Before You Go - Information for Reservists to assist their Release from the Canadian Armed Forces
Intent – To provide Information for Reserve Members on what they can expect when Releasing and which programs and benefits they may be eligible for as a retired member of the CAF.
Releasing is one of the most important decision in one’s career in the CAF. One that should not be taken lightly or made in haste. Consultation with family, peers and superiors can greatly assist and should be part of the process. Pause to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages to staying and leaving. There are many reasons that an individual can have to release and they are all unique to that person. As soon as you are at ease with your decision, it is time to proceed.
This presentation deals with a standard release, one that is done with full participation of the member (yourself). If it is a medical release please refer to the medical release info package (second tab).
4 (a) Voluntary - On Request – When Entitled to an Immediate Annuity.
4 (b) Voluntary - On Completion of a Fixed Period of Service.
4 (c) Voluntary - On Request – Other Causes.
5 (a) Service Completed - Retirement Age.
5 (c) Service Completed - Completed Service for Which Required.
These are the most common release categories (also called Release Items) for a standard release. Full list with detailed explanations of all categories can be found in QR&O 15.01.
If you are under an Administrative Review for performance or discipline even if you initiate a voluntary release your release category may be changed to best describe the nature of your release.
NOTE – this presentation does not represent exact process at each unit which have been developed to meet the need of that unit. This presentation is to advise on what to expect and to assist the member (you) in making this process quick and efficient.
Step 1 - Informing the Unit
- As with any process in the CAF, the first step is to inform your immediate Chain of Command using a Request Form. If this may be uncomfortable or awkward for you, the options are (usually) another superior within the unit or the Orderly Room.
- You may encounter some attempts to convince you to stay, generally because you are a valued member of the team.
- You will eventually make an appointment with the release clerk in the Orderly Room.
- This is the time that you will get your exact set of steps to complete in order to release without delays and or problems.
- All reservists who voluntarily request a release must complete the Res F – Application for Voluntary Release/Transfer. This form is to be submitted a recommended 6 months before, but no later than 30 days. This form allows you to set the date of release.
- For those who are to be released at CRA the CO will initiate and send a Res F Release on RA Letter not less than 12 months before reaching CRA.
- You may continue to parade right up to the selected date or you can request Exempt Drill and Training (ED&T) while you wait for the date of release to arrive. However you are to be paid for each of your release appointments and all appointments are to be complete before the release date.
Step 2 - The Interview
This interview is usually done by an Officer Commanding a company or the Commanding Officer.
For Senior NCM’s an additional interview may also be conducted by the Regimental Sergeant Major, usually prior to the Release Interview.
The preference is to have this interview in person and as early in the process as possible. Arragnements will be made to accommodate both parties, (for example - over the phone or at an off-site location).
The intent of this interview is:
To determine if release is for the right reason and to offer other options;
To advise on qualification expiry date, timeframe for reinstatement at current rank, and the Supplementary Reserve;
To determine if there are any extenuating circumstances that the Unit should be aware of; and
To offer a personal comment and thanks to the member.
Step 3 - Out Clear
The first visit in any out-clearance is the Orderly Room.
Here they will provide you with a list of locations to visit and a checklist/sheet to collect signatures.
The more quickly that you can visit and collect the signatures the faster the release can proceed.
It is highly recommended that you make appointments with each location to avoid delays where they may be closed or not prepared.
The most common visits/appointments are:
Sub-unit commander:To ensure that all administration is complete and enable any handovers if required.
Unit Stores (Quartermaster):o return unit equipment. A good idea is to find out what you owe before going in to avoid multiple trips.
Clothing Stores: To return uniforms and equipment. Recommend that you contact them or ask the Unit Stores to provide a list of what you have to return. Again to ensure only one visit.If you are missing anything a list of items and costs will be produced. The options are to try to locate the missing items or to pay, being prepared to write a cheque on the spot should be considered.
Unit Mess: To ensure that mess dues are up to date. Depending on the mess there may be a gift that is given on departure.
Unit Orderly room: This is the stop after all required signatures are collected.The release clerk will have been preparing the paperwork for the next step.
Step 4- Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Transition Interview
This interview is mandatory for Reservists who have deployed, and highly recommended for all.
The transition interview ensures that the required VAC and community programs and services are in place on transition and that information relating to the full range of VAC services, benefits and programs is presented.
If eligible, the interview will begin the process to initialize VAC programs and services
It is strongly encouraged that you engage with VAC early in the release process to ensure programs are in place at release.
Face to face is the preferred method, but other means are available.Your release clerk should provide a point of contract for this interview.
For more information or to find the nearest VAC offices please click on this link: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/interview
Step 5 - Paperwork and Exit Interview
At this point it is all about signing paper.
Making an appointment with the release clerk will ensure that the forms are prepared and ready.
If you are changing bank accounts from the one that you currently have on file for pay deposits, make sure you bring that new information.
The following is a list of the forms that you can expect:
Agreement to Release (there are different forms dependant on which release Category you fall under);
Medical Statement on Release;
CFRG application and supporting forms (if applicable);
Release Digest-Payment Instruction; and
Security Screening Certificate And Briefing Form.
Note – this list of forms is not exhaustive, each release has different considerations but these are the common forms that all should see.
If you are eligible for an immediate annuity (pension) please refer to the Pension tab above.
**In accordance with the Reserve Force Pension Plan Regulations section 5, to receive an annuity, a Reservist must be released from the CAF or have cumulated 12 months without earnings. A reservist transferring to the Supplementary Reserve is still a member of the Reserve and therefore, his pension will not start until he has 12 consecutive months without earnings.**
If you have 2 or more years of pensionable service, but not eligible for an immediate annuity, the Pension Services will send you a letter that details when you can start collecting and how to start that process.
If you have less than 2 years of pensionable service you are entitled to a refund of your contributions plus interest.
The release clerk will advise on the process for transferring to the Supplementary Reserve.
You must be occupationally qualified;
Will delay receipt of an annuity/pension(if applicable); and
For more info refer to DAOD 5002-4 “Supplementary Reserve",
Step 6 - Final Paperwork
CAF Annuity / Pension
If eligible for an immediate pension you need to be prepared for 6 month delay. This is due to the time it takes to go through the process. To avoid this, the best approach is to plan your release 6-12 months before hand.
For more information and eligibility please refer to the CAF Pension website.
Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP)
All former reserves who are in receipt of a CAF annuity/pension are eligible to apply for the PSHCP.
The PSHCP office for pensioners can be contacted at 1-800-267-0325
The application form can be found at: http://www.pshcp.ca/english/forms/pensionerapplic.pdf
Pensioners Dental Services Plan (PDSP)
All former reserves who are in receipt of a CAF annuity/pension are eligible to apply for the PDSP.
Application form will be provided at release if you are eligible.
More information can be found at: https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/psm-fpfm/benefits-avantages/pens-dental-dentaire/forms-formulaires-eng.asp
The following are documents that you can expect to be provided to you:
Release / Transfer Notification;
Application for Voluntary Release;
Medical Statement on Release;
Military Personnel Record Resume (MPRR);
Cancellation of Security Clearance;
Security Caution and Document Return;
Certificate of ServiceMaster Pay Record;
Surrender of Military ID; and
Record Of Employment.
Note -There may be some other forms and documents dependent on individual specifics, however these are the most common ones that you can expect.
Intent – To provide Reserve members information on what they can expect when facing a Medical Release.
The principle of Universality of Service (U of S) means that all military personnel must be physically fit, employable, and deployable. You may be subject to a Medical Release if you suffer an injury or illness that prevents you from meeting the principle of U of S, the requirements of your trade and where an occupational transfer is not possible.
- The following information deals with the process in determining/confirming if a member is to be medically released.
- For a normal release, please select the Release Tab above.
- NOTE – This information is to advise on what to expect and to assist (you) in understanding the process for most cases. Each case is unique and may deviate from or have more steps than outlined below.
CAF Medical Release Process
The process from the moment of injury or illness follows a prescribed set of steps:
- Initial medical examination;
- Assigned 1st 6 month period of a Temporary Medical Category (TCAT);
- Medical Review of this TCAT (Decision is to lift or extend);
- Assigned 2nd 6 month period of a TCAT;
- Medical Review (Decision whether to cancel the TCAT or to recommend Permanent Medical Category (PCAT));
- PCAT assigned;
- Base Surgeon Approval;
- Director Medical Policy (D Med Pol) approval of PCAT assigns Medical Employment Limitations (MEL);
- Administrative Review (AR) of the MEL is done by Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) (Decision will be on whether to either Retain, Retain with Medical Limitation, or Release);
- Disclosure / Representation; and
- Medical Release.
Admin Review Medical Employment Limitations (AR(MEL))
- If your MELs prevent you from meeting any of the obligations related to U of S, then a 3(a) or 3(b) medical release will normally be the outcome of the AR(MEL).
- Note: in the event of concurrent Administrative Review for misconduct or performance related issues then the release may not be a 3(a) or 3(b) even if the injury would have led to a Medical Release.
- The final selected release category will be that which best represents the reason of release. Once a file has been referred to DMCA they will notify you that they opened an administrative review file and have begun to work towards a decision.
- You will be provided with a Disclosure package that will include:
- a copy of all the information that will be used to render a decision regarding your situation;and
- information regarding possible outcomes of the AR(MEL)
- From receipt of the Disclosure package the member is provided the opportunity to file a Representation. Representation in this case is a letter outlining any mitigating circumstances and/or to provide additional information you believe the board should have in order to make a decision.
- Note: Should you choose to waive disclosure (i.e. tell DMCA that you do not want to see the information they will use), they will go ahead with the review and render a decision. This will speed up the process considerably. A decision can be rendered within a week where the member waives his/her right to a disclosure and does not wish to be considered for a period of retention.
- The AR(MEL) will recommend one of the following.
- Retain – if the PCAT is still within your current MOSID Medical Standard and the MEL placed on you still meets U of S requirements;
- Compulsory Occupational Transfer (COT) – if the PCAT/MEL is acceptable for another MOSID, a COT may be recommended;
- Note: If you do not accept the COT you will not be medically released, you will be released under item 5d (Not Advantageously Employable)
- Retention Subject to Employment Limitations – When you meet U of S but not the bona fide occupational requirements of your current trade and where it is not advantageous for the CAF to impose a COT, there may be the recommendation to Retain Subject to Employment Limitations; or
- Release under either 3(a) or 3 (b) categories.
Retention Subject to Employment Limitations
- This offer is temporary because you do not meet U of S and only offered where a) an occupation is critically short of personnel, or b) there is a requirement for a specific skill set that you possess;
- You must be capable of working full time and performing all military duties of your position except those related to your MELs;
- Note: To be considered for retention, a reservist must to be able to work full time IAW U of S regardless of their class of service. An established military position must be available in which to employ you;
- The retention cannot exceed three (3) years and could end in a 3(b) release as you remain subject to all CAF regulations until your lawful release;
- A release item and a date of release can be changed at any time until the individual is released. Personnel not qualified within their trade cannot be retained; and
- The CAF can terminate the retention at any time circumstances change…and so can you.
3(a) or 3(b) Medical Release
Will normally be provided with 6 months notification of a release date.
- You can opt to release prior to the end of the period identified in the release message.
Support for Career Transition of Severely Ill & Injured
- This policy applies to Res F personnel that are eligible for Reserve Force Compensation or extension to Class C IAW with CBI 210.72 where you meet the criteria for complex transition as determined by Canadian Forces Health Services.
- A referral will be sent to the IPSC and SISIP, and an interdisciplinary meeting will occur to recommend a period of transition to a maximum of three years which will address the complex transition needs of your case.
- Additional information regarding career transition of severely ill and injured may be obtained at the closest Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC).
Releasing from the CAF
Regardless of the final release category, please refer to the Before You go module on Release, starting at Step 3. The unit leadership will already be informed and the initial two steps may have already occurred.
Veterans Affairs Programs
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Services and Programs
Intent - To provide information to retiring Reservists on the Services and Programs available from VAC
Your contribution on behalf of our nation is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten. As you prepare to leave the Reserve Force, this resource page will provide information on Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) services and benefits that may help you “Before You Go”.
Did you know that once you leave the Reserve Force – YOU are a Veteran.
“Before You Go” you might want to register for My VAC Account so you can do business with VAC securely on-line:
With a My VAC Account you can:
- access forms for Career Transition Services, disability benefits, health-related travel, and the Veterans Independence Program;
- manage your personal information;
- send secure messages to the Department;
- send documents to support your applications; and
- review information about benefits you receive.
To learn more click here for a short video.
How to Register for My VAC Account
If you have never done business with VAC, you will be asked to provide some information about yourself to create your My VAC Account.
- You will need your service or regimental number.
- Our system will check that your information is not already on file with us.
If you have done business with VAC, you can use your VAC file number, VAC Health ID number or Client Service Delivery Network (CSDN) ID to register. You will be asked to enter one of these numbers during the registration process.
Where can I find these numbers?
- Your VAC file number is in the top right corner of any decision letter you have received from VAC.
- Your VAC Health ID number is found on your VAC Health Identification Card.
- Your CSDN ID is on any forms you have received from VAC.
Contact us if you cannot find any of the numbers listed above.
For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Note: If a file exists (even if it was created some time ago) the system will prompt you to contact us.
Register Today: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/e_services/register
You might also want to Sign Up for My VAC Book
My VAC Book was designed to help members or Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces learn about the services and benefits that may be available to them or their family.
To build My VAC Book you only need to answer a few questions. Once you are finished, your book will be displayed on-screen in a PDF format. Within a few days, a hard copy will be mailed to your home by our publications provider – Gilmore Printing Services who meet all security and privacy requirements of the Government of Canada.
VAC Services and Benefits to help with the Transition to civilian life
The first step in helping you get ready to leave the military is our transition interview. All releasing Canadian Armed Forces members, Regular and Reserve Force, are entitled to a transition interview. We encourage family members or other support persons to attend whenever possible. We recommend that you have a transition interview early in your release process to help you and your family identify any needs you may have ahead of time.
During a transition interview, we will:
- gain a greater understanding of potential transition needs for you and your family;
- provide you and your family with information on VAC program benefits and services; and
- determine the support/intervention you may require from VAC and other community support systems
Transition services are available at Integrated Personnel Support Centres that are located on most bases and wings, as well as at VAC Area Offices across the country. Contact us today to schedule a transition interview at an office near to you.
For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/interview
Career Transition Services
Veterans and survivors can get help finding civilian employment through the VAC Career Transition Services (CTS) Program. VAC will reimburse eligible Veterans and survivors for these services, up to a lifetime maximum of $1,000 (including taxes).
Do I Qualify? You may qualify if you are:
- Reserve Force
- A Veteran of the Reserve Force with completion of at least 21 months of full-time service during 24 consecutive months and applies within two years of release;or
- A Veteran of the Reserve Force with Special Duty Service, or Emergency Service and applies within two years of release.
- Eligibility Exception - http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/career
Application for Career Transition Services - http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/forms/document/500
Career Transition Services Information Sheet - ttp://www.veterans.gc.ca/pdf/publications/career-transition-services/career-transition-services.pdf
Hire A Veteran
Canada’s Veterans and service men and women are known around the world for their skills, abilities and expertise. They are admired for their teamwork and leadership and have executed their duties faithfully and effectively.
The Government of Canada is committed to helping Veterans and releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel find meaningful employment to help ensure a successful transition from military to civilian life.
Veterans Affairs Canada has developed a comprehensive employment strategy to support Veterans, following their release from the Canadian Armed Forces, who are searching for employment opportunities in the public or private sector. For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/jobs
Federal Government Jobs for Armed Forces Veterans - Veterans Hiring Act
The Veterans Hiring Act amends the Public Service Employment Act to provide enhanced access to federal public service employment opportunities for eligible Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members via the following three provisions:
- Priority status (Statutory and regulatory);
- Preference in external advertised employment processes; and
- Ability to participate in internal advertised employment processes.
The Veterans Hiring Act aims to achieve the following:
- Grant the top level of priority entitlement (this is called statutory priority entitlement) for up to five years to all CAF members who are medically released for service related reasons.
- Extending the regulatory priority entitlement for eligible CAF members who are medically released for reasons that are not attributable to service, from its current two years to five years.
- Allowing serving CAF members with at least three years of service, and honourably released former CAF members with at least three years of service for a period of up to five years after their release, to participate in advertised internal appointment processes for public service jobs.
- Giving preference for appointment to honourably released CAF members, with at least three years of service, for a period up to five years after their release, when participating in advertised external processes for public service jobs if they meet the essential qualifications of the position.
For more information http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/ps-hiring
Do I qualify?
- Medically released members of the CAF are eligible under this act.
- Serving CAF members and with at least three years of service, and honourably released former CAF members with at least three years of service can qualify.
Note: Medically released CAF members should contact the Directorate of Casualty Support Management (DCSM) to start the process for activating their priority entitlement. They should also contact VAC to request a determination of whether their medical release was attributable to service.
Case management is a service offered by Veterans Affairs to assist former members and their families who may be finding it difficult to navigate a transition or change in their lives. Not everyone needs case management services; however if you do, the VAC Case Manager will assist you in dealing with the challenges you are facing. Some examples when you might need case management include coping with serious illness or adjusting to a loss such as a career or a loved one.
When preparing to leave the military a VAC representative will meet with you during your Transition Interview and discuss the programs and services VAC offers, and at that time will discuss whether you and your family may need case management services.
Remember you may not need case management services today, but in the future, if you and your family feel you need help you can contact us and we will be happy to meet with you whether to provide information and direction or to provide case management services. For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/transition/case-management
The purpose of rehabilitation services is to ensure that you improve your health to the fullest extent possible and adjust to life at home, in your community or at work.
Do I qualify? You may qualify for rehabilitation services if you are a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who:
- has medically-released within the last 120 days; or
- has any health problem resulting from your military service that is making it difficult for you to adjust to life at home, in your community or at work.
If you are receiving benefits from the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP), you and your case manager may also work with a SISIP vocational rehabilitation counselor.
How Do I Apply?
Your VAC case manager can assist you with your application. You can find the form in the application package. If you do not have a case manager, the staff at any VAC office or Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC) can assist you.
Once you have completed your application package, you can mail or hand deliver your application package to one of our offices. To find the office nearest you, view our map.
Services and Benefits – After an Injury or Illness
Disability benefits are financial payments provided to individuals who have a service-related disability.
To receive a disability benefit you must:
- have a diagnosed medical condition or disability; and
- be able to show that the condition or disability is related to your service.
There are two types of disability benefits
Steps to Apply for Disability Benefits
Note: CANFORGEN 074/14, released in March 2014, reminds CAF personnel that reservists may be eligible for compensation for their injuries, diseases and illnesses through the Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA), which is administered by the provincial Workers Compensation Boards.
Note: The amount of the disability pension or disability award benefits Reserve Force members/Veterans may receive from VAC may be reduced due to the amounts received under the GECA for the same injury, disease or illness. In addition, amounts received under the GECA may be considered in the calculation of the Earnings Loss Benefit.
How Disability Benefits are Determined
Payment of the Disability Award
If you receive a Disability Award of 5% or more, you have flexible payment options:
- a lump-sum payment
- annual payments over the number of years of your choosing, or
- a combination of these two options
This calculator can help you decide which option is best for you. http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/after-injury/disability-benefits/disability-award/da-calc
Critical Injury Benefit (CIB)
The Critical Injury Benefit (CIB) is a tax-free lump sum award which recognizes and compensates for the immediate impact of severe and traumatic service-related injuries or illness sustained by members and Veterans as a result of a sudden and single incident on or after April 1, 2006.
Do I qualify? Canadian Armed Forces members or military Veterans may be eligible if they experienced a severe and traumatic injury or acute disease which:
- was service-related;
- was the result of a sudden and single incident occurring on or after April 1, 2006; and;
- immediately caused a severe impairment and interference in quality of life.
Any person who receives a disability award, with a value equal to or greater than a 5% disability award, may be paid or reimbursed to obtain financial advice http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/financial/advice
Earnings Loss Benefit
The Earnings Loss Benefit is a taxable, monthly benefit that ensures your total income will be at least 75% of your gross pre-release military salary while you are participating in Rehabilitation services.
Do I qualify? You may qualify if you are a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veteran taking part in VAC rehabilitation services.
Permanent Impairment Allowance
The Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) is a taxable, monthly benefit—payable for life. The allowance is provided when your career options have been limited because of a service-related illness or injury.
Do I qualify? You may qualify if you have:
- a severe and permanent impairment for which you have received a disability benefit, and
- a VAC-approved application for rehabilitation services.
NOTE: Severe and permanent impairment - This term is used to identify that the Veteran requires supervision or assistance with daily living and has conditions such as an amputation, loss of vision or hearing or speech, or psychiatric condition.
Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement
If VAC has designated you as totally and permanently incapacitated, you may also qualify for the Permanent Impairment Allowance supplement.
The Permanent Impairment Allowance supplement is a taxable monthly benefit payable if you are in receipt of the Permanent Impairment Allowance and, due to the level of your disability, you are not capable of suitable gainful employment.
Retirement Income Benefit
The Retirement Income Security Benefit, is a taxable financial benefit that is paid monthly and provides life-long financial stability to eligible Veterans beginning at age 65.
Do I qualify? Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces who:
- have reached age 65, and;
- are eligible for a disability benefit, and;
- were eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit at the age of 65 as a result of being totally and permanently incapacitated, or;
- were eligible for SISIP LTD on or after April 1, 2006.
- who are no longer eligible for Earnings Loss; or
- of Veterans who were eligible for RISB.
Supplementary Retirement Benefit
This is a taxable, lump-sum benefit provided to individuals who were in receipt of Earnings Loss Benefits on a long term basis. It is provided in recognition of the lower pension plan contributions you may have made.
Do I qualify? As a Veteran, you may qualify if you were in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit and that benefit has ended.
Canadian Forces Income Support
The Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS) is a tax-free monthly benefit to help low-income CAF Veterans, survivors, and dependent children.
Do I qualify? Veterans: You may qualify if you have a low household income and:
- you no longer qualify for the Earnings Loss Benefit; or
- you are under age 65 and searching for suitable gainful employment
How do I apply? http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/financial/cf-income-support
Important Note: You need to apply for the CFIS within six months following the end of your Earnings Loss Benefit.
Health and Well-being
What are Treatment Benefits? Treatment Benefits consist of a full range of medical, surgical, dental and related services.
Treatment Benefits include:
- medical, surgical or dental examinations or treatment provided by health professionals;
- surgical or prosthetic devices or aids and their maintenance;
- home adaptations to accommodate the use of devices or aids;
- preventative health care; and
- prescription drugs
VAC is not a direct provider of health care. Treatment benefits and services are delivered by registered health care providers approved by the Department.
Do I qualify? You may qualify to receive financial support for treatment benefits, if you are:
- in receipt of a disability benefit;
- in receipt of services through the Veterans Independence Program.
For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/treatment-benefits
Veterans are provided with a Health Care Identification Card and they may use this card to obtain approved benefits.
Family Caregiver Relief Benefit
The Family Caregiver Relief Benefit will provide eligible Veterans an annual tax-free grant of $7,238 (2015 rate).
Do I qualify?
You may qualify for the FCRB if you have a disability award* and:
- you have an informal caregiver to assist you with your illness or injuries related to your disability award.
- your need for care is ongoing (expected to last at least 12 months).
- your informal caregiver is 18 years of age or older and is not paid for providing or coordinating your care.
- you are not a permanent resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility.
NOTE: This program is only available to recipients of a disability award. If you have a disability pension or POW compensation of 1% or more, you can apply for Attendance allowance. Similar to the FCRB, the Attendance allowance is a significant benefit available when you need help with daily living tasks and are considered totally disabled.
Your mental health can be challenged for many reasons – recognizing that is as important as getting the support you need to overcome those challenges. Mental health is a state of psychological well-being characterized by continuing personal growth, a sense of purpose in life, an ability to focus, prioritize and plan effectively, self-acceptance and positive relations with others. Our mental health is expressed through how we think, feel and act in response to the challenges of daily life.
There is a wide range of mental health services, support and information for Veterans and their families. The most important thing to realize is that you are not alone; help is often just a phone call away.
How to Get Help? You are not alone. There are many ways you can get help. For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/mental-health
Are you a Veteran in Crisis?
- Find Help Now
- Call 9-1-1 or the emergency number in your community
- VAC Assistance Service 1-800-268-7708 or TDD 1-800-567-5803
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Call your local suicide prevention line
Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)
VAC and DND co-manage the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) initiative providing confidential peer support to CAF personnel, Veterans and their families, who have been affected by a service-related operational stress injuries (OSI).
Would you prefer to talk to someone who is experienced and trained in offering peer support? Visit the OSISS website or call 1-800-883-6094.
Operational Stress Injury Clinics
Operational stress injury (OSI) clinic provides assessment, treatment, prevention and support to serving CAF members, Veterans and RCMP members and former members.
Treatment options at each OSI clinic are on an outpatient basis only and include one-on-one therapy sessions and group sessions to address anxiety, insomnia, anger and other issues that are occurring as a result of a mental health disorder.
DND offers similar services through a network of clinics called operational trauma and stress support centres.
The VAC Assistance Service
Personal problems can affect your quality of life. Through the VAC Assistance Service, a mental health professional can help you maintain and improve your well-being.
The VAC Assistance Service provides short- or medium-term counselling support in a number of areas, including: work-related issues, health concerns, family/marital problems, psychological difficulties and other problems where the well-being of Veterans, their families, and caregivers is affected. It is a voluntary and confidential. The service is available to you by phone or face to face free of charge.
If a diagnosis or treatment is required, the VAC Assistance Service will refer you to more specialized resources. These may include clinical services for persistent difficulties for operational stress injuries such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or for dependency, such as alcohol or substance abuse. For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/contact/vac-assistance-service
Notice: You can reach a mental health professional at any time—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—by calling 1–800-268-7708 For the hearing impaired, dial 1-800-567-5803 (TDD)
Veterans Independence Program
The Veterans Independence Program (VIP) helps you remain independent and self-sufficient in your home and your community. Depending on your circumstances and health needs you may qualify for financial assistance to obtain services such as grounds maintenance; housekeeping; personal care; access to nutrition; health and support services provided by a health professional.
VIP does not replace other federal, provincial or municipal programs. Instead its role is to complement existing programs to help meet your needs.
Do I Qualify? You may qualify for VIP, if you have qualified for a disability benefit.
For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/veterans-independence-program
Group Health Insurance
Our Health Benefits Program offers eligible Veterans and certain survivors access to group insurance under the Public Service Health Care Plan. Participation is voluntary and may complement other medical coverage you may have from other sources, such as treatment benefits or rehabilitation services from VAC, private insurance, etc,.
For terms and conditions of coverage, as well as detailed information regarding the benefits provided, please call Sun Life, toll-free, at 1-888-757-7427 or visit the Sunlife website Sun Life Financial or the Public Service Health Care Plan main page http://www.pshcp.ca.
Important Notes: Regular dental coverage is not available as part of the Public Service Health Care Plan through Veterans Affairs Canada.
Effective January 1, 2015, the annual deductible will be eliminated. Plan members will no longer have to pay the first $60 for single coverage or $100 for family coverage per calendar year.
Effective April 1, 2015, VAC participants’ cost sharing will to move to a 50:50 (Government of Canada to VAC participant) cost sharing model and will be phased in over a four-year period.
Relevé 1 : Information for residents of Quebec.
For additional details on changes to the Plan, visit Treasury Board website Public Service Health Care Plan FAQ’S .
How Do I Apply? Contact us for assistance.
Through the Pastoral Outreach Program, we can provide you and your immediate family with spiritual support when the need arises. This service is similar to the way military chaplains provide help to those who are serving.
Do I qualify? Pastoral Outreach services are available to Veterans and their immediate family.
For more information: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/health/pastoral-outreach
Information on Other Services and Benefits
For more information on other VAC Services and Benefits check out the VAC Benefits Browser http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/resources/benefits/allbenefits
1-866-522-2122 (toll-free) Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, local time.
Important Note: For security reasons, please do not send personal or confidential information, via e-mail. E-mails are not secure and can be observed by a third party while in transit.
You may find the answer to your question(s) in our Frequently Asked Questions section. The A-Z Index, About Veterans Affairs Canada and Search can also help you find the information you are looking for.
Services and Benefits applications, forms and supporting documentation
- Email - Send a secure message through My VAC Account.
- Call - 1-866-522-2122
- Mail - Veterans Affairs Canada, PO Box 6000, Matane, QC. G4W 0E4
Access to Information and Privacy Office
- Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call – 1-877-566-8609
- Mail - Access to Information and Privacy Office VAC, PO Box 7700, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 8M9
Bureau of Pensions Advocates
- Call – 1-613-992-7468
- Mail - Media Relations Veterans Affairs Canada, PO Box 7700, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 8M9
Remembrance Learning Resources - Contact us if you wish to receive email updates about our free resources.
- Email - email@example.com
- Call – 1-877-604-8469
- Mail - Veterans Affairs Canada, PO Box 7700, Charlottetown, PE C1A 8M9.
Intent – To provide Reserve members information on CAF pension.
The Government of Canada Pension Centre (GCPC) at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) administers the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pension plans. Administration of the pension plans includes providing pension services to active and retired members, determining benefit entitlements and calculating pension benefits in accordance with pension legislation for both Regular and Reserve Force members and their survivors/child(ren). It also includes issuing payments to retired members and providing pension administration services (i.e. responding to inquiries, processing pension benefit payments, remitting deductions for payroll taxes, and producing statements of remuneration) to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) retired members and their survivors/child(ren).
For more information on the CAF Pension plans please contact, the GCPC:
Active members, annuitants and survivors contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre (GCPC):
- Toll-free: 1-800-267-0325
- Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (your local time),
- Outside Canada and the United States: 613-946-1093
- Monday to Friday:
- 8:00 a.m. To 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) collect calls accepted
- Toll-free: 1-800-267-0325
- 418- 566-2865
- Mailing Address:
- Public Works and Government Services Canada
- Government of Canada Pension Centre – mail facility,
- PO Box 9500,
- Matane, Québec
- G4W 0H3
- Note: Members must include their pension number or service number on all correspondence.
- Additional information on CAF pension plans, can be obtained from the Canadian Armed Forces Pensions Website.
Career Transition Services
Career Transition Services
The point of contact for all CAF managed Career Transition programs is:
CAF Transition Services
Director Casualty Support Management (DCSM)
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2
Toll free: 1-800-883-6094
The Military Employment Transition (MET) Website
CAF Transition Services has partnered with Canada Company to provide a direct link to the military-friendly employment partners’ websites at www.canadacompany.ca/en
All serving or former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who have been honourably released and are occupation qualified are eligible to access the Canada Company website.
CAF Transition Services provides access to the Canada Company Military Employment Transition Program website where eligible serving and former CAF members may:
- Find information on résumé writing and job search tools
- View a list of military-friendly employment partners
- Search for national and regional employment opportunities
For more info please contact CAF Transition Services
Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRPSM)
VRPSM is a program that enables eligible CAF members who have been notified of an impending Item 3(a) or 3(b) release, with the approval of their Commanding Officer, to commence participation in vocational rehabilitation training for up to six months prior to the earlier date of either their start of retirement leave, or their final date of release from the CAF.
Primary Reserve Force members who have completed two years of consecutive full-time service at the documented date of either their injury/illness or Administrative Review - Medical Employment Limitations (AR/MEL) decision that leads to the medical release or injured in a Special Duty Area (SDA) or Special Duty Operation (SDO) for which they are medically released are eligible to apply for VRPSM.
Members participating in this program are on duty; therefore, they remain subject to all normal administrative and disciplinary policies. Normal chain of command reporting structures and responsibilities apply.
For more info:
Contact the closest Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC); or Call the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) Transition Services at 1-800-883-6094.
Federal Public Service Employment - Priority Appointment for Medically Released CAF Members
Recent amendments to the Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER) allow for the priority appointment of certain medically released members of the CAF to positions in any Department of the Public Service governed by the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). This means that medically released CAF members who meet certain eligibility criteria, are entitled to be considered for employment in priority over other potential candidates for a position.
Eligibility for this program applies to the following CAF members who release under Items 3(a) or 3(b):
- Primary Reserve Force members on full-time Class B service of more than 180 consecutive days;
- Reserve Force members on Class C service; and
- Primary Reserve Force members on Class A or B service of less than 180 days, if the reason for medical release is attributable to service.
Eligible members must apply for priority appointment within five years of release. The entitlement period is a maximum two-year period, which may be started any time within five years of the date of release.
The period begins on the day on which a competent authority certifies that the person is ready to return to work, if that day is within five years after the day on which he/she was medically released. Preferably, the member should defer electing the two-year entitlement until completion of his/her professional and medical rehabilitation, providing it is started not later than five years after release. The entitlement period ends on the earliest of:
- The day that is two years after the day of certification
- The day on which the person is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; and
- The day on which the person declines an appointment to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.
For more info please contact CAF Transition Services
Other programs and organizations who can provide Career Transition services for CAF members.
Helmets to Hardhats :Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada is a partnership with Canada's Building Trades Unions, their many employers across Canada and Government stakeholders.
Service Canada: Service Canada assists with job seeking, résumé writing, and so on.
jobs.gc.ca: Job search web site for Careers in the Federal Public Service
Op Entrepreneur: The Prince's Operation Entrepreneur provides servicemen and women transitioning from the CAF with the education, financing and mentoring needed to launch and sustain successful businesses.
The program combines the strengths of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation’s (CYBF) 16 years of mentoring and financing entrepreneurs with SIFE Memorial’s internationally recognized business boot camp for veterans. The program is currently being managed by Prince’s Charities Canada and is administered by its partners.
Based in Business: (English only) Based in Business is a component of The Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur, which is an exclusive program for recently retired and transitioning Canadian Armed Forces members interested in entrepreneurship.
This year, successful applicants will have the opportunity to attend Based in Business, a free of charge, week-long entrepreneurial boot camp held at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, University of Regina, Sask and Université Laval, Quebec.
SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation: The mission of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to prepare former CAF personnel who qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits to obtain gainful employment in the civilian workforce.
Hire a Veteran: Hire a Veteran is a partnership between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), corporate Canada and local businesses that assists Veterans of the CAF transitioning from military careers to civilian careers in the private sector.
Other Programs and Services
Programs and Services Available to Retired CAF Reservists
Morale and Welfare Programs
As serving member or Veteran of the Reserve Force, you have access to a variety of programs from Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services to help you throughout your transition and beyond. After your departure from the Reserves, you will remain part of the Canadian Armed Forces community for life, and will continue to be eligible for many unique benefits.
You may be particularly interested in:
- Transition Services: Learn about job opportunities, training programs and more at CFMWS.com/TheGuide.
- Money Management: Get your finances organized with insurance plans, financial planning and savings plans by visiting SISIP.com.
- Banking Plans: Access discounted student lines of credit and low cost banking programs through CDCB.ca.
- Recreation and Messes: Keep connected to the military community by participating in a recreation program, or by joining your local mess through CFGateway.ca.
- Shopping: As a serving member and as a Veteran, you are a valued customer at your local CANEX store and online at CANEX.ca.
- Discounts: Save money on everything from movie tickets to vacations to vehicles by joining the CF Appreciation Program. Register today at CF1FC.ca.
- Support in times of distress: The Support Our Troops Funds are here to help serving members, veterans and their families. Learn more at http://www.supportourtroops.ca/.
Visit cfmws.com/YourServices for in depth information about all of the programs and services available to you.
Soldier On provides resources and opportunities for ill and injured personnel to enjoy sports and recreation in a supportive environment that encourages them to become active for life.
Soldier On supports serving and retired Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Regular and Reserve, with a permanent or chronic, visible or non-visible, illness or injury.
Facilitates and/or supports recreational or sporting activities and provides access to specialized equipment, training and events tailored for the ill and injured. Its training camps provide introductory, intermediate, and advanced activities.
Members participate at introductory events local or regional events or events with partner organizations and Allies in the United States, Britain and Australia. Advanced participants can get involved in provincial, national and international events such as the Paralympic Games, national ParaSport teams.
Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)
Operational Stress Injuries (OSIs) are very real and have always been a part of military history. These invisible wounds that injure the mind and spirit can be just as fatal as physical wounds. Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) offers support by listening to those who are suffering, drawing on similar experiences, and providing assistance and guidance using resources available from the Department of National Defence (DND), Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), and the community.
Serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and their families, affected by an OSI are eligible to participate in OSISS.
OSISS is a joint program between DND and VAC. Created by CAF personnel and their family members who experienced first-hand the effects of an OSI, it is a confidential, non-clinical, peer-based, social support program that helps individuals return to a healthier quality of life. The mission of OSISS is to establish, develop and improve social support programs for CAF members, veterans, and their families affected by an OSI. It also provides education and training within the CAF community to create an understanding and acceptance of OSIs.
Peer Support Coordinators and can be reached toll free at 1-800-883-6094. For more information on OSISS, visit the OSISS website.
National Military Cemetery
Dedicated in June 2001, the NMC, located within the Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario, is a national focal point for sacrifices made to maintain Canada's commitment to peace and security, both internationally and at home.
All serving and honourably released members of the CAF (Regular and Primary Reserve). Verification of entitlement will be established in every case.
Burial costs for veterans and their designated family members will be borne by the applicant or his/her estate. The current rates for burials and associated costs are published on the NMC web site.
All burial costs for personnel who are killed or die while still serving will be borne by the CAF (up to a maximum value in accordance with Treasury Board Directives).
The Registration Application form can be downloaded from the NMC web site. Eligibility criteria will be verified and approval granted as quickly as possible to avoid delays and minimize stress for bereaved families.
For more information, visit the NMC web site or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Royal Canadian Legion
The Royal Canadian Legion’s Service Bureau Network consists of over 1400 Branch Service Officers and 25 Command Service Officers who provide professional counselling and representation services at all stages of the disability claim process.
How they can help:
Professional Command Legion Service Officers provide counselling, assistance and representational services free of charge, whether or not you are a Legion member. Our representation role is mandated through legislation.
Outreach to Veterans in the community:
Legion Branch Service Officers are the eyes and ears of the Service Bureau Network at the grass roots level, who often first come into contact with Veterans and their families. Their role is to act as referral agents to Command Service Officers.
Helping Veterans get the benefits they need:
Command Service Officers are located at each Provincial Command and at Dominion Command, and provide direct assistance to Veterans and their families. As a Dominion Command Service Officer in Ottawa, Carolyn Gasser states: “We can be a gateway to VAC programs, allowing Veterans to deal with one person for a variety of services. This is important for Veterans with complex disabilities or for those looking for direction and information on a sometimes complicated process.” Command Service Officers also can refer their clients to other programs, services and supports available to Veterans and their families.
Do you need help?
Not sure where to start? Whether you’re a retired Veteran, serving military, or a family member seeking help, contact a Command Service Officer in your Province, call 1-877-534-4666 (1-877-Legion6) or email email@example.com.
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