Graves of 45,000 Canadian veterans in disrepair: audit

Retired lieutenant-general Richard Evraire walks among tombstones in the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces in Ottawa in 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – An audit by Veterans Affairs has found tens of thousands of veterans’ graves in cemeteries across the country are in a state of disrepair.

The culprit? A lack of federal funding.

Veterans Affairs is responsible for maintaining the graves of more than 200,000 veterans buried by the federal government in Canada.

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But previous governments slashed the money available for such maintenance from $5 million per year in 2003 to $1.2 million today, which the department’s audit says isn’t nearly enough.

There are currently more than 45,000 graves in need of some type of repair, according to the audit, which will take 17 years to completely fix at current funding levels.

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Veterans Affairs officials say they are looking at ways to be more efficient with the funding they do have, but don’t plan to ask the government for more money until next year at the earliest.

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