UBC Theses and Dissertations
Canadian Forces families : social impacts of accommodation policy Button, David B.
Since World War II the Canadian military community has evolved to meet the needs of a permanent military force and has changed from the preserve of the single male to include women and families. Thus the Department of National Defence (DND) has become concerned with the welfare of military families as an integral part of military preparedness. A variety of accommodation policies were formulated and programs established to satisfy the needs of these families who worked and lived in such a unique environment. These policies and programs have emphasised housing and related infrastructure, and included both physical and social services. They have, in part, enabled DND to relieve many family related problems despite the disruptive lifestyle. However, as a result of evolutionary changes in the Canadian Forces, the lifestyle of Canadians and the general economic situation, concern has arisen that current DND policies relating to housing and service provision may no longer be appropriate or effective. This thesis looks at the lifestyle and unique difficulties of military families in order to evaluate the social impacts on the families resulting from accommodation policy. Although the general question of whether DND should even be in the business of creating and maintaining its own communities is complex and requires the consideration of many factors, this thesis limits itself to the social impacts of accommodation policies. Since it is generally perceived that social concerns have received limited consideration in the past, this thesis develops a framework to consider and include such concerns. This is done through: secondary research of analogous civilian communities and other military communities; primary data from recent DND family studies; informal interviews with families and decision-makers in the military community; and, the personal experience of the author as a member of the military community. There are four main findings. First, a framework based on Lichfield's Planning Balance Sheet methodology is a suitable and appropriate tool for assisting decision-makers in making informed choices. Second, the creation of a Non-Public Housing Society responding to DND but operated at arms-length, is seen as a viable housing policy alternative which deserves further study. Third, the social impacts on military families resulting from the municipalization of physical services are not significant. And fourth,.; social services when provided internally appear more successful. The unique lifestyle of military families is linked to operational effectiveness and military preparedness through the work/family environment. The importance of social planning on this interface is emphasized to encourage decision-makers to explicitly incorporate social planning into the decision-making process. The Planning Balance Sheet methodology is suggested as an appropriate one for this purpose.
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