About “The Program”

The word OUTCAN refers to "Outside Canada." The DND/CF OUTCAN Program encompasses all programs and initiatives within the DND/CF that involve the establishment of OUTCAN positions as well as the posting or assignment of DND/CF personnel. The OUTCAN Program does not include deployed operations that take place OUTCAN under the auspices of an Operational Command.

On the first of June 2006, the VCDS took authority, responsibility and accountability for the OUTCAN Program. Oversight for the Program was delegated to the COS VCDS. The OUTCAN Co-ordination Section was then created to assist the COS VCDS with this function.

The OUTCAN Coord Section’s role is to provide the policies and directives for the Program and is responsible to COS VCDS for:

  • Central/Corporate focal point for all OUTCAN Governance issues;
  • OUTCAN Governance and Policy development
  • Coordination of staffing of OUTCAN issues for COS VCDS’ approval;
  • OUTCAN positions management through Review Boards chaired by COS VCDS;
  • Staffing authority for OUTCAN personnel to deploy with host units in non-Canadian Ops; and
  • Creation/Maintenance/Update of an OUTCAN database, which also includes the foreign part of the Exchange positions in Canada.

The OUTCAN members

Members from the OUTCAN organizations are part of the OUTCAN staff. The community of OUTCAN staff encompasses all the following:

  • DND/CF contribution to NATO (which includes NMR, NLR and CANMILREP);
  • DND/CF contribution to NORAD;
  • DND/CF contribution to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations;
  • Defence diplomacy entities, which include the Defence Attachés, CDLS(W) and CDLS(L);
  • Exchange military and civilian positions including, liaison, attachment, secondment, and/or detachment agreements with foreign nations (reciprocal or otherwise);
  • Secondment of Military Police Security Services (MPSS) to DFAIT;
  • Members attending Staff College abroad and positions dedicated towards training, higher education, advanced learning at various training institutions OUTCAN military and civilians alike; and
  • OUTCAN Support Units: CFSU Europe, CFSU Colorado, CDLS Washington, CDLS London and MFSS.

Are you considering a posting outside Canada?

Before thinking on applying for a posting outside Canada (OUTCAN), you owe it to yourself and to your family to take a look at the information provided here which should help you to make a proper decision on whether you and your family are ready for this great experience.

  • Marital Status - Canada is a very liberal country that believes in a wide range of rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, Canadian laws do not apply everywhere in the world and rights you may have in Canada may not be given to you elsewhere. CF members abroad usually serve under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which is normally extended to dependants. Unfortunately, Common Law and Same Sex relationships are not recognized by most countries. What does it mean? It means that your partner may not be given/offered the following things which would be normally given/offered to a spouse.
  • Extented Family - If you are planning to take with you some extended members of your family please contact your gaining URS immediately as certain Host Countries may require to approve their coming. Failure to provide the appropriate notice may result in your having to assume ALL associated costs. Furthermore, some countries that will provide medical support to immediate family will not provide it to extended family. You will thus be assuming all those costs (which may be extremely high).
    • A NATO/Special Visa. This means that he/she would only be allowed in the country on a Tourist Visa, which usually requires the individual to leave the country every 3-6 months and reapply for a Tourist Visa. This travel would be a member’s responsibility and not reimbursable by the CF;
    • Access to Medical and other military facilities such as Commissary (grocery store), Exchange (CANEX equivalent), gyms, etc…;
    • In certain cases, there may be no spouse employment opportunity.
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave - Maternity/Paternity Leave may need to be limited while you are posted OUTCAN due to operational requirements and limitations in backfilling the position.
  • Fitness Testing - CF member must be Fitness Tested immediately prior to proceeding to their new posting location as fitness testing may not be available during the duration of the posting.
  • Official Language Training - Second language training may not be available at your new place of service. This may have negative effects on your language profile.
  • Spousal Employment - Your spouse may not be authorized/able to work at your new place of duty. Do consider how this will affect his/her morale.
  • Drug/HIV Testing and Innoculations - Your host country may require that you undergo illicit drugs and/or HIV testing and may request that you be inoculated for Smallpox or Anthrax. DND policies on this matter change regularly. You should contact your gaining URS for more information.
  • Children Education - Your children’s education needs, such as French language or special education, may not be readily available at your new place of duty. Please visit the Children's Education Management website at www.CAFconnection.ca for more information.
  • Medical - While doing your screening you should ensure the Medical Officer is fully aware on all medical matters for you and your accompanying dependents particularly:
  • Deployment - Don’t believe that because you are posted OUTCAN there are no chances of deploying. As a matter of fact, more and more CF members posted abroad end up deploying on various missions around the world. So please give some thought on how your family would do if you were to deploy for 6 months, while OUTCAN.
    • Medical conditions for which they are currently receiving treatment;
    • Medications currently being received/prescribed;
    • Any chronic condition requiring treatment at least once a year;
    • All past admissions to hospital for any medical or surgical reason;
    • Any history of depression or treatment for mood disorder;
    • A letter describing the past medical history and current treatment should be obtained from your Family Physician (with contact information) for all dependents;
    • This is probably one of the most important aspects of the screening. It is important that all medication be mentioned, as some may be legal here in Canada and illegal in your future host country;
  • Culture Shock - Finally, and definitely not the lowest in the importance scale, is culture shock. Have you and your family ever been posted outside your province of origin and in more than one or two different locations? How did you handle the difference? As every province/territory is different from the other, the United States are quite different from Canada, and there are differences between the states as well. Do not expect that because you are going to an English speaking country that you will not have culture shock. The U.K. is significantly different from Canada. Also, the culture shock is even greater if you are heading to country that speaks a foreign language. How will your family react to that? Give some thought to your teenagers. How long has it been since they have moved? How will your family react to the fact that they will be extremely far from the rest of their family and friends? We touched on it a bit earlier in the medical portion, how will you and your family react to the environmental changes, like living in a country where it may be several months before you see the sun again? Also consider other culture differences such as driving habits, hours of operations of stores, banking system (some countries no longer use cheques), crime, pollution and more.
  • Childcare - Access to childcare is very limited, and in some locations non-existent altogether. MFRCs in Europe do not operate licenced childcare facilities.
  • Spousal Employment - With respect to spousal employment, to avoid any assumptions, there should be a notation that spouses are not entitled to collect EI benefits.
  • Languages - Significant efforts are made to provide support services in both official languages, however this is sometimes not possible, especially with respect to providing services in French.

Alert: Important Information

This is only a sample of the issues that you and your family may face while you are posted abroad. You owe it to yourself to seek out information and advice to ensure that you are able to make an informed decision on this important matter.

For more information: Working Abroad - Unravelling the Maze

DFAIT Spousal Employment Support Office (SESO)

Note: Be advised that this service is limited to members accredited to a Mission, such as CDLS(L), CDLS(W), Defence Attachés, CFILOs accreddited, BNATO.

Coming back from posting or preparing for next posting: your spouse can benefit from SESO's assistance. Get in touch with us.

The Spousal Employment Support Office supports the rotationality of our employees by facilitating employment opportunities for spouses through direct client service and the development of spousal employment tools and policies.

SESO works to increase employment options for family members of rotational employees, both at home and abroad:

Going on posting?

Employees and their spouses can access SESO support from the beginning of the assignments process and starting early in the job search, before one leaves for post, is beneficial. Spouses can find a great deal of information by contacting SESO including with regard to Spousal Employment Reports for missions abroad and information on how spouses can request a security clearance. For help in getting started, contact the SESO Coordinator to schedule an appointment for an advising session.

Returning to Headquarters?

Keep your spouse in the loop and make sure that your spouse is registered with SESO in order to receive information and support, including announcements of job opportunities, upcoming training and events. To register your spouse, send us an email: SESO-BSEC.HFP@international.gc.ca

Daily Admin Support

Administrative and pay services to OUTCAN personnel are provided by numerous organizations. To find about your respective support organization, please refer to your posting message to find your gaining URS.

Your day to day administrative support will be provided by your URS listed below with access to their respective orderly room web sites:

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