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Second pilot virtual information session with CAF/DND Ombudsman in works

Interactive, virtual information sessions about the National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman may soon be coming to your home thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank.

Last year the Ombudsman held a series of live town halls across the country to hear the concerns of military members, National Defence workers, and their families. Although many attended, many were also unable to attend.

The Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank, a Facebook group, organized by military spouses to advocate on behalf of military spouses, believed an interactive online session could help connect more military personnel and their families with the DND/CAF Ombudsman to bring about positive change.

On behalf of the Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank, Margaret MacKenzie reached out to the Ombudsman’s office last year and asked, ‘Can we offer at least one session online to reach out to those constituents who are unable to come to a live session.”

The Ombudsman liked the idea, and MacKenzie has been working with their staff since last June to develop an interactive program to reach all constituents.

The first pilot session was held in January with staff members of the Ombudsman’s office.

And now, on March 24, a second pilot session will be held with members of the Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank, an advocacy group for military spouses.

This initial session will cover the basics of who the Ombudsman is, what the office does, and how it can help its constituents. As MacKenzie puts it, “it’s just so people can get to know what this Ombudsman team is about.”

The session will cover various aspects of what the Ombudsman’s office does. It will also include information on how to nominate anyone in the DND CAF community who has made a lasting and positive difference to be awarded the Liz Hoffman commendation in 2020.

“Interactive online presentations are a great tool to enhance reach and to share information to explain how the CAF /DND Ombudsman helps its constituents,” stated MacKenzie.

The session will be open to 15 members of the Think Tank, who will then be able to provide their feedback about the session.

“After the session is given a green light and is finalized, all CAF members and their families will be able to enjoy the session as early as late spring, in both French and English, says MacKenzie.

The Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank was launched only a few short years ago and is led by three dynamic military spouses: Michelle Chapman Szkwarek, Cait MacDonald, and Marie Claude Gagnon.

The mission of the organization is to create a community where all members connected to the military family can come together to advocate on behalf of military spouses of the CAF.

To learn more about the Canadian Military Family Advocacy Think Tank, visit their Facebook here. To learn more about the DND and CAF Ombudsman, visit their website here.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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