Well-Being of Canadian Regular Force Veterans: Findings from LASS 2019 Survey

Well-Being of Canadian Regular Force Veterans: Findings from LASS 2019 Survey

Year published

The Life After Service Studies (LASS) program of research was established to better understand the transition experiences of Canadian Veterans as they move from military to civilian life and the ongoing effects of military service. LASS partners are Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) , the Department of National Defence and Statistics Canada. The first round of LASS was completed in 2010 with cycles every three years.

What is this Research About?

The goal of LASS is to ultimately improve the well-being of Canadian Veterans by better  understanding their transition experiences and areas of need. The LASS survey collects information on health, social and economic status indicators via a telephone survey conducted by Statistics Canada with randomly-selected Veterans. The findings inform programs and services.   

What did the Researchers Do?

The researchers analyzed the data collected through the survey. The report presents the key findings from the 2019 survey and compares those results with previous cycles of LASS.  Where possible, comparisons to the Canadian population are made based on data from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Comparisons are also made between male and female respondents.

What did the Researchers Find?

  • 45% of Veterans reported an easy adjustment to civilian life and 39% reported difficulty
  • The highest rates of difficult adjustment were reported by  Junior Non-Commissioned Members (47%) compared to 35% of Senior Non-Commissioned Members and 21% of Officers
  • 60% of Veterans are employed
  • A strong majority of Veterans reported high levels of satisfaction with life (82%), their main activity (72%), their family (82%) and their finances (72%)
  • Most Veterans report a high degree of social support (81%) but only half (53%) had a strong sense of  community belonging
  • Compared to Veterans who released between 1998 and 2015, those who released more recently (between 2015 and 2018) had higher rates of:
    • difficult adjustment (47% vs 37%)
    • medical release (49% vs 28%)
    • anxiety (30% vs 20%)
    • depression (33% vs 24%)
    • not being in the labour force (43% vs 36%)
  • Compared to earlier LASS surveys, LASS 2019 noted increases in Veteran rates of:
    • retirement
    • non-labour force activities
    • some chronic conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and PTSD
    • participation in VAC programs (39% in 2010 vs 52% in 2019)
  • Compared to Canadians of comparable age and sex, Regular Force Veterans:
    • were less likely to experience low income (6% vs 12%)
    • were twice as likely to report chronic pain (51% vs 22%)
    • had similar rates of unemployment (both about 5%)
    • had higher rates of chronic health conditions such as back problems (45% vs 22%); arthritis (35% vs 20%); depression (26% vs 7%); anxiety (21% vs 6%); and post-traumatic stress disorder (24% vs 1%)
    • experienced regular activity limitations more often (31% vs 10%)
    • had similar rates of heavy drinking (both about 25%)
    • were less likely rate their health as “very good or excellent” (39% vs 60%)


Sweet J, Poirier A, Pound T, Van Til LD, Well-Being of Canadian Regular Force Veterans, Findings from LASS 2019 Survey. Charlottetown PE: Veterans Affairs Canada. Research Directorate Technical Report, 09 Oct 2020.