British Journal of Canadian Studies

'Without the Stigma of Pauperism': Canadian Veterans in the 1930s

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2009), 22, (1), 31–62.

Abstract

The programme of benefits created in Canada for veterans of the Great War made a clear distinction between pensionable and non-pensionable ex-servicemen. In 1930, the discretionary War Veterans' Allowance was introduced. This was payable (subject to various eligibility criteria) to those, pensioners and non-pensioners alike, who were no longer employable. As the Great Depression of the 1930s deepened, the Canadian Legion, the country's largest veterans organisation, demanded further assistance. In response, in March 1935 the government appointed a committee of inquiry headed by Justice J.D. Hyndman. Based on its recommendations, the Veterans' Assistance Commission was established in 1936. But its recommendation that a national programme of assistance be provided for all out-of-work veterans with overseas service was refused by Ottawa. A limit was set on veterans' benefits in the 1930s that was acknowledged in the Veterans Charter, Canada's programme for those who served in the Second World War.

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Author details

Neary, Peter