The provincial government is giving $1.5 million to the Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command to help offset the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and recent circuit-breaker restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The one-time funding is intended to help legions, including the Kamloops Legion on Lansdowne Street downtown, continue to provide essential community services to its 47,000 members in B.C., including veterans and their families.
"Legions play an important role in our communities, caring for the people who have served our nation," Premier John Horgan said in a statement. "Our government committed to finding a solution and we're delivering support to ensure legions can keep serving veterans, their families and our communities."
Legions generate a significant portion of revenue to fund their services through food and beverage service, which was disrupted by public health orders preventing people from gathering indoors.
The $1.5 million in funding mirrors the average grant provided to businesses under the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant and aligns with support provided by the federal government. The Royal Canadian Legion was ineligible for such support due to its non-profit status.
The Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command has 145 branches, serving veterans, ex-service personnel, seniors and youth in many aspects of community life.
According to Legion spokesperson Bryan Lutz, the 143 Legion branches in B.C. raise more than $2.5 million for veterans and their families through the annual poppy campaign. Branches also raise and distribute additional funds throughout the year, giving back in excess of $1 million to their local communities in B.C.
“We are thankful to Premier Horgan and the B.C. government’s commitment to honour and
remember our veterans and their families by supporting the sustainability of our entirely
volunteer-led branches,” Val MacGregor, president of the BC/Yukon Command of the
Royal Canadian Legion, said in a statement.
On June 6, the Legion will mark the 77th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy during the Second World War.
To learn more about the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, click here.