Yesterday, the National Association of Federal Retirees joined with 20 veterans organizations, including representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada to do focused work that supports better cross-promotion, inclusion and collaboration – all to ensure veterans, those transitioning out of uniformed service and their families, get the supports and services they need.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, joined the group to field questions and wrap up a productive day of discussion and cooperation.
“I don’t believe the government, or our department has all the answers,” noted the minister. “Ideas come from rooms much like this one, and the highlight for me is watching people exchanging handshakes and business cards. That means best practice is shared across the country and people are working in collaboration for veterans and their families.”
From left to right: Deborah Krause, Manager, Governance; Simon Coakeley, CEO; the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs; Jean-Guy Soulière, President; Sayward Montague, Director, Advocacy.
Participants spent the day building on work that started more than a year ago. In fall 2017, the National Association of Federal Retirees developed a Veterans Outreach initiative to listen to veterans and better understand what is and isn’t working for them as they transition out of service and beyond. Feedback from a series of 12 town-hall style events and online outreach informed two landmark reports from Federal Retirees, Veterans Speak and Listening to Veterans, as well as a summit in April 2018. That event had over 50 organizations examining those reports and exploring the barriers and opportunities to address veteran and family well-being. Read the April report here.
“Our goal in all of this has been to listen to veterans and families, and more recently to create an environment of collaboration and communication among veteran-focused agencies, ” notes Simon Coakeley, CEO of the National Association of Federal Retirees. “We know that no single organization can be all things to all veterans, but leveraging our strengths and working together will mean better outcomes for this community – whether it’s delivering what veterans and families what they need, or working together to inform and hold government accountable.”
“We heard loud and clear today that we all have a lot of work to do in delivering services to and advocating on behalf of veterans and their families,” says Jean-Guy Soulière, Federal Retirees president. “With a federal election next year, the time to work together is now – and we’re looking forward to taking concrete action with the partners we met today, to do just that.”
The National Association of Federal Retirees (Federal Retirees) is the largest national advocacy organization representing active and retired members, as well as their partners and survivors, of the federal public service, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and retired federally appointed judges. With 176,000 members including over 60,000 veterans and their families, the Association has advocated for improvements to the financial security, health and well-being of our members and all Canadians for more than 50 years.