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Articles for Veterans and families



Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance

Updating Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance

Cutting-edge rehabilitation services tailored to individual needs.

Veteran story: Jeff Becker

Veteran Jeff Becker thinks of humanitarian service as “soul food.” His desire to serve led him to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) where he spent 15 years as a Combat Engineer. Read what he’s been up to since his release.

Veteran story: Richard MacCallum

Inspired by his grandfather, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, Richard enlisted in 1971. His service took him around the world, from Scotland to Australia, and all over the Pacific.

Veteran Story: Anneliese Papaurelis

Anneliese Papaurelis describes herself as a survivor. A Veteran who served in Reserves with the Canadian Grenadier Guards, she uses what she learned in her healing journey to help others.

Veteran Story: Laurie White

Former Mountie writes her memoir to offer hope.
“I wrote my memoir for many reasons: to offer hope, decrease judgment, and show that we are not alone, there are resources available, and we owe it to ourselves and our families to advocate for what we need.”

Veteran story: Bruno Guevremont

“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.”

Reducing processing times for disability applications: Spike teams

Reducing wait times for disability benefit applications is the number one priority for Veterans Affairs Canada. We understand why Veterans and their families are frustrated, and we are making changes to address these concerns head on.

Researchers study mental health effects of pandemic on Veterans and their spouses

Early reports signal support for telehealth services now and after the pandemic.

Regaining Balance

Advancements in prosthetic technology has improved quality of life for Veterans living with amputations. Veteran Jerry Rideout’s favourite leg – built by Moncton Prosthetist Kirsten Simonsen – allows him to enjoy his morning shower.

Veteran Success Story: Grant Finnigan

When Grant Finnigan released from the military, he carried his friendships and his career skills along with him.

Veterans struggling with events in Afghanistan

The current situation in Afghanistan is distressing for many. There are resources to help you cope.

Captain Judy Harper: Blazing trails all her life

Captain (Ret.) Judy Harper followed her parents’ footsteps into the Canadian Navy, but at the same time, she blazed new trails. It’s something she continues to do, even in retirement.

Veteran success story: Roger Chabot

Retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces allowed Roger Chabot to pursue his lifelong passion full-time, while keeping him connected to his military family.

Success in life after service: Drew Semper

“Take time to plan your post-service career, and use all resources to find training and employers,” advises Air Force Reserve Sgt Drew Semper.

Veteran success story: Melanie St-Jean

"The Transition Lifeshops retreat was very therapeutic for us women Veterans. It enabled us to share, let our guards down and be vulnerable," says Melanie St-Jean.

Lieutenant (N) (Retired) Emilie Létourneau

Since her release in 2017, Emilie Létourneau has come to recognize that, despite common misconceptions, she too has the right to call herself a Veteran.

Veteran Family Program

The Veteran Family Program connected Jo Anne and Michael Truskoski to a network of support while navigating the challenges of life after service.

Love We Share Foundation – Preserving memories through music

June 2020 marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. In the lead up to this special anniversary, the Love We Share Foundation had plans to commemorate across Canada through music with support from the Commemorative Partnership Program.

The First Nations Mobile Military Exhibit

The First Nations Mobile Military Exhibit displays military artifacts belonging to Mohawk people who served in different theatres of war.

Graeme Shaw

Easing the Transition for RCMP

Graeme Shaw knows what transitioning RCMP members need, because a very short time ago, he was one.

Todd Ross: Success in spite of the harassment

Expelled from the Royal Canadian Navy in the LGBT purge, Todd Ross turned his considerable talents to build an impressive public service career, and helped lead the drive for redress from the federal government.

Veteran Howard Elson recommends the Veterans Independence Program

An injury during his service to our country hasn't prevented Mr. Elson from taking charge of his destiny.

HOPE - Helping our peers by providing empathy

The HOPE program

“The gifts offered through the HOPE peer support program have enabled me to personally experience the healing and normalization of traumatic grief. I am honoured to now be able to return the contribution in kind with the same caring and empathy.”

Veteran success story: David Fraser

Major-General (Ret) David Fraser, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan, has excellent advice for those about to transition from military service.

Finding his way back home

"I don't know where I would be today if it wasn't for the military. I was going down a really bad path, and the military set me straight," says Luc Therrien, (Ret'd) Warrant Officer.

The RCMP and overseas service

Since 1989, some 4,000 Canadian police officers have served in more than 60 operations abroad. Many of these personnel are members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Making a real difference

Since 2018, the Veteran and Family Well-being Fund has helped organizations start up innovative programs that are helping improve the lives of Veterans across Canada.

Veteran success story: Patti Gray

Recognition and fulfillment in life after service, and after a long journey.

Debbie Eisan

Debbie spent much of her 36-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a Chief Petty Officer and supply technician.

Andrei Roberge: Transition tips from a Veteran who did it twice

Having done it twice, Andrei Roberge knows the difference between a good transition to life after service and one that’s…not so good. He has a few tips to offer any CAF member who is looking at transition soon.

The Niagara Military Museum – Black Military History of Niagara Travelling Exhibit

"We want to present a diverse voice, to ensure today's youth can see themselves in these soldiers' shoes."

Bombardier (Retired) Adam Jones

"My service was the result of my family legacy, which dates back to 1777. I was very motivated to do my part for the country."

Owen Parkhouse: Accepting help to find passion and meaning in life after service

“You never want to lose touch with the people you served with,” says Owen Parkhouse, Lieutenant-Commander (Retired).

Brigadier-General Sheila Hellstrom

For almost 40 years, long-running CBC game show, Front Page Challenge put an important Canadian lens on significant national and international events.

Reducing processing times - Veteran benefit teams

Speeding up Disability Applications: Veteran Benefit Teams

As part of our mission to reduce wait times for disability applications, we launched Veteran Benefit Teams (VBTs) in June 2020 after a successful pilot program.

Lieutenant Colonel Shirley Robinson

One of Aspen Robinson’s vivid childhood memories is visiting her Great Aunt Shirley in Ottawa and hearing her say, in a live television interview, that the Canadian National anthem should reflect gender equality.

Veterans Cemetery expands in Esquimalt, BC

Nestled between the 12th and 17th holes of the Gorge Vale Golf Course sits “God’s Acre”—a beautiful hidden cemetery serving as an honoured resting place for Canada’s Veterans and those who gave their life in service.

Our Military Heritage Project

It all started in 2019, when The Blue Mountains Public Library led a small and successful pilot project that profiled two Veterans: an anti-tank officer from Craigleith, Ontario, and a pilot from Thornbury, Ontario. Residents were receptive and proud to learn so much about their local heroes.

Munnings – The War Years: 1918 War Artist Exhibition

Munnings – The War Years is a 1918 war artist travelling exhibition organized by the Canadian War Museum and London’s National Army Museum.

Anne Frank House educates young leaders in Canada

For several years, Veterans Affairs Canada has provided funding to the Anne Frank House. In 2019, the Anne Frank House received support from Veterans Affairs Canada’s Commemorative Partnership Program for a traveling exhibition entitled "Anne Frank, A History for Today" to visit communities across Canada.

Defining Moments Canada creates interactive story map of V-E Day

Defining Moments Canada hopes this project "provides students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of events and operations of this period of time while connecting to contextual information, developing critical thinking and building their digital skill sets."

Maintaining Canada’s Books of Remembrance

Canada’s Books of Remembrance hold the collective memory of a nation.

Veterans: Life After the Forces Exhibit

“In order to better understand Veterans and the reality they face after release, it’s critical to know who they are, where they come from and what they’ve been through".

Goddard Peace Conference

“Every year, kids who didn’t know each other in the morning are hugging goodbye at the end of the day. It gives me goosebumps,” says Susan Casey, Principal of East St. Margaret's Elementary School in Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Women Veterans profiled: Corporal (Retired) Alexandra Shaw

Corporal (Retired) Alexandra Shaw is really happy with where she has ended up. She works as a policy advisor at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. But it certainly is not where she expected to be a decade ago.

Women Veterans profiled: Marie-Claude Gagnon

Former Leading Seaman Marie-Claude Gagnon served in the Naval Reserve for seven years before releasing in 2005.

Figuring out life after service

Marion Turmine discusses her work as operations coordinator at the Veterans Transition Network.

Chris Batchilder: Senior Business Analyst, My VAC Account

Growing up, I never imagined I would serve in the military. Some 30 years later, I’m not only a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, but also an employee of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). Funny how life goes.

Catherine Johnston: Field Nursing Services Officer

I’ve worked at our North Bay office since 2016. My job is to make sure Veterans receive the health care and nursing resources they need.

Project ’44 recreates the Battle of Normandy online

Project '44: The Road to Liberation is an interactive online map of Normandy that begins with the big picture of the battle and dives right down to the experiences of individual units, and even soldiers.

Cleaning Veterans’ graves without damaging the stone

As a masonry and restoration expert, Lee Labas of Labas Construction had the task of cleaning the headstones of 4,000 fallen Canadian soldiers and Veterans in Edmonton. The delicate job involved removing decades of algae and moss from the granite surfaces.

Women to women: Advice on transition

Transition to life after service can be a complex process. Researchers like Dr. Maya Eichler believe that many Veterans often experience transition as “a culture shock.” Women Veterans encounter a unique set of challenges because they are more likely to medically release. Women also face a steeper income decline after leaving the Forces.

Five milestones for Canadian women in military service

Generations of women have served in the Canadian military. Some were the first to clear a barrier, blazing a trail for others to follow. Here are five notable milestones for Canadian women in military service.

Giant floor maps recreate the First World War in the classroom

With support from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)’s Commemorative Partnership Program, an Ottawa based production company has teamed up with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) to distribute giant floor maps of the First World War as an educational tool—and a way to connect to the experiences of Canadian soldiers.

Preserving Canadian military gravesites

A retired Technician with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Nick Hébert now works with Commemoration Division’s Cemetery Maintenance team at Veterans Affairs Canada.

Forgotten Fights: Battle of Medak Pocket

Sometimes peace can only be protected by fighting. The Battle of Medak Pocket was one of those times.

Halifax

Hometown service part 1: Halifax

In this multi-part series, we examine how life and work changed for three cities in Canada. First up: Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Montreal

Hometown service part 2: Montreal

Canada’s wartime efforts have not only helped protect peace and freedom at home and abroad, but also shaped our nation economically and historically.

Oshawa

Hometown service part 3: Oshawa

War at home and abroad has shaped the face of Canada. Cities grew and changed under the influence of far-off global conflicts. Oshawa—today a city of 170,000 nestled above Lake Ontario—is one example.

Remembrance within reach: five war memorials to visit in Canada

Over the years, many communities across Canada have built their own memorials to honour and remember the service and sacrifice of Canadians at war.

From the CAF to bookshelves: Four books written by women Veterans

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was one of the first military forces to allow women to work in all trades. Still, women experience service differently.

Get the most out of your transition interview

Leaving military service can be a big change. As a Veteran getting ready to transition, you may face difficult questions about your post-service life, including “Where will I find work?,” “Do I qualify for benefits and services?,” and “What community supports are available to me?”

Don't retire - get hired

Putting education, training and experience to work in finding a post-service job.

What single parents need to know during and after transition

Dr. Alla Skomorovksy is a defence scientist at the Department of National Defence who conducts research on military families and well-being. Her recent work highlights the strain some single parents feel while serving or during transition. Here is what you need to know.

Women experience mental health differently than men

Are you transitioning to life after service?

A family’s transition to life after service

Transition is an ongoing process with its own particular challenges. This life change not only affects the person who has served, but also other members of the family. Statistics show that 28 percent of partners and 17 percent of children of Veterans find this period of change to be tough.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Mark Gasparotto

Meet Veteran Mark Gasparotto, owner of The Gasparotto Group Corporation.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Mike George

Meet Veteran Mike George, owner of Aurelius Food Co.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Corey Shelson

Business-owner Corey Shelson relies regularly on the skills he gained during his military service.

How we review a disability benefit claim

Learn more about how your disability claim is reviewed by the department and particularly, by the adjudicator – a trained decision-maker for disability claims.

What do I need to include in my application for a disability benefit?

A complete application for a disability benefit will have all the information needed to determine that you have a diagnosed medical condition related to your service.

Your new mission

We all adjust differently to major life changes. For you and your family, the transition to post-service life means big changes, and sometimes challenges. It is a unique experience.

Building your next career

How do you translate your military career into satisfying employment? Build your new career on a bedrock of skills you learned in the military.

One Veteran's insights about leaving the Forces

An outspoken Veterans’ advocate, Shawn shares his insight on Veteran identity and the challenges and rewards of transition to life after service.

Veteran entrepreneurs build on their military experiences

Meaningful employment is a critical part of your well-being: it ensures financial stability and offers purpose in life outside the CAF. Finding a second career is therefore an important step in your transition.

John's Story

John O’Neill’s service record is a roadmap of places where Canadian service men and women have made a real difference over the past two decades. Bosnia in 1998. Kosovo in 1999. Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000. Afghanistan in 2007 and again in 2010.

A releasing Veteran goes back to school

Freshly released as a supply technician from the Canadian Armed Forces earlier this year, Bambi is now a full-time student at the University of Ottawa, with support from Veterans Affairs Canada.

The sooner, the better: when to start thinking about life after service

Mark Gasparotto spent 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces before he released from service. By the time he turned in the last of his kit and signed all the necessary paperwork, he had been thinking about his transition for a decade.

Who are you when you leave the Canadian Armed Forces?

Serving in the Canadian Armed Forces is unlike any other job. When you enlist you gain an instant family—hundreds of sisters and brothers working together as a unit. This experience has undoubtedly changed your life.

Natacha's Story

Every injured Veteran follows their own road to recovery. For Natacha Dupuis, hers led back to a childhood love of athletics and, eventually, an opportunity to once again represent Canada internationally—this time, under far different circumstances.

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