OTTAWA/CNW Telbec/ – To mark the Remembrance Period and the 100th anniversary of the Armistice this year, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) in partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion (the Legion) unveiled details of its National Poppy Campaign initiative. For the fifth year running, select train cars emblazoned with a decal of a poppy, the symbol of remembrance, will circulate during the Remembrance Period. This year also, two of our locomotives in the Québec-Windsor corridor will be adorned with a giant poppy. In addition, 40,000 poppies will be distributed onboard VIA Rail trains across the country until November 11.
This morning at VIA Rail’s Ottawa station, Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion Thomas D. Irvine, CD, and VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, spoke before veterans and representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, to officially kick off the campaign and pay homage to the entire military community. Additionally on Remembrance Day, Sunday, November 11, VIA Rail trains around the country will sound their whistles at exactly 11:11 in a tribute to those who have served and those who continue to serve our country with dedication and courage. Until November 11, a video produced by the Armistice 100 Committee titled In Flanders Fields/Les cimetières flamands, which puts in poignant images the famous poem written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae in 1915, will be broadcasted on board our trains via the On-Train Entertainment System, as well as in our main stations of the Corridor on the digital towers.
“The visual reminder on VIA Rail cars, and the sharing of poppies on board their trains are powerful symbols of support for our Veterans. As we mark the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War this year, we hope passengers and observers will take a moment to think about the Veterans from this and other conflicts for the freedom we enjoy in our country today. We are grateful to Canada’s national passenger rail company for its support of our military community throughout the year and we thank VIA Rail for being such a tremendous partner in Remembrance.”
— Thomas D. Irvine, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion
“As the hundredth anniversary of the 1918 Armistice draws near, we dedicate ourselves to honour the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country so we may enjoy the freedoms we share today. Throughout the year, VIA Rail shows its gratitude toward the military community with several initiatives designed to serve and support the men and women in uniform who bravely serve Canada, both at home and abroad. By displaying a poppy on our trains and handing out more than 40,000 poppies to passengers, we hope to remind Canadians of their duty to remember and express their gratitude for the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces, veterans and their families in time of war as in time of peace, in the name of freedom for all Canadians.”
— Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada
VIA Rail and the military community
Maintaining a long and proud tradition of supporting members of the military and veteran communities, VIA Rail has worked with governments and representatives of the Canadian military community to valorize the actions of military members who have served or are serving Canada and promote the well-being of them and their families.
VIA Rail’s approach rests on four pillars:
25% discount for military members, veterans and their families
VIA Rail offers members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as veterans and their families, a 25% discount on its best fares. Since 2010, more than 260,000 members of the military community have taken advantage of this offer to travel onboard VIA Rail trains.
Support to military and veteran community organizations
VIA Rail has entered into various partnerships with organizations such as the Canada Company Military Employment Transition Program and Commissionaires’ MISSION EMPLOI, both of which help former Canadian military members make the transition to civilian life. VIA Rail also supports the military community through partnerships with the Royal Canadian Legion’s National Poppy Campaign, the organization True Patriot Love, Wounded Warriors Canada, Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and the Canada Army Run. VIA Rail is also a partner of the Vimy Foundation and contributed to the construction of a new education centre dedicated to the history of World War I and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France, built adjacent to the existing Canadian memorial.
Civilian Military Transition—Military/Veteran Employment
VIA Rail has a very active and disciplined approach to integrating veterans into its workforce and encouraging its employees to join the Reserve, to stand ready to defend the country’s rights and freedoms, and continue to support peace and freedom around the world.
Support for the Reservist community working at VIA Rail
Over the past few years, VIA Rail has ramped up its efforts to support Canada’s Reserve Forces and to attract more veterans to its workforce. Among other initiatives, in 2016, the Crown corporation worked with its Reservist employees to implement a military leave policy that helps employees serving in the Reserve better plan their absences when they are called to serve at home or abroad. This policy earned VIA Rail the title of Most Supportive Employer In Canada from the Canadian Forces Liaison Council in 2016.
For more details on VIA Rail initiatives, visit its military community website at: career.viarail.ca/en/why-choose-us/veterans-program.
The Legion and Veterans
The Legion’s National Poppy Campaign distributes around 20,000,000 poppies annually and close to that number of dollars goes back into communities every year. Beginning in 2018, Canadians can donate additionally via a digital poppy online at mypoppy.ca. To learn more about how the Legion serves our Veteran community, please visit: Legion.ca/support-for-veterans
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With close to 270,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all of its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canadasince 2007. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.
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SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.