Ministry of National Defence
When it comes to physical well-being and fitness, women in the CAF may have unique needs throughout their career paths that require special attention. This is especially important given that from 2014 to 2017, women had a higher percentage of medical releases than men (43% vs. 39%) and at earlier points in their careers (14 vs. 17).
To increase the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to be more responsive to women and gender-diverse service members, the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) of the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) have recently received $3.7 million in recurring funding to develop a wellness and fitness program for women.
“The commitment of military leadership on this file and the subsequent financial support demonstrates the Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment to the physical well-being and fitness of women,” said Bruce Plowman, Senior Vice-President PSPs. “We [CFMWS’ PSP] now have the resources to work with our DND and CAF partners to better support women and gender-diverse military personnel throughout their careers with a view to increasing the representation of women in the CAF.
The new program, currently under development, will provide relevant, targeted and evidence-based support in physical well-being and fitness to meet gender-specific demands throughout the phases of a woman’s career. woman. The new program will focus on achieving four key results:
- Physically prepare women for vocational and operational training (e.g. basic military qualifications)
- Reduce susceptibility to musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI)
- Welcoming women during career breaks (e.g. pregnancy)
- Maintain physical function throughout aging (eg, osteoporosis) and gender-specific developmental stages (eg, menopause)
From the outset, the PSP team’s priority will be to focus on prenatal/postpartum, a program area long highlighted as a gap by staff and management. The intention is also to increase and further prioritize efforts in existing program areas, such as fitness, rehabilitation, health promotion, research and sports, to ensure that the physical components, Mental and social skills are well integrated in these domains.
The PSP team is currently developing its action plan, acquiring a new physical performance platform and recruiting staff to deliver this increased capacity.