Veterans Affairs Update July 2021


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 for more information about the Education and Training Benefit, including how to qualify and getting started with the application.

Apps to support Veteran mental health

Apps for our mobile smart devices help us connect with loved ones for support and information, and even support mental health. They can connect us easily to evidence-based information and guidance that can help us take care of our mental health.

Here are some mental health-focused apps and websites specifically designed for Veterans:

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

Wellness Together CanadaCOVID-19 continues to affect and challenge Canadians in a number of ways. Whatever you’re going through, Wellness Together Canada is available to provide mental health and substance use support with a range of resources. It also has tools to help you track your progress.

OSI Connect: a mental health learning and self-management app developed to help operational stress injury (OSI) patients and their families understand the nature of operational stress injuries and to provide help through the OSI Clinic Network across Canada.

PTSD Coach Canada: mobile app can help you learn about and manage symptoms of PTSD.

HighRes: Developed by Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the HighRes app can help still-serving members, Veterans and their families build their resilience and mental fitness. The app contains easy-to-use tools to help set goals and practice skills.

Veteran success story

Melanie St-Jean: Finding the missing link after service

Melanie (Mel) St-Jean followed her dreams to a successful military career. By many measures, as a mother and independent business owner, she also had success in life after service. Still, this Army and Navy Veteran felt something was missing. Reconnecting with military Veterans has empowered Mel to pursue new dreams.

Read Mel’s full story.(External link)

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 [email protected].

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

SOURCE: Newsletter July 2021

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