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(LifeSiteNews) — Canadian military recruitment has plummeted amid ongoing lawsuits over COVID vaccine mandates.

The Canadian military experienced recruitment drops of 35% last year after its enforcement of a vaccine mandate forcing all military personal to take the experimental shot or be discharged, according to records obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The Canadian Armed Forces serves Canada by defending our values, interests and sovereignty at home and abroad,” a Recruitment and Retention note read. “However, the Canadian Armed Forces is experiencing a shortfall in personnel that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Canada-wide labour shortages.”

According to the Department of National Defence, only 5,242 volunteers joined the regular forces and primary reserves last year compared with 8,069 the previous year.

 “We are in the middle of launching many new initiatives to attract and retain more people in the Canadian Armed Forces,” Defence Minister Anita Anand testified at the House of Commons defence committee on June 6. “This is primarily a program of reconstitution led by the Chief of Defence Staff.”

In response to the lowering numbers, the military is working to recruit women, Indigenous people and those identifying as LGBT.

Last year, the military “eliminated binary uniform and appearance choices” to give personnel “the freedom to choose the uniform that makes them most comfortable.”

The struggle to find volunteers to enlist in the Canadian military comes as hundreds of military members recently filed a $500 million lawsuit over COVID jab mandates.

According to the legal challenge, the mandates “caused the Plaintiffs harm and constitute[d] a breach of the public trust.”

In 2021, the CAF handed down a military-wide COVID jab mandate requiring all service members to become “fully vaccinated” against the coronavirus or be discharged from service.

Hundreds of unvaccinated service members were subsequently discharged. The mandate was finally partially rolled back last year, though troops supporting operational readiness are still required to get the injections. Last year, military leadership said they would still discharge soldiers who chose to remain unvaccinated.

A member of the lawsuit wishing to remain anonymous told LifeSiteNews that the reasons for the declining numbers included rising inflation, a loss of patriotism, and a lack of trust in Canadian leadership.

The source explained that Canada’s abandonment of Afghanistan had a large role in the armed forces losing confidence.

“And a lot of people are wondering why did we spend all that blood and treasure trove,” the source questioned. “They abandoned the country and all our dead, all the sacrifices they made, all the injured soldiers, all the families that were destroyed, the marriages that were destroyed for what?”

The source further revealed that Canadians are concerned about the “justification” for the next battle into which soldiers will be sent, especially as Canada has become a “medical dictatorship” since the beginning of the COVID “pandemic.”

Additionally, the source explained that COVID vaccine mandates destroyed trust in the military.

“The military’s supposed to be a family,” the source declared. “But we act like a dysfunctional family and even abusive family, I would say.”

“Canadians are seeing how the military behaved towards its own troops, our CEOs, our commanders, whose job is to protect their troops, to strengthen morale,” the source continued. “But everything they did decimated morale.”

However, according to the source, the Canadian military’s enforcement of the COVID vaccines puts all Canadians in danger. The reason for this is that if Canadian authorities will impose “unlawful directives” on their own military, there is no reason they would not force the military to carry out their commands, such as forcing unvaccinated Canadians into “COVID camps.”

“Parents normally encourage their children to join the military trusting that their commanding officers and senior leaders will guard and protect them fiercely,” the source told LifeSiteNews.

“Throughout the mandates, we saw the opposite: They looked for creative new ways to inflict maximum cruelty and leverage the entire military system against them, destroying their careers, families, marriages and life savings,” the source added.