Veteran-Owned Business, May 1946.
National Archives of Canada (PA-153195, photo by Jack Long).

Veteran-Owned Business, May 1946.

The Department of Veterans Affairs helped Mr. Stanley Lolly, a disabled veteran, to purchase this grocery store. The department helped other returning soldiers to attend university, gain vocational training, and even buy homes.

The war effort for Canada as a whole was magnificent. Approximately 1 million Canadians served in the military at a time when the population of the country was just 10 million. Of this number, nearly 45,000 were killed and thousands more were wounded. Great Britain and the United States each had almost half a million soldiers killed, while the Germans lost 3 million men. Unofficial estimates (no verifiable or official estimates exist) place the total deaths of the military of the Soviet Union at 11 million.

The Canadian government was determined to be more generous to its returning veterans than had been the case after the First World War. In 1944, the Veterans' Charter was passed. It provided $1.2 billion for the re-establishment of Canada's veterans. Ex-servicemen and women could claim $100 for civilian clothing, $10,000 in life insurance, a grant of $7.50 for each 30 days of service, and additional sums for service in Europe or Asia. A private with three years' service, two of them in Europe, could collect $512.

"Going Home."
City of Edmonton Archives (Loyal Edmonton Regiment Collection, A98-96, Box 6).

"Going Home."

Military officials distributed these documents to demobilized soldiers to prepare them for their return home and for the changes that had taken place in Canada during the course of the war.

There were new benefits as well. The Reinstatement in Civilian Employment Act guaranteed the returning, men and women their old jobs back, plus any promotions they might have received. Veterans could receive free university education or vocational training; funding was available to buy homes and businesses. The Veterans' Land Act provided loans of up to $4,500 for land, plus $1,200 for equipment. A new Department of Veterans' Affairs was created to administer these programs. After the Second World War, Canadians were not as ready to forget those who had made the sacrifices and had defended the country in its fight against fascism and militarism.


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