A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada

Canada’s military and Veteran families are diverse, resilient and strong, and they are a great source of pride for the country. They engage with – and play important roles in – their workplaces, communities and the country at large.

Like all families, military and Veteran families access a variety of programs and services in their communities, including (but not limited to) child care and eldercare, health and mental health, community recreation and leisure, and education and employment. However, these programs and services are often delivered by professionals and practitioners who have little or no understanding of, or experience with, military and Veteran families.

This lack of military literacy – awareness of the unique experiences of military and Veteran families and the “military life stressors” (mobility, separation and risk) that affect them – can result in negative experiences for both service providers and the families they seek to support.

To enhance the understanding of military and Veteran families, the Vanier Institute has published A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada – the third in our new series of publications providing statistical analyses of diverse family experiences and the social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts that shape family life.

Highlights include:

  • Canada is home to 108,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and more than 600,000 CAF Veterans.
  • In the mid-1990s, 80% of military families in Canada lived on a base, whereas 85% live off-base today.
  • There are more than 64,000 children growing up in military families in Canada.
  • Four in 10 military families with children rely on or need non-parental child care; 30% of these families report experiencing difficulties finding adequate care.
  • More than half of surveyed CAF spouses agree that “military children are at a disadvantage because civilian public schools do not understand military life.”
  • Between 21% and 27% of military families in Canada report that they do not have a primary care physician for themselves or their children, compared with 15% of the general population.
  • CAF personnel report spending a quarter of their time away from home on military-related duties.
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of surveyed CAF spouses report that they have relocated at least 4 times due to military postings.
  • More than half (51%) of surveyed CAF spouses say they’ve made some career sacrifices as a result of their partner’s military service.


Download A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Suggested reading:

Military and Veteran Families in Canada: Collaborations and Partnerships Compendium 1.0

Building Inclusive Communities for Canada’s Military and Veteran Families

The Current State of Military Family Research



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