In this edition:
- Veterans’ Week 2021: Service, Courage and Sacrifice
- Remember Indigenous Veterans Day
- 100 years of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada
- Veteran Success Story: Captain Judy Harper blazes new trails
- 65 years of Peacekeeping
- Deadline approaches to claim in sexual misconduct class action
- Adapting and improving for Veterans during COVID-19
- Resources for homeless Veterans
- Invitation to participate in study on cannabis use
- Invitation to take part in study on chronic pain
Veterans’ Week 2021
Service, courage and sacrifice – at home, around the world and across generations.
Every year during the lead up to Remembrance Day on November 11, we honour those who have served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace.
This year marks a number of milestone anniversaries, including the 90th anniversary of Remembrance Day itself.
On November 8, we mark Indigenous Veterans Day. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada have a long and proud tradition of military service to our country.
Explore the stories of those who have served and sacrificed for our country and reflect on their contributions and courage by visiting here.
Lest we forget.
Remember Indigenous Veterans Day
November 8 is Indigenous Veterans Day, a day to honour the contributions of Indigenous Veterans like Corporal Russ Moses.
Russ Moses was a residential school survivor and Korean War Veteran. Since he passed away in 2013, his son John has worked tirelessly to keep his memory alive.
“Even though he was engaged in war and combat, he said the food was better and the discipline was less than it was in residential school.”
100 years of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada
2021 marks the centennial of the red poppy being officially adopted as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the First World War.
In July 1921, the Great War Veterans’ Association, a forerunner of The Royal Canadian Legion, adopted the poppy as the flower of Remembrance.
Today, millions of Canadians as well as people around the world wear the red poppy every November in memory of the sacrifice of those who have served in uniform over the years.
The Royal Canadian Legion is marking the 100th anniversary with a Gallery of Remembrance. The Legion invites you to submit photos and messages in honour of Canada’s war dead and Veterans to the Gallery here.
You can find more on the history of the Remembrance Poppy on Veterans Affairs Canada’s Quick Facts page.
Veteran Success Story
Captain Judy Harper: Blazing trails all her life
Throughout her military career, Captain (Ret.) Judy Harper has always been the first woman in her role, either as an operational commander or in senior positions in National Defence Headquarters.
“As a child, I never knew how limited options were for women,” she says—in the military or in general. Perhaps that is why she led the way for many women to advance to senior roles in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
65 years of Peacekeeping
23 November 2021 marks 65 years since the beginning of the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt.
It was the first large-scale international peacekeeping mission.
Thousands of Canadian peacekeepers served in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from 1956 to 1967, where they helped enforce a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel.
They faced many dangers, and 33 Canadians lost their lives during the mission.
We remember their sacrifices and the courage of all Canadian peacekeepers.
Programs and services
Be heard in the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action settlement: File a claim by November 24
As part of the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement, individuals who experienced sexual misconduct while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and/or during employment with the Department of National Defence or the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces, can file a confidential claim for financial compensation and apply to participate in the Restorative Engagement program.
Sexual misconduct includes any form of verbal or physical sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, and sexual assault.
Individuals can file a claim online with the independent court-appointed Claims Administrator or download a Claim Form and submit it to the Claims Administrator by email, fax or mail. Claim forms must be filed by the deadline, 24 November 2021.
For additional information, resources and support, visit the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement website or call 1-888-626-2611.
Adapting and improving for Veterans during COVID‑19
Since the pandemic began, we have reached out to over 20,000 Veterans. While offices remain closed, you can continue to connect with us through My VAC Account secure messaging or by calling 1-866-522-2122.
Here are some other ways we have adapted to better serve you during the pandemic:
- Operational stress injury clinics group therapy sessions are offered online.
- Career transition services continue to be delivered virtually.
- Vocational rehabilitation providers are offering virtual assessments tailored to each Veteran’s unique situation
- Certain prescription requirements have been waived and coverage for virtual health services is extended.
- Some health assessments are taking place virtually, allowing our health professionals to provide more accessible services.
To stay up to date with the latest information, bookmark and visit the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus page.
Resources for homeless Veterans
An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Veterans experienced homelessness in Canada in 2019, and together we can change this.
Staff at Veterans Affairs offices across the country are available to help Veterans who are experiencing homelessness, and connect them with organizations in their communities that work to solve homelessness.
VAC also offers immediate supports like the Veterans Emergency Fund, which can provide funds quickly for urgent and unexpected needs. These can include essentials like food, shelter or medical expenses while we identify long-term needs and look for more long-term solutions.
Further support for low-income Veterans includes:
- the Canadian Forces Income Support, a monthly payment to help low-income CAF Veterans, survivors and dependent children
- the War Veterans Allowance, a monthly payment to Second World War or Korean War Veterans who have a low household income.
There are also support systems for homeless Veterans offered by other organizations such as:
- The Royal Canadian Legion provides financial assistance to serving and former CAF members, RCMP and their families who are in financial distress
- Support our Troops provides extra support due to challenges arising from CAF service, and
- Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada helps to secure housing, food and customized supports.
How you can help
If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless, the first step is to contact a local area office by calling us at 1-866-522-2122.
Free and confidential professional mental health support is also available for Veterans, their families and caregivers toll-free, 24/7 through the VAC Assistance Service, at 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (TTD/TTY).
McGill seeking Canadian Veterans to participate in cannabis use study
The MissionVAV program from McGill University is developing new strategies to improve the health of Veterans who deal with physical and mental health issues. McGill is looking for Veterans to participate in an anonymous cannabis use study. Your experiences as a user, positive or negative, are invaluable to researchers.
Currently, knowledge of medical cannabis treatment for conditions like chronic pain, stress, poor sleep and post-traumatic stress disorder is largely driven by trial and error. By participating in this study, you can help researchers find better ways to use medical cannabis to improve the health and well-being of your comrades, their family members and other Canadians.
Visit the Active Veterans website to share your experience by completing a brief and anonymous online survey. For more information, call 1-800-461-3006. McGill will not collect your name nor contact information while conducting this study.
You are invited to take part in an online study:
Pain and mental health in Canadian Veterans and their children
The Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans invites Veterans, serving members and their children to take part in a new study on chronic pain.
Chronic pain can run in families. While many children are resilient, pain can sometimes be transferred from parent to child. This University of Calgary study will examine this process and seek ways to manage chronic pain transmission to future generations.
Who can participate: Canadian Veterans and serving members, along with their children aged 10-24 years.
How to participate: Veterans and their children will be asked to complete an online survey, which will take 30 to 45 minutes to finish.
For more information or to take part in the study, please contact the research team directly by emailing, or by calling 403-210-7846.
SOURCE: Newsletter November 2021