5.0 A Ready and Resilient Defence Team

5.1 Striking Balance: A holistic approach

We all have a role in creating the necessary conditions for a healthy and supportive work environment, and there- fore must recognize our influence in the workplace and lead by example through our choices and behaviours, regardless of rank or position. Every member of the Defence Team must take ownership of their individual health and wellness. In turn, leaders must set the work tempo, lead by example, and balance the needs of their people against the needs of the organization. The organization must put in place the conditions to support leaders, so they are enabled to prioritize health and wellness initiatives.



The key to peak performance is balancing the right kind of work followed by periods of rest. Rest is essential to peak performance as it allows for the reduction or elimination of harmful stress and recovery and rebuilding of the body and brain. It not only prevents creative burnout and cognitive fatigue, but it also fosters breakthrough ideas and innovation.

(Stulberg & Magness, 2017).

5.2 Empowered Individuals

The Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategyaims to create the conditions that empower Defence Team men, women and non-binary members to obtain the support they need to make better choices, adopt healthier behaviours, and to have their voices heard on addressing workplace barriers to wellness. While leaders and the organization provide the supporting mechanisms, individual Defence Team members share responsibility for their personal health and wellness. Defence Team members should be provided with information to increase their knowledge of health and wellness to better understand their needs. They should be encouraged to communicate their workplace wellness needs with leaders and managers to work collectively on reasonable solutions which meet those needs. Finally, Defence Team members should be empowered to leverage organizational resources and access available services and programs to improve their wellness outcomes.

5.3 Enabled Leaders

The wellness of the Defence Team is a shared responsibility between Defence Team members and the DND/CAF leadership. For the strategy to succeed, it must be embraced by leaders at all levels of the organization and become part of the culture within the DND/CAF.

A core capability of effective wellness leadership is the ability to balance institutional requirements with employee/member needs and abilities. Leaders must be enabled with the necessary organizational supports to manage workloads through clear and consistent priorities and the necessary resources to fulfil their obligations. Leaders must be encouraged to move beyond the minimal requirement of compliance with policy to adopt a values-based approach that prioritizes health and wellness across DND/CAF efforts. Leaders are responsible for being role models who actively support equality and inclusivity and recognize the diverse needs and the potential negative differential impacts of policies, programs and decisions on different groups of people within the Defence Team. The sound judgment of leadership will be essential to balancing the competing values of the organization (i.e., mission success and member well-being) by weighing risks and benefits to prioritize efforts.

5.4 Supportive Organization

If the DND/CAF is to maintain long-term organizational health in support of a ready and effective military force, we must continue to build on our achievements and provide the leadership of the Defence Team with the policies, programs, and systems necessary to succeed. The institution must create the conditions for exercising and empowering a mission command approach. The success of our leaders, and the greater Defence Team, depends on providing them the information and tools they require to execute their responsibilities.

Leadership doctrine identifies a focus on member well-being as a strategic enabler of operational success. Focusing on wellness cannot remain a theoretical notion. It must be integrated into our organizational identity and values and the way we do business. Leaders also have a critical role in developing and maintaining an inclusive and equitable workplace. Supporting wellness must also be reflected in concrete changes in policy and programs if we are to promote a wellness culture and combat any negative attitudes and stigma related to the pursuit of wellness. We will keep a finger on the pulse of operational tempo to reduce fatigue, psychological distress, and burnout thereby enhancing the Defence Team’s ability to achieve mission success.

The DND/CAF understands the importance of health and wellness and continues to build on significant investments. The Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy provides the institution with an opportunity to align our efforts and integrate wellness into our current structures, processes, policies, programs, and services. This will help ensure our members meet their responsibilities to the Government of Canada.

Much progress continues to be made in each of the dimensions of health. The Defence Team Total Health and Wellness Strategy aims to contribute to these efforts by focusing on higher order factors. This strategy will enable the ability of individuals, leaders and the institution to better balance, align and integrate their respective efforts. The lines of effort in the following section provide the basis for a holistic approach to achieving our vision for a fit, resilient, inclusive and diverse Defence Team.

Providing Direct Assistance to Defence Team Members – EAP & CFMAP

Supporting Initiative: Maintaining the well-being of all employees is a commitment the Defence Team takes seriously. The objective of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP) is to support employees/members who may be experiencing personal, health or work-related concerns.

Benefits for the Defence Team: Employees/members and their family members have access to the EAP and CFMAP programs, that are voluntary, neutral and most importantly, confidential. The programs are designed to help individuals access services and acquire the skills and knowledge to address personal, health or work-related concerns, which contribute to employee well-being in the workplace.

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