OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today unveiled the Veterans Transition Action Plan to help ensure Veterans and transitioning Canadian Armed Forces personnel make a successful transition to civilian life. This action plan includes new support of up to $600,000 over four years for Veterans to participate in the University of British Columbia's (UBC) ground-breaking Veterans Transition Program, which will provide group-based therapy for Veterans across the country.
The Veterans Transition Action Plan and this partnership with the UBC's Veterans Transition Program are part of Minister Blaney's ongoing commitment to helping Veterans make the transition from military to civilian life. It broadens Veterans Affairs Canada's partnerships with new non-profit service providers, and is another example of how the Department is modernizing and adjusting the way it delivers services to support new Veterans.
"The Harper Government is determined to do everything it can to support Canada's heroes and their families after their military service. Through the Veterans Transition Action Plan, including our support for UBC's Veterans Transition Program, those who are leaving the Canadian Armed Forces because of an illness or an injury will get the help they need to assist them through this important transition," said Minister Blaney. "Through these measures, we are making programs and services easier to access, as well as moving to offer far greater online services such as the new Benefits Browser and My VAC Account so that Veterans can quickly and easily access the information important to them where and when they want it."
The Veterans Transition Action Plan consists of:
- new measures from Minister Blaney's Cutting Red Tape initiative;
- enhancements to the Department's delivery of services;
- new opportunities for Veterans beginning post-military careers; and
- ground-breaking research into the real-life experiences and needs of releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and
- building cultural awareness.
Based on five key areas of action, the Minister's new plan is guiding Veterans Affairs Canada in its ongoing development of effective programs and policies, while ensuring Canada's Veterans and transitioning Canadian Armed Forces personnel understand and can easily access the services and benefits available to them.
The measures in the new Veterans Transition Action Plan respond directly to findings released in Auditor General Michael Ferguson's recent audit of supports for ill and injured military personnel transitioning to civilian life.
"Another way we are increasing our support for transitioning Veterans is by adding new and innovative service providers, like the Veterans Transition Program at UBC," added Minister Blaney. "We're both proud and excited to add UBC's inter-disciplinary, peer based group-therapy service to our options available to Veterans, as this type of treatment is increasingly becoming what our new Veterans are looking for. We will continue to update and modernize our services to reflect the changing needs of Canada's Veterans."
"As a Veteran who has served in Afghanistan and as someone who has experienced the program first-hand, I am extremely moved by this support," said Tim Laidler, Executive Director of the Veterans Transition Network, the non-profit organization developed at UBC to administer the Veterans Transition Program. "We are looking forward to expanding over the coming years and working toward our goal of providing 5,000 Canadian Veterans with the opportunity to participate in the Veterans Transition Program."
"It is clear that Veterans Affairs Canada understands the importance of the sacrifices made by our service men and women. They are seeking better ways to assist those who are true heroes of Canada and have been extraordinary ambassadors for Canada in operational theatres around the globe," said Robert Thibeau, CD, President of Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones (AVA). This transition program is welcome news by the Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones, as it stands to ensure that these men and women, who have given so much, will be able to continue to give their very best as they move into the mainstream workforce in Canada."
Other important initiatives include the Helmet to Hardhats Canada program, which is helping to connect Veterans with employment opportunities in the construction industry; the extension of priority hiring for medically released Canadian Armed Forces personnel by the public service; and the Life After Services Study1 and its follow-up Reservists Study. These initiatives are providing the Department with a greater understanding of how to design, implement and deliver policies and programs that best meet the needs of ill and injured personnel.
Through the Veterans Transition Action Plan, Minister Blaney is increasing the Department's ability to meet enhanced service standards, deliver better case management services, and expand employees' understanding of Canada's military culture and traditions.
For more information on the Veterans Transition Action Plan, please see the accompanying backgrounder document or visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
Image with caption: "Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney (R) with Tim Laidler, Executive Director of the Program's Veterans Transition Network (L). (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121030_C3206_PHOTO_EN_19864.jpg
Image with caption: "Tim Laidler, Executive Director of the Veterans Transition Network (2nd from L), Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney (4th from L), and Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (3rd from L), with members of the University of British Columbia's Veterans Transition Program. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121030_C3206_PHOTO_EN_19866.jpg