Veterans Affairs Update May 2021


In this edition:

  • Budget 2021 highlights for Veterans and families
  • Results are in: 2020 VAC National Client Survey
  • Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Canada’s peacekeeping mission to Timor-Leste
  • Commemorating Canadians of Asian heritage
  • Veteran success story: Transition tips from a Veteran who did it twice
  • Veteran and Family Well-being Fund makes real differences for Veterans
  • LGBTQ2 Action Plan
  • My VAC Account tips: Information to include in your benefit applications
  • Business boot camps for transitioning CAF members and Veterans
  • Commemoration calendar

Federal Budget 2021 and Veterans

The federal government’s Budget 2021, A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience, includes a number of items that affect the Veteran community. These include:

  • a program that will cover the mental health care costs of Veterans with PTSD, depressive, or anxiety disorders while their disability benefit application is being processed
  • additional funding to expand and enhance the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund for projects that will support Veterans during the post COVID-19 recovery, including addressing homelessness, employment, retraining, and health challenges
  • a pilot project for peer support groups for CAF members and Veterans who experienced sexual misconduct during their careers
  • additional money to eliminate homelessness among Veterans and across Canada
  • permanent changes to standards for long-term care in all provinces and territories, to ensure seniors and those in care live in safe and dignified conditions
  • supporting a trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder stream of mental health programming
  • continued resources to reduce wait times and develop more efficient processes for disability benefits applications and decisions
  • consultations on reforming the eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits
  • new funding for community-informed initiatives to overcome issues facing LGBTQ2 communities, such as accessing mental health services and employment support.

For more details on Budget 2021 on Veterans, families and stakeholders, visit Budget 2021.

Results are in: 2020 VAC National Client Survey

Research helps provide better support to Veterans and their families

Most Veterans and families are generally satisfied with VAC’s programs and services, but there are significant groups expressing less satisfaction than the average, according to the 2020 VAC National Client Survey.

More than 3,000 Veterans, CAF and RCMP members, and survivors answered the survey last year. This was more than double the number who answered the 2017 survey, allowing for more detailed analysis.

Here are a few survey highlights:

  • 80% of respondents are generally satisfied with our programs and services
  • 69% are satisfied with their overall well-being
  • Indigenous and visible minority Veterans interviewed were generally less satisfied and rated their VAC experience less positively than overall results
  • Veterans who are ages 65 and younger and have case managers are generally less satisfied than other participants, and many report feeling down or depressed.

We will focus on understanding these results to improve our programs and how we deliver services to you.

Our heartfelt thanks to all Veterans and clients who shared their experiences, letting us know what’s working and what needs improvement. We couldn’t have done this without you!

You can read the results here.

20th anniversary of Canada’s largest peacekeeping mission to East Timor

On May 12 twenty years ago, Canada’s largest peacekeeping operation since the Korean War came to an end.

After years of escalating violence, the United Nations sent a multinational force to restore peace and security to East Timor (now known as Timor-Leste), a small tropical country in the Timor Sea between Australia and Indonesia. From 1999 to 2001, more than 650 Canadians troops helped stabilize the region and delivered critical humanitarian aid to the people of East Timor.

Join us at Canada Remembers as we look back on Canada’s role in this important mission.

Asian Heritage Month

Canadians of Asian heritage have a proud legacy in our military. They have served with courage and conviction, overcoming barriers along the way.

While our military is now more diverse and inclusive, this was not always the case. Hundreds of Chinese Canadians proudly served in the First and Second World Wars, despite facing discrimination and injustice at home. Their efforts helped pave the way for greater equality in our military and Canadian society.

May, Asian Heritage Month in Canada, is an opportunity to recognize the many contributions of Asian-Canadians today and throughout history.

Join us throughout the month to celebrate our soldiers, sailors and aviators of Asian heritage and honour their many sacrifices for our country. Visit the People and stories page for more.

Transition tips from a Veteran who did it twice

Having done it twice, Andrei Roberge knows the difference between a good transition to life after service and one that’s … not so good. He has a few tips to offer any CAF member who is looking at transition soon.

Like many Veterans, Andrei’s career in the Canadian Armed Forces took him around the world. Today, he continues to operate internationally, planning logistics and managing operations for Team Rubicon. This organization mobilizes Veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises, around the world. These can range from hurricanes in the Caribbean to flooding in Alberta, and any place in between.

Read Andrei’s full story.

Making a real difference

Since 2018, the Veteran and Family Well-being Fund has helped organizations start up programs that are helping improve the lives of Veterans across Canada.

Read about some of the Veterans and families who have improved their lives through some of these innovative initiatives, including:

  • Shaping Purpose
    Helping Veterans and others find a new direction after retirement.
  • A New Dynamic Enterprise
    For women Veterans, soon-to-release CAF members and spouses of Veterans, Transitions Lifeshops seminars to form support networks for life after service.
  • Helmets to Hardhats
    Helping Veterans to find training, apprenticeships and employment in the construction and maintenance industry.

Read the full article.

Attention LGBTQ2 civil society organizations: have your say

If you’re part of an LGBTQ2 civil society organization, the Government of Canada wants to hear from you about the Federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan.

The Government is asking groups to share views on policies and programs, and suggest new measures that could be undertaken as part of the Action Plan.

LGBTQ2 service members and Veterans have played an important role in our country’s military efforts over the years and continue to contribute to its rich history and heritage. We want to ensure that your voices are captured in this Action Plan.

Please take a moment and have your say. Please present written submissions through this online form by 31 May 2021.

The Government of Canada launched the first Federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan public engagement process in November 2020. Activities are underway to help us all better understand the daily realities of LGBTQ2 people in Canada in areas such as employment, healthcare, housing and homelessness, and safety.

An online LGBTQ2 survey closed on 28 February 2021 with over 22,000 people responding.

My VAC Account tips

What to include when applying for a disability benefit

A completed application for a disability benefit will show that you have a diagnosed medical condition (or disability) and that your condition is related to your service.

Here are some tips to help make your application as smooth as possible.

Business boot camp

Operation Entrepreneur is offering a virtual business boot camp to help transitioning Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans advance their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. The next session takes place from 10–24 June 2021. The deadline to apply is 31 May 2021.

For more information, visit Princes Trust Canada – Boot camp.

Next month

  • Celebrating Canada’s Indigenous Veterans
  • 105th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel
  • Pride Week
  • Veteran success stories

Commemoration calendar

Asian Heritage Month May 1–31 Commemorating the contributions of Veterans of Asian heritage
Canadian Jewish Heritage Month May 1–31
VE Day May 8 The 76th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe
Armed Forces Day May 15 On the occasion of the U.S. honouring its Armed Forces members and the contributions of Canadians
Aboriginal Awareness Week May 25–28 To increase awareness of Aboriginal peoples, including Indigenous Veterans
National Indigenous History Month June 1–30 Recognizing the historic contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada
National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21

SOURCE: Newsletter May 2021

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