Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. David J. Shulkin, and Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Kent Hehr, joined officials from both nations June 27-28 at VA headquarters to discuss how strategic partnerships can help improve benefits and services for Veterans and their families.
“Expanding partnerships — even beyond our geographic boundaries — will allow us to improve our services to our Veterans and their families,” Secretary Shulkin said. “Additionally, this new partnership with a key ally will allow us to share best practices in the areas of health care, benefits and other important support programs.”
The two-day U.S.-Canadian VA meeting focused on issues affecting Veterans from both nations, such as easing service members’ transition to civilian life, preventing homelessness among the Veteran community and mental-health support.
“Improving benefits and services for Veterans and their families are among the highest priorities for both our countries,” Minister Hehr said. “In order to achieve these goals, we must continue to reach out and consult with those we serve, to ensure we are putting resources in the areas where they are most needed. However, we should not limit ourselves with respect to where we seek out new ideas. We must also take every opportunity to learn from those outside our respective borders who are wrestling with similar challenges.”
Veterans Affairs officials from both countries agreed that the meeting was a good first step toward mutual collaboration between allied nations as they seek opportunities to continue supporting Veterans and their families.
About the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs runs programs benefiting more than 9 million Veterans and their family members. It offers education opportunities and rehabilitation services and provides compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service, home loan guaranties, pensions, burials, and health care that includes the services of nursing homes, clinics, and medical centers.
About the Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs Canada’s focus is the well-being of Veterans and their families. The Department supports and cares for Canada’s Veterans and other eligible clients by ensuring they receive needed benefits and services to which they are entitled in a timely fashion. The programs and services provide for hardships arising from disabilities and lost economic opportunities, health and social services, professional legal assistance, and recognition of the achievements and sacrifices of Canadians in times of war, military conflict and peace.