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    Brigadier-General (BGen) Mark Misener, Commander Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (CAF TG) and Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Rémy Lapointe, CAF TG CWO (not pictured), were greeted by the guard at building S-111 at Garrison Petawawa on March 21. CAF TG information sessions were held at the Garrison on March 21 and 22. (Photo by Able Seaman Elizabeth Ross)

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    BGen Misener at the Normandy Officers’ Mess during a presentation on March 21 - three briefings were held for CAF members as well as for their families. (Photo by Aviator Melissa Gloude)

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CAF Transition Group improving career transition experience

By Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday March 28, 2019

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Transition Group was established last year to provide engaged, personalized and guided support to transitioning members, with special care and attention to those who are ill or injured, as well as veterans and family members.

Former 4th Canadian Division Support Group Commander and current Commander CAF Transition Group (CAF TG) Brigadier General (BGen) Mark Misener was at Garrison Petawawa March 21 and 22 to share details about the organization, what it has accomplished to date, and what’s ahead for the CAF TG.

Sessions were held at all garrisons, bases and wings across Canada primarily for releasing members or personnel interested in transitioning to the civilian world and their families.

Those in attendance learned about the mandate of the CAF TG, how the transition process is changing from a culture of release to one of transition, and the full range of support, tools, compensation and benefits available to them.

Whether a CAF member is embarking on the road to recovery, entering rehabilitation, returning to duty in the CAF, or transitioning to life after service, the CAF TG is committed to assisting them in their journey.

“We want to make sure they’re ready,” said BGen Misener, noting military members can have a tough time leaving the uniform behind. “They spend a long time in the military, they get good at what they do and that transition to civilian life can be hard.”

There are many psycho-social aspects to transitioning out of the military in addition to leaving behind a military career and returning to the civilian world, BGen Misener noted.
Transition requires preparation and often psychological, social and emotional adjustments, both as an individual and a family.

“It doesn’t only affect you, it affects everyone around you,” he said. “Your families are just as much a part of the service as you are.”

He stressed the importance of planning early, and taking into account the various aspects of transition like health, finances, social integration, and employment.

“If you’re not prepared and you don’t have a plan, you’re not going to do well,” he said. “Life happens, it’s unpredictable, so have a plan B.

“Much like we focus on operational readiness in the CAF, I’m advocating we improve our transition readiness as we go through our career,” he added. “We want to make sure, when the time comes, that you and your family are as ready as you can be.”

Effective April 1 of this year, a Regular Force or Primary Reserve member and their family undergoing transition will follow an initial, chain-of-command-implemented transition process that includes examining retention options; a recommended minimum six-month period to establish a transition plan; accessing supports and services specific to their needs; and a 30 calendar day window when the member is protected from taskings or employment to focus solely on transition.

The launch of the CAF Transition Group introduced a transition trial at Canadian Forces Base Borden which will assist in developing a permanent, standardized approach to transition that, once tested and validated, will be put in place in future across the CAF.

In the meantime, CAF TG is committed to continuous improvement, and CAF TG Chief Warrant Officer CWO Rémy Lapointe encouraged members to have their say.

“We want to make sure you have everything you need to put a plan in place…to ensure you have a good experience,” he said. “To improve on what we are doing, we need your feedback.”

On hand as well during the local briefings were a team of transition experts including representation from key partners like Veterans Affairs Canada, as well as Commander CAF Transition Unit Eastern Ontario (CAF TU EO) Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Angie Lapointe, who is in charge of Transition Centres in Petawawa, Kingston, Trenton, and North Bay.

The presentation also highlighted online tools like the Military Career Transition portal on Canada.ca, My Transition Guide, My Transition app and enhanced transition training, as well programs and services available through VAC, SISIP Financial, the Base Personnel Selection Office, and the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre.

Each year, approximately 10,000 members release from the CAF.

For more information, visit www.canada.ca/military-transition.