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Seamless Canada co-chairs, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Bryan May representing MND Anita Anand, and Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick Mary Wilson joined representatives from provinces and territories at the 2023 Seamless Canada Steering Committee (SCSC) meeting on May 24 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
During this annual meeting, which aims to collaborate across Canadian jurisdictions to enhance supports for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families, delegates focused on ongoing work that will help provide solutions to the employment challenges that military spouses and partners face as they move across the country. Delegates also discussed the progress made by the Council of Ministers of Education on reducing education barriers for students relocating between jurisdictions through its efforts to update the Student Mobility Guide. This marked the first time the annual meeting was hosted in New Brunswick since its creation in 2018.
The SCSC remains centered on three core themes to support CAF members and their families: healthcare access, child and youth education including childcare, and spousal and partner employment. Being near 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, delegates had the opportunity to interact directly with CAF members and some families to learn more about their insights, and gained an even greater understanding of the challenges they experience.
“Seamless Canada is all about putting people first, said General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff. “We ask a lot of our members as they serve Canada at home and abroad. They, and in-turn their families, are required to move between provinces and territories to train and gain the experience needed to respond in an era of deteriorating global security. We are grateful for the efforts of our provincial and territorial partners to understand the challenges our people face and to consider how they can help make lives better for our members and their families.”
The SCSC representatives were also invited to preview the new Seamless Canada website which provides CAF members and their families with access to resources that can support them through their relocation experiences. The website is set to launch in June 2023.
At the conclusion of the conference, delegates issued a joint communiqué where they recognized the mobility challenges military families face, and re-affirmed their commitment to address these issues through the ongoing work of Seamless Canada.
As Seamless Canada efforts continue, representatives from provinces and territories work to explore various employment-related challenges CAF members and their spouses/partners face when relocating. This includes finding a comparable job in the province or territory of their new posting and getting support to obtain equivalencies for accreditations and language requirements that may differ across jurisdictions.