Brian Forbes holds the position of Chairman of the NCVA. He has been the Association Solicitor for The War Amputations of Canada since 1975. In addition, he has also taken on the responsibilities of Chairman of the Executive Committee of The War Amps in relation to the governance and administration of the charitable programs of the Association.
Brian graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1971, Magna Cum Laude, a recipient of the Law School Gold Medal. He was a founding partner (1973) of the Ottawa law firm of Forbes Singer Shouldice. Much of his law practice has been devoted to veterans' matters and to representing disabled individuals, with particular emphasis on war amputees and civilian/child amputees.
As a leading expert in veterans legislation, Brian has extensive experience in making presentations to the various adjudicative tribunals and appellate bodies which govern the Pension Act, the New Veterans Charter and ancillary legislation dealing with veterans benefits and entitlements. He has made numerous submissions to Parliamentary Committees and has taken a number of successful appeals to the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada, which have had significant relevance to the interpretation of the Pension Act as affecting the pension entitlement of Seriously Disabled Veterans and a substantial expansion of the definition of "Exceptional Incapacity Allowance."
In furtherance of his specialization with regard to international human rights law, he has made a number of appearances before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva and has presented petitions to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of Canada's Hong Kong veterans, Canada's thalidomide children and Canada's Aboriginal veterans. In addition, he was instrumental in obtaining a Non-Governmental Organization status for The War Amps in regard to the United Nations human rights system.
He was a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the Perley Hospital and the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian War Museum and a member of the Veterans Ombudsman Advisory Committee.
In relation to the development of veterans health care reform and the New Veterans Charter, he has sat as a member of the Gerontological Advisory Council, the Canadian Forces Advisory Council, the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group and various veterans consultation groups established by Veterans Affairs Canada to advise the Department on the need for new legislation to address the concerns of traditional and modern-day veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. He is presently Co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Policy established in 2016.
Derrill Henderson has served as Vice-Chairman of the NCVA since 2010. He is the National Secretary and Administrator for the Hong Kong Veterans Association, as well as founder and President of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association, an organization dedicated to educating Canadian youth about Canada's participation in the Far East theatre of the Second World War.
Following his retirement from Export Development Canada in 1993, Derrill has actively assisted and advocated for veterans, notably prisoners of war in Japan. As a descendant of a Hong Kong veteran himself, Derrill was instrumental in achieving a formal apology in 2011 from Japan to the remaining Canadian veterans who were PoWs during the Second World War. Though he does not consider himself a veteran, his personal military experience includes five years with the Army Cadet Corps and one year as Trooper with the Reserve Army.
Derrill graduated from Sir George Williams University with a degree in Electronic Data Processing and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from York University. He returned to university after his retirement to obtain a degree in Theology. Derrill is married with two daughters and five grandchildren, all involved with the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association themselves.
Eugene (Gene) Heesaker has been a member of the NCVA since 1946 and has served as Vice-Chairman for the past several years. He has actively worked on behalf of veterans through his own veterans association, the Canadian Corps Association (CCA) Command since returning home from overseas in June 1945.
Gene joined the Army in his home province of Manitoba in 1943 after leaving his family farm near Winnipeg to work as a miner in British Columbia. He rose to the rank of Lance Corporal in tank gunnery with the Armoured Corps and instructed in both Camp Borden and Meaford, Ontario. Early in 1945, Gene was sent overseas to Salisbury Plain in England for upgrading in tank gunnery. He joined his regiment, Fort Garry Horse, in North Holland following the Armistice, where he volunteered for the War in the Pacific.
Following his discharge from the Canadian Army in 1946, Gene worked for 40 years with the City of Toronto, working his way up to the position of Supervisor of Street Services. He and his wife, Shirley, both moved up in the CCA over the years and together travelled to Ottawa on many occasions to meet with the Department of Veterans Affairs to advocate for improvements to veterans legislation.
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