Programs and Services Available to Families in Transition

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Programs and Services Available to Families in Transition

Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Emotional and Social Support

Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs)

32 Centres | Information Services | Counselling | Referrals

  • Deployment support
  • Well-being assessment and referral
  • Introductory orientation
  • Employment and education assistance
  • Second language services  
  • Separation education and support
  • Emergency, casual, respite and casualty support childcare
  • Short-term intervention and crisis support
  • Parent education and support

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is currently funding a 4-year pilot project at 7 MFRC locations to study the benefits of MFRC support to medically-released Veterans and their families for a period of two years after their release. The study is focused on community integration in support of transition.

Instruction 5100-07 Member Focused Family Care

Psycho-education | Marital counselling | Family counselling 

Enables military healthcare system to offer limited medical services to the treatment and care of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who suffer from Operational Stress Injuries.

*dependent upon members first seeking care for themselves.

 Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP)

24/7 | Confidential | Free | Voluntary | Maximum 8 sessions 

Short-term counselling on a wide range of individual or family issues.

Family Information Line (FIL)

24/7 | Confidential | Certified counsellors

  • Referral
  • Information
  • Short-term counselling
  • Referral to external community programs and resources

 Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)

Non-clinical | Peer support network | Joint program with VAC

  • Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)
  • Non-clinical  Peer support network  Joint program with VAC
  • For members, veterans and their families.
  • Personal and group support
  • Referral and advocacy activities on behalf of peers

Family Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR)

Training | 3-hour briefings | At local MFRC or Online 

  • Provides families with guidance and skills to mitigate stress of deployment
  • Improve well-being and short-term performance
  • Mitigate any negative long-term mental health problems for families
  • For both pre-deployment and post-deployment

Family Liason Officers (FLOs)

32 FLOs across Canada Social Workers  Belong to MFRCs

  • Responsive crisis counselling
  • Community outreach and education
  • Referral to external community programs and resources
  • Consultation and coaching throughout 

You’re Not Alone

Guide to Connecting Military Families to Mental Health and Social Wellness Programs

Provides families with information to help manage stresses inherent to the military lifestyles. 

FRIENDS | Rainbow | E=MC3 | The Mind’s the Matter | Youth with Parents who have Experienced Trauma (YPET) | Individual Success Through Empowering Peers (iSTEP)

  • Programs offered by MFRCs*
  • Help children cope with a parent who suffers from a mental health problem
  • Help build resilience and self-esteem

*Contact your local MFRC for more information about this program. Program availability may vary by location. 

 Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres (OTSSCs)

Psycho-education sessions for family members.* 

*provided to the extent that they are required to benefit the CAF member’s treatment plan. 

Veteran Family Journal

Provides a summary of available support for transitioning ill and injured CAF members and their families. 

Defence Fitness (

Online | Training plans | Guidance

  • New module is available specifically for families
  • Includes general fitness and a more total lifestyle approach to active living
  • Available at no cost to Veterans and their families who have a CFOne card, until January 2017 

Personnel Support Programs (PSP)

Integrated within the military community

  • Messes
  • CAF newspapers
  • Golf courses
  • Yacht clubs
  • Curling clubs
  • Cottages and campgrounds
  • Recreation programs and clubs

Flexible, diversified, cost-effective and responsive programs and services for CAF members, Veterans and their families.

Financial Support

Travel Costs

Travel | Accommodations | Meals

Reimbursement for primary next of kin to visit CAF members who are hospitalized or receiving treatment.

Canadian Forces Spousal Education Upgrade Benefit up to $20,000

  • Reimbursement for expenses to improve employability of spouses or common-law partners
  • Cannot be used with any federal tuition or vocational assistance program

Attendant Care Benefit

Maximum 365 culmulative days | Up to $150/day

  • Reimbursement for full-time attendant of ill or injured CAF member
  • Impairment must have been sustained in Afghanistan
  • Member must suffer from a permanent catastrophic impairment or temporary catastrophic or non-catastrophic impairment
  • Member must be assessed as reasonably and necessarily needing attendant care

Caregiver Assistance Benefit

Up to $75/day

  • Reimbursement to ill or injured CAF member for childcare or other caregiver expenses
  • Illness or injury must have been sustained in Afghanistan
  • Member must suffer from a permanent catastrophic impairment or temporary catastrophic or non-catastrophic impairment
  • Impairment must be assessed as preventing the member from engaging in caregiving activities which he or she engaged in prior to suffering illness or injury 

 SISIP LTD and Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Interview and Support

Accessible to all CAF members*

  • Professional case-management support
  • Initial telephone transition interview
  • Face-to-face meeting with assigned vocational rehabilitation counsellor
  • Help develop plan to provide member with tools to support family, engage in the community and successfully transition from the CAF with the opportunity for a long-term career

* Members are encouraged to bring their spouses so that have the opportunity to understand the future financial impact of the transiton on the family.

SISIP Financial

Tailored advice & financial products | Insurance & investments

  • Meant to enhance the financial health and security of serving members, veterans and their families
  • A division of Canadian Forces Moral & Welfare Services (CFMWS)
  • 20 offices across Canada
  • Exclusive to current and former CAF members and their families

SISIP Life Insurance for Released Members (IRM) 

Coverage until age 75 | Premiums can be deducted from pension benefits 

Allows  all  releasing  CAF  members  and  their  spouses  to  transfer existing SISIP optional life insurance coverage to IRM without medical underwriting.

SISIP Life Insurance for Dependents

$10,000 | No-cost

Provides insured current and former CAF members and their spouses automatic dependent life insurance coverage for dependent children up to age 25.

Military Families Fund

Charitable organization

Assists military families who are faced with unforeseen and other immediate needs that have resulted due to conditions of service.

Support Our Troops Program

Financial support and assistance to CAF community

  • Includes the Military Families Fund
  • Funded through individual and corporate donations, proceeds from third- party events and “Yellow Ribbon” merchandise, and contributions by external organizations
  • Funds used to deliver individual and program support in the form of grants and loans to serving members, Veterans and their families

Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

Emotional and Social Support

VAC Transition Interview

  • Interview between transitioning CAF member and VAC Client Service Agent
  • Families encouraged to participate
  • Discusses health needs or social issues that could impede successful transition
  • Helps determine level of support member may require from VAC or other community support systems

VAC Assistance Service

24-hour Help-line | Confidential | Short-term counselling

  • Provided by Health Canada
  • Assists spouses to overcome problems that can affect their personal or professional life
  • Also includes bereavement services


Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)

Non-clinical | Peer support network | Joint program with CAF 

  • For members, veterans and their families.
  • Personal and group support
  • Referral and advocacy activities on behalf of peers

Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic

  • Couple and family assessments
  • Counselling for partners
  • Family therapy
  • Mental health services for family members*

*Provided to the extent that they are required to benefit the Veteran’s treatment plan, as established by the Veteran’s treating health professional or as identified in the VAC Rehabilitation Plan.

Vocational Assistance

May be provided to a spouse or partner if a Veteran is totally and permanently incapacitated

  • Employability assessments
  • Career counselling
  • Training
  • Job-search assistance
  • Medical services
  • Psycho-social services
  • Vocational rehabilitation services

Goal is to help a spouse find appropriate employment in order to restore earnings capacity to a reasonable extent given education, skills and experience. 

 Case Management Services

Coordinated by VAC Case Manager

Enables Veterans with complex needs, and their families, to achieve mutually agreed upon goals through a collaborative and organized process.

Pastoral Outreach

  • Provides Veterans and their families with spiritual support 

 Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs)

Pilot project | 7 locations

  • Provide medically-releasing families access to support
  • Focuses on community integration in support of transition
  • Available in Victoria, Edmonton, Shilo, North Bay, Trenton, Valcartier and Halifax 

Veterans Independence Program (VIP)

For when the need exists

  • Housekeeping
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Personal care
  • Nutrition
  • Ambulatory health care
  • Home adaptations

Additionally, if the Veteran was in receipt of housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance service upon admission to a health care facility, these services may then be available to the informal primary caregiver.  

Financial Support

Travel Costs

When the Veteran client is critically ill and his or her attending physician is of the opinion that a visit by the spouse or common-law partner, another family member or another person designated by the client would be beneficial to the health of the client, the visitor is eligible to be reimbursed for the cost of transportation within Canada incurred to visit the client.

Also, reimbursement of travel expenses can be provided for site visits by the spouse or common-law partner, to permit joint participation in the Veteran’s appointments at an OSI Outpatient Treatment Clinic in support of the Veteran’s care plan.

Public Service Health Care Plan

Provides access to group health insurance for eligible Veterans and certain survivors. Participation is voluntary and would be complementary to other medical coverage sources such as private insurance or VAC treatment benefit coverage.

A monthly contribution is required depending on the type and level of coverage selected. 

Family Caregiver Relief Benefit

Annual | Tax-free | Grant of $7,238

Could be used by caregiver for relief options, such as cost of having a professional caregiver come into the home or covering the cost for another family member or friend travelling to the Veteran’s home.

Retirement Income Security Benefit (RISB)

Survivors may be eligible in certain cases

  • A monthly taxable benefit that provides life-long financial stability to eligible Veterans beginning at age 65.
  • Tops up eligible Veteran’s total annual income to at least 70% of what he or she received in financial benefits from VAC before age 65.
  • Recognizes that Veterans who are totally and permanently incapacitated may have a reduced capacity to plan sufficiently for a post-age 65 income and may have become reliant on monthly financial benefits.
  • Is also available to Veterans eligible for SISIP LTD benefits, who are totally disabled and have entitlement for a Disability Award or Disability Pension.

Respite Care

May be provided to give a temporary period of rest or relief to the informal primary caregiver. VAC supplements provincial respite care programs through a combination of health care benefits, VIP services and long-term care. 

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