Strengthening the Forces: The CAF's Health Promotion Program

As part of Health Services, DND is committed to the provision of comprehensive health promotion programming for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The Strengthening the Forces (STF) health promotion program provides CAF leaders and personnel with the information, skills and tools necessary to promote and improve their health and well-being.

The health of CAF personnel is an essential and critical component of operational readiness. CAF personnel must be sufficiently healthy and physically fit to function effectively in very demanding, challenging and potentially dangerous situations. STF enables the CAF leadership to develop and sustain a strong, healthy and fit force, in an environment which supports a lifestyle dedicated to eating well, injury prevention, coping effectively and living addiction-free.

Who provides STF?

STF is provided by the Surgeon General, through the Directorate of Force Health Protection (DFHP). Program specialists in DFHP provide expertise and professional development to CAF and develop specific tools, information products, training and campaign activities for delivery on Bases and Wings across Canada.  STF health promotion program is delivered on Bases and Wings by the CF Morale and Welfare Services' Personnel Support Program, under the guidance of DFHP.

What healthy lifestyle areas are addressed by STF?

There are four major interrelated areas of healthy lifestyle in STF programming:

  1. Addictions Awareness and Prevention:
    1. Focuses on healthy lifestyle choices to prevent the use of tobacco and other drugs, and reducing the risk of developing problems with alcohol and gambling by teaching effective coping skills, positive social interactions, spirituality, and balancing work and family.
  2. Injury Prevention and Active Living:
    1. Focuses on providing guidelines to prevent overuse or repetitive strain, sports or exercise-related injuries or harm; encouraging CAF personnel to maintain a way of life in which physical activity is valued and integrated into daily life, and reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis.  Injury prevention strategies address a combination of environmental, social and individual factors.
  3. Nutritional Wellness:
    1. Focuses on performance nutrition, healthy diet, weight management, and risk reduction for chronic diseases.  Nutritional wellness in the CAF involves providing the knowledge and strengthening the nutrition environment to facilitate CAF members in making healthy choices appropriate to their stage of life, activity level and overall health.
  4. Social Wellness:
    1. Focuses on enhancing mental fitness including stress management, anger management, suicide awareness, healthy interpersonal communications and family violence awareness and prevention.

What is health promotion?

CAF recognize that health promotion is equally the responsibility of the CAF leadership, the individual and the health services community. While the responsibility for achieving and maintaining health ultimately rests with the individual, the organizational and work environments have a marked influence on the individual's health choices. Guided by the population health approach paradigm and aligned with the World Health Organization's key action areas of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion across the interrelated areas of focus, the CAF STF program is committed to building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments for health, strengthening CAF engagement and community action, developing personal skills and contributing to the reorientation of health services toward population health.

Contact Us

Directorate Force Health Protection (DFHP)

  • National Manager, Strengthening the Forces (STF)
    • TBD
  • Addiction Awareness & Prevention
    • Deanne Chafe - (613) 392-2811 ext 5066
    • Kim Bulger - (613) 901-9342
  • Injury Prevention & Active Living
    • Dr. Darrell Menard - (613) 901-9319
    • Lucie Laferrière - (613) 901-9318
  • Nutrition Wellness
    • Guylaine Charbonneau - (613) 901-9341
  • Social Wellness
    • Lucy MacDonald - (613) 901-9339
  • Health Promotion Coordination & Social Marketing
    • Sue Pucci - (613) 901-9320

Base/Wing Health Promotion Offices