The Royal Canadian Legion supports a new Veteran’s Service Card (VSC) introduced by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence (DND) and wants the right to use it as an official piece of identification.
“While not an identification card, this new card does reflect our veterans’ service to Canada and more people will receive the recognition they deserve,” says Tom Irvine, Legion Dominion president. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction and we’d like to see it further adapted.”
The Legion has long advocated for a veteran’s identification card for all personnel who have passed basic training and honourably released. The VSC, introduced on Sept. 11, will help veterans stay connected to military and veteran support programs during their transition from military to civilian life, DND says.
The VSC also recognizes service as a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member. It’s an updated version of a previous card, which had limited eligibility and was eventually phased out. The Legion is also advocating for a veteran’s family identification card to honour the resilience of veterans’ families and pay tribute to the sacrifices families make in support of Canada.
In the meantime, Legion officials say the VSC will help their 1,400 branches across the country assess the accuracy of the service record presented by potential new, ordinary, members and avoid the stolen valour trap set by some individuals who claim to have a military record that doesn’t exist. They remind, members of the general public are also eligible for Legion membership.
Beginning in September, all eligible VSC members will automatically receive the card upon release from the CAF during their final release interview. Meanwhile, CAF members and veterans released from the CAF between February 2016 and September 2018 can apply online for the new card starting Dec. 1. Those released before 2016 can request their card after next summer.
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