Question six is “How can DND and the CAF improve the way they support the health and wellness of military members? In what areas should more be done?”
The most common complaint most of the public hear about how military members are being treated relates to the management of Canadian Forces veterans benefits.
As it happens those issues are not within the mandate of the Department of National Defence. Veterans Affairs Canada is the department within the Government of Canada which has the responsibility for the pensions, benefits and services for veterans, retired and still-serving members of the Canadian Forces, as well as their families.
This has been the case since 1928 when the Departments of Pensions and National Health became responsible for caring for ill and injured soldiers returning from that war. After World War II the volume of soldiers returning home made it clear that the Government of Canada would require a department dedicated to serving ill and injured veterans. This is now Veterans Affairs Canada and at this time it reports directly to a cabinet level minister.
In other words, there is nothing, beyond advocacy, that the DND can do for veterans.
As for serving members of the Canadian Forces it would appear that within the DND “health and wellness” are within the purview of Military Personnel Command.
According to the Defence 101 Presentation found at the Defence policy review the command structure is made up of four commands. They are;
- Combined Joint Operations Command
- Canadian Special Operations Forces Command
- Military Personnel Command
- Canadian Forces Intelligence Command
The Chief of Military Personnel “provides functional direction/guidance to the Canadian Forces on all military personnel management matters, monitors compliance with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel management policies, and is accountable for the effective management of the CAF Personnel System”.
According to their website the CMP's current priorities are to:
- To provide Defence Team members of Military Personnel Command with a healthy work environment built on trust and respect for each individual, where everyone is afforded the opportunity to reach their optimal potential;
- To maintain a responsive and flexible personnel generation system through research-based planning, innovative attraction, representative selection, and challenging professional development to produce tomorrow’s warriors and leaders;
- To care for our personnel and their families, in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders, by providing the programs, services and support they need to afford them a rewarding and fulfilling career and assist their transition from military service;
- To recognize the service and sacrifices of all by providing the spectrum of care that is compassionate, agile, and responsive to their needs while responding to those of the Canadian Armed Forces; and
- To enhance the resiliency and well-being of military personnel and families with mission support capabilities by training, equipping and organizing Medical, Dental, Chaplaincy and Personnel Support services.
In other words it is the duty of the Chief of Military personnel and Military Personnel Command to provide “Health and Wellness.”
Therefore it would seem that the way for the DND and the CAF improve the way they support the health and wellness of military members is to take whatever steps are necessary to improve the ability of Military Personnel Command to deliver those services. Possible they could start with a concentrated attempt to remove as many buzzwords as possible from their ‘mission statement’.
Defence Policy Review
Defence 101 Presentation
Chief of Military Personnel