Spouses Supporting Transition

Ottawa, ON - August 7, 2018

Thank you for your interest in this qualitative study being conducted by the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO).


Transitioning Successfully: A Qualitative Study highlighted the finding that spouses were noted as the greatest source of support for transitioning members. This project will delve deeper into this finding and explore the lived experience of spouses of Veterans, who have medically-released between 2006 and 2016 and who have successfully transitioned

Research Themes

This follow-up work will provide the OVO with greater insight into the common elements and shared experiences of those who support Veterans during transition. This study will focus on the following themes:

  • The  role of the spouse during transition from military to civilian life
  • The impact of transition on the spousal relationship
  • The formal and informal supports which helped the spouse during transition
  • The preparation spouses undertake and how long the experience of transition took from their perspective

Research Goals

The goals of this study are to answer the following questions:

  1. What were the biggest stressors during transition?
  2. What were the sources of support during transition?
  3. What were the challenges during transition?
  4. What helped achieve success?

Benefits of the Study

This research will benefit Canadian Veterans and their families, inform service providers and contribute to ongoing research efforts on transition.The insight into the lived experience of spouses of medically-released Veterans will provide information to help improve and tailor programs and services being provided to medically-releasing CAF members, Veterans and their families.


The study includes two phases: 

  • Phase I is an online survey administered by the OVO which should take about 30 minutes to complete
  • Phase II is a day-long focus group discussion in October with a maximum of 15 participants.  Should there be a requirement, a second focus group could be held.

The study will include questions about your personal experience during transition to civilian life, including both the challenges and any positive experiences you faced as a spouse. 

Phase I Screening and Selection

Volunteer participants will be sent a screening questionnaire to ensure they meet the following screening criteria: 

  • self-identify as being the spouse of a Veteran who medically-released from the CAF between 2006 and 2016 
  • feel that the Veteran has successfully transitioned, and
  • were in a spousal relationship with the Veteran before and after release

All volunteer participants who meet the screening criteria will be invited to participate in Phase I, the online survey.

Phase II Selection

A maximum of 15 participants from Phase I will be selected to participate in the Phase II focus group, with the goal of selecting participants who reflect a variety of experiences and backgrounds including:

  • current relationship status with the Veteran
  • gender – female and male
  • rank – officer or NCM
  • service type - Reserve or Regular Force
  • branch of service – Army, Navy or Airforce
  • years of service – 11-20 yrs or plus 20 years of service
  • regional representation across Canada
  • first official language

A release date of post-2006 was deemed necessary to reflect the current suite of benefits available to Veterans and their families under the New Veterans Charter/ the Veterans Well-being Act.

Participation and Withdrawal

You are free to withdraw at any time as your participation is voluntary and confidential.

Do you wish to participate in the study?  Please e-mail us directly by August 17th, 2018 at ovo.communication.bov@canada.ca.  Our researchers will be in touch within three working days.

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