The three phases of medical release

Voluntary Delay of Releases from the Canadian Armed Forces due to COVID-19

Review CANFORGEN 050/20 – Voluntary Delay of Releases from the Canadian Armed Forces due to COVID-19 for new direction on delaying your release. Download the CAF mobile application to access CANFORGENS outside the DWAN: Apple / Android.

Phase 1 

Phase 1 | Period of Time Between the Injury or the Diagnosis of an Illness and When the Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) Makes the Decision for a Medical Release

Note: The following table is a guideline for medically releasing Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. It is not a policy or set of instructions that must be followed. The order of events and steps may vary depending on the circumstances of the medical release.

For additional information regarding your transition, review the My Transition Guide – Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life and Scan Online – Medical SCAN videos.

Key Events

Key Steps and Resources

I have been in an accident, been injured, or been diagnosed with an illness.

Fill out a CF-98, Report of Injury, Disease or Illness form and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses to obtain their statements.

Have your condition assessed to obtain a diagnosis and treatment. Consult the following links to locate resources in your area who can provide assistance:

If you are a member of the Primary Reserve, Canadian Rangers, or Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS), contact your Commanding Officer and local CAF Transition Centre as soon as possible to find out if you are entitled to compensation and/or benefits through either Reserve Force Compensation (RFC) or the Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA).

  • In the case of RFC, after you report your service-related injury or illness, your parent unit will initiate the request for compensation by completing a DND 2398, Reserve Force – Compensation during a Period of Injury, Disease or Illness form. Instructions on how to apply can be found at this link.
  • In the case of GECA, your Commanding Officer must report your injury/illness within three days if it is service-related and requires medical attention or results in processing delays. For more information on GECA, review the Employers' Guide to the Government Employees Compensation Act and If You Have an Accident - What to do and how to do it.

To see what additional benefits and services may be available to you:

· Consult the Military Benefits Browser.

· If you believe that your injury/illness may have been caused or aggravated due to military service, you should contact Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to create a My VAC Account online and see if you are entitled to VAC benefits and services while serving.

I have received a Temporary Medical Category (TCat).

Discuss the treatment and prognosis associated with your condition with your health care providers. Ask if you should be referred to a CAF Nurse Case Manager for assistance with coordinating your health care and service needs.

If you are/will be returning to work, the Canadian Forces Return to Duty (CF RTD) Services are available. Discuss this with your health care provider.

Contact the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) to determine if you are entitled to any benefits.

Remember, not all transitions need to involve leaving the CAF. Consult the In-Service Transition Options.

I have received a Permanent Medical Category (PCat).

The Director Medical Policy will complete a form entitled DND 4345 Medical Employment Limitations for Administrative Review. For more information on a Permanent Medical Category (PCat) and Administrative Reviews, consult the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – Medical Release Process video and Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 5019-2, Administrative Review.

Visit or contact the nearest CAF Transition Centre to review the benefits and programs which may be available during your recovery or transition.

Per CANFORGEN 012/17Footnote 1 , CAF members may be eligible for promotions notwithstanding their PCat. Members must still meet all other promotion criteria to receive a substantive promotion.

Discuss the treatment and prognosis associated with your condition with your health care providers.

You will be referred to a CAF Nurse Case Manager in order to discuss either a return-to-duty plan or your transition out of the military. Your nurse case manager will coordinate your transition interview with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). For more information, review Canadian Forces Health Services Case Management video and the My Transition Guide.

Contact your local base/wing Personnel Selection Office or Education Office to obtain information on the services available to you, such as career counselling or Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) Program.

Contact the Service Income Security Insurance Program (SISIP) to see if you are eligible for CAF Long Term Disability (CAF LTD).

We encourage you to involve your family as early as possible in your return to duty or transition process.

I am undergoing a transition needs complexity assessment by the CAF Nurse Case ManagerFootnote 2 .

Familiarize yourself with the CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRSPSM) and CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VRP) from SISIP Financial.

If your transition needs are assessed as complex, you will be referred for an Integrated Transition Plan (ITP).

My PCat is undergoing an Administrative Review (AR) Process.

Carefully read the advisory message and related documents you receive from the Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) related to the Administrative Review of Medical Employment Limitations (AR/MEL).

For information regarding your disclosure package, making representation, and waiving disclosure, review the CAF – Medical Release Process video.

If you have not already done so, contact Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) for a transition interview to learn about the benefits and services to which you may be entitled.

Phase 2

Phase 2 | Period of Time Between the Receipt of the Medical Release Decision and the Actual Release Date

Note: The following table is a guideline for medically releasing Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. It is not a policy or set of instructions that must be followed. The order of events and steps may vary depending on the circumstances of the medical release.

For additional information regarding your transition, review the My Transition Guide – Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life and Scan Online – Medical SCAN videos.

Key Events

Key Steps and Resources

I have received a decision message following the Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) Administrative Review of Medical Employment Limitations (AR/MEL).

If your medical employment limitations are found to breach the Universality of ServiceFootnote 3  requirements, there are three possible medical release pathways following your Administrative Reviewof Medical Employment Limitations (AR/MEL):

  • A supported seven-month transition period, wherein the member is provided with a plan for transition-related activities, which is defined as a Non-complex transitionFootnote 4  (Standard Transition); or
  • a release within a time period ranging from seven months to three years that involves your subsequent full-time employment in some capacity in your rank and within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Military Occupational Structure Identification (MOSID) based on CAF requirements, if your MOSID is in critical shortage and a position is available (Period of Retention); or
  • a release within a time period ranging from seven months to three years according to the criteria of a Complex Transition (Integrated Transition Plan).

*In accordance with the Operation TRANSITION Directive, all members will be provided 30 calendar days prior to the date of release to concentrate solely on transition activities and release administration. During this time, they are to be considered unavailable for taskings or employment within the unit.Footnote 5

Relevant authorities can modify your release item up to and including your effective release date to better describe the most appropriate reason for release (i.e. medical, misconduct, unsatisfactory service, voluntary, or service completed).

Visit the nearest CAF Transition Centre to review the benefits and programs which will be available to you, including some of the programs which follow below.

Discuss your MELs with your CAF Nurse Case Manager to better plan for your transition to civilian life.Footnote 6

Contact the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) as early as nine months before your release to see if you are eligible for CAF Long Term Disability (CAF LTD).

You may choose to release before the end of the period indicated in your release message.

  • You should discuss this with your case manager, local CAF Transition Unit staff, and/or orderly room support staff (Base/Wing Administrative Officer) prior to making your decision as there may be impacts on your benefits.
  • If you choose to advance your release date, inform your Case Manager for the CAF LTD Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VRP), even if your application is not yet complete so that timely support is provided.

I want to be retained in the CAF.

For members wishing to cease a period of retention, a memo requesting this change must be sent to the Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) via your chain of command.

I want to plan my transition out of uniform.

If you have not already done so, consult the Military Benefits Browser for information on benefits and services that may be available to you.

Consider contacting your Personnel Selection Office or Education Office to obtain information on the services available to you. You can also access the Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) Program online videos or register to attend a seminar in personFootnote 7 .

Begin discussing your transition with your Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre staff.

Consider making a civilian Will and a Power of Attorney as your military Will may no longer be valid after your release.Footnote 8

Make sure your Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary form (CF-FC 2196) for your supplementary death benefit is up to date.

Speak with a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) representative to see if you are eligible for VAC benefits and services while serving and to set up your transition interview and create your My VAC Account online.

I want my benefits in place before I release.

Review the Release Benefits Administration webpage (accessible only on the Defence Team Intranet) for information and guidance on the processes and delivery of CAF release benefits.

Review the Military Career Transition site for guidance on programs and services available to you as you prepare to leave the military.

I live in a residential housing unit (RHU).

Apply for an occupancy extension if you are living in a Canadian Forces Housing Agency residential housing unit and think you may need to stay past your release date.Footnote 9

Is my medical release attributable to service?

If you have not already, speak with a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) representative to see if you are eligible for VAC benefits and services while serving, set up your transition interview, and create your My VAC Account online.

  • If you believe that your injury/illness is service related and you have not already done so, you should confirm if you are entitled to VAC benefits and services while serving.

As you are being medically released, you may be entitled for priority hiring in the Federal Public Service, see careers in the federal public service. To confirm your priority entitlement, you must apply to VAC using the VAC 1002 - Medical Release Attributable to Service Determination form prior to your planned date of release.Footnote 10

  • This submission can be done through My VAC Account, or by downloading the VAC 1002- Medical Release Attributable to Service Determination form from the VAC website, which you can fill out and send by mail.
  • Note that service standards are 16 weeks from the date that your application is submitted for VAC to determine whether your medical release is the result of a service-related injury or disease or a non-service-related injury or disease that was aggravated by service for the purposes of statutory priority hiring. This can be done as early as 30 days prior to your actual release date, but you will not be considered a priority person until your final paid day of service has passed.
  • For more information on Priority Entitlements, watch the How to apply for Federal Public Service Job Opportunities video.

I have my initial release interview with the CAF Release Section.

Initial Interview - Read the Release Statement of Understanding (SOU) that is provided to you at the Release Section interview. The SOU details information such as; confirmation of release date and item, cessation of medical and dental treatment through the CAF, and Supplementary Death Benefits for annuitants and non-annuitants. If you have questions, seek answers at your progress interview, prior to your final release interview, which takes place on your last working day.

I am preparing for the civilian workforce.

Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre at 1-800-267-0325 to find out what your Canadian Forces Superannuation Act pension benefit will be.

Consider applying to the CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRPSM) in consultation with your chain of command. 

You will receive an application for CAF LTD from the CAF Nurse Case Manager.

Visit the My Skills & Education Translator (MySET) website that assists CAF members in career transition by providing a centralized resource that can be used to identify which Post-Secondary Institutions recognize prior learning for military skills and education. This may be in the form of civilian equivalency, accreditation of specific occupation training, education, experience or a combination thereof.

You can also sign up for Job Match as veteran job seeker.

I am interested in working in the Public Service.

If you are interested in a job in the Federal Public Service, get information about priority hiring. You can also review How to apply for Federal Public Service Job Opportunities.

  • If applicable, contact your CAF VRP Counsellor to get help preparing a priority hiring résumé.

I need assistance to better transition.

Consider applying for Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance Program within 120 days of release from the CAF.

Consider applying for VAC’s Career Transition Services.

I need to obtain key documents.

Upon release, your local Health Records section will provide you a copy of the most relevant medical documents necessary to allow for a positive transition from the military health system to your new civilian physician. However, if you do not receive a copy, you can request copies of your personnel file,Footnote 12  medical file, and dental documents as well as CF-98, Report of Injury, Disease or Illness forms, if applicableFootnote 13 .

  • It may take several months to receive copies of your medical and dental documents, so request them as soon as possible. Should you find a civilian health or dental care provider, you can complete their specific authorization for disclosure form to have your records transferred directly.

Apply for a provincial or territorial health card as soon as possible in order to avoid a gap in health care coverage.

I need financial support post-release.

Be informed of the current CAF pension timelines Footnote 14  and CAF LTD timelines Footnote 15 . For assistance in establishing a transition budget, contact Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Financial Services.

Check to see what financial benefits are available to releasing members. Apply for the ones for which you believe you are eligible.

Contact SISIP as early as nine months before your release date.

Note that some Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) benefits are available to still-serving members. VAC is also able to render many New Veterans Charter Program eligibility decisions pre-release so that services and benefits are available immediately after release.

Tax credits and deductions are available for persons with disabilities, their supporting family members, and their caregivers. Look into the disability tax credit to see if you are eligible.

I need health and dental coverage post-release.

CAF members in receipt of a pension, annuity, or annual allowance are eligible to apply for benefits under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan provided they have six years of pensionable service. For more information, review the Canadian Forces Pension Plan video (transcripts also available).

  • Members should apply to the province/territory in which they will reside at the time of release. The application should be submitted upon receipt of release message.
  • Note that it can often take two or three months for both health and dental coverage to start for new pensioners, but coverage will be backdated to the day after release in most cases. You should be sure to keep your receipts.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Group Health Insurance helps eligible veterans and their families who would not otherwise qualify for the PSHCP after their release from the CAF.

I need life insurance post-release.

Released CAF members can apply for term life insurance coverage under the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Insurance for Released Members (IRM).

I have my final release interview with the CAF Release Section.

Final Interview - Provide the Release Section with your most recent mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. This will ensure that all your pay and pension-related documents and payments will be sent to the right place. 

Should you need information regarding your last CAF pay, payment of Canadian Armed Forces Severance Pay (if applicable), and T4/other revenue slips, contact the Release Benefits Administration (RBA) section.

DPSP Release Benefits Administration
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0K2

Email: CMP_DPSP_RBA_CPM_DPPS_ABL@Forces.gc.ca

If sending an email or leaving a message, please provide all pertinent information:

  • member’s service number, name
  • detailed message
  • contact number
Phase 3

Phase 3 | Period of Time Between the Release Date and Approximately Two Years after the Release

Note: The following table is a guideline for medically-released Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. It is not a policy or set of instructions that must be followed. The order of events and steps may vary depending on the circumstances of the medical release.

For additional information regarding your transition, review the My Transition Guide – Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life and Scan Online – Medical SCAN videos.

Key Events

Key Steps and Resources

I need transitional support for myself and my family.

If you have not already done so, consult the Military Benefits Browser for information on benefits and services that may be available to you and your family.

The Veterans Family Program (VFP) is offered by all 32 Military Family Resource Centers across Canada. For more information, you can also watch the VFP video or gain access to the program via the Family Information Line at 1-800-866-4546 or CAFconnection.ca.

Ensure you have applied for CAF Long Term Disability (CAF LTD).

Contact Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Assistance Services if you have any concerns that are affecting your well-being. You can reach a mental health professional at any time, 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year, by calling 1-800-268-7708.

I am eligible for a move to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR).

If you are eligible for a move to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR) review the Integrated Relocation Program Directive and watch the Your last CAF move: IRP video for information regarding the process and time limits.

I am eligible for a pension.

Your benefits payable under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (section 16) are based on your years of pensionable service, earnings, and the Plan to which you contributed. For information on your pension plan and benefits eligibility, consult the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pension plan website. Additional information, including details on pension indexing and Canada Pension Plan/Quebec pension plan, can be found on the CAF pension plan SCAN presentation.

If you have questions about your pension, including pension timelines, you can call the Government of Canada Pension Centre toll-free at 1-800-267-0325.

I want to work in the Public Service.

If you are interested in a job in the Federal Public Service, get information about priority hiring. You can also review How to apply for Federal Public Service Job Opportunities.

I need to ensure that appropriate benefits are in place.

If applicable, contact the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) to determine your file status and update your address as well as obtain information about your CAF Long Term Disability (LTD) and CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VRP) benefits.

If you have been in contact with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), follow up with them to confirm that you will start receiving the benefits that were initiated and approved prior to your release.

If you are relocating after your release, advise VAC so your file can be transferred to your new location.

If you have not previously been in contact with VAC and you experience difficulties after your release, it is important that you speak with a VAC representative about applications for benefits and/or services. This can be done:

Note that some financial benefits from VAC are dependent on being part of the Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance Program.

If you have not already done so, apply for a provincial or territorial health card as soon as possible in order to avoid a gap in health care coverage.

If you are a Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA) Pensioner and have applied for health care and dental benefits, call the Government of Canada Pension Centre toll-free at 1-800-267-0325 to ensure your benefits are in place.

My needs have changed.

Pay attention to any new or changing needs after your release. For example:

  • Have new service-related medical conditions developed? If so, contact SISIP or Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to see if you qualify for other benefits as well as to ensure your coverage remains up to date and continues to be applicable.
  • Is your VAC Rehabilitation Plan still meeting your needs? If not, contact VAC.

Ensure you contact your CAF LTD and VAC Case Managers if you run into any issues.

Ensure to contact the Royal Canadian Legion for information about services available to you.

I am going through a personal event.

Pension benefits can be affected by personal events such as a change in marital/relationship status, disability, and/or death of a pensioner or survivor.

You can find more information on these personal events in your specific pension plan:

I want to participate in other veterans’ programs.

Browse through services available to veterans and their families through the Morale and Welfare Services Directory.

Refer to the official discount program of the Canadian Forces Community, and apply for the CFOne Card for discounts, travel deals, CANEX rewards, and other services.

Access the services of the Royal Canadian Legion. You do not have to be a member.

I want to stay up to date on military and veterans’ matters.

Follow the news and updates from Military Family Services.

Follow the research of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research.

If you need information about your pay, pension, access to personal information, and other related matters, contact DND/CAF.

Follow the Veterans Ombudsman and the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

The Royal Canadian Legion can keep you up to date on issues related to military members and veterans.

Frequently asked questions
  • I am being released for medical reasons. I will probably need ongoing medical treatment from the Canadian Armed Forces. What can I do?

    If you are being released for medical reasons, an administrative review will be completed to assess your transition needs. You must discuss your concerns about ongoing medical treatment with your medical officer. The medical officer can recommend in writing that you be retained temporarily in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to ensure you receive appropriate continuing treatment. Your medical officer can only make a recommendation for retention; your commanding officer is the approving authority who will, in consultation with your career manager, consider if you can be retained in your position.

    In cases of complex transition needs, an Integrated Transition Plan will be developed by your medical team, Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, and external partners such as SISIP – CAF Long Term Disability program and Veterans Affairs Canada to assist you with your transition to civilian life. 

  • I am being released for medical reasons. I am concerned I will not receive the appropriate medical follow-up care after I release. What can I do?

    Begin by discussing your concerns with your Canadian Armed Forces case manager and medical officer. They will assist you in your transition and can answer care-related questions. You should also request a copy of your medical file prior to your release.

    Additionally, you can contact the nearest Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre for information and assistance related to your transition.

  • I am being recommended for medical release. I do not want to leave the Canadian Armed Forces and feel I can still serve in the military. What can I do?

    You have 30 days once you receive your disclosure package from the Director Military Careers Administration to respond in writing. As part of your response, you can provide any new information justifying why you believe you are still employable within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). If you want to request a period of retention, you can include this request in your response. In this regard, you should note that a CAF member may be retained subject to employment limitations only on a temporary, transitional basis if there is a critical shortage in the member's military occupation or a requirement for a specific skill set.

    If you feel that you were not given enough time to prepare your rebuttal, you can request an extension. You also have the right to request an assisting officer help you prepare your response.

    If your release proceeds despite your representations, you can submit a grievance to your commanding officer. For more information, refer to our Redress of Grievance page.

    It is important to submit your grievance as soon as you are notified of your pending release and release category. Once you are released from the CAF, you can no longer file a grievance. However, any redress submitted before your release will still be considered.

    There are many programs for CAF members who are in the process of releasing for medical reasons. Consult the Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) Online to find out more about the release process.

    There are many options for finding a post-military job or returning to school. Take the time to consult the resources found at Building your next career.

    You can also visit the nearest Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre for information and support related to your transition.

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