Above image: Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, CDS, and Deputy Minister of National Defence Bill Matthews.
The Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy is “more than words,” according to a statement released by the Chief of the Defence Staff and Deputy Minister of National Defence (DND) to highlight the importance of health and wellness of all members of the Defence Team.
“We are increasingly being called upon to support Canadians at home, to defend North America, and to support our like-minded allies abroad. To succeed in such critical endeavours, we must be a healthy, cohesive fighting and support force. Achieving that outcome starts with how we support one another at the institutional, team, and individual levels,” stated Gen. Wayne Eyre, CDS, and Bill Matthews, deputy minister of DND.
Strategy Draws From Multiple Pre-Existing Strategies
The Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy (THWS) was released earlier this month and is based on evidence and a holistic approach to health and wellness. According to the statement released by Gen. Eyre and Matthews, the strategy draws from multiple pre-existing strategies from within the Defence Team and across the Government of Canada.
The joint statement highlights how, in light of COVID-19, the importance of health and wellness organizations within the CAF has become abundantly clear.
“We will continue to rely on CFHS and other teams that support the well-being of personnel, including Military Personnel Command and ADM (HR-Civ), for advice and guidance in maintaining the total health and wellness of all members of our Defence Team.”
Fair Treatment within Workplace
Another vital piece of the new strategy is inclusion and fair treatment within the workplace, a point especially highlighted in the released statement: “Our well-being is also directly tied to how we treat one another. We will likewise continue to invest in programs and services aimed at building a more inclusive and respectful environment. These include new measures to better-support women’s health, combat sexual, hateful and racist misconduct, and prevent violence in the workplace.”
Ultimately, the hope is the new strategy will invigorate CAF members and the Defence team as a whole to carry out their roles in a healthy and respectful environment.
“Whatever your rank or position within our Defence Team, all of us have a role to play in building and maintaining a working environment that promotes health and wellness. We ask that each member of this team considers how you, personally, can contribute to our overall mission of wellness, set a positive example for all, and take an active role in helping us achieve our individual, team and institutional potential in support of the defence of Canada,” said Matthews and Gen. Eyre in their statement.