National Defence ratifies Seamless Canada Terms of Reference with provinces and territories
June 14, 2022 – Ottawa, ON – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today, the Department of National Defence (DND), Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) met with provincial and territorial delegates in Ottawa to ratify the Terms of Reference for the Seamless Canada initiative.
A signed Terms of Reference is official recognition and acceptance by all jurisdictions in Canada that the mobility challenges military families face is beyond what most Canadians experience. This acknowledgement is warranted because military families are the strength behind the uniform.
This important step guarantees a sustained collaboration among provinces and territories to better coordinate policies and procedures for military families to receive fair and equitable access to public programs and services, creating a Seamless Canada experience.
In support of Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, Seamless Canada was launched in 2018 to further support CAF members and their families on their CAF Journey. The aim is to help military families in adjusting to geographical moves within Canada and to ensure they transition more seamlessly to a new destination with less stress. Through this effort and others, the CAF is confident these initiatives will improve the retention of its most valuable asset, its members and their families.
A Seamless Canada Steering Committee (SCSC), consisting of representatives from different levels of government, has met several times over the past four years. This collaboration has resulted in several improvements already implemented, such as:
- improved healthcare access for CAF families with the waiving of the 90-day wait period for health cards;
- securing essential worker status of CAF members;
- a review of education barriers for students relocating between jurisdictions; and
- leveraged employment and training support services for military spouses through the Military Spousal Employment Initiative and the Military Spousal Employment Network.
The objective of the SCSC is to strengthen federal, provincial and territorial collaboration to improve the relocation experience of CAF members by sharing information and best practices among jurisdictions and stakeholders.
At today’s signing ceremony, the Honourable Mary Wilson, Minister of Service and Minister responsible for Military Affairs in New Brunswick, was also selected as co-chair of the steering committee, joining the Minister of National Defence or their designate as chair.
“Caring for the members of our Canadian Armed Forces members and their families remains at the top of our list of Defence priorities. Moving across the country for military postings comes with challenges our members and families overcome regularly. We are committed to resolving hardships surrounding relocation and will continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to find the ways and means to improve the experiences of Canada's military families. I am also pleased to welcome the Honourable Mary Wilson as co-chair of the Seamless Canada Steering Committee and look forward to working closely with her as we continue to find solutions for our military families.”
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
“Relocating is challenging for military members and their families in the best of conditions. We must continue to work hard with our partners to ensure that our military families have seamless access to the services they need when they are posted across the country to serve Canadians. The signing of these Terms of Reference strengthens this important partnership and our ongoing commitment to improving the relocation experience for our service members and their families.”
General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff
“One of our most basic duties is to ensure that Canadian Armed Forces members and their families are supported and have a seamless experience when settling far from home to serve Canadians. Today’s ratification of the Terms of Reference for the Seamless Canada initiative is a step in the right direction. We are committed to continuing to further our support and address mobility challenges for military members and their families, in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners, and under the scrutiny of a steering committee dedicated to these goals.”
Bryan May, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence
"I am honoured to take on the role of co-chair of the Seamless Canada Steering Committee. My family’s military history is a story I proudly share and I recognize the sacrifices made daily by Canadian Armed Forces families. My father was only 18 years old when he began his 25 years of service. One of my brothers served in the Canadian Armed Forces and three worked at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in support of our military. I look forward to working with my provincial and territorial partners as we join forces to enrich the lives of military families."
The Honourable Mary Wilson, Minister of Service and Minister Responsible for Military Affairs, Province of New Brunswick
Department of National Defence
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