Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 03, 2011 14:00 ET

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

"It is a stark reality of war that some soldiers return from the field of battle with temporary or permanent disabilities, both seen and unseen. Even at home, military members sometimes suffer illnesses or injuries that render them in some way disabled.

I am extremely proud that, over the last few years, the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, have put together a safety net that ensures that all injured, ill and retired members who have served Canada are supported with programs, information and guidance regarding their future.

The Canadian Forces are far ahead of where they were 10 years ago in the provision of care and support to its ill and injured personnel. A major leap forward in patient care was made when the Joint Personnel Support Unit was created.

The Joint Personnel Support Unit is unique to the Canadian Forces and focuses on helping personnel receive the assistance they need through the various phases of recovery, from rehabilitation and reintegration to return to service or transition after release. JPSU's networks of 24 support centres, known as Integrated Personnel Support Centres, are currently providing support to nearly 3,000 individuals.

The Canadian Forces Health Services has also developed a superb physical rehabilitation program around seven centres of excellence, located on CF bases and affiliated with nearby civilian providers. All military personnel who have sustained life-altering injuries or illness receive the best level of rehabilitation services possible, as close to home as possible.

Health Services has also partnered with civilian hospitals in Ottawa and Edmonton to give injured CF members with both physical and psychological injuries access to the revolutionary CAREN virtual reality medical treatment systems, which can greatly speed healing and adaptation to physical limitations.

The Government continues to listen to the concerns of ill and injured Canadian Forces personnel, veterans, and their families and is committed to taking steps to provide them the support and care needed to better their lives. Recently, the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada announced that they are spending $52.5 million over five years to establish a "legacy of care" centered around five new initiatives to care for injured CF members, contributing to their recovery and rehabilitation, as well as to their eventual reintegration into military or civilian life.

We are committed to caring for our ill and injured and their families, all across the country. We are committed to our motto "Caring for our Own".

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