Did you know the Legion supports Commonwealth Veterans? As a member of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), The Royal Canadian Legion helps Veterans and ex-service members of the Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries.
Formed in 1921 as the British Empire Services League, in 1958 it became the British Commonwealth Ex-Services League and in 2002 dropped the word British from its title. The word Royal was added in 2003. The RCEL is a union of 56 ex-service organizations, from 47 Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries, that promotes the welfare of Commonwealth Veterans and their dependents while helping them to meet their own charitable objectives.
In 1966, the Legion made a commitment to the RCEL to coordinate and assist the member organizations in the Caribbean area. Having made the commitment, and using donations from Legion branches, the RCEL Welfare Fund was established. The fund is administered by the Legion’s RCEL (Canada) Committee and assists Veterans and their widows in need in 16 countries in the Caribbean region. The fund can also be used to help provide medical and administrative grants, adequate housing for those in need, emergency disaster funds, Poppy materials to assist in Poppy Campaigns at the local level, and support to the organizations in managing the affairs of their Veterans and widows.
The Legion also works in cooperation with the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Forces, the Salvation Army and other agencies to deliver services to Caribbean Veterans, and advocates for them through approaches to local and national governments.
The Legion conducts biennual visits of selected countries and fraternal Veterans’ Organizations to meet with Veterans and widows in need, to gain a better perspective of their situation and needs, and to ensure that the grants are being properly administered. During the visit, formal meetings are held with local heads of state/government and ministry officials, such as defence or security, to advocate for further internal support to the Veterans and widows.
In addition to the support the Legion provides to Commonwealth Veterans in the Caribbean, the Legion can also offer assistance through the Poppy Fund to Veterans of Commonwealth or Allied countries and their families residing in Canada, and coordinates benevolent applications to the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League in the UK on their behalf for additional assistance when warranted.
The Royal Canadian Legion is proud to be a member of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League and we honour the service and sacrifice of Commonwealth Veterans.