Royal Canadian Legion members weathered another year of uncertainty with resilience, dedication and focus. Yet the thousands of people who help the Legion fulfil its mission were not deterred in 2021.
Legion service officers demonstrated their commitment to ensure care for veterans. The National Headquarters supported Dominion Command, provincial commands and branches which, in turn, continued serving communities despite reduced hours and varying closures.
The Legion welcomed 25,000 new members and produced new innovations to help carry it through the National Poppy Campaign. Its public relations and advocacy efforts resulted in widespread coverage and interest and helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the poppy. It managed a virtual convention, a restricted National Remembrance Day Ceremony and thousands of poppy product orders. All under the cloud of the ongoing pandemic.
SERVING VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES
At the core of the Legion’s mission is ensuring that veterans and families receive the help they need. Work on this front continued in earnest in 2021.
Making a difference on the ground
The Legion’s veterans services department provided its characteristic high degree of support through service officers at all levels of the organization.
Poppy funds donated by Canadians each year make it possible for the Legion to support individual veterans with needs. Grants for essential items such as food, fuel, clothing, prescription medication, medical equipment and emergency shelter helped improve life for those who required assistance in 2021. The Legion also continued to help many veterans with benefit applications and appeals.
Each year, heartfelt words of thanks are reminders of the importance of the Legion’s mission. After years of having disability benefit applications rejected, many veterans appreciated that the Legion was able to wade through new rules, complete their applications and reverse the outcome—thanks to changes in policies at Veterans Affairs Canada.
After hearing from one concerned family member, service officers helped place a veteran safely in long-term care along with subsidized funding. Another veteran had been denied benefits for years in a case involving service-related sexual assault. The Legion worked to get her disability and treatment benefits. She later revealed that the compassion and support provided a major step forward in her recovery, sharing a letter she had previously written while in the depths of despair.