ARCHIVED - The Joint Personnel Support Unit

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Backgrounder / May 28, 2009 / Project number: BG-09.006 (Revised/Mise à jour)

In the provision of care and support to ill and injured personnel, the Canadian Forces (CF) are far ahead of where they were ten years ago. As part of an ongoing process to improve the level of services, the CF has established a network of support centres to meet the needs of ill and injured personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force, providing them with an integrated “one-stop service.”  The support centres, known as Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs), operate under the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU), which is headquartered in Ottawa.

The mandate of the JPSU is to respond to requests for support and report to the chain of command on issues of concern raised by ill and injured CF personnel. The JPSU accomplishes the following:

  • It improves the quality of care and services provided to ill and injured CF personnel;
  • It ensures that military personnel have access to the same high standard of care and support across the country;
  • It reduces the potential for gaps, overlaps and confusion, ensuring that no CF member “falls through the cracks”;
  • As military personnel move frequently, the JPSU concept recognizes that people heal better and faster when they are close to their family and their social support network; and
  • The JPSU gives military personnel a new mission – to heal (recover), to regain their strength (rehabilitate) and to choose their best way forward (reintegrate).

The overarching goal of the JPSU is to ensure that all Regular Force and Reserve Force personnel and their families are provided an equitable level of care and support regardless of environment or location, through centralized command and control.

Services

The JPSU provides a CF/VAC integrated “one-stop service” for ill and injured CF personnel and their families. It supports currently serving and releasing CF personnel, both Regular Force and Reserve Force. It caters to both referrals and walk-in clients, to long-term injured personnel and to members considering retirement. It responds to queries from family members regarding support services and programs for ill and injured personnel, and provides referrals as appropriate.

The JPSU plays a central role in the transition process for CF personnel recovering from serious illness or injury, and either progressing towards a normal work schedule or preparing for a civilian career. A member with a medical condition that precludes return to normal duty for more than six months is transferred to the Service Personnel Holding List (SPHL), posted to the JPSU, and assigned to an IPSC. Once the member is medically stabilized and a permanent medical category is assigned, which may include Medical Employment Limitations (MELs), an administrative review is conducted to assess future employability and suitability for continued service in accordance with the CF’s universality of service standards.i Members who do not meet all of the universality of service standards and who are not employable in the CF in any other capacity will be medically released, following considerate and suitable notice, through the nearest IPSC, where they will have access to a range of benefits and services to help them make the transition to civilian life and/or receive extended financial and other support if they are permanently incapacitated.

The services made available through the JPSU include the following:

  • Casualty tracking;
  • Casualty administrative support and advocacy;
  • CF Case Management;
  • Return to Work (RTW) Program coordination;
  • Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) financial services;
  • Liaison with Military Family Resource Centres, local base support representatives and local unit Commanding Officers; and
  • VAC client and transition services.

The JPSU improves on earlier initiatives in several key ways. It provides one-stop access to services and benefits, simplifying the process for clients seeking assistance. It reduces the potential for gaps and overlaps, and the potential for confusion among service providers. VAC staff become engaged earlier in a releasing member’s transition process. Shared standards and guidelines lead to care and support which is consistent across departments (DND/CF and VAC); environments (Army, Navy, Air Force); components (Regular Force and Reserve Force); bases, wings and units; and the country. 

Structure

The JPSU is the central military unit to which a number of Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs) belong. The IPSCs will be located as follows:

  • Calgary, AB;
  • Edmonton, AB;
  • Esquimalt, BC;
  • Gagetown, NB;
  • Halifax, NS;
  • Kingston, ON;
  • London, ON;
  • Meaford, ON;
  • Moncton, NB;
  • Ottawa, ON;
  • Petawawa, ON;
  • St-Jean, QC;
  • St. John’s, NL;
  • Shilo, MB;
  • Toronto, ON;
  • Valcartier, QC;
  • Vancouver, BC;
  • Wainwright, AB; and
  • Winnipeg, MB.

Locations will open over the coming months. The individual IPSCs will be structured and staffed based on the size and relative needs of the population they serve.

A Realignment of Resources

The delivery of casualty support services at the base, wing and formation level has been occurring for as long as the CF has been training and employing members and sending them into operational theatres and special duty operations. On the national level, new initiatives were launched in 1998 and again in 2007. While filling gaps in service, however, these did not comprehensively address the needs of the CF. In 2008, the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) recommended the stand-up of casualty support units which would provide a consistent level of care for all CF personnel. The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) accepted this recommendation, and announced the intent to further enhance casualty support by establishing centrally managed units across the country.Leadership recognized that the earlier system of care management was complex, and that simplifying it would benefit personnel in need. The JPSU provides CF personnel and their families with coordinated, seamless and integrated care when illnesses or injuries occur, and through the stages of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into military or civilian life and employment.

i For more information on universality of service, see the Backgrounder, “Fit to Serve: Universality of Service and Related Support Programs,” at  <http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/view-news-afficher-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=2918>

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