Women's Outreach

Gisèle Fontaine (Colonel retired) MSC CD RN CHE,

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Contact: gisele.fontaine6@gmail.com

The Respect Forum recognizes that, in many respects, women’s needs are different from those of men. Even though women in uniform will experience very similar issues than the men who served, the physical and mental health impact, their response and coping mechanisms, and how they deal with issues can be different due to gender differences.  If women were the subject of harmful conduct during their careers, it adds a layer of complexity to their needs. Programs are often designed by men for men and made accessible to women, but don’t necessarily meet their specific needs, or may not give them the safe space they require to communicate openly. 

Women’s Outreach seeks to help find programs that are truly designed for women in uniform and provide a forum where they can connect. Through this mandate, we organize various knowledge-sharing events to illustrate these challenges and encourage collaboration to find solutions.

There are three (3) Lines of Effort (LoE) to Women’s Outreach:

1) Understand the environment;

2) Expand the support network; and

3) Conduct forums and collaborate on forums focused on women.


The Women’s Outreach Annual Plan 2023/2024 includes background information about the Respect Forums, what it means to serve in the uniformed professions, and some of the general differences in the lived-experiences between men and women in transition from their organization and in post-service. It provides details on each of the Lines of Effort (LoE) outlined above and their related goals, as well as the responsibilities of the Women’s Outreach Coordinator, providing a framework for the way forward.



Here is a list of organizations and programs that support women & 2SLGBTQIA+ veterans. (List under development)

If you know of an organization that could be added to this list, please contact the Women Outreach Coordinator using the Contact Form

Organizations can also be found on the Respect Map, which includes their geolocation, mandate, and contact info.



In addition to the Women’s Outreach, there are a number of other forums, committees, and councils that champion women and 2SLGBTQIA+ veterans. Here is a list of national level ones that are easily searchable on the web to learn more about them:

For RCMP and CAF Veterans:

  • ACVA Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on The Experience of Women Veterans
  • Atlas Institute Veteran Families Virtual Summit
  • Atlas Institute Women Veteran Mental Health Advisory Cttee
  • Royal Canadian Legion Veterans Consultation Assembly – Annual meeting held in Oct
  • VAC Office of Women and LGBTQ2+ Veterans
  • VAC National Stakeholder Summit – Annual meeting
  • VAC Women Veterans Council – To be stood up by March 2024
  • VAC Women and 2SLGBTQIA+ Forum – Annual event held in March
  • VAC Roundtable on Women Homelessness
  • Women in Defence & Security (WiDS) – Several events held throughout the year


Specific to RCMP Veterans:

  • RCMP Veteran Association – Women’s Veterans Council


Specific to CAF Veterans:

  • Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR)
  • Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO)
  • Defence Women Advisory Organization (DWAO)
  • Women Veteran Research and Engagement Network (WREN)



These are virtual events that highlight organizations that provide specific services to women who wore the uniform:

Women’s Respect Forum – 30 Nov 2023, held in Montreal. The Women’s Outreach Coordinator, Col (Ret’d) Gisèle Fontaine, presented on the program and spoke of the invisibility of women veterans, the obstacles in accessing services & benefits, and issues around homelessness. A group was created for mapping women veteran support services in the Montreal Region.


The following events were virtual meetings that were held to highlight organizations that provide specific services to women who wore the uniform: 

  • Veterans’ Transition Network 2022: Met Marion Turmine (Director of Quebec Operations) and Claudine Barette (Psychologist) who spoke about their retreat for women offered by the Veterans Transition Network.
  • The Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative – 21 Sep 22: Ann Royer (Researcher and Clinical Lecturer (retired) and Certified TM Teacher) shared an innovative approach to reducing stress and increasing family well-being through Transcendental Meditation (TM).
  • Mission VAV – 7 Sep 22: Violette Berberian, Strategy and Communications lead at Mission VAV, presented their program and their Boost Your Mood mission.
  • Homelessness Among WomenMay to June 2021: Discussed issues and challenges of housing for military veterans and emergency responders. The goal was open up the reflection by presenting different approaches to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange. * In partnership with The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and La Fondation québécoise des Vétérans.
    o 26 May 21 Region du Quebec (Fr)
    o 2 Jun 21 Western Canada (En)
    o 16 Jun 21 Ontario. Region (En)
    o 30 Jun 2021 Atlantic Region (En)
  • The Specific Needs of Women in UniformNov 2020 (Fr 29 women participated)/ Dec 2020 (Eng – 67 women participated). The inaugural Women’s Outreach symposium brought together women in uniform as well as women working in aid and support organizations with the objective of developing knowledge and collaboration. * In partnership with True Patriot Love Foundation



A comparative analysis of medically released men and women from the Canadian Armed Forces (by Lynne Serré in Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health)

Addressing veteran homelessness in Canada, by Max Bell School Master of Public Policy McGill University Jul 2023 (includes both men & women experiences)

ACVA Sessions on the Experience of Women Veterans (House of Commons Canada)

Supporting Canada’s Veterans and First Responders Being a 2SLGBTQIA+ Ally (Canada School of Public Service)

Evaluation of Diversity and Inclusion (DND/CAF Sep 2020)

Examining the history of the LGBT Purge in the Canadian Armed Forces

External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces (Former Justice Marie Deschamps C.C. Ad.E, External Review Authority, March 2015)

History of the RCMP – Women in the RCMP

Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution – for the RCMP 

International Women’s Day 2022: A message from the DND/CAF Leadership

International Women’s Day 2023: Message from the Defence Champion for Women

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women (by Colonel Barbara A. Springer, PhD, PT,OCS, SCS, and Major Amy E. Ross, MD – U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, Borden Institute)

Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review (by The Hon. Louise Arbour, C.C., G.O.Q. – 20 May 2022)

Socio-cultural dynamics in gender and military contexts: Seeking and understanding change (by Karen D. Davis, PhD, in Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health)

Success in life after service: A perspective on conceptualizing the well-being of military Veterans (The Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health)

The Evolving Discussion on Military Sexual Misconduct and Military Sexual Trauma: An Introduction (Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families)

The Path to Dignity and Respect: The Canadian Armed Forces Strategy to Address Sexual Misconduct

Women’s Deployment Experiences: Safety, Barriers, and CAF Culture Change(Canadian Military Journal)

Women in the Canadian Military (Veterans Affairs Canada)

Women Serving in the Canadian Armed Forces: Strengthening Military Capabilities and Operational Effectiveness (Canadian Military Journal)

Women Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A scoping review (Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health)