Ombudsmen inform Ministers of their joint investigation into the transition process for releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel

17 June 2014

The Honourable Robert Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
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 Honourable Julian Fantino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Veterans Affairs
66 Slater St., 16th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4

Dear Minister Nicholson and Minister Fantino:

The National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman and the Veterans Ombudsman are preparing to launch a joint systemic review on the transition process for releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel in order to support a successful transition to civilian life.

The 2012 Fall Report of the Auditor General contained a chapter on the Transition of Ill and Injured Military Personnel to Civilian Life, which noted among other findings, that Canadian Forces members and veterans, as well as departmental staff responsible for assessing eligibility and managing the delivery of services and benefits, find the transition process complex, lengthy, and challenging to navigate.

There appears to be a disconnect between the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada’s processes wherein a member must navigate departure from one before entrance into the other. We believe that these processes should be harmonious. A more holistic approach to transition is needed, including not only the ill and injured, but all releasing service members.  Many releasing members do not realize that their service has affected them until many years after their release.  Thus awareness of available programs should be introduced early in a member’s career and be a key component of the transition process.        

The joint review of the transition process will focus on the period from determination of release to integration within VAC.  Evidence based analysis will improve understanding of the transition process and support the integration between departmental processes.  Given the recent release of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs’ report The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward, this review is timely and would support many of the changes being considered by identifying barriers and possible solutions.  

We will provide regular updates on the progress on this important file.


Gary Walbourne
DND / CAF Ombudsman

Guy Parent
Veterans Ombudsman

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