to make valentines for Veterans in long-term care facilities. We encourage you to also share photos of your creations on social media using: #CanadaRemembers

    For more information, visit: www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/classroom/valentines-for-veterans.


    Shape the future of remembrance and recognition in Canada

    How should we commemorate and recognize those who served in Canada’s military, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions over the next decade? In February, we will invite former and current Canadian Armed Forces Members and their families to share thoughts using our new engagement platform, Let’s Talk Veterans.

    We drafted the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for Commemoration in consultation with the VAC Commemoration Advisory Group, and now we want to hear from you. How should we adapt to Canada’s ever-changing landscape to reach our diverse and digitally-connected population?

    Through online participation, you will be invited to share your comments and ideas. We will report back to you on how we’re using your feedback.


    Gulf War Veterans, we would like to share your stories

    Did you participate in the Gulf War or know someone who did? As the 30th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War approaches, we are looking for Veterans to share their stories with Canadians.

    The Gulf War was a conflict with long-lasting consequences for those who were involved. However, the Gulf War also brought about many firsts: it marked the first conflict where Canadian women played an active combat role, the first Canadian air-to-surface attacks since the Korean War, and the first time in decades that Canadian naval and air forces supported each other in combat.

    We want to educate Canadians about this difficult but unique part of our country’s history and we need your help. We are looking for Veterans to profile and share their experiences with Canadians across the country. The profiles will be shared on the They Proudly Served section of our website and on our social media pages. We hope they will raise awareness about the Gulf War and honour those who served. Check out our website to see similar examples of profiles from our previous series, Faces of Freedom.

    If you are interested in being interviewed and having your story told, please contact us at vac.engagement.acc@canada.ca.


    Mental health supports for you

    Mental health is an important part of overall well-being that affects how we think, feel and act in response to life’s daily challenges. Our sense of purpose, belonging, personal growth and relationships all contribute to our mental well-being. Now more than ever, you should make sure you are keeping an eye on your mental health and self-care.

    Anyone can experience feelings of sadness, anger and low self-esteem. When these feelings affect your ability to function, support is available. Staying connected with friends and family, and getting outside for short walks are useful ways to improve mental health. As a current or former member of the CAF or RCMP, or a family member, you can also access targeted services and benefits to improve your well-being.

    The Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program and The Helping our Peers by Providing Empathy (HOPE) program connects military members, Veterans and their families with others who can relate to their experiences.

    The VAC Assistance Service provides psychological support to Veterans, former RCMP members, and their families or caregivers. It is a free and confidential support line available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a professional when you need it.

    You aren’t alone on your mental health journey. There are many supports and services available to guide you through your progress to wellness. To find out more about the supports and services available to you, visit Veterans Affairs Canada-Mental health and wellness.


  • Let's Talk Veterans-December 2020

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    Let’s Talk Veterans

    We Asked, You Said, We Did


    We believe those we serve need to be at the heart of every decision we make. In support of this commitment to Veterans, retired RCMP members, and the families who care and support them, Veterans Affairs Canada is launching Let’s Talk Veterans (Let's Talk Veterans) on 15 December 2020. This new online stakeholder engagement platform will help us consult on topics relevant to the Veteran community and allow for broad and diverse stakeholder participation from across Canada.

    Our goal is to give those who are passionate about Veterans’ issues the power to influence our policy and improve upon the programs we offer. By increasing our capacity to seek guidance from Veterans and active members of the service community, their representatives, families, and Canadians everywhere, we can focus our research and improve how we design and deliver programs to meet the modern and changing needs of those we serve.

    We are planning two consultations in early 2021 to officially launch Let’s Talk Veterans. These consultations will explore the future of Commemoration activities as well as, focus on elements of the disability benefits application process to reduce wait times.

    After each consultation, a final report or summary will be posted to Let’s Talk Veterans, clearly showing the feedback that we have received. A section for each consultation will display three categories - “We Asked”, “You Said”, and “We Did” - which outlines the outcomes of the consultation and how we responded.

    If you want to support Veterans and their families please visit Let’s Talk Veterans and sign up to register. The registration process takes less than 60 seconds and only needs to be done one time. Once you are registered, you will be automatically notified each time we launch a new consultation and may also choose to receive future editions of this newsletter by email.