Veterans Concerns Committee Report – July 2018

Real Advantages for Veterans

Fellow Veterans,

Many thanks to our Veteran-minded M.P. Harold Albrecht for inviting former Service Personnel to this now Annual Luncheon at splendid Puddicombe’s in New Hamburg today, 10 July 2018. (I have fond memories of my former M.P. Stephen Woodworth hosting similar events in Kitchener Centre until 2015.)

As a fellow Veteran, I chair a Veterans’ Concerns Committee (V.C.C.) for my old unit (The Royal Regiment of Canada Association.) – With my background, as a retired Soldier, retired high school teacher, and Waterloo Regional Seniors Rep., there are advantages and benefits many of us Veterans often overlook:

1. Via Rail offers 25% off the lowest advertised train fares for Veterans (with proof) and spouses, children or even grand-children, as long as all travel together. Many other businesses, such as hotels, auto rentals and some chain stores often give from 10% to 20% or more “off” their regular rates.

2. Both Air Canada and West Jet allow CF Members and Veterans (with proof) to check either 3 or 4 pieces of luggage free of charge on any booked flight.

3. Our Grand River Transit (GRT) allows honourably discharged Veterans aged 65 or older and who live in Waterloo Region to apply for a (life-time) picture ID Veterans Pass for a one-time fee of only $5.

4. Also, and although we do not like to think about it, most public cemeteries in Waterloo Region offer greatly reduced (almost half-price) cremation burial lots for all who have served, and their spouses.

5. In all of the above examples, there is a common need to establish actual Veteran status. There are several ways to do this: An actual discharge certificate along with a photo ID, such as a driver’s licence or an Ontario Photo Card (strongly recommended for all Seniors, who are no longer drivers), these will do. You can also write to National Archives in Ottawa.-
But it may be easier to apply for a Canadian Forces “CF1” card , which will also identify a Veteran. You can apply for a CF1 card by calling 1-855-245-0330, or go on line: www.cf1fc.ca.

6. Please remember, a Veteran is anyone who has served and was honourably discharged. My friend Bernie, for example, served in the Militia from 1960 to 1962, and died recently at age 84. A very proud man, but not a rich man, Bernie had luckily ordered replacement military records from Ottawa about a decade ago. As a result Bernie joined the Legion, and got a free Grand River bus pass, which came in handy when he could no longer drive after age 80. He is buried in the Veterans’ section of Williamsburg Cemetery, and a claim was submitted to the “Last Post Fund”, subsidised by Veterans’ Affairs Canada to help cover his burial costs. – Thus Bernie’s last 10 years were made better and easier, because he had proof of being a Veteran!

7. Veterans should not overlook Veterans’ Affairs Canada for any service related health claims, even many years later. – After my own 70th birthday a hearing specialist M.D. in Kitchener determined that most of my hearing loss was due to noise trauma as a young adult. As my military records proved, I had served several summers as a Range Safety Officer at CF Bases in the 1960’s. Nobody then had thought of using “ear defenders.” – About 16 months after applying, Veterans’ Affairs offered me: free hearing aids and service for life, and a tax-free settlement, which bought me a nice new SUV.

And the list goes on, including specially reserved Veterans beds at some Nursing Homes, and other such benefits…. all for Veterans!

If you have questions feel free to contact me.
Best at: [email protected] – Or leave a message at 519-741-0005.

Regards to fellow Veterans!

Alan Nanders
(Kitchener)
10 July 2018