Expressing gratitude to Canada’s veterans through donations, volunteerism and care services

On the first of November, 11 Calgary veterans moved into their new community, the Homes for Heroes village. Beautifully designed tiny homes are adjacent to a resource centre, a family suite and community gardens. A counsellor is onsite. Just as importantly, the new village provides support from people who understand the challenges of reintegration after military deployments best: fellow veterans who have been there.

The foundation is also working on buildings sites in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and in the Maritimes. The housing is considered transitional, creating an immersive support system for veterans who can then prepare for the next stages of their lives. The Calgary village came together fast, with the homes ready for move-in less than six months after permits were issued. Along with the Homes for Heroes Foundation, The Mustard Seed, ATCO and Veterans Affairs Canada, civilian donors and volunteers were the project’s driving force. As Homes for Heroes Foundation president and co-founder Dave Howard says, “So many companies, social groups and individuals pledged their support to make this a reality and have really shown their love and respect for our veterans.”

Health-linked initiatives like this one are springing up across Canada. As research has revealed the pervasive and broad-reaching health impacts of war-zone trauma, awareness has grown about the importance of providing accessible, effective treatment.

360-degree prescription drug treatment care

Holistic support for veterans and others with complex chronic health challenges is something that Express Scripts Canada has been working to provide since it began analysing prescription drug claims data in 2011. These individuals are often faced with managing multiple prescriptions and multiple appointments with multiple physicians, along with the challenges of daily life. Our data analysis has revealed that the resulting gaps in care are harmful to our health, especially when we’re coping with complex, chronic disorders.

For these veterans, having a pharmacist committed to helping bridge the communication and treatment gaps that can arise can be lifesaving. At the Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy, for example, medication reviews are completed each time a new prescription is received; pharmacists collaborate with the veteran and his or her doctors to help ensure that prescriptions are optimized for the veteran’s health and health-care coverage, helping to reduce stress and out-of-pocket expenses. Prescriptions for longer-term treatment are delivered right to the veteran’s home, reducing inconvenience and increasing the likelihood that treatments will be taken as directed. Just as importantly, advice and guidance are available by phone or email, meaning that questions and concerns can be addressed quickly in the privacy of the vet’s home.

Other organizations actioning gratitude for Canada’s Veterans

  • Outward Bound Canada is renowned for connecting Canadians with nature, a powerful and proven healing force. Making this healing power accessible to veterans is the aim of two of the organization’s upcoming events.

In Atlantic Canada, participating veterans are picked up at the airport in St. John, New Brunswick, and transported to a wilderness camp base where they are equipped for a seven-day Bay of Fundy kayaking adventure. On the other side of the country, Outward Bound hosts a seven-day hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains. The cost of both programs is fully funded, including transportation, and registration opens soon.

Visit for all the details.

  • A program designed and delivered by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education has helped more than 300 veterans transition from their military service into civilian life, with 90 per cent finding new career opportunities. Now delivered by the nationwide Veterans Transition Network, the program provides service proven to reduce trauma symptoms, ease depression and increase self-esteem in transitioning vets.
  • Music heals, and a program offered by VETS Canada makes gently used guitars and online guitar lessons available to veterans. In areas where it is possible, vets are matched with a guitar teacher for a 10-week lesson session. (Guitars can be donated to the program at any Long & McQuade store.)

If you would like to express gratitude to Canada’s veterans for their service, consider making a donation to one of the organizations above.

Provincial or municipal government-funded programs

  • It’s not a huge thing, but it’s one less expense/hassle. As of Jan. 1, 2019, Ontario veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members fish free of charge. Under the amended Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Fish Licensing Regulation, the identification cards issued by the Department of National Defence Canada are now treated as sport fishing licences.
  • In Saskatchewan, hunting and angling licenses are free as of the 2019/2020 season. Click here for more details.

Some cities, including Brampton, Woodstock and Guelph, offer free transit passes for veterans of the Canadian Armed forces. (Guelph offers a free parking pass, as well.) In Windsor, a lifetime free transit pass is provided to veterans of WW II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.