2018 UPDATE: A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada

Download A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada

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

The “military journey” is often characterized by mobility, absence and the risk of illness, injury or death. Professionals and practitioners can benefit from “military literacy” – an understanding of the unique experiences and lifestyle characteristics of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel, Veterans and their families. To enhance understanding of these families and their experiences, the Vanier Institute of the Family is highlighting new research and data1 on military and Veteran families in Canada with a 2018 update of A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada.

Military families experience high mobility and frequent periods of separation

  • Every year in Canada, an estimated 10,000 military families are relocated due to postings (8,000 of whom move to new provinces), which accounts for one-quarter of all Regular Forces personnel in Canada.
  • In 2018, among surveyed CAF Regular Force members, nearly three in 10 (29%) reported that they had relocated at least four times due to military postings throughout their career.
  • In 2017, two-thirds of Regular Forces personnel reported experiencing extended absences from their family.

Military children are affected by relocations, but they are resilient and most adjust quickly

  • Research shows that while most military children do find relocation stressful, they are resilient, and this stress typically diminishes within a half-year after moving.
  • In 2016, among surveyed CAF parents, only one in 10 (10%) reported that their child(ren) “had trouble adjusting after moving/relocation,” while nearly half (47%) did not experience any issues.

The majority of Veterans and their families do not experience difficulties in transition to civilian life

  • In 2016, Veterans were more likely to report that the transition to civilian life was easy compared with those who said it was difficult for themselves and their families.
    • 52% said the transition was “easy” for themselves, 32% said it was “difficult.”
    • 57% said the transition was “easy” for their partners, 28% said it was “difficult.”
    • 60% said the transition was “easy” for their children, 17% said it was “difficult.”
  • Nearly nine in 10 Veterans reported being satisfied/very satisfied with life (86%) and their family (88%).


  1. Source information can be found in the document.
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