Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 25, 2011 10:57 ET

Minister MacKay Announces Career Transition Support Policy for Severely Ill and Injured Canadian Forces Personnel

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced significant policy changes affecting the management of ill and injured military personnel.

A new career transition support policy for severely ill and injured Canadian Forces (CF) personnel will come into effect on May 1, 2011. Under this policy, severely ill and injured personnel with complex career transition needs, and who can no longer serve in the Regular Force or Primary Reserve, will be provided a longer transition period before returning to civilian life. For each of these individuals, the CF will develop a tailored and flexible plan that features comprehensive health care, career transition assistance, and the social support of the military community over a period of up to three years.

The Minister also announced a change to the CF promotion policy whereby any qualified CF member who has been severely injured in Afghanistan with a battlefield injury will also be eligible for promotion if they continue serving with the CF.

"Canadian Forces personnel who suffer from a severe illness or injury can be confident that this Government will provide them with time to heal, time to adjust to their new reality and time to make career choices," said Minister MacKay. "Individuals in this situation, including those who have been wounded in action, sometimes face profound and lasting changes in their life. They deserve our best support, compassion, and understanding in recognition of the sacrifices they made and the service they have given."

"Our goal is always to help our personnel return to duty as soon as possible after an illness or injury," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "If someone who was severely ill or injured cannot resume service as part of the Regular Force or Primary Reserve, we will work with them to facilitate their career transition."

Under the new policy, the CF will also facilitate the transfer of severely ill and injured personnel, if they are willing and able to do so, to the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service or the Canadian Rangers, where they may be eligible for promotion.

For those personnel embarking on career transition, the CF will continue to work closely with Veterans Affairs Canada to establish a comprehensive, individualized transition program that includes medical, psycho-social, vocational rehabilitation and financial support. Career transition support may also include education, skills upgrading, and assistance to pursue a second career. Those personnel who qualify for public service positions will also be eligible for priority hiring into the public service.

While the CF are committed to upholding the principle of Universality of Service, according to which every member must be fit, employable and deployable, the respect for and support to ill and injured personnel is unwavering. Ill and injured CF members are provided high quality health care, rehabilitation support and reintegration services to help them work towards a return to military service or pursue other career options.

For more information:

Fit to Serve: Universality of Service and Related Support Programs: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00&id=3752

The Joint Personnel Support Unit: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=03&id=3719

Canadian Forces Transition Programs and Services (including Transition Assistance Program): http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/cen/ps/tps-pst/cftps-pstfc-eng.asp

Memorandum of Understanding with the Commissionaires: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00&id=3634

Legacy of Care: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00&id=3576

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