Health Care for Reservists

Where is information on Reserve entitlements to health care located?

The Queen’s Regulations and Orders, Chapter 34, Medical Services is the governing document for Reservists’ entitlement to care.  

The Surgeon General’s directive, Canadian Forces Health Services Instruction 4090-02, Interim Guidance for the Delivery of Health Care to Reserve Force Personnel, provides clarification to health services staff on Reservists’ entitlements to care.

What health care are Reservists entitled to?

Reservists can be employed on one of three classes of service: Class “A”, Class “B” or Class “C” Reserve Service. Their entitlement to care (including mental health care) is based on their class of Reserve Service and whether their injury or illness is related to service.

The table below serves as a guide only. Members are encouraged to verify their entitlements with their administrative officers and/or Canadian Armed Forces Health Services.

 

Class of Service Entitlement to Health Care

Class “A” Reserve Service

or

Class “B” Reserve Service (less than 180 days)

  • Evaluation and immediate health care needs will be met by the Canadian Armed Forces. 1
  • Any subsequent care by the Canadian Armed Forces must be for an injury or illness related to service, in which case:
    • Care will be limited to that injury or illness; and 
    • Care will be provided only until the member can be safely transferred to a civilian care provider.
  • Spectrum of Care benefits for a service-related injury or illness above and beyond provincial health care coverage will continue to be covered by the Canadian Forces Health Services2 until release.
  • For chronic medical conditions, or injuries and illnesses unrelated to service, Reservists are required to follow-up with a civilian care provider.

Class “B” Reserve Service (more than 180 days)

or

Class “C” Reserve Service

  • Evaluation and immediate health care needs will be met by the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Any subsequent care will also be provided by the Canadian Armed Forces for the duration of the period of Reserve Service, whether or not their injury or illness is service-related.  This is the same level of care afforded to members of the Regular Force.
  • Reservists who complete a period of full-time Reserve Service during which time they received care from a Canadian Armed Forces clinic will continue to receive care after reversion to Class “A” Reserve Service, for a sufficient time to permit transition to the civilian health care system.3
    • Spectrum of Care benefits for a service-related injury or illness above and beyond provincial health care coverage will continue to be covered by the Canadian Forces Health Services4 until release.
  •  For chronic medical conditions or injuries or illnesses not related to service, the member will be offered care by the Canadian Forces Health Services Group; however, the member could access care through his/her civilian health care provider if preferred from a continuity of care perspective.

 

Where can Reservists access Canadian Armed Forces health care?

The Canadian Armed Forces Health Services offers health care at various geographic locations across Canada. These services include:  

Important!

Any Reservist, regardless of their class of Reserve Service, can access urgent walk-in care at a Canadian Armed Forces Health Services primary care clinic, or psychosocial services through a mental health clinic. They will be evaluated and their immediate health care needs will be met.

Follow-up care from the Canadian Armed Forces will depend on whether the injury or illness is related to service, as well as the member’s class of service.

For an urgent matter, and as with any other Canadian, Reservists can also access emergency services through their local hospital or other local civilian care provider.

If Reservists must travel to access health care, are they entitled to any compensation?

Reserve units are supported by a Canadian Armed Forces base or wing, however many are not in close proximity to those establishments or their associated health services. 

If a Reservist must travel to access care for a service-related injury or illness, he or she will be compensated regardless of their class of Reserve Service. Specific entitlements and the authorization process will depend on whether the Reservist is travelling inside or outside the geographical boundaries of the support base or wing.5

The table below provides two examples of health-related travel, meant only as a guide:

 

Inside the Geographical Boundaries

Local health-related travel

Outside the Geographical Boundaries

Non-local health related travel

The Reservist lives on the outskirts of the city and must travel downtown to see a Canadian Armed Forces medical officer. The Reservist lives in a remote area that is not in close proximity to a Canadian Armed Forces Health Services clinic or specialized treatment facilities and must travel outside the geographical boundaries to attend a medical appointment.
  • Authority for compensation is the member's base/wing commander.
  • The Reservist is considered on duty.
  • The Reservists’ transportation will be authorized per base / wing / local orders – members should consult administrative staff for specific direction.
  • Authorization for travel must be obtained prior to travel to ensure reimbursement.
  • Authority for compensation is the Director Health Services Delivery.6
  • The Reservist is considered on temporary duty status.7
  • The Reservist will be reimbursed for travel expenses in a fair and reasonable manner, pursuant to the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Instruction
    • These expenses include and are limited to: meals, lodgings, transportation expenses, and incidentals. Authorization for travel must be obtained prior to travel to ensure reimbursement.

 

Social Services

In addition to health care services, Reservists also have access to non-medical social services that may help to address their injury or illness. As with health care, eligibility for social services will depend on the member’s class of Reserve Service and the circumstances of their illness or injury.

For a review of the services that may be available, please refer to this table.

Endnotes

  1. The 2011 Vice Chief of the Defence Staff  letter, and 2009 Canadian Forces Health Services Instruction.
  2. The 2011 Vice Chief of the Defence Staff  letter.  However, the Canadian Forces Health Services Instruction states that the Department of National Defence will cover these costs.
  3. Letter from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, dated November 2, 2011, “Access to Medical Care – Reserve Force Personnel.”
  4. The 2011 Vice Chief of the Defence Staff  letter.  However, the Canadian Forces Health Services Instruction states that the Department of National Defence will cover these costs.
  5. In this Instruction, health-related travel means both medical and dental-related travel (section 1.3).
  6. Clinic Managers have delegated approval authority for all medical-related travel and arrangements covered by the Instruction Dental Detachment Commanders have delegated approval authority for all dental-related travel arrangements pursuant to the Instruction  (sections 1.2 and 1.3).
  7. Temporary Duty is defined in by the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instruction as: a) an attachment - for less than 181 days - outside a member’s place of duty and includes duty travel for the purposes of that attachment; or b) a duty performed - for less than 181 days - at a temporary workplace and includes duty travel for the purposes of that duty.

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