The federal government has announced $20 million in special funding to support veterans’ organizations that are suffering because of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay made the announcement in Ottawa on Nov. 10.
The Royal Canadian Legion receives $14 million of the funding to help its branches. The rest of the money is to be divided between the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada, True Patriot Love, VETS Canada and other groups who apply directly to Veterans Affairs Canada.
“This is what we have been waiting for to help our branches with their operational costs and longer-term survival during the pandemic,” said Dominion President Tom Irvine. “We have already lost over 20 branches during the pandemic, and we hope this much-needed funding will help the others stay afloat for as long as needed to weather this ongoing storm.”
The aid, called the Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund, was contained in Bill C-4, which received royal assent in October.
“Since the pandemic began, it’s been one of my top priorities to ensure our community partners are able to continue to provide the vital support they offer veterans right across the country,” said MacAulay. “The Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund will provide them with the resources they need to weather this difficult period, and I hope that Canadians will continue to support them as they always so generously do.”
The application process is based on government requirements, and the funds are being administered by Legion National Headquarters in consultation with provincial commands. Legion branches are required to submit the application through their provincial command. Applications must be attested by the branch president or, if not in a position to sign, by the next-in-line authority in the branch executive. Applications must be attested by the provincial command as well. All money will be disbursed from National Headquarters directly to branches by e-transfer.
“This will be the most expeditious way to get the money where it’s needed,” said Irvine. “This funding will ensure many branches stay alive and keep doing the great work they do to help support our veterans, their families and their communities and help us continue to promote remembrance.”