Helping former civilian military partners after their relationship ends is the goal e-petition 4430 seeks.
Rachel Dunleavy is calling on Canadians to support the e-petition. As a former military partner, Dunleavy is advocating for military partners who have experienced a marital breakdown in their relationship with a Canadian military partner and were left trying to figure out how to move after the relationship ended.
Support and Services
“E-petition 4403 calls upon the Government of Canada to provide a civilian spouse/partner with a final relocation within Canada upon the dissolution of a civilian-military marriage/common-law relationship, at government expense. The petition is authorized by Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton, Strathcona, who will present it to the House of Commons if it receives a minimum of 500 signatures,” explained Dunleavy.
Dunleavy noted over the last decade support and services for military families have been a growing priority to ensure successful military operations. She noted the current defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the word “family” is used over 2,000 per cent more than in the previous defence policy.
“The civilian spouse/partner of a military marriage is relied upon by the military to manage the home so the service member can focus on operations,” said Dunleavy.
Dissolution of Marriage Common
While there is minimal data relating to Canadian Armed Forces personnel marriages, separations or divorces, Dunleavy noted a small study from 2004-2005 suggests the dissolution of marriage is more common in military marriages than civilian marriages.
“Upon separation, many civilian former spouses/partners find themselves financially destitute due to chronic under/unemployment and unable to move home or retain a lawyer – some end up homeless. No longer qualifying for military supports, they are without a support system during one of life’s most stressful events. On average, the legal separation and divorce process takes five years, leaving many former civilian spouses/partners destitute and unable to fully transition into their post-military marriage life,” explained Dunleavy.
CAF Personnel Offered Final Move
When leaving the CAF, most members are entitled to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR). However, there are specific parameters and restrictions. An IPR provides a last move at public expense upon a member’s release or transfer from the Regular Force.
A student of psychotherapy, spirituality, and art therapy at St. Stephens College in Edmonton, Alberta, as part of her advocacy work, Dunleavy facilitates a peer support group for civilian current and former spouses/partners of CAF Members/Veterans on Facebook. Civilian current/former spouses/partners considering separation, are separated, and/or divorced can join the Civilian Ex-Spouse of a CAF Member/Veteran Separation & Divorce Group here.
The petition closes on October 26, 2023, at 2:05 PM EDT. Citizens and residents of Canada have until then to sign the petition to support this vulnerable population.
Visit here to learn more about the petition or to sign it.