Mandate, Mission, Vision, Values and Ethics
Definition of a Veteran
Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and is honourably discharged.
When people think of Veterans, many immediately picture someone who served in the First World War, Second World War or the Korean War. While many Canadians recognize these traditional Veterans, the same may not always be true for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans—those who served Canada since the Korean War.
In fact, some former CAF members don’t even see themselves as Veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) wants to change this and is working to ensure CAF Veterans receive the honour and recognition they have earned and so richly deserve.
VAC considers any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who releases with an honourable discharge and who successfully underwent basic training to be a Veteran.
This Veteran status recognizes the risk CAF members assume by wearing the uniform and pledging allegiance. Canada’s modern-day Veterans are carrying on the traditions, values and legacy of wartime Veterans and all Canadians, especially our youth, should be aware of their accomplishments and sacrifices.
Please note that other criteria, in addition to Veteran status, are needed to qualify for services from the Department.
Canada's development as an independent country with a unique identity stems in no small measure from its achievements in times of war. A good part of our modern identity is also associated with pride in Canada's enviable peacekeeping record. But Canada's contribution to global peace and security, both as ally and peacekeeping partner, has come at a heavy price in terms of lives sacrificed, health forfeited and hopes unfulfilled.
The Department exists to repay the nation's debt of gratitude toward those whose courageous efforts have given us this legacy, and have contributed to our growth as a nation.
VAC's mandate stems from laws and regulations. Among the more significant is the Department of Veterans Affairs Act, which charges the Minister of Veterans Affairs with the following responsibilities:
"...the care, treatment, or re-establishment in civil life of any person who served in the Canadian Forces or merchant navy or in the naval, army or air forces or merchant navies of Her Majesty, of any person who has otherwise engaged in pursuits relating to war, and of any other person designated ... and the care of the dependants or survivors of any person referred to ..."
The Department meets its responsibilities through its various programs. These include programs for disability pensions, Veterans allowances, pension advocacy, health care and commemoration. They provide compensation for hardships arising from disabilities and lost economic opportunities, innovative health and social services, professional legal assistance and recognition of the achievements and sacrifices of Canadians during periods of war and conflict.
VAC provides services to a highly diverse clientele which reflects the remarkable breadth of Canada's contributions to world peace. Our clients include:
- Armed Forces and Merchant Navy Veterans who served during the First World War, Second World War or Korean War;
- Former and, in certain cases, current members of the Canadian Forces, including those who served in Special Duty Areas and in peacekeeping; and
- Allied Veterans who lived in Canada prior to periods of war.
- Certain civilians who are entitled to benefits because of their war time services;
- Former and, in certain cases, serving members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
- Survivors and dependants of the foregoing groups.
In addition to serving these clients, VAC receives many inquiries from members of the public. We are proud to assist those who approach the Department with requests for information on our programs, services and activities.
VAC's Commemoration Program is designed to honour all those who served Canada in the cause of peace, while reaching an audience that includes the entire Canadian population as well as the world community.
To provide exemplary, client-centred services and benefits that respond to the needs of Veterans, our other clients and their families, in recognition of their services to Canada; and to keep the memory of their achievements and sacrifices alive for all Canadians.
To provide exemplary service which honours the sacrifice and achievements of our Veterans and clients.
Our Values and Ethics
At Veterans Affairs Canada we value our clients' contributions to the development of Canada as a nation and honour the sacrifices they have made in the defence of freedom and the pursuit of world peace. In expressing Canada's gratitude to them, we strive to exemplify the high principles which they have defended.
- We act with honesty and fairness and always strive to do the right thing.
- We treat everyone with respect. We recognize the dignity that is inherent in all people and celebrate the strength that comes from the diversity of people and ideas.
- We take pride in our role as public servants and are dedicated to service excellence. We are committed to responsive, quality service, delivered with timeliness, courtesy and fairness.
- We are accountable and responsible for our actions and accept the consequences of our decisions.
- We value teamwork, and promote the principles of partnership, consultation and open communication.
- We encourage the achievement of a healthy balance in the working and personal lives of employees, believing that this contributes to the vitality of individuals, our organization and our communities.
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