Skip to main content

Navigating the System

couple hugging
Several organizations work to ensure your family gets the support and services you need when a loved one dies while serving.

The administrative and organizational structure of the Canadian Armed Forces can be complex and confusing, more so if you are trying to navigate the system after the death of a loved one. To help you during this difficult time, several organizations work seamlessly together to ensure you and your family get the support, information and services you need, when you need them.

Designated Assistant

A Designated Assistant acts as a vital link between the Canadian Armed Forces, the casualty, their chosen Next of Kin, the personal representative, and any substitute decision-maker.

Who is eligible

You may be eligible for support from a Designated Assistant if you are:

  • A serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces; and
    • Your Commanding Officer (CO) assigned a Designated Assistant to help you through a difficult situation; or
  • A chosen next of kin of:
    • An ill or injured CAF member who is eligible for support; or
    • A fallen soldier

What you need before you start

For information, contact your local transition centre or contact the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time.) :

  • Canada wide toll free: 1-800-883-6094
  • National Capital Region: 613-995-1457
  • Worldwide via the Military network: CSN 995-1457
  • TTY/TDD: 1-800-467-9877
  • [email protected]

The Canadian Armed Forces - Transition Group (CAF TG)

The Canadian Armed Forces - Transition Group (CAF TG), is working with Veterans Affairs Canada and other partners to provide professional, personalized, and standardized transition services to CAF members, veterans and their families.  They provide special care and attention to help with your transition to civilian life.

CAF TG headquarters is located in Ottawa, with 9 regional Transition Units and 32 Transition Centres located across the country.

Transition Centres are the local face of the CAF TG, providing an integrated, one-stop centre where all CAF members, Veterans, and their families can go to a Transition Centre for information regarding transition-related matters. The goal for these Transition Centres, manned by staff from CAF, VAC and our numerous partners is to offer professional, personalized, and standardized transition services to all CAF members, Veterans, and their families.

Contact your closest Transition Centre to get information on the benefits, programs and family services that are right for you.

Who is eligible

You are eligible for benefits, programs and services from your local Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centre if you are:

  • serving or former CAF personnel
  • family of a CAF member
  • family of the fallen

To find your closest local Transition Centre : Canadian Armed Forces Transition Centres -

Family Liaison Officers 

You can find a Family Liaison Officer at each Transition Centre  , located in most Canadian Armed Forces communities. The Family Liaison Officer is available to support all your family’s needs. The role of the FLO: 

  • Tailor the entire suite of Military Family Services Program (MFSP) services to respond to the needs of families of CAF personnel who are coping with an illness, injury and/or special need, or who have died while serving; 
  • Be a member of the Designated Assistant Disengagement Team; 
  • Provide or support the development of educational and awareness sessions, briefings, and resources pertaining to: bereavement, transition; change management; crisis management; family violence; impact of injury; etc.; 
  • Support/counsel family members in crisis or imminent crisis; 
  • Conduct group and individual counselling sessions to support families of CAF personnel who are coping with an illness, injury and/or special need, or who have died while serving; 
  • Assist families of CAF personnel who are coping with an illness, injury and/or special need, or who have died while serving, in their navigation of, and access to, relevant programs and services; 
  • Provide interim support and make appropriate referrals to relevant service providers.

What happens after a CAF member dies? 

Following the death of a Canadian Armed Forces member, there is a series of events/processes that the surviving family will typically experience.

Benefits - Compensation benefits to which you may be entitled

The availability and administration of death-related benefits is shared by several legislative acts, regulations and agreements. The following information summarizes what benefits are available, through which organization, and, where available, the various eligibility requirements. As benefits entitlements may change periodically, please contact the listed source for the most current information.

For more information visit:

Spiritual Care and Pastoral Support

The Canadian Forces Chaplain Branch provides spiritual and religious support and counselling to all military personnel and their families. We journey with them as they adjust to, and live with the impact of loss. This pastoral care includes individual spiritual counselling, family/group counselling, pastoral visits, as well as the assistance with and provision of pastoral care through such rites of passage as funerals, committal services and memorial services.

Find a Chaplain in your area or call 1-866-502-2203

Veterans Affairs Canada’s Pastoral Outreach Program

You and your immediate family can get spiritual support when the need arises through VAC’s pastoral outreach service.
If you are dealing with end of life issues, the death of a Veteran, a burial in the National Cemetery, or bereavement, they can connect you with spiritual support.

Many of the clergy associated with the pastoral outreach service are retired Canadian Forces Padres or Royal Canadian Legion Chaplains who are familiar with the military way of life and the challenges you may face as you transition to post-service life, or deal with the loss of a loved one.