Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 12, 2012 09:02 ET

The Government of Canada is Taking Action to Support Mental Healthcare in Canadian Forces

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 12, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced additional funding to enhance the Canadian Forces' extensive mental healthcare system, particularly by targeting wait times through innovative recruitment campaigns and treatment approaches.

"Our Government is committed to supporting our men and women in uniform. The health needs, including the mental health needs, of military personnel are my number one priority in this role and I am committed to doing everything I can to provide the care needed for those defending our country," said Minister MacKay, who made the announcement following a tour of the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre at CFB Halifax. "This funding will enhance the Canadian Forces' already robust mental healthcare programs and ensure that personnel continue to receive the highest standard of healthcare possible wherever and whenever they serve."

This investment will supplement the $38.6 million spent annually to provide mental healthcare to CF personnel for a total of $50 million for this fiscal year. The $11.4M will be permanently reallocated to the Canadian Forces Health Care budget.

In practical terms, these additional funds which were identified personally by Minister MacKay will enable the hiring of:

  • Four or more psychiatrists;
  • Thirteen or more psychologists;
  • Ten or more mental health nurses;
  • Thirteen or more social workers;
  • Eleven or more addictions counselors;
  • One million dollars to increase the number of primary care physicians in any Canadian Forces clinics where wait times exceed benchmark targets; and,
  • $2.7 million to eliminate a recent requirement to reduce nine contracted physicians in nine of our largest clinics.

In addition to the funding announced today, from 2003 to 2009 $98 million was committed under the Mental Health Initiative to permit the hiring of up to 218 additional mental health practitioners to raise the total of mental health professionals to 447. The government continues to work toward that goal and currently, mental health programs are delivered by approximately 378 military and civilian mental health providers plus additional support staff.

"Our Government and the Canadian Forces take pride in the knowledge that its mental health program has been recognized among its NATO allies and by civilian organizations for its robust approach to care, its stigma reduction initiatives, its mental health research and its mental health training and awareness programs," said Minister MacKay. "We can always do better and my focus is ensuring we do just that."

Notes to editor / news director: For more information on mental healthcare in the CF, please see the backgrounder on Mental Health Services in the Canadian Forces:

Contact Information

  • National Defence
    Media Liaison Office