On July 5, 1921, the forefather of The Royal Canadian Legion, the Great War Veterans Association (GWVA), adopted the Poppy as its “Flower of Remembrance”. This resulted from a petition to the GWVA by a French woman named Mme. E. Guerin who had already convinced the nascent British Legion to sell poppies as a fund-raising activity. From this fragile beginning, the Poppy Campaign has become an institute of Canada.
Each year approximately 18 million poppies are distributed by Legionnaires, Veterans and cadets across the nation. The proceeds, after deducting expenses such as the costs of poppies, wreaths and other supplies, are placed in trust to be used for the benevolent support of Veterans and their dependants.
The primary purpose of the Poppy Trust Fund is to provide financial assistance to veterans in need, and to their dependants. In accordance with the General By-laws of The Royal Canadian Legion, the need may be for shelter, food, fuel, clothing, prescription medicine or necessary transportation. Comforts for veterans and their surviving spouses who are hospitalized and in need may also be provided. These comforts are defined as confectioneries, reading material, flowers, personal toiletry articles, and other items of a similar nature.
Any veteran or veteran’s dependant in need of assistance is eligible to apply for financial aid from the Poppy Trust Fund. This includes:
- Any person who is serving or who has honourably served in the Canadian Forces and their dependants who are in need of assistance;
- Merchant Navy personnel who are eligible for and who have been awarded campaign stars or decorations and their dependants who are in need of assistance;
- Ex-service personnel of Commonwealth countries and their dependants who are resident in Canada and in need of assistance;
- Ex-service personnel of allied countries and their dependants who are resident in Canada and in need of assistance.
There are no residency requirements for ex-members of the Canadian forces, but ex-service personnel of Allied or Commonwealth Forces must reside in Canada to be eligible for assistance.
A Trust Fund Application (Form VAC 1278) must be fully completely (all sections). Applicants must undergo a financial means test and, if requested, provide proof of debt and justification for any claimed monthly expenses which are unusual or higher than average. As well, any additional information considered necessary to process the application must be provided (i.e. specialized medical reports, if applicable; supplier estimates, other possible sources of funding, etc.). If possible, a completed VAC Counsellor's report (DVA514) that contains an overview of the client’s situation, the type and amount of the requested assistance, the applicant's inability to pay, and the fact there is no other assistance available, should also be provided. Such information greatly assists the Poppy Fund adjudicators.
All three levels of the Royal Canadian Legion, i.e. the local Branch, the Provincial Command or the Dominion Commands will consider applications for a Poppy Trust Fund Grant. The local Branches have no established funding limits; rather, the amount of financial assistance that they can provide is dependent on the results of its Poppy Campaign efforts. Both the Provincial and Dominion Commands normally limit the amount of financial assistance that they will approve at their respective levels to $500.00 per request for Provincial Commands and $1000.00 for Dominion Command.
As a rule, clients should submit their applications for financial assistance to the local Branch level or to a service related fund (CFPAF, RCNBF, etc.). However, where the amount of funding needed by the applicant is significant, requiring several funding partners; or when the local Branch level has expended all of its Poppy Trust Funds, the application should be submitted to the Provincial Command and, if necessary, to Dominion Command with appropriate recommendations on required disbursements from various funds.
Application form for Benevolent Assistance
Every application for a Poppy Trust Fund Grant is considered on the merits of the applicant’s circumstances and demonstrated need. The problem giving rise to the client’s need must be beyond the ability of the applicant’s own resources, and it must be of a sufficiently serious nature to constitute a definite threat to the economic stability of the family. A grant can only be made if the assistance, on its own or in conjunction with grants from other sources, will provide a complete and immediate solution to the situation or contribute to a plan offering reasonable assurance of a long-term solution. The recommended solution must be the most basic and cost-effective remedy available given the applicant’s need and circumstances.
As a rule, approved trust fund grant payments are made by cheque, jointly payable to both the applicant and supplier.
When an applicant dies after applying for financial assistance, but before a ruling is made and/or a grant paid out, a grant cannot be awarded. However, if a surviving dependant is still in need of financial assistance, he/she should be encouraged to apply for a trust fund grant in his or her own right.
For more information, call Toll Free: 1-877-534-4666
The Dominion Command of The Royal Canadian Legion also acts as a liaison for several United Kingdom Benevolent Funds that exist to provide emergency financial assistance to Allied Veterans residing in Canada.
Please contact Gary Foster for all Allied Benevolent requests at email@example.com or toll free 1-877-534-4666.
Additionally, other provincial and municipal funds as available may be accessed.
In addition to the above funds, the following funds may be of assistance.
The Canadian Forces Personnel Assistance Fund (CFPAF) offers an Education Assistance Loan Program to assist serving and former members and their dependants with costs of full-time post-secondary education. More info...
Application forms are available at: http://sisip.com/en/Downloads_e/ealp_e.asp or from the Canadian Forces Base Financial Counsellors, district offices of Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Provincial Command offices of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Application forms and more information may also be obtained by contacting:
4210 Labelle Street
Tel: 613-943-8756 or
The Canadian Forces Personnel Assistance Fund (CFPAF) provides assistance to service personnel who were enrolled in the Canadian Army since 1 October 1946 to the present and in the Canadian Forces since 1 February 1968, and to their dependants.
Enquiries should be directed to:
4210 Labelle Street
Tel: 613-943-8756 or
The Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund (RCNBF) can provide assistance to ex-servicemen and women who served in the Navy. Enquiries should be directed to:
P.O. 505, Station “B”
Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6