When I ran in 2018, I promised to support those who serve Canadians. Today was the culmination of the last two years of work: the launch of the Ottawa Veterans Task Force.
It is no surprise that veterans face several challenges and barriers as they transition from service to civilian life. In the military, we are taught that when we work together, there is no task too tall. We are taught that teamwork and support for each other is critical to our success as individuals, and as a team.

Dans les Forces, on nous enseigne que le travail d’équipe et le soutien des uns les autres est éssentiel pour le succès comme équipe autant que comme individus.

I believe that as government it is incumbent upon all of us, at all levels, to carry that same torch and ensure we work together to ensure our veterans and their families are supported, returning the favour of their service and sacrifices for the rest of us.

That is why, when I first approached Mayor Watson to re-establish the role of Council Liaison on Veteran and Military Affairs, I wanted to come with a plan in hand. To that end, working closely with André Thivierge and other partners, we have spent the last almost two years developing the foundation of the Veterans Task Force that we announce today.

Working with key partners such as Multifaith Housing Initiative, Veterans Affairs Canada, Soldier On / Sans Limites, Support Our Troops, Wounded Warriors Canada, The Royal Canadian Legion, Soldiers Helping Soldiers, Commissionaires, Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, and Respect Forum, we intend to create a support structure and a culture of teamwork for our veterans and their families in the National Capital Region
J’aimerais remercier André Thivierge, le Maire Jim Watson et son équipe ainsi qui mon équipe pour votre patience, passion et soutien pour le projet.

The Task Force mission is to support and enhance the programs and services available to the CAF community. To do this, we will focus on three (3) pillars:
Health, Housing and 2nd Career.

As our work evolved, something else became clear: We could not do this alone. To achieve our goals, to make a difference in the life of a veteran in Ottawa, we needed more help and expertise. So, we structured each of the three pillars, to be supported by a working group of subject matter experts, operating right here in Ottawa.

Le groupe de travail santé :

• À chaque année, des centaines de familles militaires sont relocalisées dans la région d’Ottawa. Se trouver un médecin de famille est un défi majeur pour ces familles. Il en va de même pour les anciens combattants, qui lors de leur passage de la vie militaire à la vie civile, doivent aussi se trouver un médecin de famille, afin de coordonner la continuité de leurs soins.
• Un autre défi que ce groupe de travail devra relever, est de faciliter la continuité des soins de santé, plus particulièrement chez les militaires libérés des FAC, dont certains ont des besoins complexes et urgents. Le groupe de travail de santé participera au développement de mécanismes, permettant un transfert plus fluide de l’information médicale au nouveau médecin traitant.

The Housing working group:
• The mission of our Housing working is to support, advocate and enhance ongoing efforts within our City, to eliminate Veterans homelessness. We are bringing together partners with proven track record in our community, Multi Faith Housing, the Royal Canadian Legion, Soldiers Helping Soldiers and the Community and Social Services team of the City of Ottawa.
• Ottawa has been experiencing an important housing crisis, which has been affecting our most vulnerable populations, who are at risk of becoming homeless. Some of our Veterans in the Ottawa region are not immune to these challenges. Multi Faith Housing, whose executive director Suzanne Le, chairs the housing working group, has been leading the Veterans House project, a 40 unit building at former CFB Rockliffe.
• The housing working group will also support the Royal Canadian Legion in Operation Leave Streets Behind, and focus on creating partnerships with developers, landlords and property managers in Ottawa, to help Veterans in need find a home to call their own. A model of this program was successfully tested in London, Ontario.

The 2nd Career Working Group:
Bien que la plupart de nos militaires ont effectué une transition dans la vie civile répondant à leurs attentes, certains d’entre eux éprouvent de la difficulté à obtenir un emploi valorisant.

Avec leur expérience, leur formation et leurs compétences, les anciens combattants constituent une ressource exceptionnelle pour nos employeurs.

Le groupe de travail 2ième carrière a comme tâche de faciliter l’accès à des emplois valorisants aux anciens combattants, en développant des partenariats avec des employeurs comme la Ville d’Ottawa, les Commissionnaires et le bureau du cinéma d’Ottawa. Une foire d’emploi pour les anciens combattants est aussi en planification.

We unveiled our logo today. For veterans, symbols and flags are more than just an identifier. It is a banner under which to assemble, a call to action or a rallying cry. In the Nation’s Capital, our Veterans Task Force is a banner under which to assemble, share best practices, build networks and ensure that we are contributing to a better quality of life for those who have served. So, as we wave this banner today, I invite all organizations serving veterans, employers who are looking to hire dedicated and reliable staff, businesses looking to support the health and wellbeing of our veterans, landlords and property owners interested in making space for our service men and women after service, and all others interested in supporting this worthy initiative, to join us. Reach out using the contact information on the media release and let’s work together to create a culture of support, respect and appreciation for all who have served this beautiful country who now call Ottawa their home.



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