5 December 2013. Ottawa. The Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) supports the statement, released yesterday, by the Royal Canadian Legion that points out the deficiencies that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Ombudsman raised in his 2012 report, “Fortitude Under Fatigue: Assessing the Delivery of Care for Operational Stress Injuries that Canadian Forces Members Need and Deserve.”

In the same vein we agree with and whole-heartedly support the comments of the Chief of the Defence Staff that self-stigma regarding mental health must end.

We remind the Federal government that it has the social contract within which, in return for a willingness to accept the condition of unlimited liability by which members of the CAF serve their country, Canada, the government, and its military leadership will look after its military sons and daughters after they return from their assigned deployments, as a military family.

Yesterday’s fourth recent apparent suicide reminds us that the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers does not end on the battlefield. There are no easy solutions and the cases are as individual in their tragedy as they are in the reasons behind them. However the CDA urges the government to review all cases with a sense of urgency, to ensure that there are no obstacles to soldiers seeking treatment or in the ability to access treatment, as the Ombudsman has recently pointed out.

Please direct any enquiries to Captain (Ret’d) Peter Forsberg, Public Affairs Officer, at 613-236-9903 or email pao@cda-cdai.ca; or to Colonel (Ret’d) Alain Pellerin, Executive Director, at 613–236-1252 or email director@cda-cdai.ca