Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question. I know she cares deeply about the health and well-being of our military personnel.
We value the core duties and roles of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces very highly. I would like to reassure the member that the administrative arrangement the ombudsman's office shares with the department does not affect its ability to conduct efficient independent investigations. The model we have in place mirrors almost all other similar offices across government and meets the test of proper stewardship of resources. The Department of National Defence is committed to maintaining a positive and productive working relationship with the ombudsman. That is why we have encouraged him to come forward if he faces any barriers to carrying out his mandate.
My colleague mentioned an ombudsman's report about soldiers released for medical reasons. As the member knows, the government considered several options to improve the transition process.
Through our new defence policy, we are transforming our approach to managing our women and men in uniform. This includes ensuring that we provide the best possible care and support to our military personnel as they transition out of uniform.
As such, a new transition group of approximately 1,200 personnel will be set up to provide flexible and personalized support to members leaving the forces as well as those recovering from illness or injury, with the goal of returning them to active duty.
Furthermore, we will re-establish a personnel branch of experts in military human resources management to ensure that pension administration is complete before military personnel move on to post-military life.
These are complex initiatives that will not be implemented overnight. The Canadian Armed Forces will take the time that is necessary to get this right while ensuring that services to transitioning members continue to be delivered.
We have also been working closely with Veterans Affairs on pursuing ways to streamline and improve coordination between our two departments. Serving our veterans is one of the highest priorities we have as a government and we will not let them down.
Our collaboration will ultimately improve the transition experience for Canadian Armed Forces members. The goal is to help releasing members with a range of harmonized and integrated services as they transition.
This means clear guidance, timely access to benefits and services, and coordinated case management between National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada. We look forward to the ombudsman’s continued support in making improvements that benefit the military, departmental civilians, and all those who form part of the defence team.