Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy
Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada

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Canadians have been justifiably proud of our armed forces and Veterans for the past 150 years. For generations our military personnel have valiantly defended Canada’s values and interests, worked to build peace around the world, and rendered assistance to those in need. Whenever and wherever they are needed, our sailors, soldiers, airwomen, and airmen are there to serve.

This service does not come without sacrifice. Our military personnel endure hardships and challenges that, thankfully, most Canadians do not. Service in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is enriching and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and trying, and that is why Canada assumes a lifelong duty of care to every single military member. Our country is committed to the well-being of all serving military members, Veterans, and their families.

Doing everything we can to prevent suicide is a major public health priority and is also a cornerstone of our commitment to the well-being of military members and Veterans. When an active member or Veteran is lost to suicide, it is an especially painful tragedy that reverberates throughout the military community, and we ask: What could we have done to prevent this? How can we prevent such loss in the future? The reality is that suicide is a deeply complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon, with no single cause, and no simple solution. But as leaders we collectively believe that even one suicide within our community is too many.

As a result, we and our respective ministries – National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) – have developed this Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Strategy defines the context for action, describes the goals upon which actions are focused, and shows the many programs, projects, and initiatives now underway to help reduce risks, build resilience in our CAF and Veteran communities, and prevent suicide among our military members and Veterans.

Suicide prevention has been a focus of CAF and VAC for decades. This strategy represents the maturation of our many collective efforts, as well as an acknowledgment that coordination between the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada is critical to ensuring that military personnel navigate the sometimes stressful transition into post-military life, taking advantage of the many services and resources available to them.

Most importantly, this Joint CAF-VAC Suicide Prevention Strategy establishes a firm and ongoing commitment to suicide prevention. It will ensure that we collectively work to do everything we can to support and protect the people who have supported and protected Canada.

  • The Hon. H.S. Sajjan, MP
    Minister of National Defence
  • The Hon. S. O'Reagan, MP
    Associate Minister of National Defence

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