Department of National Defence is making sure military spouses and partners have more job opportunities

From: National Defence

The Department of National Defence is making it easier for military spouses and common-law partners to find secure and meaningful jobs. Today, the Military Spouse Employment Initiative will open up opportunities for them across the entire federal public service.

The average military family relocates three times more often than the average Canadian family. This means uprooting their lives, changing their routines, and encountering new challenges on a regular basis. As a result, it can be very challenging for partners of serving members to secure continuous and meaningful employment. To help address this challenge, in 2018, the Department of National Defence created the Military Spousal Employment Initiative to identify job opportunities at the Department of National Defence. Today’s announcement expands upon the initiative offering the entire Public Service access to a talented workforce.

The initiative has already proven to ease some of the stress felt by many military families, including Justine Walker’s. “I’m very grateful for my job, and I definitely wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t for the Military Spouse Employment Initiative,” said Justine Walker, who works as a compensation assistant at National Defence. A military spouse, Justine says her full-time position gives her security, both now and in the future. “When we get posted again, I’ll have options for transferring my job, finding a new job, or putting my job on hold while on a temporary posting. My employer is across Canada, and there are many opportunities to grow within the Department of National Defence community. I feel extremely secure in my career, and I’m proud to be contributing to my own pension and making a career for myself.” Opening up the employment inventory to the entire federal public service will ensure there are more stories like Justine’s.

Further, at the Department of National Defence, military partners can now be considered as a hiring option ahead of other candidates (with the exception of those with priority entitlements or preference) if they meet all of the essential qualifications for the job.


“Our Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, puts the care of members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families at its core. Today, on Military Family Appreciation Day, we continue to build on our efforts to support the families who serve alongside those in uniform, and the Military Spousal Employment Initiative is an important step to the commitment. Military spouses and common-law partners will have more exposure helping them increase the likelihood of gaining meaningful employment, wherever they are posted in the country.”

– The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“Military partners-mostly women-face a high degree of career instability as a result of the frequent relocations. This initiative creates better options for military spouses to find good jobs and benefits within the federal public service, and is exactly the kind of tangible support that helps improve the overall wellbeing of the military families who contribute so much to our country. Employing a Canadian military spouse is a wise strategic decision for any employer. Military life teaches our Canadian Armed Forces families to organize, adapt, manage, and work within a team, and any military spouse will arrive at their new job with those essential skills well-developed. By hiring a military spouse, employers are strengthening Canada and Canadian business lines.”

– Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • The inventory is open exclusively to spouses and common-law partners of serving Canadian Armed Forces members, who either live at the military member’s place of duty or live separately for military reasons. The Canadian Armed Forces member must belong to the Regular Force or to the Reserve Force on Class C service or Class B reserve service of more than 180 consecutive days. Those who meet the above criteria are eligible to apply online to the inventory.

  • The pool of talent includes many streams such as information management and information technology (IM/IT), procurement, materiel management, language teaching, health services, administration, and general services, as well as general trades and labour.

  • The initiative supports several objectives outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secured, Engaged. Those objectives seek to support military families by addressing and alleviating the employment challenges that they face when relocating across Canada.

  • The Military Spouse Employment Initiative has won the Most Effective Recruitment Strategy silver award at the Canadian HR Awards 2020.

  • The Military Spousal Employment Initiative is a complement to a wide range of services available to military spouses through Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and local Military Family Resource Centres. These services include the flagship Military Spousal Employment Network, launched in 2018. The Military Spousal Employment Network boasts over 3,200 military spouse participants and showcases national and virtual employers interested in hiring military spouses through an online platform and virtual and in-person. Last year, just over 25 percent of military spouses who participated were hired through the Military Spousal Employment Initiative.

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