Mental health supports for Primary Reserve Force members participating in domestic operations


As a Primary Reserve Force member, you and other Reserve Force members may have assisted on domestic operations supporting provincial and territorial efforts, such as fighting wildfires, mitigating the effects of floods, performing rescues, and assisting with efforts related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Being deployed on these operations comes with unique challenges. It is important that you are aware of the benefits and resources available to you before, during, and after deployment.

If there are exceptional reasons that prevent you from addressing your concerns through regular channels such as time sensitivity, health, security, or financial concerns for you or your family, you can contact our office by phone or in writing. We can assist when there are compelling circumstances to ensure all relevant parties know about your circumstances (with your permission), and that the proper process is being followed to assist the appropriate authority in taking an informed decision.

The Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) use Defence Administration Orders and Directives (DAOD) 5009-0, Personnel Readiness to determine pre- and post-deployment screening requirements, including mental health readiness.

All members who require mental health support can go to a CAF Health Services Centre.

If you are a Class A and B Reservist (under 180 days) and become ill or injured while on duty, report to a primary health care or mental health clinic during their business hours.

If your injury and/or illness is not attributable to service, the clinic will refer you to your civilian health care provider or other civilian resources. If there is an urgent need, however, the clinic will provide emergency care.

Mental health care is available through mental health services. These specialized services provide multidisciplinary and evidence-based care and require a physician’s referral. Most medical clinics on bases/wings across Canada offer mental health services. You can also self-refer to a health care provider through Psychosocial Services available at all 33 medical clinics across Canada.

Your chain of command may engage with you and recommend that you consider mental health assistance or consult a chaplain for support.


Before deployment

Before your deployment on a domestic operation, certain requirements may take place. The following resources are available to you.

Note: Before a domestic operation, Departure Assistance Group (DAG), Medical Readiness Questionnaire (MRQ) (available only on the Defence Team Intranet), Periodic Health Assessments (PHA), and Personnel Readiness Verification (PRV) may be used to determine if you meet the requirements to deploy. The CAF conducts these screenings or medical assessments to identify mental health needs before a domestic deployment.

Personnel Readiness Verification Screening Process

The screening is a two-tier process:

  1. all members must complete a basic readiness verification, followed by
  2. an enhanced readiness verification related to unique occupation and environment-specific requirements related to pre- and post-deployment.

During the medical part of the screening, CAF members can discuss any health issues with a medical officer, social worker, or chaplain.

Your commanding officer is responsible for conducting your annual Personnel Readiness Verification (PRV) screening. This is done in accordance with the PRV checklist items, which are detailed in the Military Human Resources Records Procedures (MHRRP) Topic: 33—Personnel Readiness Verification. This is available in the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) (available only on the Defence Team Intranet). The steps are shown in the following table.

Periodic Health Assessment

A complete medical examination is necessary to assess your medical fitness. The CAF conducts individualized, risk-related periodic health assessments (PHAs) which are administered at regular intervals. If you are under the age of 40, you should complete your PHA every 5 years, and every 2 years if you are above the age of 40. You must keep your PHA up to date.

Note: As part of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Reconstitution Directive issued in July 2021, a CAF members’ medical category remains valid until it is changed in all circumstances, including for domestic operations.

Mental Readiness Questionnaire

If your PHA is expired, your chain of command can use the Mental Readiness Questionnaire (MRQ) as an interim measure until the CAF can conduct a PHA. The CAF uses the MRQ to assess your medical fitness pre-deployment and is valid for a year. The CAF generally requires a completed PHA or MRQ to deploy you on a domestic operation.

Mental health support available

Services and programs can help you with your mental health and physical health.

Clinics have limited sick parade hours weekday mornings. If you are in a remote location, you must travel to the nearest base/wing. You can book appointments for the remaining hours of the day. Outside working hours, you can contact:

Outside of CAF Health Services, you and your family can also use:

Additionally, consult the Mental Health Continuum tool to identify any mental health needs that may arise from your participation in a domestic operation or behavioral changes in others.

During deployment 

The medical services available to you while on deployment depends on the size and scope of the operation (Canadian Forces Health Services and chaplain support vary per operation). Consult your chain of command to learn about the support available for their operation.

All members (Reservist and Regular Force) have the same access to CAF Health Services while on deployment. You can use the Mental Health Continuum tool to identify any mental health needs that may arise from your participation in a domestic operation or behavioral changes in others. You can also access the closest base/wing CAF Health Services Centre or civilian emergency services after hours.

Should a particular incident occur, the CAF would bring in other medical resources to support you and other members, as required. The Commander of the Regional Joint Task Force can also send a letter to your home unit, informing your commanding officer of the exposure to potentially traumatic events and recommend a follow up with you.

As the deployment ends, you must complete a Post-Deployment Health Questionnaire and Declaration in the presence of a CAF Medical Provider to identify and treat early injuries attributable to the performance of duty. This is an opportunity for you to raise immediate health concerns. The medical provider will focus on immediate concerns. Refer to the after deployment  tab for information on what to do if mental health needs arise when you return home. 

After deployment

Your home unit commanding officers are responsible to conduct post-deployment activities. However, unlike international operations, domestic operations post-deployment does not include Enhanced Post Deployment screening.

When returning from deployment on a domestic operation, immediately or weeks after, you may notice your mental health needs attention, as per the Mental Health Continuum. Do not hesitate to access resources available to you, including a civilian health care provider. If you believe your physical or mental health was impacted or aggravated due to the deployment, request a medical assessment from CAF Health Services.

Other resources available to you:

Outside of CAF Health Services, you and your family can also use:



Departure Assistance Group (DAG): a process set up by the unit or base to assist members preparing for deployment.


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