Veteran support groups receive $4 million in funding

Veterans Affairs Canada has awarded $4 million in funding to 23 organizations across the country serving veterans and their families.

“We’re supporting some remarkable organizations doing vitally important work on behalf of veterans and their families,” said Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay in the March announcement. Since 2018, the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund has provided support to 60 organizations involved in research and development of innovative community-based services for veterans. 

This year’s funding will help provide wellness programs for female veterans, support the social and emotional well-being of all veterans, their families and caregivers, develop programs for Indigenous veterans, and tackle homelessness among veterans. 

 The Veteran Resource Guide for Canadian Armed Forces members leaving the military—produced by the Trenton, Ont., Branch of The Royal Canadian Legion—will include information on finding a doctor, mental health contacts, opportunities for socializing in the community and places where veterans gather. 

Support for female veterans includes a women’s-only Camp Aftermath for acquiring skills for long-term management of operational stress injuries and PTSD; a Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative in Seabright, N.S., teaching transcendental meditation as stress management; and The Pepper Pod, a retreat for female veterans in Gatineau, Que.

Support for homeless veterans includes hiring a national co-ordinator for the Homes for Heroes Foundation, which plans to build veterans villages in Kingston, Ont., Winnipeg, Edmonton and Surrey, B.C.; the Built for Zero project of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness; temporary housing and case management services of Fredericton Homeless Shelters; Les Sentinelles dans la communauté program of the Old Brewery Mission in Montreal; and the Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada’s Guitars for Vets program.

Employment initiatives include development of hiring modules by Toronto-based Challenge Factory to help small and medium-sized businesses hire veterans and Helmets to Hardhats Canada’s apprenticeship and hiring programs. 

Indigenous veterans’ funding includes new Turtle Island programs at Mi’kmaq Ksalsuti Wellness Resources, in partnership with the Gagetown Military Family Resource Centre in Oromocto, N.B., and for teams of Indigenous researchers for the Saskatchewan First Nations Veteran’s Association. 

Wellness programs funded include research into veterans’ mental health at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont.; two PTSD studies, one examining the impact of sexual misconduct and the other, the impact of witnessing recruitment of child soldiers; a veterans’ chat line run by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada; Team Rubicon Canada’s Veteran Pandemic Recovery project; True Patriot Love’s project to integrate creative arts into rehabilitation and recovery; a grief support program offered through Wounded Warriors Canada; a University of British Columbia research project investigating the use of sports in fostering social connectivity and well-being to veterans transitioning to civilian life; and the Respect Campaign forum to promote collaboration on improving mental health services and reducing homelessness. 

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