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Grave marker maintenance

We honour Canada’s fallen and preserve their legacy. One way we do this is by maintaining their gravesites and grave markers, at home and abroad.

About this program

Veterans Affairs Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintain the gravesites and grave markers of more than 300,000 fallen Canadian Armed Forces members here and around the world.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for the graves of 110,355 Canadians who died for the periods of:

  • the First World War - 4 August 1914 to 31 August 1921, and
  • the Second World War - 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947.

Veterans Affairs Canada directly maintains more than 200,000 graves of former Canadian Armed Forces members who died outside these dates. These grave markers were provided and installed by the Government of Canada through the Funeral and burial assistance program.


Additional information

Find out more

Veteran Affairs Canada inspects Veteran gravesites and grave markers across Canada. A databank containing pictures, GPS readings and conditions of the markers has been established from these inspections and is used to develop the annual grave marker maintenance plan. The grave marker maintenance program supports the Funeral and burial assistance program, which helps pay for funeral and burial services, including a military gravestone, for eligible Veterans.

In the 2018 budget, the Government of Canada announced an additional investment of $24.4 million over the next five years to address urgently needed repairs.

Track the progress of this project

We created a map to track the progress of this project. Click on a province to see how the project is doing.

Total number of repairs that will be completed 2018-2023: 57,179

Total number of repairs completed from April 2018 - March 2019: 12,141

Total number of repairs completed from April 2019 - March 2020: 13,569

Total number of repairs planned for 2020-2021: 12,100*

45%

*Given the current situation with COVID-19, these numbers may vary. Data on actual number of repairs completed from April 2020 to March 2021 will be inputted by May 31, 2021.

You can help

If you know of an eligible Veteran gravesite that requires maintenance or you require additional information about this program, please contact the Grave Marker Maintenance program at vac.cm-mc.acc@canada.ca or call 1-866-522-2122.

Related programs

Funeral and burial assistance: A reimbursement of costs to ensure Veterans have a dignified funeral and burial.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial – an online registry that honours Canadians who have given their lives in service to their country.


Frequently asked questions

What is the Grave Marker Maintenance program?

The Grave Marker Maintenance Program preserves the memory of deceased Canadians who served their country during war and peace by maintaining their grave markers.

Veterans Affairs Canada directly maintains more than 200,000 grave markers of former Canadian Armed Forces members. These grave markers are military style markers and were provided and installed by the Government of Canada through the Funeral and burial assistance program.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for the graves of 110,355 Canadians who died for the periods of:

  • the First World War – 4 August 1914 to 31 August 1921, and
  • the Second World War – 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947.

What is the difference between a war dead marker that is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a Veteran marker that is maintained by Veteran Affairs Canada?

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for the graves of 110,355 Canadians who died for the periods of:

  • the First World War – 4 August 1914 to 31 August 1931, and
  • the Second World War – 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947.

Veterans Affairs Canada directly maintains more than 200,000 graves of Canadian Armed Forces members who died outside these dates and who qualified for the Funeral and burial program.


View all grave marker maintenance FAQs.

Articles for Veterans and families

Canadian military
								gravesites

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.

Veterans’ graves

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.

Corporal (Retired) Alexandra Shaw

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.

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