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Research Summary / February 2019

Labour Market Outcomes of Veterans

Employment is important to health, well-being and adjustment from military to civilian life. According to the Life After Service Studies, Canadian Armed Forces Veterans who were not working were more likely to report a difficult adjustment.

What is this Research About?

There are a growing number of groups providing employment services to Canadian Veterans.  To ensure needs are being met, this article aims to create a common understanding of how Veterans are doing in the labour force and the characteristics of the populations associated with the various outcomes.

What did the Researchers Do?

The researchers examined data from earlier Life After Service Studies surveys and income studies against several demographic, service and labour market indicators.  They gained insights into Canadian Veterans’ employment and income changes and identified some barriers to employment.

What did the Researchers Find?

  • The employment picture for Canadian Veterans is largely positive. Most Veterans were employed after release from the military and were satisfied with their jobs – both of these rates increased over time.
  • The unemployment rate for Veterans was on par with that of Canadians (both abut 8%)
  • Certain sub-populations of Veterans were more likely to experience difficulties:
    • Unemployed Veterans were younger at release, had fewer years of service and were more likely to have served in the army than Veterans who were working
    • Veterans who were not in the labour force were older, had more years of service and often experienced barriers to employment
    • Employment rates were lower among female Veterans and medically-released Veterans
    • Veterans who were unemployed or not in the labour force were less likely to be satisfied with their life than those who were working.
    • Some employed Veterans also experienced difficulties:
    • One out of five had a difficult adjustment to civilian life
    • One out of five were dissatisfied with their main activities
    • One-quarter were not satisfied with their finances
    • One out of ten were not satisfied with life
    • Veterans were more likely than Canadians to experience activity limitations at work (33% vs 13%)
  • Because outcomes for the Veteran sub-populations were so varied, a targeted approach is needed to foster improvement in employment outcomes where most needed. 


Mary Beth MacLean, Jacinta Keough, Alain Poirier, Kristopher McKinnon , Jill Sweet. (2019) Labour Market Outcomes of Veterans, Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 58-70.

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