Letter to CDS: Follow up on report An Examination of Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake (4 Wing)

18 February 2015


The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, North Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K2


The Honorable Kent Hehr, PC, MP
Minister of Veterans Affairs and
Associate Minister of National Defence
66 Slater St., 16th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4


Dear Ministers Sajjan and Hehr,

The intent of this letter is to provide an overview of the progress made in our joint systemic review of the transition process from military to civilian life for medically-releasing members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  


Our project began in June 2014 as a result of a well-documented need to streamline the transition process and improve the communication and clarity of information to transitioning members. The goal was to recommend ways to streamline administrative processes and support services to the benefit of transitioning members and their families.


Since the start of this project, our offices have made some significant accomplishments:

  • Our analysis of the recommendations made by Parliamentary Committees and the Auditor General informed the development of the Veterans 2020 project charter, objectives and action plan.
  • We produced the first complete mapping of the transition process for Regular Force members which allowed for timely and substantive contribution to the development of the Veterans 2020 Enhanced Transition Services, an initiative recently implemented jointly by the CAF and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
  • Our analysis of available rehabilitation programs was used to inform the statement of work for the “Independent Review of the VAC/CAF Income Support and Rehabilitation Programs” contract.
  • With the support of the Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research, the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman is conducting a qualitative study to assist in defining the determinants of a successful transition for medically-released Veterans.
  • We examined the role of and support provided to families during transition. The final review and information graphics will be released in March 2016.
  • We also created and released an informative web-based video for CAF members and Veterans on the phases of transition.

Currently, we are working to complete the following reviews which will add further insight into the experience of a transitioning member:

  • Building on the work we did to map the transition process for Regular Force members, for the first time, we are mapping the process for Primary Reserve members. This will allow us to identify opportunities to streamline and simplify the process. 
  • Because third-party organizations play an important role in providing transition services to medically-releasing members, we are finalizing a review of the extent to which their services complement those provided by the departments.
  • Educational pieces with specific information on the three phases of a medical release are also forthcoming. Each phase involves its own key events, steps and resources, and will be captured in a convenient reference tool.

The transition process, particularly in medical (3B) release cases, is an area of significant importance for our offices, both departments and the public at large. We will be contacting your respective offices to arrange a joint briefing on the project in the near future.



Gary Walbourne
DND/CF Ombudsman

Guy Parent
Veterans Ombudsman



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