Deputy Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff Foreword

Our primary concern as Deputy Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff is the morale, safety, and well-being of all those who serve our nation as members of the Defence Team. We have placed an unprecedented focus on ensuring our people and their families are well-supported and resilient—physically, psychologically and socially—through initiatives distilled from Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. It is with great pride that we present the Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy—a strategy that builds on our commitment to creating a work environment and supportive work conditions that enable all Defence Team members to reach their full potential.

Founded on an evidence-based innovative framework, this strategy establishes the foundation for a more holistic approach to health and wellness that considers factors both inside and outside of the workplace that affect the well-being of the Defence Team. It is designed to empower the institution, leaders and Defence Team members with the tools they need to improve their health and well-being. The strategy aligns several other key strategies and initiatives, including the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy, the implementation of Bill C-65 (Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention), the Canadian Army Integrated Performance Strategy, the Surgeon General’s Integrated Health Strategy and BALANCE – The CAF Physical Performance Strategy, and builds on efforts to ensure our civilian and military Defence Team members are cared for and feel supported as they continue to work to defend Canada and Canadian interests.

Our commitment to wellness will be reinforced through continuous investment in health and wellness related strategies, programs and services; enhancing our Health Services is crucial to the health, future and operational effectiveness of the armed forces. Furthermore, the demands placed on the DND/CAF by COVID-19 have highlighted the necessity of Health Service’s advice and guidance in maintaining the total health and wellness of the entire Defence Team. In addition, we have many programs, projects and initiatives now underway aimed at creating a workplace that supports diversity, inclusivity and respect. This includes new measures to better support women’s health, combat sexual misconduct, to eliminate hateful conduct and racism, and to prevent violence in the workplace. These matters impact everything we do and everything we think about; for this reason, we are approaching resolution to these workplace issues as a team.

Building and sustaining a strong, healthy and resilient Defence Team is a shared responsibility between leaders, managers and each Defence Team member. For the Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy to succeed, it must be embraced by leaders at all levels of the organization and become part of the culture within the Department of National Defence. We are asking leadership to remain steadfast in their commitment to promote total health and wellness among their Defence Team members and to create and maintain a healthy work environment, promote positive working relationships and model healthy behaviours. To the greater Defence Team, we are asking that you take this unprecedented opportunity to chart a personal course to improved wellness and contribute to creating a healthy workplace that supports diversity and is free of harassment and discrimination. Only together can we create the conditions necessary to achieve our individual and institutional potential in support of the Defence of Canada.

Bill Matthews

Deputy Minister
Department of National Defence

Gen W.D. Eyre

Gen W.D. Eyre

Chief of the Defence Staff
Canadian Armed Forces

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