OTTAWA, May 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of
Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, today joined
representatives from St. John Ambulance Canada to announce two
partnerships to research on the benefit of using dogs and horses to
assist Veterans in dealing with mental health issues.
"Our Government is exploring every option for improving the care and
support available for Canada's Veterans and their families," said
Minister Blaney. "I have heard Veterans across Canada loud and clear,
we know there is interest in animal therapy and we are exploring its
use for Veterans."
"Each year, 2,500 St. John Therapy Dog teams provide over 180,000 hours
of service to children, the elderly, the lonely, and the sick across
Canada, enriching their lives," said Mairi Arthur, Chancellor of
St. John Ambulance. "We are excited about the pilot project being
supported by Veterans Affairs Canada and we hope that this research
will help contribute to improving the quality of life of our Veterans."
"Can Praxis is very pleased to be part of this initiative," said Steve
Critchley, Co-Founder, Can Praxis. "Horses respond to human body
language. Our staff helps Veterans and their spouses in learning about
and understanding the horse's reaction. It is this innovative
combination that helps put theory into practice and reduces stress.
This helps the families as they fine tune their relationship."
Veterans Affairs Canada will partner with St. John Ambulance Canada and
Can Praxis, who will work to evaluate the use of dogs and horses to
improve the overall mental health and well-being of Veterans. Can
Praxis has partnered with the University of Saskatchewan and St. John
Ambulance with McGill University to measure the benefits of their
"I am heartened to see that Veterans Affairs Canada is listening to
Veterans with mental health illness," said Wayne Johnston, Founder,
Wounded Warriors Canada. "It is a huge step to study the benefits of
therapy dogs and of equine therapy—two programs that Wounded Warriors
Canada is proud to help fund and will continue to support in the years
Earlier in the week, Minister Blaney recognized Mental Health Week in
Canada by announcing the launch of the new PTSD Coach Canada mobile app
and a two-year study involving 140 clinicians to examine how
effectively they are using cognitive processing therapy to treat adults
with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Both St. John Ambulance and Can Praxis will receive a contribution of
$25,000 to advance this important research.
For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services,
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the
heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom,
democracy and the rule of law.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Steve Critchley and Jim Marland
Director of Community Services
St. John Ambulance
416-923-8411 (ext. 243)