Veterans to receive help to overcome barriers to jobs

TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - Veterans struggling with mental health issues are receiving skills training and the support they need to obtain and retain employment, announced the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence today.

Minister Hehr made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour at the Royal Canadian Military Institute.

The Mood Disorders Society of Canada is receiving $2.9 million in funding from the Government of Canada's Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its Transitions to Communities program.  Veterans Affairs Canada will also be contributing in-kind support to the project in the form of promotion, expertise and advice.

The program will provide employment assistance services to vulnerable Veterans who struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or operational stress injuries (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder). This will complement existing programs that Veterans Affairs Canada offers to Veterans to assist with the transition to civilian life and employment.

Participants will develop their personal and professional skills gradually through seven workshops on topics including: mental health, community supports, computer skills, and job search skills. As a result of this program, participants will obtain employment placements or receive assistance to return to school.  The organization will work with the federal government, mental health organizations, stakeholder groups, homeless shelters and local employers to roll out 48 programs, over a three-year period, in Calgary, Montréal and Toronto.

By promoting skills development, labour market participation, and inclusiveness and by supporting Veterans who have had their career options limited by illness or injury, both ministers are fulfilling important aspects of their mandates.


"Our government is proud to help veterans transition into a new stage of life no matter their mental or physical abilities. Veterans have given so much of themselves to serve this country; it's now our duty to serve them. By providing skills training and access to job opportunities, we can help hundreds of veterans build meaningful new careers."
The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

"Living with mental health issues can be extremely difficult, not only for those who have them, but also for their loved ones. This skills training and support project will make a real difference in the lives of the participants. These proud Canadians need to know that when their service to our country has concluded, we are there for them. They need to know that they are not alone."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

"The Mood Disorders Society of Canada is striving to assist veterans who have contributed so greatly to our country and who—for a variety of reasons—have fallen between the cracks and now require our support in return. The program will provide veterans, who have been struggling with employment barriers, with the personal and professional skills to transition into the new normal of living through skills development, employment and renewed community engagement."
– Phil Upshall, National Executive Director of Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Quick Facts

  • About one fifth of Canadian veterans experience a diagnosed mental health disorder at some time during their lives. The most common are depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
  • In a 2013 study of Regular Force Veterans who were released from service between 1998 and 2012, about 24 percent reported they had a diagnosed mental health condition such as depression, PTSD or anxiety. Of those with a diagnosed mental health condition, 90 percent also had a chronic physical health condition.
  • Since 2005, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities has helped more than 48,500 people with disabilities across Canada.
  • In Budget 2016, the Government allocated $2 million over two years for disability community consultations that will support the development of new federal accessibility legislation to eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities. Consultations with all levels of government and stakeholders across Canada are currently underway.

Associated Links

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities 

Understanding Mental Health

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The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities was introduced in 1997 and provides funding of $40 million annually to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment, thereby increasing their economic independence and participation in the labour force.

The program is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no labour market attachment and, therefore, would not normally be eligible for programs offered under Part II of the Employment Insurance Act.

The Fund supports a wide range of programs and services, including skills training, job placements and wage subsidies to encourage employers to hire persons with disabilities.

Mood Disorders Society of Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization launched in 2001 with the overall objective of improving the quality of life for people affected by mood disorders by providing them with a strong, cohesive voice at the national level to improve access to treatment, inform research and shape program development and government policies.  The Mood Disorders Society of Canada is engaged in projects and initiatives designed to support the inclusion of persons with disabling mental illness.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Carlene Variyan, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour,, 819-654-5611; Rob Rosenfeld, Director of Communications and Issues Management, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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