Recently the Harper government issued a statement committing $200 million dollars over 6 years for the mental health of soldiers. At the same time, though, it appears that no effort has been made to increase access to mental health, counselling and rehabilitation. Worse, soldiers who are discharged prior to serving 10 years in the CF are denied pension plans that they have contributed to.
The Canadian Forces requires its soldiers to serve for a period of 10 years before becoming eligible to draw upon the pension funds they contributed towards throughout their years of service. For soldiers afflicted with PTSD who are unfit to serve as a result of their illness and quit or are discharged, there is nothing available to them. No pension, no support, no new career.
This issue has been covered recently by the CBC as the mental health of veterans becomes less and less stigmatized and more soldiers feel comfortable speaking out. As the CBC reported, though, '...but because they aren't eligible for a full pension before they've completed 10 years of service, many soldiers feel that coming forward with a PTSD complaint in their first decade could put them on a fast track to dismissal, says Peter Stoffer, an NDP MP and veterans affairs critic.
Once the Department of Defence determines that a person has PTSD, "all of a sudden the clock starts ticking on your removal from the military," says Stoffer, who is calling for the abolishment of the 10-year rule.
Based on the current rules, if Armed Forces members are released prior to the 10-year mark, they are only entitled to a return of their pension contributions.'
CBC's full article on the issue can be found here. The Wounded Warrior Project, a veteran's service organization that provides services, information, programs and services for injured soldiers, can be found here.