The Veterans Affairs Canada Assistance Service is a voluntary and confidential
counselling service delivered through a nation-wide team of counsellors and
accessed initially through a toll-free line. The service, which provides access to
professional counselling 24 hours a day, seven days per week, is delivered on
VAC=s behalf by Health Canada. The VAC Assistance Service is similar to the
Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program.
The purpose of the VAC Assistance Service is to assist individuals in overcoming
problems that can affect their lives such as:
- marital and family problems;
- transitional problems;
- emotional and psychological problems;
- substance abuse;
- financial difficulties; and
- other types of personal problems, such as interpersonal conflicts, legal
difficulties or gambling.
The following are eligible:
- Former members of the Canadian Forces who have served at any time
since the commencement of World War I;
- Canadian merchant mariner of World War I, World War II or the Korean
War as defined in the Pension Act;
- Former members of the RCMP; and
- Families of the above mentioned persons.
Staff answering the phones are trained and experienced counsellors who
identify initial needs and make appropriate referrals to professional accredited
counsellors located near the client, for short-term counselling of up to eight
sessions per presenting issue.
The toll free number is 1-800-268-7708. More information on the VAC
Assistance Service may be obtained at the website www.vac-acc.gc.ca/clients/sub.cfm?source=forces/assiserve.
The Dominion Command Service Bureau was called Aug. 22 by the United Kingdom
Veterans Agency asking if we could intervene to help a stranded British Army veteran who
was penniless, destitute, and living in the chapel at the Halifax International Airport.
Peter, the British Army veteran, had served from 1989 to 1995 in the Royal Dragoon
Guards in England and Germany. He had just spent approximately six months in Canada
on a visitor’s visa and wanted to get back home. Peter suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder and depression. He had previously initiated a request to the U.K. Veterans
Agency, seeking assistance for his repatriation in order that he might obtain medical help.
Peter’s request prompted the call from the U.K. to our office seeking repatriation
They gave us the name of a clergyman at the Halifax Airport who was assisting this allied
veteran by housing him at the chapel while advocating on his behalf. He was to be our point
One of our service officers made contact by telephone and interviewed the clergyman and
the veteran in the course of initiating appropriate benevolent support. He confirmed the
veteran’s eligibility and submitted the grant request for approval. With approval secured by
the trustees, Legion staff obtained a one-way ticket to the U.K. for Peter and made the
necessary arrangements with one of the airlines. Within 24 hours, Peter was on his way
home to England where Veterans Agency representatives were waiting to provide required
It’s a good example of a successful intervention.
Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website.