MANITOULIN – Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) branches on Manitoulin Island are among the benefactors of a multi-million dollar federal aid package to help offset the impacts of COVID-19 on operational expenses.
“We are very grateful for this financial assistance as it will assist the branch with our utilities, insurance and administration costs as we weather this pandemic and we continue to work to support our veterans and community,” stated RCL Branch 177 Little Current president Ruth Eadie.
On December 17, 2020, Branch 177 received $10,845.05 from the federal government as part of a $14 million national aid package for RCL, as well as $6 million for other veterans’ organizations.
The funding is intended to cover operational expenses including insurance, utilities, rent or mortgage payments, property tax and administration expenses.
RCL branches had to apply through the provincial command to request funds. Government figures indicate 52 percent of RCL branches across Canada applied for funding during the intake window in November; the other branches still have an opportunity to apply.
“I certainly congratulate and am very happy for the Little Current Legion and all other Legions that are seeing this funding come in,” said Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.
The MP explained branches who applied were entitled to a base payment of $10,289.53 but were permitted to request more if they required additional support.
“This money will go a long way in helping to pay bills that the pandemic has piling up, and hopefully make sure they’re able to keep afloat until such time as they’re able to start up again under their usual fashion,” Ms. Hughes told The Expositor.
Branch 514 in Gore Bay also received some funding, president Carrie Lewis confirmed. She did not wish to discuss the amount her branch received, instead referring that question to treasurer Leigh Major who did not respond to requests for comment by press deadline Monday.
That branch will have received at least the base amount of $10,289.53.
“Here we are in another lockdown where we can’t be open, so it’s very much needed and appreciated,” Ms. Lewis said.
Because roughly 52 percent of RCL branches applied for funding, 52 percent of the money (about $7.2 million of RCL’s $14 million pot) has gone out to branches.
“These are such important facilities in our communities. They do so much for veterans as well as for the general population,” Ms. Hughes said. “It’s important that we ensure the survival of the Legion within our communities.”