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365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We listen.

We serve Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families - immediate and extended. Whether you are located within Canada, the U.S. or overseas, the team is only a phone call or email away. 

We understand the military lifestyle and we’re here to help you find answers to the questions that come up as a result of your military life. Our counsellors are a team of helping professionals. As trained counsellors, we’re here to support you in a safe space.  

Our headsets are on.

1-800-866-4546 (North America) 
00-800-771-17722 (International) 

Our inbox is always open.

A trained Family Information Line counsellor will reply to you in your preferred language of English or French.

[email protected]

We have video too.

You can schedule video appointments with the same counsellor by email at 

[email protected]
  • Call us

    Our headsets are on.

    1-800-866-4546 (North America) 
    00-800-771-17722 (International) 

  • Email us

    Our inbox is always open.

    A trained Family Information Line counsellor will reply to you in your preferred language of English or French.

    [email protected]
  • Video appointment

    We have video too.

    You can schedule video appointments with the same counsellor by email at 

    [email protected]

Why connect with the Family Information Line?

Information

  • We provide information on the Department of National Defence (DND), Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), CFMWS and local relevant community programs, services and resources. 
  • Counsellors offer client needs assessments and counselling intake screening  
  • We maintain automated information system (operations, ships, newsflashes) 

Support and Referral

  • We deliver programs like short-term counselling, support groups, coaching, virtual emotional support and virtual workshops. We will work with you to develop a support plan that you’re comfortable with, followed by a discussion on next steps. This might take the form of information, referral, emotional support and/or problem solving. 
  • We refer to programs offered by Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs), Military Family Services (MFS), SISIP Financial, Children’s Education Management, Military Spousal Employment Network, Support Our Troops, PSP and more. 
  • We find relevant resources using CAF/DND departmental services like the libraries and archives, DND general inquiries, CF orderly rooms and VAC. 
  • We also look for resources in your local community. When it is necessary, we can connect you to those resources, such as a doctor, a mental health professional, or Canadian Mental Health Association.  
  • We offer language liaison and follow-up when you need it.   
  • Scheduled sessions - an opportunity for you and your family to make appointments to connect with the same counsellor at a time convenient to you. This new option also provides the choice of either phone or video session for a single or multiple sessions. 

Crisis Support

  • We can help you to assess and plan for emergencies.  
  • If you are in distress, we can offer immediate support. 
  • Let us help stabilize the situation. We can help you find Emergency Child Care, or introduce you to Support Our Troops for emergency financial assistance, a duty Padre, police or medical services. 

Confidentiality

  • Your identity and the information you provide will not be shared with any other person outside the Family Information Line office unless required by law or at your request. Keep in mind that we are required to contact appropriate authorities whenever we believe someone is a serious threat to themselves or to others, and in all cases of suspected child abuse. 
  • Staff of the Family Information Line must also comply with the requirements of the Federal Privacy Act, which deals with the collection, retention, use, storage and disclosure of personal information. All employees must sign a confidentiality agreement at the beginning of their employment.

You are not alone!

Check out examples of questions we are often asked

  • How can I best support my children through a posting transition? 

    A posting can be a source of stress for families as it can involve the uprooting of the family from their support system and familiar environment to a different place with its new set of challenges. Proactively planning towards a positive integration into the new community can provide reassurance during this transition period. We recommend connecting with the future Military Family Resource Centre as soon as possible to gather information and tips on the new posting location. Exploring social activities hosted at the new site and possibly even a family pairing program can be of benefit as well. Reaching out to the guidance counsellor at the Children Education Management program when a posting occurs between different provinces or territories program can also help prepare for a smooth transition from one school board to the next. Family Information Line counsellors can provide assistance in accessing these organizations and talk things through at any time, day or night. 
     
    In terms of the family’s wellbeing during this adjustment period, keep in mind that there is short-term support offered through the Canadian Forces Member’s Assistance Program (individual, marital and family counseling). Each individual will experience the move in a unique way and developing a sense of understanding, acceptance and support within the family unit is beneficial in overcoming difficulties. The Center for Family Resilience in UCLA has created an exercise that is particularly well suited during the transition period. It allows a broad exploration of the moving experience as a whole. The losses that will be felt can be acknowledged and validated, the gains and opportunities stemming from the move can be explored and anticipated and the elements that won’t be changed can be listed to highlight to bring comfort and reassurance. The content listed inside this tool can reflect the reality of each child, adolescent or adult.  

    The Family Information Line counsellors are available at any time to go through this tool and provide guidance on how to utilize this tool within the family. We can also direct you to various publications such as the Family Guide to the Military Experience for information.  

  • My loved one is heading to basic training, what do I need to know?
    Visit useful information for admitted applicants and their parents FAQ for more information about military education, graduation ceremonies, contacting their loved one in case of emergency and how to send mail or parcels to them. Family Information Line counsellors can provide assistance in navigating this website to help answer the questions you may have at any time.  We also recommend the Family Guide to the Military Experience for families who may not be familiar with the military lifestyle. This handbook is accessible and can help parents prepare for what’s to come.
  • My loved one has an Operational Stress Injury, who do I turn to?
    Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) are difficult not only for the person who is experiencing them but for the family members as well. When a loved one is struggling with an OSI, it can be difficult to figure out how to help and how to adapt to the change in family dynamics. If you are feeling overwhelmed, helpless or exhausted, Family Information Line counsellors are here 24/7 to listen, to provide guidance and to connect you with resources that may be of benefit to you, your family and the person experiencing the OSI.  
     
    To help you better face the reality of an OSI, we aim to connect the family with mental health professionals that can provide ongoing support either through the Canadian Forces Members Assistance Program (CFMAP), the Military Family Resource Centre or in a community setting. We provide information and referrals to educational materials such as the Virtual OSI Resource for Caregivers and National Defence Publications which supports families in developing a greater understanding of OSIs. We also provide referrals to the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program and discuss the benefits of connecting with others who may be experiencing a similar reality. For the families who are in the process of medically-releasing from the CAF, we provide information and material on the release process.  
     
    Connecting with the Family Information Line and your local Military Family Resource Centre are first steps towards building a greater support system for your family. 
     
  • What services does the Family Information Line deliver in line with the Veteran Family Program?
    As a service provider of the Veteran Family Program, the Family Information Line’s referral, crisis management and supportive counselling services are extended to the veteran population and their families – immediate and extended. We are available to provide information and guide veterans, medically-releasing members and their families to resources published by the Veteran Family Program, Department of National Defence and Veteran Affairs Canada. We are also available to provide guidance and resources to various service providers who may be supporting veterans in the community. Whether it is connecting you with the Veteran Emergency Transition Services, the local Legion or sharing caregiver resources, we are dedicated to providing assistance to the veteran community.
  • How is my privacy protected when I connect with the Family Information Line? Is it confidential?
    In accordance with protection of information laws, all information gathered by the Family Information Line staff is kept secured and confidential. As per the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, exceptions to confidentiality occur when disclosure is required to prevent imminent danger to the client or others, when legal requirements demand that confidential material be revealed and when a child is in need of protection.
  • What should I do if I am concerned for a member’s wellbeing?
    If ever you think a member is at imminent risk of hurting themselves or others, we recommend connecting with the authorities immediately. In other situations, it can be challenging to know which steps to take when we are concerned for someone’s wellbeing. Calling the Family Information Line will connect you with a counsellor who can discuss and explore the signs and indicators you have noticed regarding the member’s wellbeing. We provide guidance on the next steps to take whether those are accompanying you in connecting with the appropriate authorities, liaising with a padre for a wellness check and/or sharing resources to provide to the person you are worried about.
  • I would like to get involved in supporting the CAF members and veterans. What is the best way to go about this?
    Support Our Troops offers a variety of options for those wishing to offer support to the CAF community. Options range from offering donations to volunteering at campaigns and events and even hosting fundraisers!  
     
    It is also possible to get involved in local organizations such as Military Family Resource Centres and Legions. We can help you connect with the locations nearest you.
  • Is it possible to send Holiday cards and wishes to CAF member posted overseas?
    Yes, there a several ways to express support and gratitude to CAF members. Sending parcels, letters and cards can be done year round. Please note the specific instructions to ensure your correspondence is received. During the holiday period, sending care packages is also a possibility through OP Santa Claus. We are available to guide you through the process and connect you with organizations that may be able to reduce the cost of shipping parcels. The National Defence message board is also a place to leave messages of support for our troops and veterans.
  • How can I be of help to someone living with family violence?
    We work collaboratively with the Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Campaign in providing education and good practices protocols to CAF leadership. As a service provider within CFMWS, the Family Information Line is available to debrief and accompany you in taking the steps to support a loved one who may be living with family violence. These steps may include connecting with the local Family Crisis Team, referrals to Military Family Resource Centre professionals, ensuring children’s safety through Child Protection Agencies and seeking assistance from the authorities and local shelters
  • How can you help during a deployment?
    In times when the unexpected happens, whether it be an issue with military housing, an immediate need for emergency child care or the necessity to transfer an urgent message to a member in theatre. We can guide you to these processes. Additionally, as a 24/7 service, we are available at any time to debrief, to accompany you in problem-solving and to help you connect with helpful resources around you!  
     
    It is also possible to get involved in local organizations such as your Military Family Resource Centre and Legions. We can help you connect with the locations nearest you. 
  • Is it possible to send Holiday cards and wishes to CAF member posted overseas?
    Yes, there a several ways to express support and gratitude to CAF members. Sending parcels, letters and cards can be done year-round. Please note the specific instructions to ensure your correspondence is received. During the holiday period, sending care packages is also a possibility through Operation Santa Claus. We are available to guide you through the process and connect you with organizations that may be able to reduce the cost of shipping parcels. The National Defence message board is also a place to leave messages of support for our troops and veterans.
  • How can I be of help to someone living with family violence?
    We work collaboratively with the Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Campaign in providing education and good practices protocols to CAF leadership. As a service provider within CFMWS, the Family Information Line is available to debrief and accompany you in taking the steps to support a loved one who may be living with family violence. These steps may include connecting with the local Family Crisis Team, referrals to Military Family Resource Centre professionals, ensuring children’s safety through Child Protection Agencies and seeking assistance from the authorities and local shelters
  • How can you help during a deployment?
    In times when the unexpected happens, whether it be an issue with military housing, an immediate need for emergency child care or the necessity to transfer an urgent message to a member in theatre. We can guide you to these processes. Additionally, as a 24/7 service, we are available at any time to debrief, to accompany you in problem-solving and to help you connect with helpful resources around you. 
  • How is Family Information Line support via video different?
    Just like calling or emailing, the Virtual Counsellor will provide information, referral and emotional support to military families. While access is available 24/7 via phone and email, virtual counselling is scheduled between the hours of 7:00 a.m.to 11:00 p.m. ET. This allows you and your family to book several sessions at specific times and to request the same counsellor for these sessions. Virtual counselling can be accessed by phone or video.
  • How do I book a session via video?
    Connect with the Family Information Line by phone at 1-800-866-4546 or by email at [email protected] and request to speak with a Virtual Counsellor. The Virtual Counsellor will book a session or multiple sessions for you. If you are a MFRC mental health service provider looking to refer a client, you can request to speak with a Virtual Counsellor for an assessment.