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Research Summary / June 2017

Well-Being of Canadian Regular Force Veterans: Findings from LASS 2016 Survey

The health and well-being of Canadian Veterans is a priority for Veterans Affairs Canada. Analysis of survey data collected at regular intervals enables the Department to better understand and address their needs.

What is this Research About?

This work is part of the Life After Service Studies (LASS) program of research that is designed to further understand the transition experiences of Canadian Veterans as they move from military to civilian life. The findings inform programs and services designed to support the well being of Canadian Veterans and their families. It describes the health and well-being of 60,000 Regular Force Veterans who released from service from 1998 to 2015. 

What did the Researchers Do?

In 2016, 2755 Regular Force Veterans (released between 1998 and 2015 at post-entry rank) participated in a Statistics Canada telephone survey. The researchers analyzed this survey data to better understand the transition from military to civilian life, particularly relating to health and well-being.  The analysis covered six indicators of well-being: health, employment (main activity), finances, social indicators, health services and family.

What did the Researchers Find?

Approximately half (52%) of respondents reported an easy adjustment to civilian life, while a third (32%) reported difficulty.  Specifically:

  • Officers transitioned with less difficulty than both Junior and Senior Non-Commissioned Members
  • Those who released in the later years (between 2012 and 2015) had a higher rate of difficult adjustment than those who released earlier
  • Veterans reported chronic conditions, including arthritis, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, at higher prevalence rates than Canadians
  • They also reported higher rates than Canadians for other conditions, including hearing problems, pain and activity limitation
  • Most Veterans were employed
  • The unemployment rate of Veterans is similar to that of other Canadians (both about 8%)
  • While some Veterans experienced low income, the rate was lower than that of Canadians of comparable age and sex.  Seven out of 10 reported satisfaction with their finances.
  • Veterans had the same rate of life stress as Canadians but lower rates of satisfaction with life and community involvement
  • Most families visited a family doctor in the year prior to the survey, and almost half were receiving services from Veterans Affairs Canada.
  • Most Veterans reported that the transition from military to civilian life was easy for their partner and children, though some reported difficulties


VanTil LD, Sweet J, Poirier A, McKinnon K, Sudom K, Dursun S, Pedlar D. Well-Being of Canadian Regular Force Veterans, Findings from LASS 2016 Survey. Charlottetown (PE): Veterans Affairs Canada Research Directorate, Technical Report: June 23, 2017.

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