Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

August 30, 2011 18:10 ET

The Honourable Steven Blaney Hosts International Ministerial Summit on Veterans Affairs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 30, 2011) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo associated with this press release

Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and senior officials from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Germany, Denmark, France and the Netherlands today completed two days of meetings to discuss support for Veterans. Ministers emphasized the need for collaborative research, policy development and programs for Veterans. The meetings were hosted in Ottawa by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

"I am pleased to share our experience and initiatives with our international partners to ensure our Veterans' well-being. The discussions that took place over the past two days provide insight on how we can provide Veterans with the benefits and services they need—when they need them," said Minister Blaney.

The following statement was released by the Summit participants at the conclusion of the meetings:

Honouring and providing services to Veterans is a shared goal around the world. All of our governments have programs in place to meet the needs of those transitioning from military to civilian life. Research is playing a growing part in allowing us to better understand the transition experience. By agreeing to collaborate more closely on common research projects, we will be able to develop improved ways of supporting Veterans throughout their lives.

The Ministerial Summit is an opportunity to share the latest research and best practices to help ensure the necessary support for modern-day Veterans. A successful transition into civilian life is a critical factor in the ability of individuals to participate as fully as possible in work, community and family life. We agree that no single country can produce all the required research, but that by sharing research methods and findings, countries will learn from each other and be able to make improvements at home.

With the return of troops from Afghanistan, participants agreed it is more important than ever to have a network of academics and researchers who can provide insight and intelligence into the long-term effects of military service, especially in the areas of mental health, complex health needs and families. With the extensive network of American research institutes, the Australian Centre for Military and Veterans' Health and the recently created Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, our nations will share findings and look for further opportunities to collaborate.

As well, the ministers directed their respective officials to further discuss the priority areas coming out of the Summit and to continue building closer ties with their Defence ministries and departments to ensure new Veterans make a seamless transition to civilian life.

While in Ottawa, ministers and officials took the opportunity to acknowledge the legacy of service and sacrifice shared by all participating countries by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial.

The Ministerial Summit is held every 18 to 24 months and includes leaders from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. As host to the 2011 Ministerial Summit, Canada also welcomed guest representatives from the Republic of Korea, Germany, Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

Representatives at the 2011 Ministerial Summit included:

Member Countries

  • Australia – The Honourable Warren Snowdon, Minister for Veterans' Affairs
  • Canada – The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs
  • New Zealand – Brigadier (Retired) Rick Ottaway, Secretary of War Pensions
  • United States – The Honourable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • United Kingdom – His Excellency Dr. Andrew Pocock, CMG, British High Commissioner to Canada

Guest Countries

  • Republic of Korea – The Honourable Park Sung-Choon, Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs
  • Denmark – His Excellency Eric Vilstrup Lorenzen, Ambassador of Denmark to Canada
  • France – Colonel (Air) Siegfried Usal, Defence Attaché, Embassy of France in Canada
  • Germany –Mr. Hellmut Königshaus, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces
  • Netherlands – His Excellency Wim Geerts, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs