Ontario Supports Canadian Military Heroes and Their Families
November 11, 2020
Today’s unveiling of the Memorial to Honour Canadian Heroes of the War in Afghanistan is only part of the government’s continued efforts to honour and support veterans, active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. Since June 2018, additional initiatives have included:
Homes for Heroes
On November 10, 2020, the government committed to investing $200,000 and supporting the transfer of land to help the Homes For Heroes Foundation create up to 25 tiny homes for military veterans experiencing homelessness.
The province is working with Homes For Heroes and the City of Kingston to convert a portion of the Kingston Provincial Campus into a veterans’ village, as well as providing funding to help Homes For Heroes with expenses. Each tiny home ― small, private, self-contained residential units built for year-round use ― will provide transitional housing for one veteran, so they can get the support they deserve.
Helmets to Hard Hats
On November 9, 2020, the province announced a program with Helmets to Hardhats to help military veterans and reservists transition to civilian life. This is a partnership project with Canada’s Building Trades Unions, the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, the Electrical Power Systems Construction Association, the Construction Labour Relations Association of Ontario, Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command, and Good Shepherd Ministries.
Ontario is investing $511,100 into the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program, a job-matching initiative that will help leverage veterans’ skills and experience to connect them with good paying jobs in the construction industry. This investment will also help provide homeless veterans with housing, aftercare support, food, clothing, medical care, addiction support, mental health services and crisis intervention in Toronto.
Improving Access to Public Service Careers for Veterans
Effective November 6, 2020, Canadian Armed Forces veterans are eligible to apply for internal competitions for non-unionized jobs within the Ontario Public Service (OPS). This change is the result of an update to the Public Service Commission Employment Policy.
The OPS is also working with Veterans Affairs Canada to help promote eligible OPS job opportunities through veterans’ MyVAC.
On November 6, 2020, the government announced a commitment of $3 million to support the Valour Games, a new, national multi-sport competition for wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans. This funding will build on the success of the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto by continuing to showcase the athletic skills and abilities of Canada’s wounded veterans.
The inaugural Valour Games will be hosted in Ottawa in 2022 and will welcome 500 competitors from across the country to compete in more than 10 adaptive team and individual sports over the course of one week.
Soldiers’ Aid Commission
On September 18, 2020, the government introduced legislation to provide financial assistance to more veterans in need. The Soldiers’ Aid Commission Act, 2020 will ensure all Ontario veterans, not just those who served in the Second World War and the Korean War, and their families will be eligible to apply for financial assistance.
To support the next generation of service men and women, the government is increasing its investment in the Soldiers’ Aid Commission to more than $1.5 million annually.
Soldiers in Tech
On August 20, 2020, the province announced it is providing $500,000 to retrain veterans for jobs in the IT and technology sector ― part of a $1.8 million investment in IT and technology training projects.
The Soldiers in Tech program, offered through the Roland Gossage Foundation, is providing 12-week web development boot camps that equip participating veterans with the skills, resources, and industry knowledge they need to enter junior web developer positions. This innovative program helps to address both the difficulties faced by veterans in re-entering the workforce and the shortage of skilled workers in the tech sector.
Ontario Military Families Relocation Hotline
On November 4, 2019, the government launched the Ontario Military Families Relocation Hotline, a one-stop hotline that connects Canadian Armed Forces personnel with live customer service agents and provides them with specialized knowledge on health cards, driver’s licences and vehicle registration.
The hotline supplements ontario.ca/MilitaryFamilies, the province’s online resource hub for military personnel and their families. This web page serves as a one-stop-shop for up-to-date information about healthcare, education and schools, childcare, driver and vehicle licensing, and job opportunities.
Free Fishing and Access to Provincial Parks
Since January 1, 2019, all veterans and active Canadian Armed Forces members residing in Ontario can enjoy recreational fishing across the province without having to purchase a fishing licence. Since November 11, 2019, they can also enjoy free weekday day-use entry to Ontario Parks.