The future of remembrance in Canada

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Members of the Canadian Armed Forces stand at attention at the Remembrance Day ceremony held at Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa on November 11, 2019.  Photo: Corporal Tori Lake, Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) Imaging Services

Veterans Affairs Canada would like to thank all those who participated and who encouraged participation by promoting the online platform within their respective networks. We are happy to share the consultation results on the future of remembrance in Canada.

Veterans Affairs Canada would like to thank all those who participated and who encouraged participation by promoting the online platform within their respective networks. We are happy to share the consultation results on the future of remembrance in Canada.

  • Background

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    Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has developed a draft 2020-2030 Strategic plan for commemoration to serve as a blueprint for commemorative programming. The goal of the plan is to invite Canadians to understand and appreciate the contributions and sacrifices made by those in uniform, and to make sure that all Veterans and their family members feel recognized. To see that the plan is inclusive and relevant, it was developed, in part, from feedback obtained through a series of consultations.

  • We asked

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    Between May and July of 2021, VAC invited all Canadians including Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Royal Canadian Mounted police (RCMP), other persons involved in international peace support operations, their families, Veterans organizations, and the general public to share their thoughts on the future of remembrance in Canada.

    Consultation feedback was gathered through surveys (Let’s Talk Veterans and direct surveys to stakeholder organizations), roundtable meetings, direct emails and VAC’s Facebook channels.

    The questions generally focused on representing diversity in commemorative programs; meaningful ways to recognize Veterans; the commemoration of security, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations; and feedback on a CAF around the world approach.

  • You Said

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    Over 1,800 Canadians shared their thoughts on how we can evolve our remembrance programming. Several themes that emerged from the analysis of the consultations include:

    Increase diversity

    We heard that commemorative efforts should highlight both diversity as well as commonalities in service in a balanced way. While many participants shared an interest in increasing the awareness of diversity of those who served, some felt overemphasizing diversity may distract from the shared experience of service. Participants also called for further recognition of the diversity (service types [army, navy, air force, police security], gender, race, sexuality, and Indigenous representation, etc.) and the variety of ways all Veterans have contributed to CAF missions and security and peacekeeping operations. Other suggested areas of focus include transparency of messaging surrounding sexual misconduct and racism and recognition for living Veterans—not only those who died in service.

    Expanded scope

    Participants supported the continued recognition of Veterans of the World Wars and Korean War but noted the scope of remembrance should place greater emphasis on post-war conflicts, operations and service. For example, a significant number of participants mentioned Cold War service (as part of NATO deterrent forces stationed in Europe), international United Nations peacekeeping missions and other CAF international missions as service that could be commemorated. Participants also supported recognizing and commemorating domestic operations such as the defence of North America, sovereignty protection, search and rescue, and emergency disaster relief. Generally, support for the CAF around the world programming was strong. Some Veterans noted that their service and sacrifice should be recognized not only through public events, but also through improving benefits and support programs.


    We heard many different ideas for engaging Canadians in remembrance. Participants want to learn about Canada’s military history through personal and compelling Veteran stories and interactive digital experiences such as social media platforms, short video clips, live-streaming of commemorative events, and interactive digital experiences (virtual memorial or battlefield tours), and that these formats may speak to younger generations. Participants encouraged more interaction between Veterans and youth, with a focus on active youth participation in commemorative events and activities. To evolve remembrance, participants suggested VAC should increase collaboration with stakeholders, schools and other organizations (such as museums) to improve educational tools and learning initiatives. Some participants noted that making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday in all provinces would allow more Canadians to commemorate.

  • We will

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    Using the feedback from these consultations, we will refine the objectives, goals and deliverables to finalize the draft 2020-2030 Strategic plan for commemoration. We will continue to use many of the individual suggestions and comments provided to shape future commemorative programming and activities.

    Help Canadians understand

    We will help Canadians understand how those who served our country have helped advance peace and security around the world by adding Cold War and peacekeeping (as well as lesser-known operations) into remembrance programming; prioritizing educating youth on Canada’s military history; and engaging Canadians through social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter), television, radio and other digitized content.

    Inspired Canadians to recognize

    We will inspire Canadians to recognize the service and sacrifices of all who have served our country in uniform by recognizing the diversity of different roles and branches within the military; adding broader gender, race, sexuality, and Indigenous representation when portraying heroes and contributors to Canada’s military history; and increasing VAC partnerships with stakeholders, other organizations and schools to plan and deliver commemorative initiatives.

    Preserve and maintain

    We will preserve and maintain Government of Canada memorials, including the Books of Remembrance and Veteran grave markers, in a sustainable and dignified way by adding educational and interactive components to memorials to make them more accessible and relevant to the public.

    Read the full report here.

Page last updated: 21 Jun 2024, 02:11 PM