As first seen in GI Money magazine
Much like the American Legion, the Canadian Legion offers benefits to veterans, their families and survivors. What most people don’t know is that some Americans are also eligible for membership. There are even post locations in the USA, as well as Canadian posts near US borders.
According to the Canadian Legion’s website, you may be eligible for membership in a USA Post / Branch of The Royal Canadian Legion if you are a Canadian citizen, Commonwealth subject or an American citizen and are of federal voting age.
There are three membership categories in USA posts/branches, each with different qualifications. The criteria for each category are as follows:
Ordinary Membership—USA Post / Branch
If you have served or are serving in:
- Her Majesty’s Forces in any conflict in which Canada was involved; or
- the Forces or underground forces of any of Her Majesty’s allies in any conflict in which Canada was involved; or
- the United Nations or Commonwealth police action in Congo, Gaza, Cyprus; or
- the USA forces and are a parent, spouse or child of a person who is or was eligible to be an Ordinary member; or
- a theatre of war as a member of the forces of the United States under the command of a Commonwealth Naval, Military or Air Force Commander for not less than three months.
Associate Membership—USA Post / Branch
If you do not qualify for Ordinary membership, you may be eligible for Associate membership in a USA Post / branch if you:
- are the child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, sibling, niece/nephew, widow/er, parent or spouse of someone who is or was eligible for Ordinary membership in a USA post /branch; or
- are the child of an Associate member; or
- are the sibling, parent or spouse of an Associate member who qualified subject to the above criteria.
Affiliate Voting Membership—USA Post / Branch
If you do not qualify for Ordinary or Associate membership, but support the aims and objects of The Royal Canadian Legion you may apply for Affiliate Voting membership.
NOTE: A member who qualified for membership under the USA post / branch criteria is permitted to transfer membership to a branch of the Legion in Canada. However, depending on the member’s citizenship, a mandatory change of membership category to Affiliate Non-Voting, may be required.
Ordinary membership in a Canadian Legion post in Canada may be obtained if f you have served or are serving in:
- The Canadian Forces or Her Majesty’s Forces (including regular force or reserve force under class “C” service); or
- the Forces or underground forces of any of Her Majesty’s allies in any war, conflict or police action in which Canada was involved; or
- the Merchant Navy or non-military services in an actual theatre of war in which Canada was involved; or
- Her Majesty’s reserve forces including Cadet Instructors on the Cadet Cadre for not less than one year; or
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police or The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for not less than one year; or
- the Forces of a country while that country was a member of NATO or NORAD in alliance with Canada; or
- the Forces of the United States; or
- the Vietnam War with the Armed Forces of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea or South Vietnam, and were a Canadian citizen or Commonwealth subject at the time of service; or
- the Canadian Coast Guard as an officer or crew member who has two or more years active service on the high seas or inland waterways; or
- a city, municipal or provincial police force as a police officer for not less than one year.
Their website articulates some of the many benefits of membership in The Royal Canadian Legion:
Social Activities – Most branches have recreational facilities and may have licensed lounges. Members can enjoy a wide variety of social events such as dances, barbeques, entertainment and a host of other special events.
Member Sports – The Legion has sporting events such as darts, curling, cribbage and golf, with competitions ranging from local, provincial to national levels.
Member Benefits Package – The Legion has developed a relationship with a number of corporate partners to provide products and services to its members. Some of the partners include a home and auto insurance company, health care services, a credit card company, and an auto club to name a few. Only Legion members are entitled to the benefits offered.
Community Service – You can serve your community by assisting with the many Legion programs in support of youth, seniors, the disabled and others. The Legion also provides bursaries and scholarships to students from Secondary School to the University level and is the largest single supporter of Scouts and Guides in Canada. It is also a major supporter of sea, army and air cadets.
Leadership – You will have the opportunity to grow within this great organization. The Legion needs members who can take on the Leadership challenge. If this is where your interest lies you can become involved by serving on the branch executive. You may even wish to go to higher levels such as zone, district or provincial. You may even aspire to the national level. Every Dominion President who has served in this capacity started out as a branch member. You, too, could one day be President of the largest community service organization in Canada.
Service – As Canada’s largest volunteer organization, tremendous intangible benefits are gained through the commitment of members to fulfill the mandate of remembrance, service to the community and our country. Our fallen comrades served in battle, you have “another way to serve” by joining The Royal Canadian Legion.
Legion Magazine – Your membership includes a subscription to the Legion Magazine which is published six times a year. It contains articles on various topics including history, current events and general interest stories, as well as keeping members up-to-date on the many and varied Legion activities. It also contains a section dedicated to the recognition of those who served their country. For further information, please contact your nearest Legion Post / Branch.
Here are posts located in the U.S.:
At GI Money, we visited the Canadian Legion on Pelee Island for the insider’s look. Pelee Island is one of the Lake Erie islands, some of which are owned by the U.S., some by Canada. Pelee is accessible by car ferry, plane or private boat from Sandusky, Ohio – well known for Cedar Point amusement park. The island is small, historic and laid-back; in fact, it bills itself as the “Keys” of Canada. The Canadian Legion has a post on the island, open year-round.
According to staff member Chris Watson, the post is open during fall, winter and spring 7 days a week. In the summer, it shares its space with the community for things such as the island bank, a monthly farmer’s market, bingo and island meetings. During summer, their café is open to the public Thursday – Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast there is a great way to wake up on the island! Try a breakfast sandwich with “peameal bacon”, what we in the U.S. call Canadian bacon. Appropriate to Great Lakes island cuisine, dinners feature things like fresh “perch pickerel,” (what we in the U.S. call Walleye), yellow perch and salmon, as well as different theme dinner nights. All purchases help the Canadian Legion. For more information on the Canadian Legion’s Pelee Island post, check out http://peleelegion.weebly.com/.