Cannan: Assistance is available in Kelowna for our veterans

If veterans are having difficulty accessing services and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs I am a phone call away.

Despite bone chilling winds our hearts were warmed by the record turnout to our local Remembrance Day ceremonies this year.

It was a sincere expression of solidarity and support for our Veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and RCMP personnel.

I want to remind local Veterans that if anyone is having difficulty accessing services and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs that I am a phone call away and here to do all I can to help.

You can reach me at 250-470-5075 or by email at ron@cannan.ca .

Certain opinions expressed in our local media may have left the impression that services and benefits for Veterans are not available or that help is not available locally.

A full-time dedicated Veterans Service Agent is available at the Service Canada office, 471 Queensway Ave. in downtown Kelowna, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The phone number is 1-800-0-Canada(1 800-622-6232).

In addition, a Veterans Affairs case worker or nurse will visit veterans in their homes if requested.

Veterans are not required to travel to the veteran affairs office in Penticton.

I remain particularly concerned about the effect misinformation may have on individuals in our community who are suffering from PTSD.

As our October community suicide prevention workshop revealed, the most difficult and most essential step in healing is to reach out for help.

So it’s important that individuals and families know support is available.

The Canadian Armed Forces has a solid mental health program in place and Veterans Affairs continues to support veterans and their families through benefit programs and services, which have been enhanced with close to $4.7 billion in new funding by our government.

As well, last July the federal government announced a partnership with Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada to better deliver assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a wee, to veterans in need.

VETS Canada’s team of volunteers, which include still-serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces and still-serving and retired members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will provide assistance to at-risk and homeless veterans, and ensure help gets to those who need it.

Services include immediate in-person, online, and telephone assistance to help veterans in need of temporary shelter and access to federal programs and benefits.

Through the VAC Assistance Service, veterans can reach a professional counsellor at any time—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—by calling 1-800-268-7708.

Again, anyone who is having difficulty accessing assistance or information should not hesitate to contact my office.

I want to make sure every veteran who lives in Kelowna-Lake Country is getting the support they need.

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Re: Infrastructure funding for next phase of John Hindle Drive

On Nov. 10, I was pleased to join my colleagues from the City of Kelowna and the province  to announce $11.6 million in joint infrastructure funding for the final phase of the John Hindle Drive extension project.

Infrastructure funding remains a significant priority for our government.

Through our $53-billion New Building Canada Plan and the dedicated Gas Tax Fund, Ottawa is committed to working with the municipalities and provincial governments to support their infrastructure priorities.