The province has taken a number of steps to ensure the long-term viability of Manitoba legions and applications are now available for the new Military Memorial Conservation grant program.

“Our veterans have served our country proudly and we owe it to them to show gratitude,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “We will do that by working with legions to ensure the groups that know them best are able to remain viable, as well as helping other groups maintain the many memorials and tributes to veterans all across Manitoba.”

The province has directed Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) to adjust the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) revenue sharing agreements with veterans’ organizations. Effective immediately, veterans’ organizations will receive an additional five per cent of the VLT revenues from machines operating in their facilities. There are currently 429 VLTs out of 4,982 VLTs at commercial sites, installed in 58 veterans’ organizations. Under the revised agreement, these organizations will receive an estimated $600,000 in additional revenue.

“While we await the completion of the gaming review, revenue sharing agreements with veterans’ organizations will increase to 30-70 from 25-75 on an interim basis, as set forth in the province’s 100-day plan,” Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton said. “Veterans, both past and present, served, fought and continue to shape our country. Their willingness to give everything they had has afforded us the safety and security we enjoy today – something we must recognize and never take for granted.”

The province also renewed a commitment to move forward with the special envoy for military affairs to introduce legislation that would exempt veterans’ organizations from municipal property tax.

The new Military Memorial Conservation grant program, supported by the $2-million Military Memorial Conservation Fund announced in May, is now accepting applications from veterans’ organizations, municipalities and private groups to help with the important work of preserving and maintaining Manitoba military memorials. The grant program is expected to generate about $100,000 per year and will be used to support approved restoration projects.

“We want to ensure there is support for the work of preserving memorials and commemorating the contributions of Manitobans to Canada’s Armed Forces and our local military history,” Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox said. “Memorials honouring veterans should be preserved as part of our ongoing tribute to those who have served our country or made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the peace and prosperity of our great province.”

The program intake deadline for applications is Feb. 15, 2020.