How we advocate
Veterans served to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy today, and The Royal Canadian Legion is committed to ensuring they receive the care and supports they deserve. The Legion advocates for Veterans’ benefits and for the wellbeing of Veterans and their families.
In order to develop our positions and messages to effectively advocate for Veterans and their families, the Legion supports and conducts research, and consults with our members, other Veterans and their families, and with subject matter experts. Our advocacy is consistent with the approximately 20 other Canadian organizations that make up the Veterans Consultation Assembly.
With a membership nearly 250,000 strong, we advocate through a number of key activities and processes:
The democratic voice of Legion members and the resolution process
The Legion is uniquely positioned to speak on behalf of our membership, which includes approximately 60,000 Veterans, 140,000 family members, as well as persons who support those who served. We are often asked by the Government of Canada and other organizations to present our position on issues because we are the only Veteran service organization that assists Veterans and their families with representation to Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Canada.
There is no one individual or select group within the Legion that determines Legion policy or direction. The Legion has an established and identifiable membership who shapes our policies and direction in a democratic manner. Resolutions are voted on through the chain of command. To find out more about this process, contact your Branch or Provincial Command.
Meetings with government representatives and senior military officials
In our advocacy role, the Legion brings forward to the Government of Canada issues that affect the wellbeing of Veterans and their families. The Legion meets regularly with the Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, and the Senate Committee to initiate change and develop solutions. The Legion has representatives on each of the six Veterans Affairs Ministerial Advisory Groups, working with members from the Veterans’ community, family members of Veterans, and other professionals assisting Veterans to develop sound recommendations to improve care and benefits for Veterans.
Working alongside other Veterans’ organizations
The Legion connects, builds relationships and shares resources with like-minded Veteran’s organizations. The Legion collaborates with key stakeholders, such as the Veterans Ombudsman and the Veterans Consultation Assembly, to identify challenges and press for change to ensure that Veterans and their families receive the care and benefits they deserve.
Building relationships with the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP
The Legion frequently collaborates with the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP to offer programs and services designed specifically for military or RCMP personnel. The Legion conducts frequent outreach to serving and retired military and RCMP to ensure they are aware of the services available to them through the Legion.
Supporting research to further our understanding of the issues facing Veterans
The Legion is committed to supporting Veterans’ research. Through research, we can better understand the scope and nature of the challenges facing our Veterans and their families. The Legion supports research initiatives such as:
- Donated $1 million to The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in support of Canada’s first brain-imaging machine. The PET–MRI machine will help researchers investigate how brain circuitry is linked to depression, suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses.
- Sponsored the annual Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research forum.
- Provided an annual $30,000 Masters Scholarship through the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research towards Veterans research, helping train a future generation of researchers.
- Hosted the first Homeless Veterans Forum, which included 60 participants from across the country, to discuss the need for a coordinated, national strategy to address the issues facing homeless Veterans.
National communication efforts and advocacy campaigns
The Legion informs and educates Canadians about our advocacy efforts and the steps we are taking to improve the lives of Veterans and their families.
Advocacy at the community level, through provincial and Branch campaigns
Legion members can take an active role and make positive change by adding their voice to the Legion’s advocacy efforts. Members can get involved in the Branch, support Veterans in their community, and propose and vote on recommendations and resolutions to improve Veterans’ care. Contact your local Branch if you want to propose ideas or get involved.
Leveraging the support of Canadians in our advocacy efforts
Canadians have demonstrated they are passionate about the care of Canada’s Veterans. When necessary, the Legion goes to the Canadian public with our advocacy efforts through initiatives such as a letter writing campaign or social media campaign.