Mandate, Mission, Vision, Values and Ethics

Definition of a Veteran

Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and is honourably discharged.

When people think of Veterans, many immediately picture someone who served in the First World War,Second World War or the Korean War. While many Canadians recognize these traditional Veterans, the same may not always be true for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans—those who served Canada since the Korean War.

In fact, some former CAF members don't even see themselves as Veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) wants to change this and is working to ensure CAF Veterans receive the honour and recognition they have earned and so richly deserve.

VAC considers any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who releases with an honourable discharge and who successfully underwent basic training to be a Veteran.

This Veteran status recognizes the risk CAF members assume by wearing the uniform and pledging allegiance. Canada's modern-day Veterans are carrying on the traditions, values and legacy of wartime Veterans and all Canadians, especially our youth, should be aware of their accomplishments and sacrifices.

In addition to Veteran status, other criteria are needed to qualify for services from the Department.

Our Raison d'être, Mandate and Role

Raison d'être

Canada's development as an independent country with a unique identity stems partly from its achievements in times of war. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) exists to assist and help those whose courageous efforts gave us this legacy and contributed to our growth as a nation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Act provides authority to the Minister of Veterans Affairs to administer Acts of Parliament and orders in council as are not by law assigned to any other federal department or any Minister for the care, treatment and re-establishment in civil life of Veterans and the care of their dependents and survivors, and such other matters as the Governor in Council may assign.

Mandate and Role

Veterans Affairs Canada's mandate is to support the well-being of Veterans and their families, and to promote recognition and remembrance of the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace. To achieve this mandate, the Department focuses on its four main roles:

  • Provide leadership as a champion of Veterans, and administer and coordinate needed benefits and services; whether through the Government of Canada or in partnership with provincial and community programs and non-governmental organizations.
  • Help Veterans access the supports and services they need, from all levels of government and the community at large, and maintain a leadership role in the care and support of all Veterans and their families.
  • Listen to the suggestions of Veterans, their representatives and stakeholders to guide work and research, and strive to design and deliver programs that meet the modern and changing needs of Veterans and their families.
  • Engage Canadians of all ages in paying tribute to Veterans and those who died in service, ensuring that the legacy of their tremendous contributions to peace and freedom is preserved for generations to come.

Veterans Affairs Canada fulfills its mandate and role through the delivery of programs such as disability benefits, financial benefits, rehabilitation, pension advocacy, education, and training supports. The Department also works to commemorate the achievements and sacrifices of Canadians during periods of war, military conflict and peace.

Veterans Affairs Canada serves a highly diverse group, reflecting the remarkable breadth of Canada's contributions to world peace, including:


  • Armed Forces and Merchant Navy Veterans who served during the First World War, Second World War or Korean War;
  • Former and current members of the Canadian Forces, including those who served in Special Duty Areas and in peacekeeping; and
  • Allied Veterans who:
    • have served with one of the Allied forces during the Second World War or the Korean War; and
    • have lived in Canada for at least 10 years or lived in Canada prior to enlisting.


  • Civilians who are entitled to benefits because of their war time services;
  • Former and, in certain cases, serving members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
  • Survivors and dependants of the previous groups.

Veterans Affairs Canada also assists members of the public who request information regarding departmental programs, services and activities.

For more information on the Department's commitments, see the Minister's mandate letter.

Our Mission

To provide exemplary, client-centred services and benefits that respond to the needs of Veterans, our other clients and their families, in recognition of their services to Canada; and to keep the memory of their achievements and sacrifices alive for all Canadians.

Our Vision

To provide exemplary service which honours the sacrifice and achievements of our Veterans and clients.

Our Values and Ethics

At Veterans Affairs Canada we value our clients' contributions to the development of Canada as a nation and honour the sacrifices they have made in the defence of freedom and the pursuit of world peace. In expressing Canada's gratitude to them, we strive to exemplify the high principles which they have defended.

We act with honesty and fairness and always strive to do the right thing.
We treat everyone with respect. We recognize the dignity that is inherent in all people and celebrate the strength that comes from the diversity of people and ideas.
We take pride in our role as public servants and are dedicated to service excellence. We are committed to responsive, quality service, delivered with timeliness, courtesy and fairness.
We are accountable and responsible for our actions and accept the consequences of our decisions.
We value teamwork, and promote the principles of partnership, consultation and open communication.
We encourage the achievement of a healthy balance in the working and personal lives of employees, believing that this contributes to the vitality of individuals, our organization and our communities.