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November 7, 2019

Modern Family Finances: Military and Veteran Families in Canada

Canada’s military and Veteran families are diverse, resilient and strong, and they make significant contributions to society as they manage their work and family responsibilities.

Research shows that military and Veteran families share many of the same financial stressors as civilian families, including changes in family income and/or employment, disruptions or unexpected expenditures (e.g. out-of-pocket medical expenses, foreclosures) and major life events (e.g. marriage, divorce, childbirth).

However, employment with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) brings with it the realities of military life, including a greater degree of mobility, separation and risk. These factors contribute to the uniqueness of military family life, and they can have a positive impact on family finances (e.g. benefits, relatively stable full-time employment and income), as well as negative impacts (e.g. costs associated with relocation and deployments, career sacrifices for partners of serving CAF members, difficulties for Veterans transitioning to civilian life and the civilian workforce).

This edition of Modern Family Finances explores military and Veteran families in Canada, focusing on the unique realities and experiences that impact their income and expenditures, savings and debt, and wealth and net worth.

Highlights include:

  • In 2018, more than four in 10 CAF members (43%) reported having some financial problems, with 10% citing this as the most significant problem they faced in the past year.
  • In 2018, among CAF members who had been posted to a new location, nearly six in 10 (57%) said that their financial situation had worsened, with a change in the cost of living cited as the main reason.
  • In 2016, the Veteran population in Canada was less likely to be in the paid labour force (28%) than civilians (20%).
  • In transitioning to civilian life, research shows that female Veterans experience a significantly higher average decline in income (a decline of 21% between their pre-release year and the first three years afterwards) than male Veterans (a decline of 1%).
  • Research shows that in the workplace, Veterans are nearly three times more likely than the general working population to report having long-term physical or mental health conditions or a health-related activity limitation at work (35% and 13%, respectively).

Research by Gaby Novoa and Nathan Battams

Source information available on the PDF version of this resource.