The Soldiers’ Aid Commission is committed to ensuring that it provides the best administering mechanism of applications for financial assistance requested by Veterans who enlisted in the Canadian armed forces, or served with one of the Allied forces overseas, or with the armed forces in Canada during the Second World War or the Korean War. This assistance is also extended to any dependent relative of any Veteran of these wars. Members of the Commission are dedicated to providing a relevant and useful service in the most effective and efficient way.

Executive Summary

In 2010-2011, the Ministry of Community and Social Services provided the Soldiers’ Aid Commission with funding in the amount of $253,200. The annual allotment included an additional $100,000, which was approved in November 2006 when the Commission’s mandate was expanded to include financial assistance to Veterans that served in the armed forces in Canada.

The work of the Commission does not generate revenue.

In 2014-2015 the Commission received 156 applications for financial assistance from Veterans or their dependent relatives. Assistance was provided to 141 applicants, which resulted in expenditures of $170,464.42

Mandate

The Soldiers’ Aid Commission is an Operational Service Agency, established in 1915, "to take care of and to find employment for members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force..."

The Soldiers’ Aid Commission receives its legislative authority from the Soldiers’ Aid Commission Act, R.S.O. 1960, and the Soldiers’ Aid Commission Amendment Act, 1970.

The Commission operates at arms length from government. The members are appointed by Order-in-Council and do not have fixed terms of appointment. It is stipulated in the legislation that, “The Lieutenant Governor in Council may add such persons from time to time as members of the Commission as he deems advisable or may appoint a member in place of any member dying or retiring or becoming incapable of acting”. The Commission selects candidates for Commissioners, recommends appointees to the Minister and elects its Chairperson. These members serve without remuneration but may claim out-of-pocket expenses.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services, Community and Developmental Services, Services and Supports Branch is responsible for the administration of the legislation under which the Commission operates.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Commission and the ministry was signed on August 17, 2011 for a five-year term.

The mandate of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission is to administer applications for financial assistance made by Veterans and their dependent relatives. An eligible Veteran is a person in financial need who resides in Ontario, enlisted in the Canadian armed forces and served overseas or served with the armed forces in Canada during the First or Second World Wars or the Korean War.

An eligible dependent is the spouse of an eligible Veteran with whom the Veteran lived at the time of the Veteran’s death, or as a spouse in a common-law union of reasonable duration.

The Commission accepts applications for financial assistance made by Veterans in need or their dependents by way of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Navy Benevolent Funds. Officials in Veterans’ Affairs Canada offices, throughout Ontario, screen the appropriateness of the requests, after which they then make referrals to the Commission.

Financial assistance is available to resolve a specific situation when all other resources have been exhausted. Funding is provided on an individual basis and is not provided for long-term, ongoing assistance.

The Soldiers’ Aid Commission provides funds for the following:

  • Health-related items such as hearing aids, glasses, prescription and dental needs;
  • Home-related items such as rent, repairs, moving costs, furniture, replacement/repair of roof and furnace;
  • Specialized equipment such as assistive devices, wheelchairs and prosthetics, and
  • Personal items such as clothing and other specialized support services.

Organization

The Soldiers’ Aid Commission comprises a Chairperson and seven Commissioners.

As of August 2015, the current membership of the Commission is as follows:

  Position Member Name Tenure
1. Chair Rowe, R. Colin 18-Dec-2002
2 Member Stapleton, John 14-May-2003
3. Member Thomas, William Earle 25-Jun-2008
4. Member Harris, Alfred H. L. 25-Jun-2008
5. Member Brooks, Homer 09-Jul-2008
6. Vacant    
7. Vacant    
8. Vacant    

Two vacancies in the ranks of the Commission were created with the unexpected passing of Mr. William Seyers on December 28, 2012 and Mr. J. William Smith on January 1, 2015. An additional Commissioner will be added to maintain an adequate level of expertise on the Commission.

The Ministry provides the Commission with administrative support and a meeting room for its monthly meetings in Toronto.

Environmental Scan

Operating under its mandate, in 2013-2014 the Commission received 161 applications and approved 151 of these applications. Total financial assistance provided to Veterans in need was $164,835.38.

The fiscal year 2014-2015 saw a small decline in applications from 161 to 156. The total amount of financial assistance provided was $170,464.42

A restructuring of the Veterans Affairs offices and a centralization of their referral system is seen as one of the factors affecting the number of applications and the Commission will work with their counsellors to streamline the process.

The Commission is now approving assistance to eligible Merchant Navy and Allied Veterans, consistent with federal changes.

Over the past year the Commission experienced continued interest in its services from men and women of the Canadian armed forces who have served in peacekeeping roles throughout the world, such as Afghanistan. The Commission has been unable to provide financial services to these Veterans as they do not qualify within the Commission’s current mandate. However, statistical data pertaining to these Veterans are being maintained for future reference.

Strategic Directions

In the upcoming fiscal year, the Commission will again review the current eligibility rate and referral period to ensure that they adequately address the rising cost of living and the cost of devices that the aging applicants need to improve their quality of life.

The Commission will continue to follow the Ministry’s procedures operating in accordance with all administrative policies as established and specified in all Management Board and Treasury Board Directives and or Guidelines.

With the untimely passing of two Commissioners, the recruitment process is now underway to fill these vacancies; an additional Commissioner will be added for a full complement of seven Commissioners and a Chair. This recruitment strategy will help to maintain the level of expertise and knowledge on the Commission which was diminished with the passing of two long-serving Commissioners and also strengthen our links with stakeholders in the Veterans community.

Overview Of Commission’s Current And Forthcoming Programs

As noted, the Commission’s core business is the provision of financial assistance to eligible Veterans and their dependents in need.

The Commission provides financial assistance under two basic categories:

  • Minor Disbursement Assistance and
  • Major Disbursement Assistance.

Minor Disbursement Assistance:

Minor assistance includes items up to $300.00 in value. Any Commission member or designated employee may approve a request under $ 300.00.

On behalf of the Commission, counsellors in District Department of Veterans Affairs offices may grant up to $50.00 to eligible Veterans without prior authorization, and between $50.00 and $100.00 to eligible applicants with telephone authorization from the Commission. The Department of Veterans Affairs bills the Commission on a monthly basis for reimbursement of grants made on behalf of the Soldiers’ Aid Commission. These grants are then reviewed and approved at the Commission’s next meeting.

Major Disbursement Assistance:

Major assistance includes items and services above $300.00 to $1500.00 in value. The amount may be increased up to as much as $2000.00 at the discretion of the Commission to avoid unnecessary hardship. All applications for major assistance are reviewed at the Commission’s monthly meetings. Those which require urgent attention are approved in a timely fashion and then reviewed at the next scheduled Commission meeting. Financial assistance can only be granted once in any 12-month period.

In the event of an emergency application where funds are required immediately, two Commissioners, after considering the eligibility and urgency of the application, may review and approve the application. The application is then discussed at the next Soldiers’ Aid Commission meeting.

The Commission is not considering any changes to its core business in 2015-2016.

Resources Needed To Meet Goals And Objectives

The Commission is not requesting any additional financial or capital resources to continue its core services or to meet the proposed expansion of its mandate.

Financials: Proposed Operating Expenditures, Projected Revenues and Funding Requirements

In 2014-2015 the Commission requested $189,900.00 of its full allotment of $253,200.

In 2014-2015 assistance was provided to 141 applicants, which were 140 major and 1 minor disbursements.

This resulted in expenditures of $170,464.42.  As per the requirements of the Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive 2010, unused funding of $19,435.58 was returned to the Minister of Finance at the end of fiscal 2014-2015. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Commission will receive quarterly transfer payments of $63,300.

In 2015-2016 the Commission expects to continue to operate within its funding base of $253,200. It is anticipated that financial assistance of approximately $200,000 will again be provided to approximately 200 eligible Veterans and/or dependent relatives.

The Commission does not receive revenue from any source other than government.

Financials: Proposed Capital Expenditures

In 2014-2015 the Commission did not have any capital expenditures and did not hold any capital assets. In the upcoming fiscal year the Commission does not project any new capital initiatives.

Summary Of Staff Numbers

Each Commissioner is appointed by an Order in Council and performs duties on a voluntary basis without remuneration.

The ministry provides the Commission with one FTE (Operations Clerk), who provides administrative support. The employee is a member of the Ontario Public Services Employee Union.

Performance Measures And Targets

Core Business: Financial Assistance to Eligible Veterans

Goals: Performance Measures Targets Achievements
1. Receive and processing of approximately 200 applications for financial assistance.* # of Applications Received and approved 2014-2015
process 200 applications
156 applications received
141 applications approved.
As above 2015-2016
process approximately 200 applications
 
2. Renew Memorandum of Understanding As above 2016-2017
As above
 
New MOU was signed by Commission and Minister August 17, 2011 MOU signed

* The Commission is unable to accurately project the number of applications it will receive.

Risk Assessment And Management

In October 2014, a risk assessment was completed by the Commission and ministry staff. For 2015-2016 there are no risks identified that will potentially inhibit the Commission from fulfilling its mandate within the prescribed funding allotment.