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Salute! - January 2022

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Engagement

Thank you for your input on accessibility

Thank you to all who participated in the recent consultation on accessibility at Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. Your participation will help prevent accessibility barriers and improve accessibility at our organizations.

During the four-week consultation in November and December, over 200 Canadians shared their knowledge and ideas about accessibility. A final report on the consultation will be available in the coming months.

Stay connected at Let's Talk Veterans for updates and information on upcoming consultations. Your voice matters—and we want to hear from you.


Immediate coverage for mental health services is coming soon

Mental health is a critical part of our overall well-being. That’s why we’re developing a way to give Veterans immediate coverage for mental health services.

Starting on 1 April 2022, Veterans living in Canada who apply for a disability benefit for a mental health condition, as well as those who have already applied, will automatically qualify for mental health benefits coverage. Veterans will have up to two years of treatment for conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, or trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

Mental health benefits will provide coverage for prescription drugs as well as treatments and examinations provided by psychologists, addictions counsellors, social workers or other approved mental health professionals.

In case you are interested, the Mental Health Benefits regulatory amendments were posted in the Canada Gazette on 1 January 2022. You are welcome to submit comments on the amendments by 30 January 2022 by emailing us. We will consider all comments and possible adjustments before submitting the proposed regulatory amendments to Treasury Board for consideration, and then to the Governor in Council for approval.


Programs and services

Let’s talk about mental health

Bell Let's Talk logo

It’s the beginning of a new year, a time when many people commit to taking care of their bodies and improving their physical health. This year, why not also strive to take care of our minds and improve our mental health? On January 26, Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s take the first step to focusing on our mental health.

The journey toward mental wellness is different for everyone. It may begin with experiencing mental struggles and talking to a friend or family member. It may mean reaching out for professional support or becoming part of a peer support group. It could also mean supporting initiatives to end mental health stigma, an important step toward a healthier community.

Whatever your mental wellness journey looks like this year, know that each step you take is meaningful and that there are resources to help you on your way. Here are just a few you can check out today:

  • VAC Assistance Service is a confidential and free service available 24/7 to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, or caregivers. Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now.
  • Peer support services will connect you to an understanding ear, a supportive community of people with similar experiences, and effective resources to help.
  • Operational stress injury (OSI) clinics provide in-person and virtual assessment, treatment and support to address mental health issues related to service.
  • The HOPE program offers bereaved families confidential peer support by connecting with families who have gone through a similar experience as their own.

For more mental health resources, visit VAC’s understanding mental health web page.


New year, new resources to help you manage your mental health

Between the pandemic and natural disasters, many of us might find this new year difficult.

Visit the LifeSpeak platform for guided meditations and tips on compassion fatigue, loneliness, stress and more.

Brand-new, expert-led videos and blog articles include:

Log in to LifeSpeak at veterans.lifespeak.com and enter access ID: canada.

LifeSpeak provides expert-led and bilingual resources on physical and mental health and well-being, including wellness videos, blogs, awareness campaigns and monthly chat sessions.


Launch of the Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has announced the launch of a funding opportunity through the Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative.

This is the second open call for proposals resulting from funding announced in Budget 2019 to support implementing Canada’s first national dementia strategy.

The Dementia Strategic Fund: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative aims to improve access to and use of high-quality dementia guidance in Canada. This funding opportunity is intended to improve the availability and adoption of high-quality dementia guidance.

An Invitation to Submit a Funding Request (ISFR) template can be requested from PHAC’s Centre for Grants and Contributions by email. Please be sure to include “DSF: Dementia Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative” in the subject line. The deadline to submit a completed funding request is 12 P.M. (EST), 28 January, 2022.


Powers of attorney can now use My VAC Account

Are you concerned about maintaining access to My VAC Account if your affairs need to be managed by a power of attorney? New changes to My VAC Account mean the people you appoint to act on your behalf can now access your account.

Over the years, powers of attorney have accessed our services on behalf of their clients or loved ones by calling us and submitting applications through the mail. As of 7 December 2021, a power of attorney can use My VAC Account to do business on your behalf. This will make taking care of your needs easier and more efficient.

From My VAC Account, your power of attorney will be able to apply for benefits and services on your behalf. They will also be able to track applications, communicate with us via secure messages, access benefits and payment history, and more.

If you are a power of attorney, contact us to request the information needed to create a My VAC Account. If you are a power of attorney and already have a personal account, log in to access your account and the accounts of those you represent.


Commemoration

Send a valentine to a Canadian Veteran

Homemade Valentines

Each year, we invite schools, individuals and organizations to make special valentines messages, which we then distribute to Veterans in long-term care facilities across the country.

You, too, can send a valentine card and bring joy to a Veteran on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re an educator or a member of a community organization, please get involved in sharing in this special program.

Send your valentines by February 1 to us at:

Valentines for Vets
Veterans Affairs Canada
Commemoration, Distribution Unit
125 Maple Hills Avenue
Charlottetown, PE  C1C 0B6

Learn more at the Valentines for Vets web page.


Now hiring: Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel monument student guides

Student guides at Canadian Vimy memorial.

“This experience opened my eyes to what it means to be Canadian. Working here is an incredible privilege. Lest we forget.”—Graham, former Vimy student guide

Do you know a student like Graham who is ready for the experience of a lifetime? We’re now hiring student guides to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in northern France.

The application deadline is 10 January 2022. For more information or to apply, visit our Student guides in France page.


Veteran story: Bruno Guevremont

Changing mind, changing self

Bruno Guevrement, Veteran and Bell Let's Talk Ambassador.

“Being in the CAF becomes your identity. They break you down and build you back up. It’s a good thing, but when you leave, your identity doesn’t match the community you find yourself in anymore.”

Bruno Guevremont is a man who knows how to adapt to change. He had two distinct roles, serving separate tours in Afghanistan with two different branches in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). After releasing from service, he learned new skills to be able to pivot to new roles more than once.

Now, he’s sharing what he has learned about achieving goals in life after service with other Veterans and serving CAF members. He also coaches business leaders and employers on how to build teams and empower the best in their employees.

Read more about Bruno’s military career and his career after service.


Happy New Year: Hoping that the coming year brings you and yours peace and good fortune.
—Veterans Affairs Canada

Do you know other Veterans, family members or others who would benefit from the information in this newsletter? Feel free to share it with them.


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