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January 29, 2016

Community and Business Leaders Making a Difference for Canadian Military Families

Diverse, resilient and strong, Canada’s military and Veteran families are a source of pride for the country and are an essential part of our nation’s family landscape. Today, military and Veteran families and leaders from business, community, government and the Canadian Armed Forces will gather at the second annual Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to build community knowledge around military and Veteran families.

Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, will deliver the keynote address on behalf of the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence. The event is co-hosted by Canadian Armed Forces Commander of Military Personnel Command Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross and Vanier Institute of the Family Board Chair Victor Duret. The discussions will be facilitated by Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute, and Colonel Dan Harris, Director of Military Family Services.

“Families are fundamental to the ongoing care and support of Canada’s Veterans,” says Parliamentary Secretary McCrimmon. “The Government of Canada will listen to Veterans’ families, learn from their experiences and implement policies that make a real difference in their lives. I want to thank the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle for their work, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to bring about real change.”

Canada’s military and Veteran families are becoming increasingly diverse and complex, evolving as they adapt to and reflect changing social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions.

  • Today, there are nearly one-half million military and Veteran families in Canada, and one-half million children are growing up in military and Veteran households.
  • Twenty years ago, 80% of Regular Force families in the Canadian Armed Forces lived on base; today, 85% of these families live off base.
  • Another 40,000 reservists live in communities from coast to coast to coast.
  • Almost 600,000 Veterans also live in civilian communities.
  • Of Regular Force members with children, 20% are single parents, and 16% of Veterans with children are single parents.
  • On average, Canadian Armed Forces personnel report spending more than one-quarter of their time away from home on military-related duties.

“Canadian military families contribute so much to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces that it is absolutely essential that we work with Canadian decision-makers and other like-minded organizations to join forces with us for greater effect in support of military families,” says LGen Whitecross. “In many ways, supporting our troops begins with supporting their families.”

At last year’s inaugural Leadership Circle meeting, 32 leaders gathered to foster and strengthen relationships, partnerships and collaborations, and spark innovation and creativity in program design. This year, over 40 delegates will gather to leverage their respective strengths.

“The Leadership Circle and its members convey a strong message to military and Veteran families that the country is standing beside them while they stand behind their loved ones – people who have made Canada stronger through their service and sacrifice,” says Vanier Institute of the Family CEO Nora Spinks.