The challenges military and RCMP members face when transitioning to civilian life has been in the news recently. Although we cannot comment on any specific case due to confidentiality reasons, The Royal Canadian Legion has long been advocating for improvements in services and supports for Veterans transitioning to civilian life.
The experience of life after release is different and unique for each Veteran. Some voluntarily leave after a short period of service, some are single, some have young families, and some are in need of employment. Others retire after 30 or 35 years of service; they have grown families and financial security. Some members are medically released due to injury from service to their country, and they must make this transition through this very difficult period of time and under difficult circumstances.
The impact military service has on our sailors, soldiers and airmen and women often makes the transition back to civilian life challenging. In all cases there is a period of adjustment. In some cases, this transition can impact physical and mental health, disrupt financial stability, impact relationships and families, and can lead to short and long term challenges that could have been avoided had the process not been so difficult. Today, the delay in receiving timely pension and severance pay; the backlog in Veterans Affairs Canada disability applications; the lack of communication and outreach to those retiring; and issues with service accessibility have compounded that challenge to a crisis point.
The Legion is advocating for Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to put in place policies, practices, and programs supported by a sustainable research program to enable a healthy transition for all Veterans and their families.
As always, the Legion is here for Veterans transitioning to civilian life. Our Service Officer Network provides assistance with accessing Veterans Affairs Canada programs and benefits. For Veterans and their families in distress, the Legion can provide immediate, emergency financial support. Legion Branches also offer support and camaraderie to Veterans and their families in their community.
If you or a Veteran you know need assistance, please visit your local Legion Branch or contact a Legion Command Service Officer.
Learn more: Civilian life