By Laura Earle
After more than four years, the CANEX Discount Program has undergone a significant makeover. As a program designed to show appreciation for our military members and their families, it was not getting a lot of attention so the creators decided to revamp it and are now promoting its benefits.
Following some re-invigoration the CANEX Discount Program was re-launched as the Canadian Forces Appreciation Program. New local and national retailers have come on board to provide discounts on a variety of products and services, as a show of support for military members and their families.
Program Manager Colin Bayne calls the revamped system the “Yellow Pages of our local programs”. They have collaborated with local providers already on board from 2007, to make sure their offers were available across the country. Along with that, comes the added bonus of the national and international offers that are available. By adding new businesses and bringing on national providers, Bayn says they want to build the national program while continuing to maintain the local presence.
From buying running shoes at a local shop to booking a vacation in one of 85 countries around the world there is something for everyone, and everyone in the military community is welcome to join. Access to the program is free and available not only to serving members and families but also to many former members who may not have a record of service. Surviving spouses of fallen soldiers are also welcome to participate in the program.
“We want our service members and families to know that this program is there for them, and that we need their support as well to help build it,” says Bayne. “By accepting and receiving referrals from our members and discounts that they receive, is a tremendous benefit not only to us the programmers, but also to the rest of the CF community who will benefit from the discounts.”
The Canadian Forces Appreciation Program now has over 10-thousand members who’ve joined through the on-line application form. Even if a spouse is away on course or deployed overseas, dependents are still able to log-on, sign-up, and start reaping the benefits. An application takes 10-15 days to process from the time it’s received to the time the member card is mailed out. While all of the discounts are available without an access card, having one not only makes it easier for families to use the service when the CF member is away, but as Bayne says, “it reinforces our sense of one community one million strong”.
Categories in the program include dining, shopping and services, household and lifestyle just to name a few. As well, the program has partnered with Wyndham Worldwide to offer the CF R&R club which gives members access to 3500 vacation properties around the globe. Among the international offers are some U.S. hotels, discounts at Sea World and Busch Gardens, and negotiations are currently underway to include Universal Studios. Another international element to the program is the ongoing development of a partnership with the UK Rewards for Forces program.
So as you and your family head into this busy season of giving, take a moment to log on to www.cfappreciation.ca and find out what businesses are looking to give back to you.