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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, and Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones 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 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.

MP Blaney

MP Blaney on The Burns Way Funding

by | Jun 18, 2024 | News | 0 Comments

Ms. Rachel Blaney, the NDP Member of Parliament for North Island—Powell River, addressed the House of Commons during Question Period today to inquire about the lack of...

Mary Simon

Governor General of Canada embraces James Smith Cree Nation widow: “I never imagined I’d be here.”

by | Jun 6, 2024 | News | 0 Comments

Photo: Mrs. Joyce Burns with Governor General Mary Simon and her brother, CAF veteran Victor Sanderson. The widow of Earl Burns Senior, Joyce Burns, says it was a joy...

Lest we forget.

Kicking off Veterans Week in Canada, CTV News Morning Show Spotlights ‘The Burns Way’: A Lifeline for All Veterans and their families

by | Nov 6, 2023 | News | 0 Comments

Every year, leading up to Remembrance Day, we mark Veterans’ Week in Canada. From November 5th to 11th, Canadians come together to honour the extraordinary efforts and...

Ottawa Changemakers: Talking Stick lets Indigenous communities discuss shared challenges

by | Oct 31, 2023 | News | 0 Comments

John MacBeth, CEO of TryCycle talks with the Ottawa Business Journal in their Changemakers series, celebrating entrepreneurs who are making a difference. Providing a...

John MacBeth Speaks with Sam Laprade about The Burns Way

by | Oct 19, 2023 | News | 0 Comments

John MacBeth, Founder and CEO of TryCycle Data Systems speaks to Sam Laprade about barriers being faced by Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans in accessing support and...

Earl Burns

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

by | Aug 21, 2023 | News | 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 | News | 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 | News | 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 | News | 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...

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
Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association

The Burns Way is a not-for-profit corporation. It is governed by The Royal Canadian Legion, The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, and Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones. 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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