Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 12, 2012 14:11 ET

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

LORETTEVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 12, 2012) - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced additional funding to enhance the Canadian Forces' (CF) extensive mental healthcare system, particularly by targeting wait times through innovative recruitment campaigns and treatment approaches. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence.

"Our Government is committed to supporting our men and women in uniform. The health needs, including the mental health needs, of military personnel are extremely important and we are doing everything we can to provide the care needed for those defending our country," said Minister Blaney. "This new funding will enhance our Government's already robust mental healthcare programs and ensure that our Nation's heroes will continue to receive the best care and services whenever and wherever they need it."

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 CF 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 CF 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.

"It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome this new investment by the government. This news meets the needs of many of my brothers in arms," said M. Daniel Lafontaine, 2nd Vice-President, Royal Canadian Legion, Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Charles Forbes Branch, RMWO, 265 Québec.

Notes to editor / news director: For more information on mental healthcare in the CF, please see the backgrounder on Mental Health Services in the CF: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4374

Contact information: For more information on this announcement, please contact:

Jean-Christophe de le Rue
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Phone: 613-996-4649

Contact Information