FREDERICTON, July 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today met with representatives of Veterans' organizations and other stakeholders to gain their perspectives on key issues facing Canada's Veterans. The Minister was joined by MP Keith Ashfield and MLA Brian Macdonald, New Brunswick Legislative Secretary for Military Affairs.
Minister Fantino provided updates on Government of Canada initiatives related to Veterans' employment, mental health, and homelessness. Participants included Harold Harper, Provincial President, Royal Canadian Legion New Brunswick Command.
Today's meetings followed a Veterans stakeholder meeting last week in Toronto, where Minister Fantino announced a Government of Canada partnership with Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada that will better deliver national assistance, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to Veterans in need.
While in New Brunswick, Minister Fantino also paid a visit to the Ridgewood Veterans Health Wing in Saint John. He was joined by MP Rodney Weston, as well as members of the Royal Canadian Legion Lancaster Branch.
- Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces are working together to maximize private and public sector opportunities for transitioning military personnel and Veterans. Through Veterans Affairs Canada's Hire a Veteran initiative, and Canada Company's Military Employment Transition Program, more than 200 private-sector employers have committed to hiring Veterans.
- Veterans Affairs Canada has a well-established national network of more than 4,800 mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses, who deliver mental health services to Veterans with PTSD and other operational stress injuries (OSIs).
- VETS Canada is a national volunteer organization headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It is made up of still-serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Through Veterans Affairs Canada's At-Risk Veterans Outreach Initiative, VETS Canada will provide assistance to at-risk and homeless Veterans. Services include immediate in-person, online, and telephone assistance to help Veterans in need of temporary shelter and access to Government of Canada programs and benefits.
- Veterans Affairs Canada places the highest priority on ensuring Veterans have the support and services they need, when they need it, and that includes access to long-term care in their own communities. Close to 8,000 Veterans are cared for in approximately 1,600 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in communities throughout Canada. Ridgewood Veterans Wing is an 80-bed facility for Veterans who require long-term care.
"Our government is committed to supporting Canada's Veterans as they transition to civilian life when their time in uniform is complete. Meeting face-to-face with Veterans and stakeholders is essential to ensuring that we are on the right track with the changes we are making to our programs and services."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"I am pleased Minister Fantino is meeting with Veterans and their families here in New Brunswick where we have the second largest military base in the country. Our government is committed to working with Veterans and their families to ensure their needs are being met as they transition to civilian life."
The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Member of Parliament for Fredericton
"Ensuring that Veterans have the support and services they need is a priority for our government and that includes access to long-term care in their own communities. It is important to keep the dialogue going with Veterans and their families in order to ensure that we are adequately supporting those who have served our country."
Rodney Weston, Member of Parliament for Saint John
"Ensuring Veterans and their families have the support they need and deserve is a priority for both our provincial and federal governments. This valuable meeting was a great opportunity for Veterans and stakeholders to share ideas and provide feedback on ways both our governments can help Veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life."
The Honourable Brian Macdonald, Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.
"I am pleased that Minister Fantino is taking the time to engage Veterans and other stakeholders from across the country. It is imperative that we continue to have open and frank discussions to ensure that Canadian Armed Forces personnel, Veterans, and their families have the support they need as they transition to civilian life."
Ray Kokkonen, National President, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association
"Today's meeting is another step in the right direction, as it is essential that we continue to dialogue on how best to support our men and women when their military service to this country comes to an end."
Harold Harper, Provincial President, Royal Canadian Legion New Brunswick Command
- VAC's Hire a Veteran program
- Priority Job Appointment in the Public Service
- Long-Term Care
- Mental Health
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Barbara Mottram, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468