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Statcan surveys on Canadian veterans

OTTAWA - Two new Statistics Canada surveys have provided an up-to-date snapshot of the financial and quality of life concerns of soldiers leaving the military. Some details:

The Pre- and Post-Release Income survey looked at the financial health of both regular and the different classes of reserve soldiers between 1998 and 2011.

— Average income for full-time soldiers in the year prior to being released from the military was $70,900 (in 2011 constant dollars), increasing in the release year then declining the year after to $65,000. From there, it takes an average of eight years to return to post-release income levels.

— The lower ranks, who are the lowest-paid soldiers, and those kicked out of the military felt the impact of the decline the most; it took them an average of six years to recover financially.

— Part-time and full-time reservists bucked the trend; their incomes increased after leaving the military to an average of $39,400, up from $35,300. Eight years after release, incomes increased to $60,300 within eight years.

— In general, younger veterans experienced both the greatest increases in income and the highest rates of low income.

The Health and Well-Being of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans examined quality of life issues:

— Average age of regular force member who left the military between 1998 and 2012 was 44; 31 for for both part-time and full-time reservists.

— Roughly three-quarters (74 per cent) of departing full-time soldiers were married or living common law; 56 per cent of reservists reported the same status.

— Just over half the regular force members (52 per cent) departed voluntarily; only seven per cent were kicked out, but 21 per cent were given a medical discharge.

— Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of regular force reported chronic health conditions upon release, including ongoing pain (34 per cent), back injuries (35 per cent) and obesity (26 per cent).

— Roughly one-quarter (24 per cent) of full-time soldiers reported one or more chronic mental health issues after leaving, including post-traumatic stress (13 per cent), anxiety disorder (11 per cent) and mood disorders (17 per cent).

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