I wish that I had a friend, or a family member, who had gone through the whole experience of BMQ while being married before me, so that I would know what to expect. I would even settle for an acquaintance at this point.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed in the Great White North’s military spouse community is its lack thereof. I could Google “basic training American Military” and get thousands of results; real life accounts of what to expect during and after the whole process. In contrast “BMQ’ yields little more than a lot of official information and a handful of dated first-hand accounts.
I digress. What I’m getting at is that in the Canadian Military system, one often feels as though they are stumbling around in the dark, particularly in terms of how long each part of the process takes. I write about my experiences because I hope that I can help even just one person know what lies ahead; a step by step account of how life works when you’re first getting into the Canadian Forces life. Unfortunately for me, it’s not always easy to be the pioneer.
So I’ve come at last to the point of this article: the first posting message out of BMQ and how long you should expect to wait to get move into military housing. At some point, or more realistically many points, people will tell you how the housing system should work. They will tell you that there will absolutely be no more than a week or so where you and your loved ones live separately when your soldier transfers to a new base.
This is not true of recruits, only no one tells you about this small exception. Your soldier will get absolutely no information while in Saint-Jean about when or how to apply for housing. In fact they won’t even get the necessary paperwork to apply for housing until they get to their next duty station. Your soldier will arrive at their next station on the Friday or Saturday following their graduation parade and then it won’t be until the Monday after that they will be allowed to talk to a clerk about the paperwork for housing.
Something important that may get overlooked at this point is that if your soldier is at a duty station for training that will last less than six months; you will not be able to move there at all. In fact, any posting that will last for less than six months is always unaccompanied.
So, if you will in fact be able to move to where your soldier is, expect at least a few weeks for the paperwork to be processed by all the people who need to see it. Then expect another few weeks for an appointment to be set up for you to see a house. Once you’ve seen a house and signed off on it, expect to wait a few weeks for an appointment to be set up with Brookfield. Brookfield is the company that takes care of your movers, packers, allowances and expenses in case no one has told you that yet. After that, you guessed it; expect to wait a few more weeks a few more separate times.
Unfortunately the realistic time frame you should keep in mind for moving to your spouse’s first duty station post-BMQ is at least a couple of months. The good news is that moves don’t work this way in the future; going forward the timing of the process works much more in the favor of the families. The other good news is that although it’s not a great situation, at least you know now what you’re in for.
I know it’s frustrating – trust me I’m dealing with this exact issue as I type – but remember it gets better. The Canadian Forces treats recruits unlike any other rank of soldiers and although it may feel to you at times that this is not a system which you want any part of, keep in mind that it’s all part of the recruitment process.
Life with the Canadian Forces is amazing – there’s just a lot of waiting right at the start. We can all make it through if we just stay strong!