COVID Worries for Veterans and Death of a Canadian Icon

COVID Worries for Veterans and Death of a Canadian Icon
Canadian flag and the UN flag is shown on the sleeve of a Canadian soldier's uniform before boarding a plane at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ont., on July 5, 2018. (The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg)

OTTAWA—As Canadians prepare to mark Remembrance Day this week, concerns are growing about military veterans struggling with the effects of COVID-19.

Oliver Thorne, executive director of the Vancouver-based Veterans Transition Network, says the pandemic is taking a financial, emotional, and physical toll on those suffering from service-related injuries.

Worries about disabled Canadian veterans first emerged in the spring as the country went into lockdown due to the pandemic.

Some of that eased as summer saw many of those restrictions lifted, but the second wave and looming winter have resurrected those fears.

The concerns run the gamut from injured veterans not being able to get the physiotherapy or rehabilitation they need, to those with post-traumatic stress disorder missing out on in-person therapy and support.

For years, veterans suffering from PTSD have been told not to isolate themselves, but instead get out of their homes and connect with support programs.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole—a veteran himself—is urging anyone struggling because of the pandemic to reach out to family, friends or support networks.