The Story Behind The Royal Canadian Legion
submitted by Brian Goss, President Richmond Legion
TThere are many views on what a Legion is and who can join from military only, to family members of military personnel, or have a grandparent who was in the military. Many think it is a drinking spot for old soldiers which today is furthest from the truth. The truth is that you must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age and support the Legion mandate on Remembrance.
Premier Doug Ford has written – the Royal Canadian Legion is widely known and highly respected for its remarkable dedication to honouring the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The Poppy drive each year works towards that end but we in the local area also work towards Community Service and to that end is why we are searching for ways to reach out.
Dave Flannigan, Dominion President wrote – Let us not be shy about touting our many valuable and tangible contributions to our communities, from the key role played by service officers to the many programs we operate to benefit our youth and seniors.
Sharon McKeown, Provincial President wrote – Our Youth Education programs are the best of any organization. Our Track and Field program is the foundation for many of our Canadian athletes. The contributions to community events and projects, either through volunteer hours, or monetary donations, made by our branches and Ladies Auxiliary are phenomenal.
This initial article will describe the overall structure of the Royal Canadian Legion and describe the Dominion Command. The complete description of Dominion Command can be found in www.legion.ca.
The Royal Canadian Legion has a long history of proudly supporting Veterans. When the First World War came to an end, numerous Veterans groups and regimental associations representing former service members were created. Despite their shared goals, efforts were fragmented and unsuccessful.
An appeal for unity led to the formation of the Dominion Veterans Alliance and, in Winnipeg in 1925, the Legion was founded as “The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League.” It was incorporated by a special Act of Parliament and the Charter was issued in July 1926. On December 19, 1960, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave her consent to use the prefix ‘Royal’, and the organization became known as ‘The Royal Canadian Legion.” The Act of Incorporation was later amended in 1961 to make the change official.
The Legion’s initial main objective was to provide a strong voice for First World War Veterans. However, the advent of the Second World War created a host of new demands. The Legion expanded to offer more dedicated support to Veterans, as well as those serving
The Legion serves our communities and our country
Legion Branches are the cornerstone of communities across Canada and provide one of the largest volunteer bases in the country. With more than 1,400 Branches from coast to coast to coast, our members provide local services and supports to build a stronger Canada. Whether helping local Veterans, supporting seniors, providing youth sports programs, raising funds, volunteering to help those in need, or simply offering a place to gather for fun and celebration, Legionnaires provide essential services in their communities.
There is strength in numbers. With more than 275,000 members in over 1,400 branches, The Royal Canadian Legion reaches across our vast country and abroad and connects us to our past, our present and our future. Our members care deeply about supporting the men and women who serve and have served this country and strive to make a difference.
The Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran and community service organization. Our membership includes currently serving and retired Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, as well as the mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters, and grandchildren of Veterans. Each of these individuals is impacted by the care our Veterans receive and the issues affecting them.
We also welcome into our membership those without military affiliation who support Canada’s Veterans. Legion members, whether they have served or not, help Veterans and their families, promote Remembrance, support Legion programs, and volunteer their time to provide essential services within their communities. Without Legion volunteers, the tremendous programs and services the Legion provides to our Veterans and their families would disappear.
We are proud and honored by the work our members do for Veterans, and we welcome all Canadians to join and stand with us to honor and help those who serve and have served
Organization and structure
We are a democratic, non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada, and branches in the United States, Europe and Mexico.
The leadership of the Legion is elected by the membership through Branch, Provincial and Dominion elections. Legion Branches are autonomous and independently operated. Their policies and activities are defined by their membership in accordance with Legion by-laws, allowing them to meet the needs of local Veterans and support their community.
Legion Branches are autonomous and independently operated. Their policies and activities are defined by their membership in accordance with Legion by-laws, allowing them to meet the needs of local Veterans and support their community. Branches have volunteer Service Officers who can assist Veterans or refer them to Provincial Command for specialized help.
Dominion Command is the national headquarters and is chiefly responsible for all national advocacy, Veteran representation and assistance, national program development and administrative oversight of the organization. On a national level, the Dominion President and the Senior Elected Officers, who are elected by the membership at Dominion Conventions, discuss issues and determine national positions. The Dominion Executive Council made up of elected Senior Elected Officers and Provincial Presidents from each of the Provincial Commands, also provides direction on the Legion’s Dominion committees and activities.