Chief of the Defence Staff responds to Ombudsman's request for an update on recommendations in military families report

24 April 2015

Mr Gary Walbourne
Office of the Ombudsman
Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces
Urbandale Building
100 Metcalfe St, 12th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1

Dear Mr. Walbourne,

Thank you for your letter requesting an update to your predecessor’s report on recommendations in On the Homefront: Assessing the Well-being of Canada’s Military Families in the New Millenium.

Caring for our members and their families remains one of my top priorities. In fact, it is codified in my CDS guidance to the Canadian Armed Forces. There is an expectation that while most of the Canadian Defence Team will address the challenges in health and resilience of the military family community, the bulk of the effort will be borne by commanders in the field and by the Military Family Services team here in the capital. The Military Family Services Program is focused on the CAF Ombudsman Report as well as other credible sourced of insight and recommendations including Chief of Review Services report on family support, the Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs, and the Standing Committee on National Defence. The Defence team has been busy working to synchronize our effort to respond to the recommendation that touch on military family life in each of these reports to the recommendation that touch on military family life in each of these reports and I am pleased to provide you with a comprehensive update.

At this point you may be interested to know that particular attention has been given to four major priorities of institutional support which will shape all Military Family Services’ effort and activity for the next two years:

  1. Enhancing awareness, access, and use of physical and mental health services;
  2. Optimizing the Military Family Services Program (MFSP);
  3. Communicating more effectively with families; and
  4. Strengthening existing partnerships, fostering new ones, and more fully leverage these relationships.

These key priorities represent themes derived in part from your recommendations and from the basis and focus of the MFS Operating Plan as we seek to renew family programming.

Your personal commitment to fostering partnership in supporting military families is very much appreciated. I invite you to meet with Chief Military Personnel to follow up on Military Family Services, particularly after your cooperation and joint attendance at the TPL International Symposium on Military Families and the Strengthening Resilience conference in Cornwall. This conference provided extensive training of Boards and staff from MFRCs across Canada, and I trust your staff had the opportunity to witness some of our progress as it relates to improvements in our policy, programming, and military interaction with military families.

Yours sincerely,

T.J. Lawson

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