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Veterans Affairs committee  In my experience, no. There's limited awareness of that resource among the folks we're working with specifically. Now, I have to caveat that with a couple of things. First, I don't often interact directly with our veteran clients. My work within the organization is largely strategic.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Certainly. I think that's, shall we say, a hiring drive or an effort by Veterans Affairs to hire more veterans. I think that would be a very positive thing. I would be cautious about an exact target that has to be hit. Trying to get human beings to fit into neat boxes of numbers is sometimes a difficult thing, and it's not always productive.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Absolutely. It's difficult to see how that could not be a positive thing. Part of the entire reason my organization exists is this: In the late nineties, our program founders discovered veterans were often not well served by many available civilian services, because there was such a massive disconnect in terms of those providing the services not understanding the experience.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  I think in order to understand well what that metric is telling us, we need a really accurate profile of who those folks are. The largest single employer, according to this study, is the public service. I think Mr. Thivierge spoke about this earlier. We see that those who served in commission roles as officers are drawn to that work.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Yes, absolutely. I would entirely agree with that statement that a day is insufficient. My understanding is that with the establishment of the CAF transition group, those services will be occurring—

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Okay, I'll try this again. I'll speak more loudly and slowly and see if that helps things. Yes, absolutely. I agree with the statement that a day certainly is not enough.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  I'll try this once more with the mike a bit closer. Hopefully, that's helpful. Yes, a day is not enough. My understanding is the CAF transition group is going to provide services that will occur throughout a member's service cycle—from the beginning and during service, then ramping up, certainly, as they prepare to release.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Yes. In particular, to perhaps highlight some examples of where I think this type of service is being provided, out here in British Columbia, where our organization is headquartered, there are two organizations that immediately spring to mind. The first is the Institute for Veterans Education and Transition, also called IVET, and it is based at the University of British Columbia.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Down in the States, you can see similar problems happening with the GI bill. People are leaving or not completing post-secondary education, not because they have issues with finance, but because they have issues with cultural fit and retention.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  If I understand you correctly, you're referring specifically to the breakdown of funding between the government and private.... Is that correct?

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  We are a registered service provider for Veterans Affairs Canada. We have been for almost a decade now. What it means is that veterans with an eligible claim can attend our program and have those costs covered by Veterans Affairs. I would say that 30% to 50% of the veterans who access our program do not have a claim with Veterans Affairs, for whatever reason.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for the opportunity to be here today. My name is Oliver Thorne. I'm the executive director of the Veterans Transition Network, which is a registered Canadian charity that provides counselling and transition programs for members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces.

February 13th, 2023Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  I would absolutely echo the comments by Mr. Conrad and Mr. Meincke. I would also ask for a clear understanding from the department as to how this will be avoided completely in future. I know as well that a report was published by an expert panel on MAID and mental illness. I'm looking at the report in front of me on the Canada.ca website.

October 24th, 2022Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  I think that is in the process of being built out and has been over the course of the past few years. Specifically, this would be the transition group within the Department of National Defence. Previously, it was known as the JPSUs, the joint personnel support units. Those have all been rebranded or relaunched as transition centres, if you will, across Canada, the idea being that preparation for transition will become a standardized part of military training throughout a military individual's career, but that as they approach their release from the military, that training within the transition group will ramp up, with the hope of better preparing them for the transition from military to civilian life.

October 24th, 2022Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne

Veterans Affairs committee  On the topic of suicidality, our staff undergo first aid mental health training in order to be able to respond to suicide or suicidal ideation. Specifically on our programs, all of our facilitators are registered mental health professionals—either psychologists or registered clinical counsellors—and the peer supporters, the paraprofessionals I mentioned earlier, the veterans who work alongside our psychologists, undergo specialized training with our organization as well.

October 24th, 2022Committee meeting

Oliver Thorne