Canadian Armed Forces Transition Program

Backgrounder / November 25, 2013 / Project number: BG 13.040

Every year, several thousand military members transition out of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Releasing CAF personnel are highly-trained individuals who have benefited from ongoing professional development opportunities and lived unique experiences throughout their careers. They also generally possess an accelerated learning curve as well as advanced leadership and teamwork skills. While the CAF endeavours to retain as many members as possible, the Transition Program exists to support releasing CAF personnel in transferring their abilities to civilian life upon release from the military.

The Transition Program consists of a wide variety of initiatives and is focused on preparing members for a second career. This process is facilitated by connecting with employers and industry and educating them on the benefits of hiring former military members. The Transition Program also connects releasing military members with potential civilian employers, continuing education, vocational training, entrepreneurial opportunities, and other second career possibilities. Additionally, it offers tailored support for those CAF members releasing for medical reasons. The Transition Program works collaboratively with the following stakeholders:

  • CAF Personnel Selection Officers, via the Second Career Assistance Network services;
  • CAF Integrated Personnel Support Centres;  
  • Service Income Security Insurance Program Financial Services;
  • Veterans Affairs Canada; and
  • Not-for-profit organizations and external stakeholders.

Second Career Assistance Network

The Second Career Assistance Network is provided through local base/wing Personnel Selection Offices and includes career and educational counseling, career transition workshops, long-term planning seminars, as well as a series of interactive seminars open to transitioning CAF members and their spouses or common law partners. Second Career Assistance Network seminar topics include:

Not-For-Profit Organizations (Third Party Partnerships)

  • Military Employment Transition Program – Provided in cooperation with Canada Company, the Military Employment Transition Program serves as a one-stop web portal for all things related to transition for serving and retired military members. The Transition Program has established a strategic partnership with Canada Company, a charitable, non-partisan organization that serves as a bridge between business, community leaders and the CAF. The Military Employment Transition Program educates prospective employers, including private and public sector organizations on the benefits of hiring former members of the CAF. It also connects employers to the retiring CAF population and potential employees. Any CAF member can open an account on the Military Employment Transition Program webpage and search for relevant programs, services, and opportunities.
  • Prince’s Charities (Operation Entrepreneur) – As part of the Prince’s Charities Canada, Operation Entrepreneur is for transitioning CAF members interested in realizing their dreams of entrepreneurship. It offers CAF members the education, financing, and mentoring needed to start and sustain their own successful business. Operation Entrepreneur was developed and is delivered in partnership with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and Enactus Memorial at Memorial University of Newfoundland, while being supported by the Department of National Defence, Service Income Security Insurance Program Financial Services and Veterans Affairs Canada. For more information, please visit the Operation Entrepreneur website.
  • Helmets to Hardhats – Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada is a partnership with Canada's Building Trades Unions, their many employers across Canada, and government stakeholders. The program offers apprenticeship opportunities to achieve a journeyperson qualification in the building and construction trade of one's choice, as well as potential opportunities in other management positions within this industry, all leading to a promising new career.  For more information, please visit the Helmets to Hardhats website.
  • Canadian Franchise Association – Canadian Franchise Association is working with the CAF to launch a veterans program assisting military personnel transitioning out of the military who are interested in becoming a franchise owner. Participating franchises are committed to offering qualified veterans their best offer. For more information, please visit the Canadian Francise Association website.
  • Forces @ Work: Sustainable Job Placement Trial Project – Managed by the Calgary-based non-profit organization, Prospect Human Services, Forces @ Work is a hands on personal career service designed to explore career goals, realistically assess a member’s ‘wants and needs’ of a second career, identify gaps in training, manage expectations, and match transitioning CAF members with civilian careers. While the two-year trial is currently being run in Edmonton, the intent is to expand the service nationally.  The project offers placement services, retention services, as well as ongoing career and cultural transition support. The program was developed with input from military members for military members.

Transition Programs for Ill and Injured (Serving Members)

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program - Serving Members – The CAF’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program enables eligible serving members facing medical release to participate in an approved transitional activity such as on-the-job-training, work experience, or a civilian vocational rehabilitation training program for up to six months prior to their release. Transitioning members are supported by the CAF through their individual units or an Integrated Personnel Support Centre.  The Vocational Rehabilitation Program – Serving Members does not provide financial support for approved transitional activities.  However, financial support through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan may begin up to six months in advance of the date of release and is often combined with the time made available through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program – Serving Members for a seamless transition of vocational support.
  • Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Vocational Rehabilitation Program – The SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation Program assists medically-releasing CAF members in obtaining the tools to transition to the civilian workforce. The SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation Program will primarily build on existing skills wherever possible; however, if insufficient skills exist then re-training in a new field will be considered. The SISIP Vocational Rehabilitation Program also provides employment preparation and job search for clients ready to transition into the civilian workforce. Dependant on the circumstances, a member may opt for the Veterans Affairs Canada Vocational Rehabilitation Program vice the SISIP Rehabilitation Program.
  • Public Service Priority Hiring – Within the Public Service Employment Act and Public Service Employment Regulations, there is an entitlement for processing CAF members who are medically released with priority. Eligible members must apply for a priority appointment within five years of release.
  • Integrated Transition Plan – An Integrated Transition Plan is a process that is administered by the Integrated Personnel Support Centres when a CAF member has a recommendation of a Permanent Medical category and confirmation of complex transition needs. This transition plan may take place over a period of six months to a maximum of three years, starting when their agreed transition plan is finalized and a release instruction issued. The Integrated Transition Plan is developed by an interdisciplinary team who will recommend the period of transition in order to complete the pre-release transition plan and provide a proposed date of release. The goal is to provide the member with sufficient time to complete the proposed pre-release plan, which always includes input from the releasing member, Veterans Affairs Canada for benefits and services, as well as Service Income Security Insurance Program Financial Services, and not-for-profit job related organizations, when applicable.

For more information about the support to ill and injured CAF members, please visit the Director Casualty Support Management.

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