National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman and Veterans Ombudsman Join Forces on Transition Issue
For the first time, the Canadian Forces and National Defence Ombudsman Gary Walbourne and Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent are working together to investigate needed action to improve the transition of Canadian Armed Forces members from military to civilian life.
“We are joining together to identify issues and produce recommendations aimed at harmonizing the transition from military to civilian life for ill and injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as identifying process inefficiencies and areas where support for families could be augmented,” said National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne and Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent.
The project has two parts in its initial phase. It will start by mapping the process of transition for a member of the Canadian Armed Forces from the time that he or she receives their release message to their integration within Veterans Affairs Canada. Secondly, it will review the most recent recommendations made by the House of Commons Standing Committees on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, the Senate Sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Auditor General of Canada on the transition of ill and injured military personnel to civilian life. Importantly, this phase will go beyond the transition of an ill and injured member of the Canadian Forces and consider potential impacts on their families.
On average 5,000-6,000 Regular Force members release annually from the Canadian Forces. Seventy-five to eighty percent release with minimal support required and successfully transition to civilian life. But, 20 to 25 percent are not so fortu- nate and are released medically.
“At a time of great adjustment in their lives, we need to ensure that their transition is as seamless as possible with clear information and transparent communications,” said Ombudsmen Parent and Walbourne. The goal of the joint effort is to identify recommended ways to streamline administrative processes and support services to the benefit of transitioning members and their families.
Several members of the St. Thomas Woodcarvers club carefully crafted this recreation of HMCS Ojibwa’s official crest, which was on display at the submarine museum in Port