CAF Transition Group briefings open to military and family members

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2019

Leaving the military can be fraught with anxiety, but the new Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Transition Group will help CAF personnel and their families navigate this new chapter in their lives.

Sessions are being held at garrisons, bases and wings across Canada where members releasing or who are interested in releasing from the military can learn how to be successful in the civilian world.

Former Garrison Petawawa Commander and current Commander Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (CAF TG) Brigadier General Mark Misener will be coming to Garrison Petawawa on March 21 and 22 to provide information on the way forward for the CAF Transition Group.

At these Town Hall meetings, the team of transition experts will answer questions and demonstrate what tools, resources, support, and services are available to all members and veterans as well as their families.

“It is not only for ill and injured members but for all those transitioning to civilian life,” said Commander CAF Transition Unit Eastern Ontario (CAF TU EO) Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Angie Lapointe.

She is in charge of the Transition Centres in Petawawa, Kingston, Trenton, and North Bay, and since the group was established on Dec. 10, 2018, she and her team have worked hard at easing members through that transition period as they begin to release from the military.

With the stand up the CAF TG, information and programs for members are now provided in a standardized, one-stop-shop format from coast to coast, ensuring no one falls between the cracks or receives substandard service.

There are many psycho-social aspects to transitioning out of the military; leaving behind a career and subsequent identity as a soldier and returning to the civilian world can be hard.

It can also be difficult for loved ones as they navigate through this new reality. As a family, they can be confronted with psychological, physical, social, financial and relationship issues that they never expected.

The CAF TG helps address these challenges and better prepares them for the next phase of their lives.

“We want to involve the family and really create a one-stop-shop where no matter if you are ill and injured and need the maximum amount of services or you are slightly less complicated, you have a place to go to,” said LCol Lapointe. “You walk in our front door and we are able to triage where you are in transition.”

Involving families in this transition has been a priority. Partners of members have access to all the information, services, tools and online resources, and are invited to all the transition meetings.

There are a few steps a member should take when thinking about releasing.

As soon as a member is considering leaving, their unit Commanding Officer should discuss retention. There are many career paths within the military and a different direction in the CAF might interest them. If that isn’t appealing, however, moving them into a civilian role with the Defence Team may be an option.

If the member still wishes to release, the group will help provide a path to allow them the most success possible in their new life.

The CAF TG was five years in the making and dovetails perfectly with the new vision and approach to defence in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy.

“Just five years ago, we wouldn’t have been working as closely with Veteran’s Affairs as we are now, but today we are in the same building and often speak together and share information on different programs so we can ensure that our serving members can benefit from those programs and VAC members can reach back to us and get information if they need to help a client already released,” noted LCol Lapointe.

The Town Hall meetings will be held at Troyes Cinema on March 21 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for members of the CAF while a briefing at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. will be for the families. An additional briefing on March 22 will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for CAF members.