The legion’s new group has the same acronym as the one operated by the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence, with the support of Veterans Affairs.
But that’s where the similarities stop.
The military’s system, Operational Stress Injury Social Support has an extensive network of support groups across the country. OSISS and the military’s operational stress injury clinics offer a wide range of services. OSISS is free to military personnel, veterans and their families.
The legion’s new Operational Stress Injury Special Section, also known as OSISS, offers to direct veterans and their families to existing services, such as the Canadian Forces network. But veterans suffering from mental issues and post-traumatic stress, as well as their family members, each would have to pay a $10 administrative fee to join the section.
Canadian Forces spokeswoman navy Lt. Michèle Tremblay said the legion’s OSISS is not related to the DND and Veterans Affairs system.
“There is no charge for (Canadian Forces) members or veterans to be part of (our) OSISS,” she said.
Glynne Hines, interim president of the legion’s OSISS, did not respond to requests from the Citizen to explain the reasoning behind the fee. He also did not respond to questions about whether the legion’s decision to use the same acronym as the government program would lead to confusion.
Hines would not address the question of whether the fee is to cover the cost of travel, conferences, per diems and hotels for executive members of the section.
Other legion members are questioning the fee, noting the organization has millions of dollars in the bank and already has service officers to help veterans at no cost.
Craig Hood, who is nominated as the interim first vice-president of the legion’s OSISS, has said on social media the initiative is being rolled out this weekend at the legion’s convention in St. John’s. Those who join the section will receive a special pin. But most of the section’s work will be done online.
The Canadian Forces and DND were not consulted on the legion’s initiative, defence officials said. A DND official said the military and department have been trying to get answers about the legion’s OSISS initiative but the legion is not responding.
Dominion President Tom Eagles of the legion has said his organization’s initiative is about “maintaining a close working relationship with the Department of National Defense and the CAF.
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