Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 02, 2009 09:34 ET

Government of Canada Announces New Measures Improving Support of Ill and Injured Canadian Forces Personnel

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, and the Honourable Greg Kerr, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced the establishment of a national network of eight support centres dedicated to the care of ill and injured Canadian Forces (CF) personnel, former personnel, their families and the families of the deceased. The support centres, known as Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs), will operate under a single national CF unit headquartered in Ottawa, known as the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU).

"This Government is committed to the health and well-being of Canada's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen," said Minister MacKay. "Whether returning to military life, or exploring a new civilian career, these members and their families will receive the assistance they need."

Minister MacKay and Mr. Kerr were on hand to officially launch the JPSU and its network of support centres along with an audience of senior officers, CF staff and their families.

"The Integrated Personnel Support Centres provide us with an opportunity to improve transition services already available on most CF bases across the country," said the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, in Ottawa. "This partnership with our colleagues at DND will provide veterans and their families with more coordinated, seamless service."

The JPSU's support centres, or IPSCs, will coordinate a range of casualty support and case management programs; plan and monitor the Return to Work Program; provide Veterans Affairs Canada client and transition services; and liaise with local service providers, base support representatives and unit Commanding Officers. They will improve existing services by aligning progress on a member's file with one defined set of priorities.

The creation of the JPSU and its network of IPSCs is one of a number of concrete measures designed to respond to the December 2008 DND/CF Ombudsman's Report, "A Long Road to Recovery: Battling Operational Stress Injuries."


BACKGROUNDER

The Joint Personnel Support Unit

In the provision of care and support to its ill and injured personnel, the Canadian Forces (CF) are far ahead of where they were ten years ago. As part of an ongoing process to improve the level of services, the CF has established a network of eight support centres to meet the needs of ill and injured personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force, providing them with an integrated "one-stop service". The support centres, known as Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs), operate under the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU), which is headquartered in Ottawa.

The mandate of the JPSU is to respond to requests for support and report to the chain of command on issues of concern raised by ill and injured CF personnel. The JPSU accomplishes the following:

- It improves the quality of care and services provided to ill and injured CF personnel.

- It ensures that military personnel have access to the same high standard of care and support across the country.

- It reduces the potential for gaps, overlaps and confusion, ensuring that no CF member "falls through the cracks."

- As military personnel move frequently, the JPSU concept recognizes that people heal better and faster when they are close to their family and their social support network.

- The JPSU gives military personnel a new mission - to heal (recover), to regain their strength (rehabilitate) and to choose their best way forward (reintegrate).

The principal aim of this initiative is to ensure that all Regular Force and Reserve Force personnel and their families are provided an equitable level of care and support regardless of environment or location, through centralized command and control.

Services

The JPSU provides a CF/VAC integrated "one-stop service" for ill and injured CF personnel and their families. It supports currently serving and releasing CF personnel, both Regular Force and Reserve Force. It caters to both referrals and walk-in clients, to long-term injured personnel and to members considering retirement. It responds to queries from family members regarding support services and programs for ill and injured personnel, and provides referrals as appropriate.

The services made available through the JPSU include the following:

- Return to Work (RTW) Program coordination;

- Casualty tracking;

- Casualty administrative support and advocacy;

- CF Case Management;

- Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) financial services;

- Liaison with Military Family Resource Centres, local base support representatives and local unit Commanding Officers; and

- VAC client and transition services.

The JPSU improves on earlier initiatives in several key ways. It provides one-stop access to services and benefits, simplifying the process for clients seeking assistance. It reduces the potential for gaps and overlaps, and the potential for confusion among service providers. VAC staff become engaged earlier in a releasing member's transition process. Shared standards and guidelines lead to care and support which is consistent across departments (DND/CF and VAC); environments (Army, Navy, Air Force); components (Regular Force and Reserve Force); bases, wings and units; and the country.

Structure

The JPSU is the central military unit to which a number of Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs) belong. The IPSCs will be located as follows:

- Vancouver, British Columbia;

- Edmonton, Alberta;

- Shilo, Manitoba;

- Toronto, Ontario;

- Petawawa, Ontario;

- Valcartier, Quebec;

- Gagetown, New Brunswick; and

- Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Locations will open over the coming months. The individual IPSCs will be structured and staffed based on the size and relative needs of the population they serve. Approximately 117 new Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions will be filled across Canada.

A Realignment of Resources

The delivery of casualty support services at the base, wing and formation level has been occurring for as long as the CF has been training and employing members and sending them into operational theatres and special duty operations. On the national level, new initiatives were launched in 1998 and again in 2007. While filling gaps in service, however, these did not comprehensively address the needs of the CF. In 2008, the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) recommended the stand-up of casualty support units which would provide a consistent level of care for all CF personnel. The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) accepted this recommendation, and announced the intent to further enhance casualty support by establishing centrally managed units across the country.

Leadership recognized that the earlier system of care management was complex, and that simplifying it would benefit personnel in need. The JPSU provides CF personnel and their families with coordinated, seamless and integrated care when illnesses or injuries occur, and through the stages of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into military or civilian life and employment.

Contact Information

  • Information: 1-866-377-0811/613-996-2353
    After hours: 613-792-2973
    www.forces.gc.ca
    or
    National Defence Media Liaison Office
    1-866-377-0811
    or
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations
    613-992-7468