Ontario Introduces Legislation to Provide Support for More Ontario Veterans and their FamiliesPublished on September 18, 2020
Proposed measures would expand access to financial assistance for veterans of all ages
The government has introduced legislation to provide financial assistance to more veterans in need. The Soldiers’ Aid Commission Act, 2020, if passed, will ensure veterans of all ages and their families, not just those who served in the Second World War and the Korean War, will be eligible to apply for financial assistance.
“On Military Family Appreciation Day, it’s time to remember the tremendous sacrifices our veterans have made to make our province and country a better place,” the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services said when first announcing the program. “That’s why we’re working hard across government to make sure we are there for them, when they need us. We’re committed to helping more of our heroes in need through the Soldiers’ Aid Commission.”
To support the next generation of service men and women, the government is proposing to increase its investment in the Soldiers’ Aid Commission to more than $1.5 million annually. The funding provided by the commission will continue to support veterans who are unable to pay for health-related items such as hearing aids, wheelchairs and glasses, home-related items such as home accessibility modifications and repair costs, and personal items and support services such as clothing and counselling.
“Regardless of when and where they served, our veterans face many challenges,” the Minister added. “This includes everything from post-traumatic stress disorder, physical injury, challenges finding employment and even at times facing homelessness, all while trying to navigate a complex support system.”
“We’re excited about the government’s commitment to support veterans,” said Colin Rowe, Chair of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission. “Our commission has helped thousands of veterans and their families over the years, but their needs are growing and our veterans deserve our help.”
The Soldiers’ Aid Commission was created to support veterans coming home from the First World War over 100 years ago. It was later expanded to support those who served in the Second World War and the Korean War.
According to statistics from Veterans Affairs Canada, the average age of Second World War veterans is 94 and the average age of Korean War veterans is 87.
Currently, about 230,000 veterans live in Ontario. About 93 per cent of those veterans served after the Korean War, meaning those in financial need have not been able to access funding from the commission.
On average, 3,850 service members leave the Canadian Armed Forces each year to live or work in Ontario. Their average age upon release from service is 39.