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Canada is the proud home of over 600,000 Veterans. As a Veteran, have you considered making the transition to civilian life? If so, have you wondered how you can make the most of the skills and benefits you’ve earned if you do?
You’ll likely find life outside the service is new and entirely different. However, if you’re transitioning to civilian life, you may find the following helpful tips and resources for Canadian Veterans.
Keep reading to learn more about benefits and Veteran services in Canada.
Canada’s Veterans are vital and revered members of society. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and those who’ve served before them, are heroes. They’re courageous, disciplined, and tenacious.
Still, if you’re a Veteran, you must prepare for the transition to civilian life. Therefore, you must equip yourself with the tools for personal and professional success after years of service.
Some Veterans find it challenging to make the switch. No matter your rank, civilian life can hit you with unexpected challenges. Fortunately, many resources are dedicated to helping military and law enforcement personnel enter civilian settings.
Under a third of CAF personnel leave the service with a pension. In this scenario, finding employment that will continue to meet your salary and pension needs is vital.
If you have yet to earn your pension, you may have considered staying enlisted longer to secure it. However, the longer you stay enlisted, the more challenging it is to transition into civilian life.
All kinds of people have enlisted in the military. Many of them have successfully adapted to civilian life. However, not all Veterans make the transition gracefully.
One of the first steps in transitioning into civilian life is applying for your Veteran’s Service Card (VSC). The card is available for all former members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
It’s a bilingual document that displays several essential pieces of information. This information includes your:
You must meet several criteria to qualify for your Veteran’s Service Card. For example, you must complete basic training. You must also receive an honourable release from the CAF.
You can apply for your VSC online or by mail. The application process is about two weeks faster when you apply online. However, you cannot use email to apply for your VSC for security reasons.
The government of Canada does its best to verify your Veteran eligibility and fulfill VSC requests within ninety days.
You can complete the VSC application process using the Veteran’s Service Card secure portal.
However, some people prefer to use mail, and that’s fine. In that case, you can download the Veteran’s Service Card application, fill it out, and mail it to the address on the form. If you apply by mail, keep a copy of your application.
Along with your application, you must include a quality passport-like photo. You must also have your Canadian Armed Forces certificate of service.
You can direct any questions about your application to [email protected] or call 833-995-0004.
It’s essential to understand your Veteran benefits. If you’re fortunate, you received a Canadian Armed Forces monthly pension. The pension is payable immediately upon your release from active duty.
Timing is essential when it comes to your military pension. However, it would be best if you thought about the challenges you’ll face after completing your service.
Again, the longer you’re in the service, the more challenging it can prove to transition to civilian life. Usually, if someone remains in the service long enough to receive their pension, the shift into civilian life is bumpy.
You can learn more about the CAF pension by visiting the website for retired military personnel.
The CAF advances personnel based on merit. Still, relationships are a critical part of the selection process for acceptance to developmental courses and leadership in the military.
Relationships in the military are as meaningful—if not more so—than they are in civilian life. Still, relationship-building is a vital part of working for any organization.
If you’ve served in the military, you’ll never forget the reprimands you received from instructors. These warnings were your first taste of military-style communication. You might even think they were hilarious if it weren’t so frightening.
Military communication can prove quick, to the point, and harsh. However, even within the military, you expect this kind of communication to change once you’ve transitioned from a fresh “boot” to an experienced Veteran.
Likewise, communication will change once you’ve entered the civilian workforce. As a result, you’ll find changing your communication style is necessary. If you fail to do so, you’ll find it challenging to remain employed and manage your finances on the other side of the uniform.
It helps to recognize that most people have never experienced getting yelled at by a drill instructor or reprimanded by a grizzled Sergeant Major. So even if you think you’ve toned down your communication, you may still not have adjusted your style in a way that is comfortable for civilians.
In some instances, you may find it challenging to respond appropriately to difficult workplace conversations. With this in mind, it helps to develop a habit of pausing for a moment after one of your co-workers finishes talking.
Often, we formulate responses in our heads as people are speaking. However, a brief pause will give you time to convey a more appropriate response.
Growing your career is an integral part of intelligent money management. After military service, you may believe you’ll find civilian life relatively easy. However, you might find it more challenging to build a resume and cover letter than you think.
Canadian employers know that the best way to support former troops is to provide them with the means to help themselves in civilian life. Still, it would be best to make your case to employers with your resume.
Using your resume, you must define your equivalent civilian skills without overselling yourself as having executive experience. Of course, the exception is if you’ve served in the CAF as an executive.
You must also have patience with the civilian application process. It can prove quite lengthy.
It’s crucial to polish your resume as much as possible. For example, you must tailor your resume to each job application. You must also make sure your resume is easy to read.
You must highlight your skills and abilities related to the civilian job market. Where possible, break down your achievements and work history.
Also, use -ing form words—or action words— throughout your resume to highlight your achievements. For example, you should use words like confirming, developing, and leading.
You should include relevant information in your resume, such as your education, training, and work experience. However, keep it concise and to the point.
For instance, you may have served in a specialist department in the military. If so, outline what skills you’ve learned that transfer into civilian life.
Here, you could list specific examples of when you’ve demonstrated those skills in the military. You should also list any certification or education qualifications earned while in service. You can include this information with your pre-military education and qualifications.
Finally, you must proofread your resume relentlessly. But, of course, you should also have someone else proofread it before submitting it to a potential employer.
As a Veteran, you may have the upper hand in securing a government job. You can look for government and Veteran-oriented jobs by visiting Canada’s Veteran Job Bank online.
Still, there are some points that you should mind when applying for a government job. For instance, many government jobs seek exact responses to questions. They’ll screen you if you don’t answer the questions clearly and precisely.
Also, if you’re bilingual, this is an essential skill for government work. It’s required for senior positions. Accordingly, pursuing training in a second language while you’re in the military is a good idea.
Government agencies use AI to sort candidate applications using keywords like their corporate counterparts. With this in mind, look for relevant keywords in job descriptions. Then, you should use those keywords word-for-word.
In civilian life, you can have an equally rewarding second career. On average, Canadian Veterans enter civilian life with an annual salary of $68,370.
You’re much more than your time spent in military service. The military provides you with a strong identity and life narrative. Yet, you can achieve tremendous success outside of the CAF.
Still, you may need a helping hand in this area, and that’s fine. You can find information about transitioning to civilian life online by visiting the Canadian Armed Forces Community. The organization works on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Meanwhile, look at a few civilian career options you might consider after completing your tour of duty.
You may have considered a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) role. Accountants advise people on financial matters.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada promotes the unification of the profession. You may want to consider joining this organization if you’re going to work in the field.
Attention to detail, critical thinking, and time management skills are essential for accounting work. You must also have a firm grasp of analytical and math skills.
You might find working for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) appealing. For some, working in this field is an enriching opportunity.
The CSC welcomes applications from Canadian Veterans. The agency also favours applications from Allied forces members and former RCMP members.
You’ll require decision-making ability, problem-solving, and leadership skills to work as a Corrections Officer. You must also have negotiating skills.
Alternatively, you may have considered owning and operating a small business. You’ll design, launch, and run a new enterprise in this role.
You must have decision-making ability,, strategic thinking, and leadership skills to run a business. You must also have strong communication skills.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business can help you get started on the road toward entrepreneurship.
Firefighting is challenging and rewarding. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
You require bravery, grit, and strategy to work as a Firefighter. Luckily, you’ve already gained these skills in the military.
You must think fast when working as a Firefighter. You’ll also need physical strength and stamina.
You may have served in the military as a healthcare professional. If so, you might consider a career as a Paramedic.
A Paramedic is a skilled medical professional. In this role, you’ll provide emergency medical assistance outside of the hospital setting.
In addition to your medical skill, you’ll need compassion and the ability to work with others as a Paramedic. You’ll also need a high level of mental concentration.
In Canada, pilots are in high demand. If you’ve learned piloting skills in the service, you might find this field attractive for your transition to civilian life.
Piloting pays well. However, this job may not be ideal for enjoying a rich social life. Scheduling in this field is quite erratic.
As a Pilot, you might fly for a commercial airline or charter service. You could fly to either domestic or international destinations.
If you’re a female Pilot, you might consider contacting the Toronto Women in Aviation chapter to aid your career transition.
You must have fast decision-making skills to work as a Pilot. You’ll also need the ability to think rationally and logically. In addition, you must also have good hand-eye coordination and physical strength.
Canada has a proud tradition of policing. There are more than 100 Police forces across Canada.
Together, these organizations employ more than 70,000 officers and nearly 30,000 civilians.
Your military service is highly advantageous if you’re considering a career in law enforcement. Veteran-specific resources are available if you’re interested in this field as a career. You can visit the RCMP Veterans’ Association website to get started on the policing career path.
Social work is a vital part of Canadian society. Furthermore, it’s a role that’s in high demand.
If you’re interested in social work, it’s essential to understand that the profession has a high burnout rate. In addition, it can prove stressful working with people with troubling issues.
You’ll need strong communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills to work in this field. Most importantly, you must have empathy. Also, as a Veteran, you can use your experience to help other Vets who may have trouble transitioning out of military life.
If you prefer a hands-on career, you might consider working in a vocational field. These fields might include:
Many skills you’ve acquired in the service can transfer well to civilian trades. These skills might include discipline, teamwork, and mechanical aptitude.
You can learn more about starting a trade vocation by visiting the Canadian Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Services website.
Trucking is another vital part of the Canadian economy. The industry employs more than 200,000 people.
Truck Drivers deliver goods and materials across the nation. Currently, there’s high demand for people who work in this field.
You’ll need skills in operating large trucks and heavy equipment as a driver. You must also be able to work long hours and have enough physical strength for the job.
No matter your path after the service, you’re not alone. Veterans Affairs Canada Benefits and Services can help if you’ve served in the military.
The organization helps to support Veterans and their families. It also invests in Veteran training that could help you to avoid incurring debt like student loans. There are many programs and services that you can find on the organization’s website.
As a Veteran, exploring your career options is a good idea. The Government of Canada military career transition web page is an excellent place to start.
There, you can find a wide range of information. The website covers topics such as:
Alternatively, you could pursue one of the previously mentioned careers by visiting the Veteran Affairs Canada website. Using either resource, you can find an inspiring range of services and programs to help you transition into civilian life.
Yet, you may want to do more research. If so, you can still find plenty of online Veteran career resources.
Some Veterans may have experienced an emotional or physical disability related to their military service. In these instances, they qualify for the Disability Pension for Veterans.
The Disability Pension is a tax-free monthly benefit. The amount of the benefit varies based on the degree of disability. Payments may also vary based on other factors.
You can learn about the Disability Pension For Veterans by visiting the Government of Canada disability benefits page.
You might also be interested in the Veteran’s Disability Award if you’re injured. You’d receive the award as a lump sum once per disability.
Like the Disability Pension, the government bases the payment on the degree of disability. You can learn more about the award by visiting the Government of Canada’s disability award website.
As a Veteran, you may have suffered a severe and permanent injury. If so, Veterans Affairs Canada offers a one-time payment of up to $300,000 called the Critical Injury Benefit. You must have received the injury during military service to qualify for the amount. This type of support is indicative of how much Veteran services in Canada have improved over the last twenty years.
If you’re an injured Veteran, you can access home care services that will help you remain independent while living at home. The Veteran’s Independence Program (VIP) provides annual funding to help cover the cost of home care services. For instance, VIP offers tax-free allowance for services such as:
VIP does not replace other federal, provincial, or municipal programs. However, it does work alongside them to help you meet your needs.
Some Veterans may have financial difficulties because of low or no income. They can access the War Veterans’ Allowance (WVA) in these instances.
The WVA is a tax-free monthly benefit for Veterans and their dependents or survivors. The allowance can vary based on sources of income, marital status, and the number of dependents in your family.
Veterans who qualify for the WVA can also access grants of up to $1,000 per year through the assistance fund. You can learn more about this service by visiting the Government of Canada’s War Veteran’s Allowance page.
Once you’ve shored up your financial preparedness, you may want to secure a loan for your next big step in life. As a Canadian Veteran, you have several options.
For instance, there are military mortgages just for Canadian military personnel. As well, most major lenders also offer a defence fund for members of the CAF.
You could also find that you’re eligible for a mortgage penalty waiver if you can confirm you worked for the CAF but served elsewhere. In addition, the Department of National Defence has a financial package that you can use to help with the closing costs of a new home.
You can learn more about these Veteran-specific financial products by speaking with your lender.
Hopefully, we’ve revealed enough information about Veteran services in Canada to help you transition to civilian life.
Still, managing your finances is a never-ending journey. So please feel free to browse our blog to learn more about making the most of your money.