Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Veterans More Likely to Have Hard Time Adjusting to Civilian Life: Survey

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Veterans More Likely to Have Hard Time Adjusting to Civilian Life: Survey

Article excerpt

Vets report hard time moving to civilian life

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OTTAWA - As Canadians prepare to mark Remembrance Day, a new survey by Statistics Canada suggests a growing number of veterans are having a hard time adjusting to post-military life.

The survey -- conducted last year but the results of which were only recently released -- found about one in three veterans had a difficult or very difficult transition from military to civilian life.

While that in itself is cause for concern, the bigger worry was that 42 per cent of veterans who retired between 2012 and 2015 reported problems, significantly more than the 29 per cent of those who retired before 2012.

More than 2,700 former regular forces members responded to the survey, which is conducted every three years.

The findings appear to back up widespread complaints from new veterans -- particularly those who served in Afghanistan -- about the onerous process and lack of support for those re-entering the civilian world.

"What it means to me is that it's not getting any better despite how much attention has been paid to this, especially in the last five years," said Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada.

"If it's not improving, we have to look at why that is and we have to ensure there's always as much support as we can put in place for these members when they are leaving the Canadian Forces."

The survey did not provide details as to why new veterans were more likely to experience hardship, though service in Afghanistan and less than 10 years in uniform were factors associated with a difficult adjustment.

But many veterans have complained about delayed pensions, insufficient disability benefits, difficulties finding work, and even trouble accessing provincial health services after years of using the military's medical system.

Those challenges are even more difficult for veterans who have suffered physical or mental injuries while in uniform.

Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance acknowledged last month, as the government unveiled its new suicide prevention strategy for military personnel and veterans, that more had to be done. …

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