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

  • Ottawa pledges millions to promote tourism within Canada amid COVID-19 pandemic

    Canada News CBC News
    Ottawa is earmarking millions of dollars to promote holiday travel inside Canada as it seeks to help the tourism industry weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds announced by Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly on Sunday include $30 million originally intended to attract foreign visitors through the federal tourism marketing agency, Destination Canada. Source
  • 'I didn’t have a voice': Former NHL player Akim Aliu discusses racial divides in hockey

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Former NHL forward Akim Aliu is calling on the league to do more to end the racism that “permeates the culture of hockey” as protests fueled by rage over police mistreatment of African Americans flares in the U.S. Source
  • 85 migrant workers test positive in latest Ontario farm outbreak

    Canada News CBC News
    A farm operation in Norfolk County, south of Simcoe, is the latest agricultural facility in Ontario to declare a COVID-19 outbreak after 85 migrant workers tested positive for the virus. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit said Sunday that five workers have been hospitalized and approximately 25 others who tested positive are showing symptoms of the virus. Source
  • 'No justice, no peace': Protests resume in NYC for fourth day

    World News CTV News
    New York City officials were looking for a peaceful way forward as the city entered a fourth day of protests against police brutality that have left police cars burned and led to the arrest of hundreds of people. Source
  • Season's first tropical storm drenches part of Central America

    World News CTV News
    SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR -- The first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific season drenched parts of Central America on Sunday and officials in El Salvador said at least seven people had died in flooding. President Nayib Bukele decreed a 15-day state of emergency to deal with the rains that began pounding the country on Friday ahead of Tropical Storm Amanda's landfall on Sunday. Source
  • Notre Dame forecourt opens to public after long cleanup

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- Notre Dame Cathedral's forecourt is being opened up to the public for the first time since the devastating fire of April 15 last year. The body overseeing the Gothic structure's restoration issued a statement Sunday saying that the reopening was finally made possible after several deep clean operations took place to remove toxic lead dust from the large forecourt. Source
  • Dispatches from Yosemite: Alone with the bears and beauty

    World News CTV News
    The glacier-carved valleys of Yosemite National Park have been closed to the public for nearly three months and a few dozen lucky kids have had it mostly to themselves. Locked down amid cascading waterfalls and giant sequoias, the kids and their families have passed afternoons hiking empty trails, rafting in the river and walking with wildlife now thriving in the near absence of humans. Source
  • Teen rushed to hospital with hammer stuck in head after random attack

    Canada News CBC News
    A 15-year-old boy was taken to hospital with a hammer still lodged in his head after being randomly attacked by a man on Saturday morning, police say. Dakota Grozelle, 25, was biking with his brother in the North End when they stopped for pizza at a business on Selkirk Avenue near Andrews Street. Source
  • Mosques reopen in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem amid virus woes

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- Tens of thousands of mosques across Saudi Arabia reopened Sunday for the first time in more than two months, with worshipers ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as Islam's holiest site in Mecca remained closed to the public. Source
  • Philippine police arrest 90 Chinese nationals for illegal gambling

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- Philippine police have arrested 90 Chinese nationals for allegedly running an online gambling hub without permits and for violating quarantine restrictions, officials said Sunday. Police made the mass arrests Friday after spotting some of the suspects converging closely without face masks outside a rented apartment in violation of quarantine restrictions, in Cavite province south of Manila. Source