During the summer, Let’s Talk Veterans invited people to participate in consultations regarding issues and concerns veterans and their families’ issues and concerns.
Through Let’s Talk Veterans, Canadians, Veterans, and their families provided direct feedback to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
By visiting here, Canadians can see past consultation results and participate in the ones currently open. Here are some of the consultations done this year.
The Future of Remembrance in Canada
VAC invited Canadians to share their thoughts on commemorative programming. The consultations will help to shape future programming.
All Canadians were invited, especially Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, RCMP, and anyone who has been involved in international peace support operations. The families of those who served in uniform and the public are also welcome to participate.
Questions in the survey inform what groups have been reached, questions designed for the Veteran community, and questions for all respondents.
Answers provided will influence the implementation of the 10-year Strategic Plan for commemoration. An initial draft of this plan was created after consultations with the Veterans Affairs Canada Commemoration Advisory Group and other key stakeholders.
However, this next step consulted with Veterans, former and current CAF members, Veterans’ organizations, educators, and other partners.
In the FAQ section for the Future of Remembrance in Canada survey, it explained that the main changes in how VAC will commemorate Veterans and those who died in service by saying, “Our expanded focus will help Canadians understand the contributions of those who served anywhere in the world, including here at home, since the 1950s. We will explain why our military history is relevant today.”
They plan to focus on a different region of the world where the CAF has served, including Canada. To paint the whole picture of Canada’s military history, VAC will:
- Highlight the diversity of Canada’s military experience, roles, and missions
- Continue to commemorate the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War.
- Help Canadians understand the contributions of those who served
- Ensure that all who have served feel recognized
- Inspire Canadians to remember, honour, and learn, with special attention to youth, Indigenous People, and new Canadians
In addition, “the Government of Canada will continue to commemorate the key anniversaries of the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. The nature and size of the activities may change. As stated in the FAQ, there could also be delegations to other locations where Canadians served, such as Cyprus and Bosnia.”
The final findings and results from the consultations will be presented soon.
Disability Benefits Application Process Consultation
Another recent survey and consultation done through Let’s Talk Veterans helped to pinpoint issues with the disability benefits application process in order to decrease wait times.
“These consultations are an opportunity for you to weigh in on our processes and tell us where the problems are, from your perspective. By providing your input, you will help us identify and remove barriers to the application process,” stated the website.
Like the previous consultation and survey, participation was open to Veterans, former RCMP members, still-serving and releasing CAF members, family members, and others who support the application process.
The FAQ also noted that supporters of the application process include:
- Family members.
- Members of The Royal Canadian Legion.
- Anyone else who helps Veterans apply for disability benefits.
The Application Process Consultation did not include reassessments or departmental reviews. Consultations are a part of VAC’s wait time strategy. Visit here for more information.
VAC said they are providing both consultations and more resources to address issues with wait times.
“Since 2018, more than 500 employees have been hired to work directly on reducing wait times. We know that hiring new employees and improving our processes will result in reducing wait times for disability benefit applications. This is why improving our processes and hiring more staff are equally important aspects of our wait times plan,” VAC stated in the FAQ.
Once the results from the consultation are in, they will be available to the public through the Let’s Talk Veterans website. In addition, actions taken as a result of feedback provided will also be available online.
Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan
This fall, the winning design of the National Monument to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan will be unveiled.
In January 2020, the Canadian Government held consultations with families, Veterans, current CAF members, stakeholders, and all Canadians to discuss design options for the Monument.
In August 2020, the Canadian Government proposed five concepts for the National Monument. All Canadians were invited to look at the designs and complete a survey sharing their views to help inform the final decision.
The Government of Canada website stated, “The National Monument to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan will recognize the commitment and sacrifice of the more than 40 000 Canadians who served there, and the support provided to them by Canadians at home.”
For more information on the monument, visit here.