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The Burns Way
A New Hope for
All Veterans.
Igniting a Lifeline for Canadian Veterans
Accessing mental health and wellness services can be a challenge for Canadian veterans and their families. The demand for services is high, and there simply aren’t enough mental health professionals available to respond in a timely fashion.

The Burns Way is a new and innovative initiative that will bring together Indigenous, non-Indigenous and Minority partners to improve access to mental health support for veterans right across Canada. The Burns Way seeks to build trust in the availability of services and puts the veteran in control of their journey to wellness.

What’s unique about The Burns Way is our commitment to creating new jobs for veterans, while providing a brand new layer of service and support that doesn’t exist today. Our mission is to mobilize an underutilized “militia” of Peer Support resources, bringing together a unique community of people with shared experiences as veterans or family members. Peer Advocates will provide judgment-free, confidential support whenever the need arises. The Burns Way will introduce a fresh set of support resources, designed to remove barriers to care.

We are dedicated to creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their language or cultural background.
How it Works

Veterans and family members will soon be able to connect with Peer Advocates through a safe and confidential chat app. Simply download the free app or start a chat on our website. The anonymous nature of this service means that it is a safe, judgment-free space. Veterans and family members will never need to create an account or use a password to log in. Best of all, when the chat ends, all messages are automatically deleted, never saved. Peer Advocates are trained to listen, provide comfort, and offer advice. They prioritize making veterans and family members feel genuinely heard, safe, and valued.

For veterans who may need a higher level of professional care than the Peer Advocates can provide, an invitation to connect with a Burns Way Support Leader may be recommended. The Support Leader can then facilitate access and request permission from the veteran, to shift from anonymous to non-anonymous, offering a more tailored and personalized connection. The goal of the Support Leader is to assist veterans and family members in navigating the care system, working together to access treatment while remaining ‘tethered’ to compassionate support during this process.

The Burns Way will be accessible to everyone in Canada. The support and services provided will be provided in English, French, Spanish, and all Indigenous languages.

Creating a New Veteran’s Economy

The Burns Way program wholeheartedly acknowledges and values the lived experiences of veterans who have served Canada with honour. By engaging veterans and family members as trained Peer Advocates, we will not only provide a supportive community, we will also cultivate a sense of purpose and contribution to a “veterans’ economy.”

Once funded, The Burns Way will hire up to 250 Peer Advocates.

Through empowering veterans as Peer Advocates, The Burns Way program embraces their unique perspectives and compassion, fostering a self-sustaining ecosystem that uplifts individuals and society as a whole. With a steadfast commitment to personal growth, professional development, and economic empowerment, The Burns Way honours veterans as catalysts for positive change.

Program Pillars
The Burns Way is based on four important pillars that will guide and shape the program.
Shame Reduction

Shame Reduction

The Burns Way will enable a safe and inclusive environment, free from stigma and shame. It will encourage veterans to seek help without feeling judged or ashamed. Veterans have control over their interactions and can receive education and support to challenge negative attitudes toward mental health.
Cultural Safety

Cultural Safety

The program will prioritize and embrace the diversity of all Canadians, ensuring inclusivity by accommodating veterans from different backgrounds, languages, cultures, races, and orientations. Cultural safety requires ongoing reflection, awareness, and sensitivity to cultural differences, creating an environment that deeply values personal identities.
Peer Support

Peer Support

This program pillar ensures that veterans have access to trained veteran peers who represent the diverse veteran community. Peers will provide emotional support, guidance, and a safe space where veterans can feel heard as they navigate their own health journey.

Technology as a Facilitator

The program will utilize technology to foster inclusion, innovation, and accessibility. By leveraging digital tools, The Burns Way aims to reduce barriers to care and enhance social support, particularly for individuals in rural or remote areas and those facing challenges in accessing care due to disability.
The Commitment: Unprecedented Collaboration in Support of ALL Veterans
For the first time in Canadian veterans’ history, the Royal Canadian Legion, Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association/Assembly of First Nations, and Aboriginal Veterans Autochchtones have come together and committed to working together to improve mental health services for ALL veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion and the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging their support and cooperation for The Burns Way. Their shared goal is to create accessible services that cater to the needs of Indigenous and Minority veterans who have historically faced barriers to care.

The Burns Way has received formal endorsement from the First Nations Veterans Council of the Assembly of First Nations, the Dominion Executive Council of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations through an All-Chiefs Resolution.

The program will also benefit from the guidance of a Mentor’s Group comprising veterans from the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and Indigenous communities.

Earl Burns

The Burns Way seeks to connect Indigenous veterans to critical supports: 

by | Aug 21, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Work is underway to provide more support to Indigenous veterans. A range of groups including the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), the Royal Canadian...

The Burns Way forms not-for-profit corporation to deliver program: 

by | Aug 5, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

SASKATOON — The Burns Way Project, a newly formed non-profit organization with four organizations acting as administrators, is dedicated to advancing the causes of...


The Burns Way mentioned in The Legion Magazine: 

by | Jul 6, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

An army of volunteers helped serve veterans, their families and communities across Canada in 2022. Volunteer dedication enabled the Royal Canadian Legion to pull...


The Burns Way mentioned in Legion’s Annual Report: 

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

A literal army of volunteers helped serve Veterans, their families, and communities across Canada in 2022. Volunteer dedication enabled the Legion to pull through...

The Royal Canadian Legion VSS Committee Recognizes The Burns Way

by | Dec 20, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Comrade Bruce thanked the committee for delaying the previous VSS meeting, as Veteran Services was busy over the last several months with an increase of calls. VSS...

Legion and Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Sign Historic MOU to Establish The Burns Way:

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Grand Chief David Raymond Gamble is pleased that Indigenous Peoples who served in the Canadian Armed Forces...

Earl Burns

Earl Burns Sr. – His Courage was Our Inspiration

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Uncategorized,Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Earl Burns — a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces — was among the 10 killed when a pair of attackers began entering homes on the James Smith Cree Nation As the James...

In Memory of
Earl Burns:

The Burns Way is named in remembrance and in honour of Earl Burns, a proud Veteran (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), a residential school survivor, and a member of the James Smith Cree Nation who died protecting his family and his community on September 4, 2022. Earl ultimately gave his life to save others. He was honoured posthumously with the Silver Cross, in recognition of his sacrifice and bravery.

Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association
the Royal Canadian Legion
Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones
Assembly of First Nations

The Burns Way is a not-for-profit corporation. It is governed by The Royal Canadian Legion, The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones, and the Assembly of First Nations. We are committed to providing accessible, culturally safe, and reliable access to peer support for all veterans.

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Learn More: We Want to Hear from You!

As we work toward the 2024 launch of The Burns Way, we welcome input from stakeholders dedicated to improving services for veterans. We invite you to join our mailing list to stay informed and receive updates over the coming months.

The Burns Way

1525 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R9
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