Ministers of National Defence and Veterans Affairs mark progress on transition initiative related to Strong, Secure, Engaged


February 17, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, Transition Centre Petawawa begins the trial of an initiative to assist members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and their families with transition to civilian life following service to Canada. The initiative was developed at Canadian Forces Base Borden, and is now being expanded to other locations.

This new approach to transition is focused on the individual member and their family. Transition advisors work with members to assess their needs and help them build personalized plans along multiple domains of well-being: sense of purpose, health, finances, social integration, housing arrangements, and life skills/preparedness. It is a deliberate process that guides members and their families through the often challenging transition to a fundamentally different way of life.

This marks progress of initiative 27 of Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged regarding the establishment of a transition capability. The Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) are making other significant strides toward a seamless transition experience, thanks to new and improved tools such as the Military to Civilian Transition portal on, the transition assessment tool in My VAC account, the Alignment of Treatment Benefits program, and the improvement of medical record information sharing between Departments during transition. In effect, we have closed the seam on our mandates, to the betterment of transitioning members.

There is still work to be done in order to have the new approach accessible in all Transition Centres across Canada, but we are making great progress. While the initial focus has been on the Regular Force transition needs, we are happy to report that efforts related to Reserve Force transition are under development and will be included in the expansion to the other 30 Transition Centres across the country. We wish to thank the great teams in the CAF and VAC who have come together to advance with purpose on this important 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.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“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. Making sure that we’re doing everything we 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 Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • Development of the transition capability started in February 2018 and a trial was launched at Canadian Forces Base Borden in February 2019. This capability realizes aspects of Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, and the mandate letters of the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Veterans Affairs as they work collaboratively to ensure a seamless military to civilian transition.
  • The new Transition Centre model includes all the key service providers in one location in order to provide a personalized, professional, and standardized transition for CAF members and their families. These service providers include:
    • CAF Transition Advisors;
    • CAF Transition Administration Specialists;
    • Veteran Service Team Managers;
    • Veteran Service Agents;
    • Family Transition Advisors;
    • Family Liaison Officers; and
    • Service Coordinators for ill and injured members, working closely with Canadian Forces Health Services Nurse Case Managers, CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program Counsellors, VAC Case Managers, and other partner agencies.
  • Other key advancements by the CAF and VAC in support of initiative 27 of Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged include:
    • The Military to Civilian Transition portal, where members can get access to key support documents and resources. As a next step, the CAF and VAC are working together to bring about the creation of a Virtual Transition Centre, which will offer members who are not able to physically access a Transition Centre (because they are deployed or ill and injured) the same access to high quality, personalized, and professional transition supports.
    • Improved Information Sharing: The CAF and VAC have been working on giving VAC medical adjudicators direct access to the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS), to aid in processing Veteran disability claims. Despite a COVID-19 induced delay, a pilot project is underway to deliver this capability.
    • 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.

Associated links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence

Floriane Bonneville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Cameron McNeill
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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