Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP)
- The Service Income Security Insurance Plan – or SISIP – provides financial and insurance services and products to Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, and their families.
- This includes life insurance, long-term disability coverage, insurance benefits and financial planning, counselling and education services.
- In these Main Estimates, National Defence is requesting a total of $423.7 million. Of these funds:
- $423.4 million will go towards payments for the long-term disability for members of the Canadian Armed Forces; and
- $275,000 will fund incremental operating costs, including costs related to ongoing administration, meeting preparation, financial reviews, and actuarial assessments.
- This will help ensure that Canadian Armed Forces members and their families receive the quality care and support they deserve.
If pressed on Logan Class Action (Disability Payments)
- The funding requested in these Main Estimates is unrelated to the class action.
- Earlier this year, the Federal Court ruled that long-term disability benefit calculations should include salary and additional allowances for special occupations.
- Discussions are ongoing with plaintiffs' counsel on a full and final settlement.
- It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
- Financial management responsibilities of the Treasury Board Supported Plans with SISIP Financial services were transferred from the Treasury Board Secretariat to National Defence in April 2019.
- The transfer helps to clarify accountabilities for the Canadian Armed Forces' group benefits, improve decision making by streamlining financial responsibilities and policy decisions under one department, and strengthens compliance.
- The Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Financial is a division of the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. SISIP includes:
- Long-term Disability (CAF LTD) coverage for Regular Force and Primary Reserve Force personnel. It provides ill or injured veterans with financial (up to 75% of salary at release) and vocational rehabilitation support (financial support and advice on careers, transferrable skills, local opportunities, job search assistance) support;
- The General Officers' Insurance Plan is similar to Public Service Executive life insurance benefits as part of employee benefits;
- The Military Post-Retirement Life Insurance Plan, which is a continuation of General Officers' plan after release from the military;
- Remedial financial counseling and financial education services;
- Professional planning and investment services to all serving CAF members, veterans and their families;
- Group term life insurance as part of CAF employee benefits, for members and spouses and veterans; and,
- Permanent Life insurance at group rates with no exclusions for dangerous occupations.
Logan Class Action Lawsuit
- On March 24, 2020, the Federal Court ruled that, when calculating long term disability, a member's allowances (e.g., additional allowances for special occupations) should be included in the member's long term disability monthly pay.
- Discussions are ongoing with plaintiffs' counsel on a full and final settlement, consistent with the Federal Court ruling. As these discussions are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment on them in a public committee hearing.
- The Department of Justice will negotiate a settlement of the Logan Class Action. Funding of the settlement is separate from the annual premium of $423.7 million.
Expansion of the Defence Team
- People are at the core of everything the Canadian Armed Forces does to deliver on its important mandate.
- As set out in Strong, Secure, Engaged, National Defence is expanding the Defence Team to meet 21st century security and defence challenges.
- As part of this effort, we developed a plan to increase our Defence Team by 3,500 Regular Force members, 1,500 Reserve Force members, and 1,150 civilian personnel.
- In these Estimates, National Defence is requesting $141.9 million to support these efforts.
- In addition to salaries, this funding will cover costs related to recruitment, training, operating and maintenance impacts of the increase in size of the forces and the department.
- In our expansion efforts, we are committed to building a representative workforce, fostering diversity and inclusion.
- Investing in our people and building a workforce that leverages the diversity of Canadian society remains the single most important commitment we can make.
- Personnel funding breakdown (FY 2020-21)
- Regular Force: $84.2M
- Reserve Force: $3.4M
- Civilian: $13.5M
- Civilian personnel will be hired to support the military in areas such as intelligence, procurement, and health and wellness.
- In fiscal year 2019-2020, 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces:
- 5,172 joined the Regular Force for a net growth of 138
- 4,946 joined the Reserve Force for a net growth of 1,705
- Annually, the Canadian Armed Forces receives approximately 55,000 – 60,000 applications
- Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, the goal is to increase the size of the Primary Reserve Force of personnel receiving pay checks each month to 30,000 (an increase of 1,500).
Expanding the Military Team
- The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) strives to remain agile and competitive with the labor market and reduce enrollment times. To address this, in early 2019, the CAF modernized and digitized several recruiting platforms and processes, including:
- A new recruiting website that resulted in an increase in visits including the development of more interactive public communications methods such as an automated 'chat bot' answering common recruiting questions and a scheduler function giving the public the ability to book a short interview with a CFRC in order to ask direct questions and gain support in the decision making process of application.
- Update to the CAF Jobs Mobile App that will see broader access and usage due to the inclusive nature while still pushing personnel to the FORCES.CA website;
- New digital recruiting technologies (including virtual reality headsets) have been deployed into recruiting centers and to allow an interactive user experience CAF environment;
- Expansion of the Digital Recruiting Environment (DRE) allowing increased connection to applicants;
- Development of analytics capabilities which will allow "Quick Insights", trend analysis, and predictions capabilities;
- Update to the CAF Jobs Mobile App that will see broader access and usage due to the inclusive nature while still pushing personnel to the FORCES.CA website; and
- Skills Canada partnership that sees expanded reach through technical teams and education facilities that use digital means for communications and prowess.
- The CAF has also restored full degree-granting status for the College militaire royal in St-Jean to help prepare the next generation of leaders.
Expanding the Civilian Team
- In addition to full-service staffing, dedicated and agile teams known as Staffing Pods, are in place to lead the establishment of inventories of qualified candidates and to respond to surge and priority hiring.
- These Pods deliver full Human Resources (HR) services, connecting across HR disciplines with the goal to lessen the administrative burden on management so that they can focus on delivering against SSE objectives.
- Notable initiatives that directly support SSE requirements are:
- The Military Spouse Employment Initiative, which has been expanded for use by other government departments and with multiple employment streams to support military families.
- The Strategic Targeted Acquisition and Recruitment Team (START), which was stood up in 2019 to support targeted talent acquisition in SSE priority areas and to increase hiring efforts.
- Leveraging new digital tools and social media platforms by:
- Expanding the HR GO mobile application putting key HR information directly into the hands of employees and managers;
- Launching DND Careers for student recruitment, expanding to support the Military Spouse Employment Initiative, and other talent pools and inventories
- Launching Robotic Process Automation in order to automate repeatable administrative HR processes to improve pay outcomes;
- Using various social media for job postings and mining for talent in non-traditional venues, tapping into talent that is not actively job searching; and,
- Expanding the use of virtual assessment tools for a greater reach to target-candidate markets.
- Creating inventories and pools of ready-to-hire candidates for procurement, and health and wellness jobs and other high volume, repeatable requirements; and,
- Re-designing the networking platform used by hiring managers to source talent, including students and military spouses for indeterminate hiring to increase departmental diversity through workforce renewal.
Compensation and Benefits Instructions
- The Canadian Armed Forces recognizes that military compensation must remain fair, current, and competitive to ensure the recruitment and retention of members.
- That is why, in 2019, the Canadian Armed Forces announced new allowances and rates of pay for some of its members by amending the Compensation and Benefits Instructions.
- In these Main Estimates, National Defence is requesting $76.7 million to support the costs associated with these changes.
- These changes include updating rates of pay for Officer Cadets, Chief Warrant Officers, and medical and dental officers.
- They will also support the creation of a special pay differential for pharmacy officers and adjust the allowance for Search and Rescue technicians.
- These updates will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are able to maintain a skilled force across a range of tasks, including in critical occupations.
- As a result of these amendments:
- Medical and dental officers saw an increase of salary of approximately 14%, dependent on rank;
- Pharmacy Officers now receive a $15,000 pay differential at all ranks;
- Regular and Reserve Force now receive the same Base Pay values;
- The Rescue Specialist Allowance, which is payable to Search and Rescue technicians, saw an improvement of 25% to their allowances; and
- Administrative changes were made to Hazard and Risk Allowances to improve timeliness in processing these additional allowances through the definition of specific guidelines with respect to submission timelines and articulation of the approvals process.
- There is a widening gap in compensation between military personnel and their civilian counterparts. This has also left certain trades staffed at reduced levels, which may threaten operational readiness.
- The amendments to Compensation and Benefits Instructions for the Canadian Forces seek to:
- Realign the rates of pay for military doctors and dentists with the external salary market and align those of military pharmacists with the pharmacist occupational group in the core public administration;
- Re-balance internal pay relativity between officer and non-commissioned members by recognizing the tactical, operational and strategic hierarchy of their various roles, together with a special differential for CAF Chief Warrant Officer appointments;
- Ensure Military College students are compensated with rates of pay that are proportionate to their rations and quarters charges;
- Adjust the pay relativity between the Regular and Reserve Forces to match recent changes to provincial labour standards whereby part time members are paid the same as full time members for performing the same work;
- Reinstate the relative value for factors contributing to the calculation of Rescue Specialist Allowance;
- Enhance compensation for Federal public servants who elect leave their civilian positions to perform military service in the Reserve Force; and,
- Formalize the existing process to determine Hardship and Risk allowance levels for all CAF members deployed on foreign operational deployments with defined reporting guidelines for submissions.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
- We recognize that military service places unique demands on our brave personnel in uniform.
- This is why we actively encourage all of our members to take care of their mental health, raise concerns as they arise, and seek the appropriate help when they need it.
- Throughout the pandemic, we have adapted our health care and support services to ensure that members can access support without risking their physical health.
- We offer a wide range of programs and services to fit the mental health needs of all Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.
- This includes a 24/7 phone referral service for access to counselling, a 24/7 family information line, and peer support for those coping with operational stress.
- We will continue to support members and their families, and ensure that Canadian Armed Forces members continue to have access to robust mental health and support services.
If pressed on Canadian Armed Forces mental health support for those deployed in Long Term Care Facilities:
- The Canadian Armed Forces members who selflessly worked in long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario faced challenging circumstances.
- Resilience and mental health awareness programs have been tailored to respond to these demanding conditions.
If pressed on Canadian Armed Forces suicide rate:
- Every suicide is a tragedy – each loss is painful.
- The Canadian Armed Forces recognizes the sacrifices military personnel make in the service of their country.
- While there is no simple solution, we continuously strive towards reducing barriers to care, including stigma, and enhancing our programs and services.
- The Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada have worked closely together on a Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy.
- Following the common guidelines within this strategy, both organizations have generated their own distinct Suicide Prevention Action Plans.
- We remain committed to working with our partners to ensure that our personnel receive high quality care and support.
- The Canadian Armed Forces runs 37 primary healthcare clinics, of which 31 offer specialized in-house mental health care. All 37 clinics have continued providing clinical services during the pandemic.
- All 37 primary care clinics host a complement of family physicians, primary care nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical technicians.
- Within these 31 specialized clinics in-house mental health clinics, there are approximately 465 dedicated positions, including social workers, mental health nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counsellors, and mental health chaplains.
- Remote access to mental health and spiritual support services are deemed essential and remain available to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, including phone lines and online tools.
- As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Forces Health Services Group has expanded tele-health and other remote support options in order to reduce barriers to seeking care and to meet the mental health needs of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.
- The CAF members who selflessly worked in long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario faced challenging circumstances. Resilience and mental health awareness programs were tailored to respond to these demanding conditions.
- CAF members and their families have access to a number of programs, including:
- Psycho-education and mental resiliency training;
- A 24/7 referral service for access to confidential, external counselling;
- A 24/7 family information line;
- Peer support for those coping with an operational stress injury;
- A free online mobile information app to provide individuals and their families easy access to information on wellness and mental health;
- Spiritual guidance, and support through military chaplains; and,
- Family support through various military family services.
Suicide Prevention Strategy
- CAF and VAC continue working together on the joint suicide prevention strategy. Both organizations have generated their own distinct Suicide Prevention Action Plans (seven guidelines followed):
- Communicating, Engaging & Educating;
- Building & Supporting Resilient CAF members & Veterans;
- Connecting & Strengthening CAF members & Veterans through Families and Community;
- Providing Timely Access to Effective Healthcare & Support;
- Promoting Well-being of CAF members through their Transition to Civilian Life;
- Aligning Protocols, Policies, and Processes to Better Manage Risk & Stress; and
- Continuously Improving Through Research, Analysis and Incorporation of Lessons Learned and Best Practices
- The Government is also investing $17.5 million, over four years, starting in 2018-19, to create a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. This effort is led by Veterans Affairs Canada.
- The Centre will have a strong focus on the creation and dissemination of knowledge on prevention, assessment and treatment of PTSD for veterans and CAF members.
- In addition, referral options include 4,000 civilian mental health care providers that are registered to provide care to military members in their own practices.
Recent Media Interest in 2019 Suicide Rate
- In April 2020, media reported that 20 CAF members took their lives last year, the largest number of military suicides since 2014.
- Canada's Reserve Force, particularly the Primary Reserve, plays a critical role in serving our country overseas and assisting Canadians in cases of an emergency or natural disaster at home.
- In fact, the Reserve Force has been an integral part of the Canadian Armed Forces' ongoing response to the global pandemic.
- From April 20 to August 31, 2020, over 7,668 Reservists, which includes over 1,509 Rangers, supported national, provincial, and territorial responses to COVID-19 as part of Operation LASER.
- This rapid surge of the Canadian Armed Forces full-time capability with Reserve Force members demonstrates the value of an integrated Total Force.
- Reserve Force members continue to train and operate with the Regular Force, as articulated in the "New Vision for the Reserve Force" in our Defence Policy.
- These efforts improve the overall effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces, both at home and abroad.
- Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, the goal is to increase the number of Primary Reserve Force personnel receiving pay cheques each month to an average of 30,000.
- As of September 30, 2020:
- Primary Reserve Force: An average of 24,352 personnel received pay cheques each month (from a total strength of 30,728 Reserve Force members).
- Demography of the Primary Reserve: male 25,606 (83%), female 5,122 (17%); under 40 years old 23,154 (75%).
- Since 2000, 14,744 reservists have been deployed on expeditionary operations and 9,018 on domestic operations.
- The Reserve Force is comprised of four sub-components:
- The Primary Reserve consists of a mixture of part-time and full-time personnel working in Reserve units, headquarters, recruiting centres or with Regular Force units across Canada and overseas.
- The size of the Primary Reserve is trending upwards in an effort to meet the assigned target of 30,000 Average paid Strength (APS). Growth of the Primary Reserve will enhance the capability of the CAF to rapidly respond to any contingency without the requirement to maintain a larger standing force.
- As of 30 September 2020, the relative sizes of the Primary Reserve elements (expressed as a percentage of the total strength of 30,872) are:
- Army Reserve (21,893 or approximately 71%)
- Naval Reserve (4,062 or approximately 13%)
- Air Reserve (2,066 or approximately 7%)
- Others (2,851 or approximately 9%), which includes the Health Services Reserve, National Defence Headquarters, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command Reserve, the Legal Reserve and the Military Police Reserve.
- The Supplementary Reserve augments the CAF (Regular or Reserve). Supplementary Reserve members, approximately 5,700 in strength, are not required to undertake military training or duty except in times of national emergency by Order-in-Council.
- The Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service is comprised of approximately 7,200 members and consists of members whose primary responsibilities include the management and administration of the Cadet / Youth Program.
- The Canadian Rangers provide a military presence in northern, coastal, and isolated areas of Canada nd are made up of approximately 5,237 members.
- The Primary Reserve consists of a mixture of part-time and full-time personnel working in Reserve units, headquarters, recruiting centres or with Regular Force units across Canada and overseas.
Recruitment and Retention in the Canadian Armed Forces
- Recruitment and retention are central to sustaining a healthy, skilled, and dedicated military force.
- While COVID-19 poses challenges, the Canadian Armed Forces is finding ways to continue its recruitment efforts, while ensuring all activities meet recommended health practices.
- For example, virtual recruiting and online applications continue to be received and processed.
- Recruiting centres across the nation are also available for selective recruiting by invite only with those already in the system and for some new candidates.
- Even as we work to decrease the effects of COVID-19, work continues on developing a comprehensive retention strategy.
- Through these ongoing efforts, the Canadian Armed Forces will remain an agile, effective, and diverse military force.
If pressed on women, minority, and Indigenous representation:
- In all recruitment and training, the Canadian Armed Forces aspires to meet employment equity goals and ensure that its composition reflects Canadian society.
- The Canadian Armed Forces' developed Operation GENERATION to meet growth requirements, employment equity goals, and to set conditions for enduring personnel levels.
- Operation GENERATION is guided by the Canadian Armed Forces Diversity Strategy and other Defence Team efforts that promote diversity, inclusivity and equity.
- For example, the number of women joining the Canadian Armed Forces in both the Reserve and Regular force has increased year after year from 979 new women recruits in 2015 to 1,775 in 2020.
- We are also offering training opportunities to Indigenous communities, and have created several recruitment programs that aim to increase Indigenous representation in the military.
- Through these initiatives, we continue to ensure the Canadian Armed Forces is an inclusive, diverse workplace of choice, including for women, minorities, and Indigenous peoples.
- 2019-2020: 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces, with 5,172 joining the Regular Force. Of those who joined, 1,775 were women.
- A number of initiatives focusing on the recruitment of women were launched over the last 24 months including: "Women in the Forces" landing page on forces.gc.ca recruiting website and 40% of local attraction and outreach events were women-focus in 2019-2020
|Women Recruited in the CAF (Regular/Reserve)||979||1,328||1,401||1,729||1,775|
- 2018-2019: CAF attrition rate over the past 5 years remained at 8-9% for the Regular and Reserve Force, one of the lowest rates in the Five Eyes.
Women, minority, and Indigenous representation:
- The CAF strives to remain agile and competitive with the labour market and reduce enrollment times. To address this, in early 2019, the CAF modernized and digitized several recruiting platforms and processes, including:
- A new recruiting website that resulted in a 12% increase in visits compared to the old site;
- A new recruiting app, which allows users to swipe images to select (or reject) activities of interest to them, helping them to refine their career selections; and
- New digital recruiting technologies (including virtual reality) have been deployed into recruiting centres and with recruiting teams to allow users to gain a feeling of the CAF environment.
- Over the past five years, the attrition rate of the CAF has remained stable, at 7-8% for the Regular Force, 12%-16% for the Primary Reserve, and 8-9% for both together. This rate is one of the lowest among our Five Eyes allies.
- The Canadian Armed Forces is producing a Retention Strategy that is scheduled to be released in 2021. The Strategy seeks to bring alignment and coherency to the various processes and policies that exist to support retention. Evidence-based, the Strategy optimizes the annual retention surveys and release surveys administered by the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis. The Strategy will address the reasons for release.
If pressed on Hateful Conduct; Ranger support on Op LASER
- The Canadian Rangers are a vital component of the Reserve Force, conducting ground search and rescue, surveillance, patrols, training, and operations in isolated, coastal, and Northern areas of Canada.
- The Rangers also played an important assistance role during the COVID-19 pandemic, transporting and distributing supplies, conducting wellness checks, and staffing emergency centres.
- Recognizing their value to the Canadian Armed Forces, we increased their size and geographic footprint with 5 new patrols in 2018 and 9 new patrols in 2019.
- As promised in Strong, Secure Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces is currently undergoing a Canadian Ranger Enhancement review.
- This review covers a range of elements, including personnel management, support, infrastructure, equipment, and communications.
- We remain committed to enhancing the important role Rangers play in remote and isolated communities across Canada, and strengthening our relations with Indigenous communities.
- The Canadian Rangers employs 5,225 individuals across Canada, from Newfoundland and Labrador, to British Columbia to all three Territories.
- Annual Budget: approximately $44.6 M
- The Canadian Rangers provide patrols and detachments for national security and public safety missions in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada.
Ranger Engagement in Northern and Indigenous Communities during COVID-19
- The Canadian Rangers provided assistance in Northern communities by transporting and distributing supplies to local communities, conducting wellness checks, staffing of command posts and emergency centres and supporting community food security through hunting, gathering and fishing. The assistance ended on August 31, 2020.
Enhancement Review of the Canadian Rangers Program
- In 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces launched a comprehensive review of the Canadian Rangers' organization and structure. This was broken down into four phases:
- Phase 1: Organization and Policy Review
- Phase 2: Command and Control, Staffing
- Phase 3: Financial and Personnel Administration
- Phase 4: Resource and Infrastructure
- Based on a detailed analysis, it was recommended that the Canadian Rangers increase to an additional 29 Patrols and 11 Sections between 2018 and 2022.
- Funding was requested and approved for an additional 12 Patrols in 2018-19 and 9 Patrols in 2019-20, with the remaining growth expected in future years.
Canadian Ranger Structure
- Five Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups (CRPG), each covering a geographic area and responsible for a specific number of patrols (202 total patrols):
- 1 CRPG – Territories & Northern British Columbia (60 Patrols): 1,741 Rangers
- 2 CRPG – Northern Quebec (31 Patrols): 663 Rangers
- 3 CRPG – Northern Ontario (26 Patrols): 701 Rangers
- 4 CRPG – Four western provinces (49 Patrols): 1,004 Rangers
- 5 CRPG – Newfoundland & Labrador (34 Patrols): 1,099 Rangers
Canadian Ranger Rifle
- The new C-19 Canadian Ranger rifle was issued in April 2018. The rifle is based on the Finnish-designed SAKO Tikka T3 compact tactical rifle, and is being manufactured by Colt Canada in Kitchener, Ontario.
- The current Lee Enfield No. 4 rifle will be phased out. The Cadets have been authorized by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff to retain 9,600 rifles for drills and ceremonial activities, and the Treasury Board Secretariat has authorized the donation of rifles to Rangers who qualify.
Junior Ranger Program
- The Junior Canadian Rangers is a youth program led by the Department of National Defence (DND). DND provides the structure, personnel, and uniforms. Training expertise, supervision, funding and training aides come from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Junior Canadian Rangers are not CAF members.
- The program is open to all youth aged 12 to 18 years who live in remote and isolated communities of Canada. It promotes traditional cultures and lifestyles.
- The Junior Canadian Rangers support youth engagement and early employment opportunities.
- They are organized into patrols when the program exists in their community. According to the Junior Canadian Rangers Patrol Directory, there are 4,279 youths participating in over 147 patrols.
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