Response from CDS regarding Ombudsmans' request for an update on the status of Canadian Armed Forces' position on annotated release

8 April 2016

Mr. Gary Walbourne
Office of the Department of National Defence
And Canadian Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, K1P 5M1


Dear Mr. Walbourne,

I am writing in response to your letter dated 30 September 2015, where you seek and update on the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) practice for amending release items after the date of release.

The process for releases has evolved over the past several years with a view to meeting individual needs as early as possible. Requests to change a release item are examined on a case-by-case basis, depending on these needs and in consideration of current policies. Director Military Career Administration (DMCA) may consider changes to release items if they are not reasonable, having regard to all of the circumstances, and there is authority to make the change retroactively.

The CAF also strives to meet service members’ needs by ensuring the assignment of a release item at the time of release is fair, reasonable and accurately reflects the reason for release. To this end, if during the processing of a release, another reason for release arises, the releasing authority will determine the prime reason for release and assign the appropriate release item in accordance with Canadian Forces Administration Order 15-2. DMCA plays a key role in this process for medical releases, and does change voluntary release items (i.e. 4a, 4b, and 4c) or retirement age release item (i.e. 5a) up to the CAF member’s last day of service, based upon findings from the administrative review of the individual’s permanent high risk Medical Employment Limitations (MELs). I believe the excellent communications and collaborative work between DMCA and Directorate Medical Policy, who produces the MELs, is a great success story as these organizations are ensuring CAF members are released under the most appropriate item of release.

From a longer term perspective, the CAF is committed to reviewing policies and practices for the assignment of items of release. These policy reviews will be aligned with the new Joint Personnel Support Unit Initiative and will include VAC engagement where appropriate. An essential element of these policy reviews and updating of their associated processes will be to take into consideration, as a matter of priority, the needs of our service members for their long term support.

If you require further clarification, please contact the Director General Military Careers, Cmdre Haydn Edmundson, at 613-992-6273 or


J.H. Vance

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