Parks Canada

Parks Canada

September 06, 2005 19:00 ET

The Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of the Veterans Charter

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 6, 2005) - On behalf of the Honourable Stephane Dion, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Marc Godbout, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, today unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the national historic significance of the Veterans Charter.

"This pioneering program was enacted almost 60 years ago to support veterans as they returned to civilian life," said Minister Dion. "Over one million people benefited from the Veterans Charter, which recognized the extraordinary contribution of these women and men to Canada's reputation."

The Canadian government began planning for the postwar years soon after World War II was declared in 1939. By 1947, a group of laws, given the title of "Veterans Charter", was in place to support veterans upon their return. Under the Charter, returning service men and women were guaranteed their previous job or retraining if it no longer existed. Subsidized university education was available for qualified candidates, which resulted in the growth of the education system.

An improved pension plan was introduced and offered disabled veterans better benefits than those from the First World War. Loans were made available at lower interest rates to those who wished to buy land, build a home, start a business or take up farming. The newly created Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored a broad program of medical treatment, rehabilitation and financial support for physically disabled soldiers; 17 facilities were set up across the nation.

"The Veterans Charter not only offered benefits to returning veterans, but also accelerated the development of social welfare programs such as old age security, medicare and family allowances for all Canadians," added Mr. Godbout.

The year 2005 was declared the "Year of the Veteran" by the Government of Canada. Today's ceremony is part of a federal commemorative program to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment about the national historic significance of places, persons and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historic value. It is one means of educating the public about the richness of our cultural heritage, which must be preserved for present and future generations.

(Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under What's new.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Brigitte Caron
    Press Secretary
    (819) 997-1441
    or
    Parks Canada
    John Grenville
    National Historic Sites Program Manager, Eastern Ontario
    (613) 545-8666 ext. 102