Garrison Petawawa begins Transition Trial initiative for CAF personnel

Above image: Canadian Armed Forces members of Garrison Petawawa participate in a Canadian Medical Emergency Response Team (CMERT) training scenario in the training area at Garrison Petawawa, October 6, 2020. Photo by Pte Sarah Morley, courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces.

This week, the Transition Centre Petawawa started the Transition Trial initiative that will assist members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and their families with the transition to civilian life.

Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of national defence, alluded to the importance of the initiative. 

“Serving in the military is more than a job, it is a way of life. It involves sacrifice by our amazing Canadian Armed Forces members and their families who, together, dedicate themselves to service to our nation. They have served their country with pride and they deserve to be supported during their journey to a post service life,”  he said. 

The Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are also moving towards a seamless transition. Using new tools like the Military to Civilian Transition portal on Canada.ca where members can access key support documents and resources.

Development of the transition capability started in February 2018, and a trial was launched at Canadian Forces Base Borden in February 2019. It is being expanded to other locations. This new approach to transition focuses on the individual member and their family.

Transition advisors work with members to assess their needs and help them build personalized plans along with multiple domains of well-being: 

      • sense of purpose
      • health
      • finances
      • social integration
      • housing arrangements
      • life skills/preparedness.

This marks the progress of initiative 27 of Canada’s Defence Policy regarding establishing a transition capability. 

The Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are also moving towards a seamless transition. Using new tools like the Military to Civilian Transition portal on Canada.ca where members can access key support documents and resources: 

      • transition assessment tool in My VAC account, 
      • Alignment of Treatment Benefits program, 
      • improvement of medical record information sharing between Departments during transition

They have also closed the seam on their mandates to the betterment of transitioning members.

“We know just how vitally important it is that the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada work together to support those making the transition to civilian life,” says Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence. 

He continued to say that making sure that they’re doing everything they can to make that process as seamless and stress-free as possible is, “something we owe our Veterans and their families, and the Transition Trial is a big part of that effort.”

The initial focus has been on Regular Force transition needs, but efforts related to Reserve Force transition are in development and will be included in expanding to the other 30 Transition Centres across the country.

Other key advancements by the CAF and VAC in support of initiative 27 of Canada’s Defence Policy include:

      • The CAF and VAC are working to create a Virtual Transition Centre, which will offer members who are not able to physically access a Transition Centre the same access to high-quality, personalized, and professional transition supports.
      • Improved Information Sharing: The CAF and VAC are working on giving VAC medical adjudicators direct access to the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS), to aid in processing Veteran disability claims. Even with a COVID-19 induced delay, a pilot project is underway.
      • Closing the Seam – Alignment of Treatment Benefits program: The Benefit Review Committee was created to align CAF and VAC benefits.
      • The public release of a Seamless Transition Roadmap on the VAC and CAF websites to highlight actions taken to improve the transition experience.
      • Pilot serials of a modernized transition training program for CAF members and their families, leveraging the Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) at Base Borden and Garrison Petawawa, in early 2021.

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