Canadian Families: Caregivers' Brigade™ Presents at MP Wagantall Town Hall

·3 min read

Cathay Wagantall, MP for Yorton-Melville held a Virtual Town Hall meeting this week where she brought the ladies of the Caregivers’ Brigade in to discuss what the brigade is and what they do.

Cathay Wagantall, MP, is part of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and holds veterans near to her heart; which is why she brought a group of ladies to talk about their experiences,

The Caregivers' Brigade™ is made up of spouses of ill and injured Serving Military Members and Veterans who have located resources to assist and benefit other families.

They are self-described as “Consultants” for Caregivers of RCMP and CAF members, whether serving or released. We work with existing departments and organizations for the benefit of families of the ill and injured. Our volunteers would be happy to assist you in finding the appropriate resources for your family.”

Paula Ramsay, Director of Serving Families, stated that “In 2013, our three Directors met through Veteran advocacy groups in our collective interest in improved services for Veterans and their families. In discussion with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) delegates, it was determined that there was a need for a comprehensive list of resources where serving CAF/RCMP members, Veterans and their families could locate services available to them. Any list of resources would need to be within the public domain to maximize accessibility, so the Caregivers’ Brigade was formed to provide links to anyone in search of appropriate resources. Our website was officially launched in 2014.”

Ramsay is one of the three directors and each has a role in the organization; their responsibilities are as follows:

Marie-Andrée Malette - Director for Veteran Families

- Often our spokesperson at events like Veterans Summits

- Read and review VAC policies to help increase understanding

- Work as a nurse outside the home while caring for spouse and children at home

Paula Ramsay - Director for Serving Families

- Review any updates to DND policies and directives

- Moderator of Caregivers’ Brigade website/caring about the war at home FB page,

twitter @caregiversbrig

- small amount of service (dual-service couple). Social service worker education

Jeanette Mcleod- Director of Community Education

- Promotes understanding of PTSD and physical injuries to nursing and police foundation students at a local college

- volunteer with VETS Canada to assist any struggling veterans in the community

- Educating health care workers on difficulties faced by Veterans if their caregiver becomes ill.

Explaining further, Paula Ramsay explained how they were able to have such a vast amount of resources available on their website. She said, “Upon the official launch of the Caregivers’ Brigade website, we were in contact with organizations that offered services and benefits on a national level to display. I believe when we launched, we were displaying approximately 45 or so links and now exhibit over 140 links. Within our website (https://canadianfamilies.wixsite.com/caregivers-brigade), we offer a ‘Contact Us’ page where anyone can send us a direct message, or they are welcome to email us directly at caregiversbrigade@outlook.com. We also have a Facebook page called Caring about the War at Home and our Twitter account is @caregiversbrig.”

This organization is very near and dear to each of the directors as well all the individuals they meet and serve.

When asked what Ramsay’s vision for the group is, she replied, “As for our vision for the Caregivers’ Brigade and the issues being faced by CAF and RCMP Veterans and their families, we’d simply like to continue to act as a third party to connect them with the resources that may assist them moving forward. We’ve been recognized by both the CAF and VAC as a point of contact for services and benefits (our website is displayed on their websites) that will help guide them on their path to recovery, and we hope to help more families on their journey after a service-related illness or injury.”

Thank you to the ladies on the panel as well as Cathay Wagantall for this great Virtual Town Hall.

Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal