National Defence to overhaul support units for wounded after review

OTTAWA -- National Defence is embarking on an overhaul of its oft-maligned support units for ill and injured soldiers, The Canadian Press has learned.

See Full Article

The re-organization was one of three recommendations made in an internal review of the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) system, which was delivered last September to the country's top commander, Gen. Jonathan Vance.

The assessment team, led by Brig.-Gen. David Anderson, identified myriad problems with the system, which is supposed to help physically and mentally wounded soldiers heal and return to their units -- or prepare for medical release.

His conclusions echoed earlier assessments by the Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman in 2013 and that of the defence department's chief of review services, which studied the problems in 2015.

Soldiers have complained that the JPSUs and their subordinate Integrated Personnel Support Centres are chronically under-staffed, but there's also concern that those transferred into the organization lose the social support of their home combat units, frustrating both the unit and the soldiers.

Word of the planned overhaul was apparently poorly communicated and caused anxiety Thursday among a number units, most notably at Garrison Petawawa, Ont.

The reorganization, called the "hybrid option" in Anderson's report, puts the support centres under the command of individual formations and brigades.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan confirmed the reorganization is about to begin, but wouldn't discuss specifics, other than to say no centres would close and that caring for the wounded would remain a top priority.

"We'll be enhancing the capabilities because they do provide an important resource for our troops," Sajjan said.

A spokeswoman for National Defence said the restructuring of the administration will be ongoing and a final decision on how the new system will work has not been made.

"The whole point of the JPSU review is to improve service to soldiers who need it -- that is our bottom line," said Maj. Holly-Anne Brown.

Anderson's report, a copy of which was obtained by CP, said there are approximately 1,400 clients in the system and nearly 50 of the existing 297 staff positions at the centres are vacant.

On one base of 8,000 personnel, there is only one person manning the support centre where 160 injured soldiers are posted, the assessment noted.

Because the centres operate under a separate structure, the review team said base commanders often "hold a negative view of the JPSU structure, based primarily on their lack of understanding of the function and purpose of the JPSU."

Part of the reorganization is meant to address that, but the military is also fighting an uphill battle of optics among the troops it's trying to help.

"Derogatory terms are used by clients themselves to describe other clients who they perceive as being lazy or playing the system," said the report.

The review also recommends renaming the units to counter the stigma they currently carry.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Military re-opening dozens of sexual assault cases

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Military officials say they have moved this year to force out 77 service members found guilty of sexual misconduct. Many of the cases are older and none of the members have been released yet, as their files go through what the military says is due process. Source
  • Iraqi officials: Car bomb kills 4, wounds 8

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD - Iraqi police and hospital officials say a car bomb at a police station in central Baghdad killed four people and wounded eight late Friday night. The explosion targeted the back entrance to the police station and a burning car sent a plume of thick black smoke into the air. Source
  • No ebbing in Chicago’s tide of blood [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The dead were comprised of young, old, black and white. There was no special shield for a respected judge nor for small children. All are part of Chicago’s relentless carnage that last week hit a sickening new milestone. Source
  • Warren, Sanders unhappy about Obama's US-$400K Wall Street speech

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are not happy about reports that former President Barack Obama will be paid $400,000 to speak at a September health care conference put on by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Source
  • No sign driver tried to brake before hitting gas station attendant: police expert

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A police investigator says there was no indication that the driver of a truck involved in a hit and run that killed a gas station worker tried to brake. Const. Kevin Spear, a collision reconstructionist, testified Friday at the trial of Joshua Cody Mitchell, 22, who is charged with second-degree murder. Source
  • Ontario making abortion pill Mifegymiso free for all who need it

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Ontario government is promising to soon make an abortion pill free for all women in the province. Mifegymiso, known as RU-486 outside of Canada, is a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. Source
  • Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- President Donald Trump revived one of his favourite -- and most provocative -- taunts against Elizabeth Warren on Friday, derisively calling the Massachusetts senator "Pocahontas." Trump mocked Warren repeatedly during the presidential campaign for claims she made about being part Native American. Source
  • Man who worked at Alberta daycare accused of possessing child porn

    Canada News CTV News
    WETASKIWIN, Alta. -- A 40-year-old man who worked at a daycare has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. The Internet Child Exploitation unit says they want to speak with families who may have used Tykes and Tots Day Home in Wetaskiwin. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end'

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source
  • U.S. seeks tough North Korea action, but China shows no inclination

    World News Toronto Sun
    Turning to diplomacy after flexing military muscle, the United States will urge the U.N. Security Council on Friday to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, leaning on China in particular to turn the screws on its wayward ally. Source