Establishing Partnerships


One of the recommendations in this office’s 2013 systemic review of the well-being of military families, was for the Canadian Armed Forces to continue to seek, establish and grow partnership opportunities in order to enhance its ability to support military families. The need to expand and leverage partnerships was echoed by Military Family Services in its 2014-2016 Operating Plan which stated that “[n]o single organization, centre or provider has the mandate, resources, geographic footprint or stakeholder knowledge necessary to provide comprehensive, definitive support.” At the end of the day, the outcomes achieved for military families, rather than the “ownership” of a particular program or service will determine the success of efforts to improve support for Canadian military families. Having reviewed what the Canadian Armed Forces has done in response to our report, we assess that they have taken real steps to build collaborative partnerships and achieve positive outcomes for military families.

See Recommendation 8: Continue to Exploit Partnership Opportunities

Partnerships, collaborative efforts and the integration of professional organizations and community partners into networked solutions for military families is crucial to providing you with meaningful support. Today, 85% of military families live among the civilian population and all access the education and health services through civilian providers. You have to move, but your job may not necessarily move with you - who has the reach and expertise to help address this challenge?

Military Family Services Community Engagement Cell

In 2014, Military Family Services created a Community Engagement Cell to establish a network of local, regional and national partners. Tangible outcomes have been realized in health, education, employment, and increased community capacity. Collaborative efforts have included:

  • the METSpouse national employment initiative, launched in April 2017 through cooperation between Military Family Services and Canada Company;
  • the Military Family Doctor Network, a Canadian Armed Forces family specific referral service for family physicians that was developed in partnership with Calian Ltd;
  • a position statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society outlining special considerations for the care of military children;
  • enhancing awareness about military children among school principals and vice-principals, in association with the Canadian Association of Principals; and
  • free on-online French homework help offered by Voila Learning via their Virtual Immersion Campus.

Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle

To foster increased community capacity, the Military and Veteran Families in Canada Initiative, a five-year partnership between the Vanier Institute and the Canadian Armed Forces, has been the catalyst for important work. The Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle, a component of the overall initiative, connects the CAF with stakeholders from business, government, community and philanthropic organizations.

The 3rd annual Leadership Circle was held January 2017.  This gathering brought together 60 individuals from over 50 organizations including 38 member organizations to discuss systemic challenges facing military families in Canada. By working together, these partner organizations have succeeded in nurturing productive relationships, leading to increased awareness of the challenges military family members face as well as the development of useful resources and innovative programs to respond to these identified challenges.  The 2016 release of the Family Physicians Working with Military Families guide is but one example of the positive impact of the Leadership Circle.

Detailed information on all participating organizations and their ongoing initiatives through the Leadership Circle is available here. You can also check out KUDOS! – an online publication from Military Family Services features collaborative efforts on behalf of military families.

This office will continue to encourage the Department of National Defence and Candian Armed Forces leadership to make further progress, and hold them to account if they do not.

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