Funding Available For New Cenotaphs

March 26, 2011 by Tom MacGregor

Veterans Affairs Canada is setting aside $1 million a year for community and volunteer organizations to erect new cenotaphs or make major additions to existing ones.

“We are encouraging Canadians to make remembrance more than something they feel by making it something they do,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn. “With the new program, communities will show they remember by constructing new places to honour Canada’s truest heroes—our veterans.”

The Community War Memorial Program will provide funding up to 50 per cent of the total project cost, to a maximum amount of $50,000 to non-profit organizations, such as Legion branches. The money will also be available to provinces, territories and municipalities. Individuals, for-profit businesses and federal departments, agencies and crown corporations are ineligible.

The program defines a cenotaph or monument as a statue or structure erected to commemorate Canadian war dead and/or veterans, or an event associated with a military operation in which Canada was actively engaged since Confederation in 1867.

A major addition is defined as an addition that is constructed directly or complementary to an existing cenotaph and which has a capital cost of greater than $25,000. Additions to monument with a capital cost of less than $25,000 are not eligible, although money may be available through the Cenotaph/Monument Restoration Program.

It was the restoration program, introduced in 2006, that provided the model for the new program, said John Desrosiers, manager of community engagement for VAC’s Canada Remembers division.

“We have had the cenotaph restoration program for five years. We supported approximately 300 projects for a total of about $2.8 million,” said Desrosiers. “We always had people applying to build a new cenotaph which wasn’t allowed under the regulations of the program.”

Several of the restoration projects involved updating the monuments to include service after the Korean War. “I think our involvement in Afghanistan has really brought that forward. A lot of people want to recognize Afghanistan and the peacekeeping efforts Canada has done all over the world,” said Desrosiers.

Applications are available on the Canada Remembers portion of VAC’s website, www.vac-acc.gc.ca. Applicants must provide a document demonstrating how the monument will be maintained, a document indicating ownership or responsibility for the new monument and photographs of the proposed site where the monument would be built. Under no circumstances will the Government of Canada assume responsibility related to the ownership of the monuments constructed under the program.

The program will not fund construction of monuments that honour an individual or are located outside of Canada or are of national significance. It will also not include funding for buildings, parks or the creation or restoration of artifacts or replicas such as aircraft, ships or tanks.

VAC also insists all inscriptions be in both official languages no matter where the cenotaph is constructed.

Each application will be assessed by the external review committee on the basis of all information and supporting documentation provided. “The committee will be along the lines of the one we have for the restoration program. We will have representatives from the veterans organizations and someone from Public Works and Government Services Canada who can advise on conservation,” said Desrosiers.

That committee, which meets quarterly, usually has a representative appointed by Dominion Command of The Royal Canadian Legion. “In any community project like these ones, you will find the Legion is usually a significant stakeholder,” said Desrosiers.

The contribution from VAC will be the total federal contribution allowed. Grants from other federal departments or agencies cannot be added on. However, provincial or municipal governments may contribute to the project.

Once a project is approved, a formal agreement will be signed specifying the contributions and responsibilities of each party. All organizations that receive funding will have to submit a final report at the end of the project.

Desrosiers said the department had received six applications between when the program was announced in November and the beginning of January. Most of those would recognize service after the Korean War.

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