Canada: Do More to Track Military Suicides

  • by: Kristi Arnold
  • target: Canada Department of National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino

Veterans rights advocates say the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada are not properly tracking military suicides. Two soldiers died in the past week. Advocates say that without proper data, it's hard to isolate causes and address the trends. The Canadian Armed Forces released data on suicides, but their data did not include women, those who have retired from the military, or army reservists.

“If you don’t have all the data, then how are you able to determine the causes and address some of the trends?” Bruce Poulin, communications manager for Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, told CBC News.

Veterans Affairs and the Defence Ministry have an obligation to track suicides and provide better treatment. 

“We have people who are getting out [of service], and within a year, committing suicide,” Michael Blais, CEO and director of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, told CBC News. “So many times, you find out about a suicide literally months after it’s happened.

“Veterans Affairs has an obligation – we can’t fix this unless we know what’s wrong,” he says.

Tell the military that suicides must be tracked properly and more help must be given to soldiers, retirees and reservists.

Dear Sirs,


We the undersigned believe more should be done to track suicides and provide treatment for military and former military.


Veterans rights advocates say the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada are not properly tracking military suicides. Two soldiers died in the past week. Advocates say that without proper data, it's hard to isolate causes and address the trends. The Canadian Armed Forces released data on suicides, but their data did not include women, those who have retired from the military, or army reservists.


“If you don’t have all the data, then how are you able to determine the causes and address some of the trends?” Bruce Poulin, communications manager for Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, told CBC News.


Veterans Affairs and the Defence Ministry have an obligation to track suicides and provide better treatment. 


“We have people who are getting out [of service], and within a year, committing suicide,” Michael Blais, CEO and director of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, told CBC News. “So many times, you find out about a suicide literally months after it’s happened.



“Veterans Affairs has an obligation – we can’t fix this unless we know what’s wrong,” he says.



Suicides must be tracked properly and more help must be given to soldiers, retirees and reservists.

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