Care, compassion and respect for Canada’s veterans was the focus of Erin O’Toole, minister of veterans affairs, keynote speech delivered today to the Rotary Club of Toronto.
O’Toole reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to improving the lives of veterans and their families through the strengthening mental health supports and helping those who have served in uniform transition to civilian life. Then he thanked the club for its outstanding contributions to the veteran’s community in Toronto.
“The Rotary Club of Toronto has done an outstanding job raising awareness in the community of the remarkable achievements and contributions made by Canada’s veterans. I was honoured to address them, to talk about how to best meet the evolving needs of our veterans and their families,” said the O’Toole.
In his speech O’Toole reiterated to club members that the Government of Canada recently announced new mental health supports for Canadian Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families including the expansion of the network of operational stress injury clinics.
By fall 2015, a new clinic will open in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the existing satellite office in the Greater Toronto Area will be expanded, along with several others. The network of operational stress injury clinics will provide specialized assessment, diagnostic and treatment services for veterans and CAF members with operational stress injuries.
Additional staff will also join the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) services to meet the needs of the military community. This peer support program provides immediate assistance to members, veterans and their families living with operational stress injuries.
Earlier in the day, Toronto veteran’s groups also had the opportunity to meet with Minister O’Toole to offer their unique perspectives on key issues facing veterans and their families.
Rotary International is made up of more than 34,000 clubs, with 1.2 million members.
With its more than 250 members, including many veterans, the Rotary Club of Toronto is one of the largest clubs in Canada, supporting programs to improve the quality of life for certain segments of the population in the urban community.
“We were honoured to welcome Minister O’Toole to our meeting today. We are grateful for his support and proud of being part of his continuous efforts to ensure that veterans and their families get the support they need,” said Steven Smith, president, Rotary Club of Toronto.
The Rotary Club of Toronto donated $5,000 to the Royal Canadian Legion to help cover the loss of three Remembrance Day money boxes that were stolen during the 2011 Poppy Campaign. Each year, the Club commemorates the achievements and sacrifices of Canada’s veterans with a luncheon.
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