Menu Main body content
Facebook X, formerly known as Twitter Youtube Instagram LinkedIn
–a A+ | | | Print

2019 Annual Report2019 Annual Report

Improving the quality of life for Canadian amputees

Thank You

Because of your support of the Key Tag Service, all of our vital programs for amputees are possible.

A young amputee girl wearing a prosthetic arm writing “thank you” in chalk on a sidewalk.

We embarked on our second century this year thanks to the support of our donors like you. As the year progressed, we heard many inspiring stories from those we serve – particularly families of child amputees, who frequently tell us how grateful they are for all that your donations provide through the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. This includes financial assistance for artificial limbs and opportunities for children to connect with other amputees “just like me.”

Throughout this report, you will find some of these personal stories from amputees and their loved ones about how your donations make a difference in their daily lives. We feel these stories are best expressed in their own words, and it is a privilege to be able to share a small selection with you.

You will also see how your support allows us to carry on the legacy of the First World War amputees who formed the Association. We remain a strong voice on behalf of modern-day veteran amputees so as to make certain that pension benefits and wellness programs are satisfied by the government. At the same time, we pursue legislative changes to ensure the financial needs of our veterans and their dependants are being met now and in the future.

A young amputee girl wearing a prosthetic arm writing “thank you” in chalk on a sidewalk.

Your donations allow The War Amps to fund a significant portion of artificial limbs for amputees in Canada, including covering 100 per cent of the cost of recreational limbs and devices for child amputees. However, there is still much to do to ensure the government and private insurers understand the cost and medical necessity of artificial limbs. Through our Crusade for Reform, we continue to strongly advocate for the rights of amputees in this area and also educate funding agencies with the goal of improving prosthetic coverage across all provinces and territories.

We greatly appreciate the contributions of our donors, including corporate and foundation donors and those who have left charitable estate donations in their wills, as you make all of our vital work for amputees possible. Because of you, we are able to identify gaps in support and strive to fill these gaps so that amputees can lead independent and active lives.

Please read on to learn more about our activities in 2019. We welcome your feedback and, as always, remain accountable to you.

Your Story

“We have supported The War Amps for more than 30 years. Then, two years ago, we lost our keys twice in short order. Only two days later, we got an envelope in the mail containing all our keys. Not only is the Key Tag Service fast, but it is also extremely dependable. Thank you so much!”

Jack and Nicole

Financial Assistance for Artificial Limbs

The War Amps funds artificial limbs and devices for amputees, including specialized limbs for child amputees to foster their development.

Dylan, a double leg amputee, wearing his artificial legs and riding his adaptive three-wheeled bicycle.

“The War Amps has provided waterproof artificial legs for Dylan so that he has balance while swimming and safety on wet surfaces like the shower. He can go on rides with his friends thanks to his adaptive bicycle, which also makes his legs stronger.

“It’s hard for us to put into words how grateful we are to War Amps donors. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to afford Dylan’s artificial limbs, have the support system that is our CHAMP family, or see the joy in his eyes when he tells people about the seminars or his ‘new leg.’”

Denise and Allen, Dylan’s parents
Jaelynn, a left arm amputee, holding a bouquet of beautiful wildflowers using her myoelectric arm.

“Life for Jaelynn without The War Amps would be a lot different. She wouldn’t have the artificial limbs she needs, due to the high cost, or the independence she now has because they allow her to do things with two hands.

“As parents, it takes the worry off of us, knowing that she can just live daily life as any other kid does. Our little ‘Champ’ says thanks to all of you who donate to The War Amps, and we are so very grateful too.”

Josephine and Kenny, Jaelynn’s parents
Étienne, a right arm amputee, riding his bike using a cycling device attached to the handlebar.

“We enrolled Étienne in the CHAMP Program for the assistance and the support system it provides. We really liked its positive approach, which is based on validation and self-esteem.

“Thanks to War Amps donors, Étienne can ride his bike with his friends using a special device that attaches to his handlebar. He also attends seminars to meet other children with amputations. CHAMP really gives him a sense of belonging.”

Ghislain and Annie, Étienne’s parents
Child amputee Jeanne wearing her water leg while playing at a splash pad.

“With her water leg, Jeanne can keep up with her friends. She is growing up while accepting her body. The CHAMP Program has given us hope and the means to help our daughter flourish. Your donations help her to be happy.”

Étienne and Jacinthe, Jeanne’s parents

The War Amps provides adult amputees with financial assistance for artificial limbs and helps them access the care and services they need.

A male amputee wearing a prosthetic leg and walking alongside a parallel bar.

“The War Amps is the reason I am walking today. They paid for a shortfall in funding for my prosthetic leg, which gave me the chance to be out of a wheelchair. I am forever grateful to these wonderful people!”


“The War Amps provided me with financial assistance as well as helpful material regarding every aspect of living with amputation. The [help with the] application process for the Disability Tax Credit was especially appreciated.”


“I would like to thank you very much for contributing towards the cost of my new prosthetic leg. It has been 10 years since I lost my leg, but life goes on and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. So many thanks again for your support. You do amazing work! ”


Amputees Helping Amputees

Regional seminars have a life-changing effect on child amputees and their families.

CHAMP seminars, held each year in six different areas of the country, continue to be an important part of what we do. They provide a unique opportunity for child amputees and their families to meet and share experiences with others who have “been there,” access valuable resources and learn about new developments in artificial limbs.

Families also benefit from conversations with The War Amps Regional Representatives at seminars. All of them are CHAMP graduates who have had a long-standing involvement with the Association. They are available throughout the weekend to assist with sessions and offer support, having grown up through the program themselves.

War Amps Regional Representatives Chris Koch and Christine McMaster sitting with Champ Sophia at a CHAMP Seminar.

War Amps Regional Representatives Chris Koch (left) and Christine McMaster (right) with Champ Sophia at a recent CHAMP Seminar

“I’ve been attending seminars since I was a young boy. A lot has changed since my first one 35 years ago, but many things remain the same. The role The War Amps has played in my life, as well as in the lives of so many other child amputees, is immeasurable. The financial assistance for artificial limbs, incredible amount of information and resources, and seminars are a small fraction of what the CHAMP Program provides.

“Even more important are the friendships and bonds formed with other amputees and their families. When you feel like you’re the only one struggling with any sort of challenges, life can seem impossible. But when you have an army of people behind you, supporting you every step of the way – all of a sudden, the future looks a lot brighter.”

Chris Koch, War Amps Regional Representative
War Amps Regional Representatives Chris Koch and Christine McMaster sitting with Champ Sophia at a CHAMP Seminar.


In a critical election year, The War Amps continued to be a strong voice for seriously disabled veterans.

Retired sergeant Gaétan, a leg amputee, holding a wreath at a Remembrance Day ceremony.

Sgt. (Ret’d) Gaétan, a leg amputee, laid a wreath at the 2019 National Remembrance Day ceremony on behalf of  The War Amps.

As a leader in advocacy for veterans’ rights and legislation, as well as the driving force behind the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada (NCVA), The War Amps fought tirelessly for veterans in 2019. It was a critical election year that provided an opportunity for us to push for legislative changes that would satisfy the financial needs of our veterans and their dependants. With more than 100 years of experience in this area, The War Amps continues to be represented on four of the six ministerial advisory groups of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), co-chairing two of these advisory committees.

Retired sergeant Gaétan, a leg amputee, holding a wreath at a Remembrance Day ceremony.

Sgt. (Ret’d) Gaétan, a leg amputee, laid a wreath at the 2019 National Remembrance Day ceremony on behalf of  The War Amps.

This year, The War Amps and the NCVA, which is comprised of more than 60 distinct veterans associations, urged all parties and candidates running in the federal election to stand up for our veterans. An op-ed by Brian Forbes, Chairman of  The War Amps Executive Committee and of the NCVA, was published in the Hill Times, and he was quoted in stories by other major news outlets in the lead-up to the election, including the National Post and CBC News.

We strongly advocated that VAC resolve the arbitrary distinctions between veterans injured before and after 2006, the date of enactment of the New Veterans Charter. Our goal is to prompt the government to “think outside the box” and create a comprehensive compensation and wellness program model that treats all veterans with the same disabilities in the same manner.

It remains our position that there is much to do to improve veterans legislation in order to address the financial and wellness requirements of Canada’s disabled veterans and their families. Given the results of the election and the establishment of a minority government, The War Amps believes a genuine opportunity still exists for a commitment to meaningful improvement to the legislation so as to eliminate the inequity and discrimination suffered by disabled veterans since the enactment of the New Veterans Charter and subsequent Veterans Well-being Act.

The War Amps is an integral source of support for amputees as we advocate for legislative changes to improve their quality of life.

A female arm amputee sitting on a bench using her cellphone.

In addition to our contributions to systemic improvements to prosthetic funding, The War Amps assisted 258 individual amputees with their requests for advocacy support in 2019 in areas such as government benefits and human rights.

With more than 100 years of expertise in the field of amputation, The War Amps leads the way in advocating for improvements to prosthetic funding standards and accessibility legislation across the country.

A female arm amputee sitting on a bench using her cellphone.

In addition to our contributions to systemic improvements to prosthetic funding, The War Amps assisted 258 individual amputees with their requests for advocacy support in 2019 in areas such as government benefits and human rights.

Due to the high cost of artificial limbs and inadequate funding from government and private insurers, many amputees in Canada are struggling to pay the balance for the artificial limbs that have been medically prescribed for them. This means that those who have already suffered the loss of a limb are faced with punishing and ongoing debt, or with the physical and psychological consequences of going without the needed limb. Having the appropriate artificial limb or assistive device can improve an amputee’s sense of security and mental health significantly, as they are able to be mobile and participate in everyday activities such as walking, getting groceries or going to work.

With the support of our donors, The War Amps fills the gaps where it can, contributing thousands of dollars towards the cost of artificial limbs so that amputees do not have to take on a substantial personal financial obligation or resort to crowdfunding. As a charity relying on public donations, however, our funds can only go so far. That is why, through our Crusade for Reform, we are proactively working to educate funding agencies to ensure their policies on artificial limb and assistive device coverage reflect a true understanding of the reality of living with amputation. We share our knowledge and expertise in this area with funding decision-makers so that individuals can receive the artificial limbs and devices they need for their independence and overall well-being.

This year, The War Amps continued its outreach in the provinces to improve outdated funding guidelines, specifically in Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia.

Prosthetic funding in Ontario and New Brunswick

Building on our work from last year to push for changes to the Ontario Assistive Devices Program, The War Amps issued an op-ed regarding the inadequate prosthetic funding standards in the province. Ontario’s funding guidelines for artificial limbs are grossly outdated and leave many of the province’s amputees in dismal circumstances, often having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for the artificial limbs that have been medically prescribed to them. The War Amps was interviewed by the CBC on this topic, in which we raised further awareness that the policy is failing to cover the cost of modern-day essential components.

“Even if there is a policy in place, it’s often outdated. As an amputee myself, it’s evident that [the province has] never spoken to an amputee in the creation of this policy.”

Annelise Petlock, War Amps Advocacy Program Manager, in an interview with the CBC

In addition to our outreach in Ontario, The War Amps op-ed appeared in the major daily newspapers in New Brunswick. The province offers no coverage for artificial limbs, except limited funding for those on social assistance. We provided a submission to the government in 2017 outlining the major deficiencies in its policy at the time; unfortunately, these deficiencies remain as policy updates have been deprioritized. The War Amps continues to monitor this situation closely and will be contacting the province to request that they resume efforts to update the policy.

It continues to be our position that Ontario and New Brunswick, as with all provinces and territories, have a legal and moral obligation to improve their policies on artificial limb coverage so that amputees have affordable access to the prosthetic care prescribed for them by their medical team.

Accessibility legislation in British Columbia

The War Amps has been at the table throughout the development of accessibility legislation at the national and provincial level, providing input this year for the drafting of British Columbia’s first accessibility legislation. We provided a position paper addressed to the minister responsible that described the issues faced by amputees in the province today, including a lack of access to appropriate assistive technology. The War Amps advised that a provision to this new legislation must guarantee that BC ensures appropriate coverage for artificial limbs is available to all amputees. The province has an opportunity for leadership in this area that should be used to set the standard across the country.

Following their review of our submission, the BC government made our paper publicly available through their website, allowing us to reach a broader audience with this important information.

Your Story

“I was in the process of getting a new prosthesis when I was told my health card does not cover it, so I had to seek funds for myself. I contacted The War Amps and they helped me with my application for provincial coverage, which resulted in qualifying for the funding I needed. I really appreciate all of  The War Amps efforts in my case. They never let me lose hope and assured me that they are with me 100 per cent.”


Employing People With Disabilities

Donations to the Key Tag and Address Label Service support our many programs for amputees. We do not receive government grants.

Production Supervisor Larry at The War Amps Key Tag Service.
A set of keys with a War Amps key tag attached.

In 1946, The War Amps debuted its Key Tag Service, which was established to create jobs for amputee veterans returning home from the war and to provide Canadians with a valuable key return service. Since its creation, our sheltered workshop has employed hundreds of people with disabilities in Canada, and it continues to provide year-round employment. To date, we have returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners – this year returning a total of 9,885.

“I have worked at the Key Tag Service for more than 30 years. I was fortunate enough to work with some of the Second World War amputee veterans who started the Key Tag Service before they retired, which was a special experience for me.

“As the Supervisor in the Production Department, I handle things such as key tag mailings, donation receipt mailings and more. Part of my job is to find creative ways for employees to do things with an amputation. We have adapted several of our job processes by finding ways around challenges that come up for amputees.

“From running a sheltered workshop that employs people with disabilities to providing funding for artificial limbs for amputees, I think it’s important for donors to know that their donations are well used by The War Amps.”

Larry, Production Supervisor
Production Supervisor Larry at The War Amps Key Tag Service.
Your Story

“The Key Tag Service really does work. My keys were returned this morning by courier less than two weeks after I lost them. Yesterday, I priced the cost of replacing my car key fob – it was $367. Thanks to all involved.”


In the Community

Child amputees share the important PLAYSAFE message in their communities.

A child amputee standing on The War Amps PLAYSAFE/DRIVESAFE float during a parade.

Champs who rode on board the PLAYSAFE parade float, like Haddessah, reached thousands of spectators in 2019 with the “kids-to-kids” safety message.

The War Amps PLAYSAFE Program is a unique initiative centred on our “kids-to-kids” approach to child safety. In 2019, Champs reminded other children to spot the danger before they play through presentations and displays at schools and local events, as well as by appearing in War Amps videos and riding on board our PLAYSAFE/DRIVESAFE parade float in more than 20 communities across Canada. The War Amps believes no one is better qualified to deliver this safety message than child amputees, who all know what it is like to live without a limb.

“Thank you to Champ Cooper and The War Amps for taking the time to come to our school and talk about how to PLAYSAFE. My favourite part of your presentation was when you said how ‘being different is okay.’ It takes a lot of courage to tell your stories, and I admire that. This is such an important discussion to continue sharing with other children to prevent injuries.” Kindergarten teacher
Champ Cooper and two War Amps staff standing in a classroom where they gave a PLAYSAFE presentation.

Champ Cooper, along with War Amps staff, gave a PLAYSAFE presentation to a kindergarten class in his community.

We continued our tradition of teaming up with the CFL to promote safety.

Six-year-old Champ Jed, who lost part of his leg in a lawn mower accident, was named our 2019 National Safety Ambassador to spread our important PLAYSAFE message to Canadians.

Jed carried on the special tradition of sharing The War Amps unique “kids-to-kids” safety message in our annual CFL PLAYSAFE public service announcement (PSA). He was joined by Hamilton Tiger-Cats players Brandon Banks and Ja’Gared Davis.

For more than 35 years, The War Amps and the CFL have worked together to make Canadians more aware of the dangers in children’s play environments by airing this special PSA. It premieres every Thanksgiving and airs throughout the playoffs and the Grey Cup, reaching millions of viewers nationwide.

“The Tiger-Cats organization is pleased to partner with The War Amps to carry on the long-standing CFL tradition of spreading the PLAYSAFE message. It is a powerful and important message for the health and safety of children throughout the Hamilton region and across Canada, and we’re proud to have been selected to contribute to those efforts in 2019.”

Matt Afinec, Hamilton Tiger-Cats president and COO

Through Operation Legacy, amputees of all ages carry on the remembrance message.

CHAMP Graduate Sean with Second World War amputee veteran Lloyd Brown.

Twenty-eight years after Operation Legacy was created, CHAMP Graduate Sean is continuing the tradition with the help of someone special. He lays a wreath on Remembrance Day every year with Second World War amputee veteran Lloyd Brown, whom he met six years ago through their mutual involvement with The War Amps.

When Sean and Lloyd met at a local remembrance ceremony, Sean remembers having a “magical moment” where he reached out his right hand to shake hands, while Lloyd offered his left. Sean was born missing his left hand, and Lloyd lost his right arm on October 18, 1944, while serving with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment in Italy. Since meeting, they have shared a special bond as amputees.

For Sean, it is important to share Remembrance Day with Lloyd. He grew up in the CHAMP Program, which was started by War Amps members like Lloyd, who realized their experiences of living with amputation could help others.

“I can’t overstate the impact that The War Amps programs have on young amputees. Knowing that there are people like Lloyd who understand what it’s like to be missing a limb makes you feel that you’re not alone.

“I would not be the person I am today had it not been for that decision more than 100 years ago to begin The War Amps. It is our commitment as Champs that the legacy and sacrifices of Lloyd and all of our war amputee veterans will be remembered.”

CHAMP Graduate Sean, pictured with Second World War amputee veteran Lloyd Brown
Headshots of three war amputee veteran members.

Our War Amputee Members

The War Amps has published an evolving collection of biographies of our war amputee members to commemorate and preserve their stories.


Two young female leg amputees standing on a path with their arms around each other’s shoulders.

The War Amps has been continued under the Canada Not‑for‑profit Corporations Act and is registered as a charitable organization with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The War Amps is funded by donations to the Key Tag Service. It does not receive government grants.

Since 1918, The War Amps has met the needs of war amputees. Today, the Association continues to serve them, and all Canadian amputees, including children. The Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program provides financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support. Through CHAMP, The War Amps tradition of “amputees helping amputees” will continue long into the future.

Public support of the Key Tag Service enables the Association to continue to operate its many programs.

As part of   The War Amps commitment to being accountable to our donors, we are pleased to provide you with our Essential Financial Information. The intent of this financial summary is to provide the most valuable data for our donors in terms of explaining our programs and how their money is being spent.

The War Amps has a unique structure within the charitable field. In 1946, the Key Tag Service was launched to provide employment for returning amputee veterans from the Second World War. This service was recognized as a sheltered workshop at that time. Throughout the intervening years, hundreds of Canadians with disabilities have worked at the Key Tag Service, which continues today. Employees at the Key Tag Service make competitive wages and help provide a service to Canadians that generates funds for the Association.

All of this detailed financial information is provided in our annual filing of form T3010, which is available to the public on the CRA website. Our full, audited financial statement is also available.

The War Amps financial statements are prepared and audited by the respected international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). They also prepare our annual filing of the T3010 government return.

We are continually evaluating how we present our financial information in order to ensure that we provide our donors with the facts they need to make a well‑informed decision.

The War Amps is proud of its history and the programs and services we offer to amputees. Public support of the Key Tag Service, which has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys, enables the Association to continue to operate its many programs for amputees of all ages, including war amputees and seriously disabled veterans.

Statement of Revenue and Expense

for the year ended December 31, 2018

Donations (Net) $15,280,901
Bequests 5,298,326
Interest and Other 806,727
Revenue total $21,385,954
Adult Amputee Program $3,114,169
CHAMP Program 8,062,548
DRIVESAFE™ Program ---
PLAYSAFE™ Program 2,637,557
Prosthetics, Research and Education 473,123
Service Bureau 2,597,150
Veterans Issues – Special 426,007
Widows Assistance Program 563,696
Other Charitable Programs 724,003
Administrative 116,600
Expense total $18,714,853
Excess of Revenue Over Expense
(Expense Over Revenue) 2,671,101

Balance Sheet

as at December 31, 2018

Cash and Term Deposits (See Note 1) $34,009,450
Property and Equipment 6,666,131
Assets Held for Pension Liability 6,346,893
Other Assets 1,640,117
Assets total $48,662,591
Accounts Payable $4,273,986
Pension Liability 8,114,400
Liabilities total $12,388,386
Equity in Property Equipment $6,666,131
Appropriated Equity (See Note 2) 28,060,000
Unappropriated Net Assets (Deficiency of Net Assets)
(See Note 3)
Externally Restricted for Endowment Purposes 153,410
Equity total $36,274,205
Assets, Liabilities, and Equity total $48,662,591

Notes to Financial Statements

for the year ended December 31, 2018

  1. Cash and Term Deposits

    The Association receives a significant portion of its funding immediately prior to the year-end. These funds are used to finance the operations of its charitable activities in the ensuing year.

  2. Appropriated Equity

    CHAMP Program $28,000,000
    Survivors’ Subsistence Grants 60,000
    Appropriated Equity total $28,060,000

    The National Board of Directors has approved appropriations to:

    1. Provide for long‑term commitments made on behalf of children enrolled in the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program.
    2. Provide survivors’ subsistence grants of $2,000 per member on the death of an active member and $1,000 on the death of the spouse. Payment of these grants is at the discretion of the Association on the basis of need.
  3. Unappropriated Net Assets

    This is the unencumbered surplus available at year-end.

Still Much to Do!

A baby girl wearing a prosthetic arm sitting on the floor smiling.

It is thanks to the public’s support of the Key Tag Service that The War Amps diverse work for amputees can continue into this next decade and beyond. The amputees we serve receive crucial support as they adapt to their new reality as an amputee or overcome challenges throughout their life. For children in the CHAMP Program, becoming a part of the “CHAMP family” is life-changing, as they meet other amputees (often for the first time) at our seminars and form lifelong friendships that provide mutual support and guidance throughout their lives.

“We attended our second CHAMP Seminar this year, and it provided us with incredible support. It’s comforting to talk to other parents and young amputees and to see that Vanessa’s amputation won’t be a barrier in her life.” Victoria, Vanessa’s mom

With so many charities to choose from, we do not take our donors for granted, and we work continuously to put your funds to the very best use. Your trust in our expertise and unwavering dedication to our goal – to improve the quality of life for amputees in Canada – makes all of our vital programs possible.

Your Story

“I am a longtime supporter of  The War Amps, and they have rewarded me by returning two sets of keys. A wonderful organization and a terrific public service that really works.”



Executive Committee

Brian N. Forbes, B.Comm., LL.B.

Chairman, Executive Committee

David Saunders, CPA, CA

Chief Operating Officer

Executive Subcommittee

Danita Chisholm

Executive Director, Communications and CHAMP Program

Lorraine Cornelius

Executive Director, Public Awareness

Darlene Quesnel

Executive Director, Internal Operations

Quebec Operations

Marlène Girard

Executive Director

National Board of Directors

Stuart Vallières

Chairman of the Board and National Director
(Montreal Branch)

Douglas Cushway

(Saskatchewan Branch)

W. J. Neil

(Manitoba Branch)

Michael S. Krulicki

(Waterloo-Wellington Branch)

Robert Gondek

(Toronto Branch)

Charles Veilleux

(Quebec Branch)