The story of the origins of the Veterans Charter, a program that shaped the future of a generation of Canadians.
The bungled demobilization of Canadians returning from the First World War contributed to a period of intense political, social, and economic upheaval. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Ottawa - having learned from the previous domestic turmoil - immediately began planning for the return of veterans, who ultimately numbered more than one million, to civilian life. On to Civvy Street tells the story of the development and administration of the resulting program, which shaped an entire generation.
Detailing the ways in which the Canadian government built on existing programs for veterans, Peter Neary identifies the key figures and events responsible for developing the orders and statutes that came to be known as the Veterans Charter, creating the Department of Veterans Affairs, and establishing sweeping new benefits for servicemen and women. Comparing rehabilitation programs after the Second World War with those after the First World War, Neary reveals the lasting importance of the country's new way of expressing its obligations to veterans. He shows that the measures developed to reintegrate them into civilian society became essential building blocks for the Canadian welfare state and helped pave the way for the unprecedented prosperity of the 1950s.
A comprehensive study of a fundamental change in the relationship between government and citizens, On to Civvy Street is also a timely reminder of the debt the country owes its veterans.