Good People

Veterans helping veterans

Good People's Mark Sakamoto looks at how Canada's veterans are helping one another adjust to civilian life

Good People's Mark Sakamoto looks at how Canada's veterans are helping one another adjust to civilian life

Canada's veterans face a complex bureaucracy when seeking help readjusting to civilian life. But why? 1:47

Canada's veterans often face a myriad of challenges reintegrating into civilian life. Those can include everything from navigating a complex bureaucracy to access benefits, to finding civilian employment, and in some cases, getting help recovering from the trauma of war. 

Increasingly, veterans are turning to each other for help, starting not-for-profits, acting as peer mentors, and hiring each other for jobs. On Good People, host Mark Sakamoto meets with vets finding innovative solutions for the problems they and their comrades face. Here are some of the people he met. 

Mark Sakamoto (left) and his grandfather Ralph McLean, a World War II veteran, in Calgary. McLean fought at the Battle of Hong Kong as was captured as a prisoner of war, but when he returned to Canada, he was met with a robust system to help him reintegrate into the civilian world. That's something today's veterans don't have. (Good People/CBC)
Mark and his grandfather, Ralph McLean, in the 1990s. (Good People/CBC)
J.R. Smith shows off a tattoo baring the names of fallen comrades from his time fighting in Afghanistan as part of the Canadian Armed Forces. Smith took part in Operation Medusa in 2006, Canada's largest military operation since the Korean War. (Good People/CBC)
J.R. Smith in his workshop, where he runs a custom cabinetry business, in New Lowell, Ont. (Good People/CBC)
Debbie and Jim Lowther in front of VETS (Veterans Emergency Transition Services) Canada headquarters in Ottawa. Jim, who served in the Canadian Forces, founded the not-for-profit to help at-risk veterans reintegrate into civilian life. They provide help accessing mental health care, affordable housing, as well as finding employment. (Good People/CBC)
Mark Sakamoto and retired Master Cpl. Colin Fitzgerald in Ottawa. Fitzgerald won the Medal of Military Valour for his service in Afghanistan. After leaving the military, Fitzgerald struggled with PTSD, spending time in both jails and hospitals. Today, with the help of VETS Canada, he is back on his feet and helping other veterans with the transition to civilian life. (Good People/CBC)
Joel Watson, a fellow at the Gregg Centre for War and Society, being interviewed for Good People. Watson says that veterans often have highly specialized skills that can be applied to civilian life, but are too-frequently overlooked by employers. (Good People/CBC)

Watch Good People on CBC Gem, debuting May 8