Veterans Affairs Canada

Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy
Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada

Who we are

Driven by its guiding principles – Care, Compassion, and Respect – VAC is responsible for the care, treatment, and re-establishment in civil life of everyone who has served in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy, and their dependants and survivors, as well as former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. VAC is also responsible for honouring the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict, and peace.

VAC provides funding for rehabilitation services, career-transition support, health benefits, disability benefits/compensation, and family caregiver relief benefits. The department also provides income support to eligible Veterans and their survivors, and income replacement or support to eligible CAF Veterans, survivors, and orphans for the economic impact that a military career-ending and/or service-connected injury, illness or death can have on a Veteran’s ability to work or save for retirement.

VAC provides extensive funding and support to improve or maintain the physical, mental and social well-being of eligible Veterans, Reserve Force personnel, civilians, and their survivors and dependants, promote independence, and help them to remain at home and in their own communities by providing a continuum of care.

Who we care for

Canadian Veterans are as diverse as the country itself. Canada’s Veteran population comes from every generation, from the Second World War, to those who served during the Cold War, on peacekeeping missions in more than 180 countries, and those returning from current missions. This means that Veterans require a wide range of support, from transitioning to post-service life, to long-term care and support for a range of well-being issues.

About 10,000 CAF members are released from military service in Canada each year, roughly half from the Regular Force and half from the Primary Reserve Force. As of December 2016, there were an estimated 670,100 CAF Veterans living in Canada. About 69,700 Veterans served in the Second World War and the Korean War and have an average age of 91. About 600,400 served after the Korean War and have an average age of 57, (ranging from 20 to over 90 years old). Fewer than 20% of all 670,100 Veterans are active participants in VAC programs. The transition and post-release experience for every Veteran is different. Some engage with VAC services and benefits right at release, while others seek help later in life. With fewer than 20% of all 670,100 Veterans being active participants in VAC programs supports are based on each individual’s illness or injury.

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