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Concerns raised about military vets struggling with effects of COVID-19

Last Updated Nov 9, 2020 at 11:46 am EST

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. Canada's contribution to peacekeeping has reached what is believed to be an all-time low, even as the Liberal government makes its final push to secure a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council. UN figures show there were 35 Canadian military and police officers deployed on peacekeeping operations at the end of April. That represented the smallest number since at least 1956, according to Walter Dorn, a peacekeeping expert at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

OTTAWA — As Canadians are set to mark Remembrance Day this week, concerns are being voiced 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.