There is much work ahead in order to create a truly diverse and inclusive work force and culture. A toxic culture strips away human dignity, compassion, and cohesion and fills the void with intimidation, judgement and isolation. The current crisis must be viewed as a catalyst to embrace new directions in support of culture change. We must ensure leaders at all levels are aware of these changes, educated on their impacts, and prepared to support their implementation.
On this journey we are listening, understanding, assessing and, most importantly, acting. Members at all levels must act to address bias, dismantle systemic barriers, and focus efforts to create a work environment characterized by mutual respect. We must listen with a conviction to embrace the changes needed to succeed. Importantly, this includes supporting victims/survivors, and affected persons and empowering them to exercise greater agency in the response to allegations of misconduct.
- Integrating listening activities into all core business. Insights from those activities allow us to understand professional conduct- and culture-related challenges;
- Preparing for the implementation of Bill C-77: Declaration of Victims’ Rights, which will impact the military justice system;
- Fully supporting the development of Victim Liaison Officer training;
- Continuing to conduct ethics and values training via Conversations on Defence Ethics (CODE) and Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention (WHVP);
- Members must read, understand and implement our code of conduct, which will result in additional training;
- Addressing historical injustices experienced by Black Canadian soldiers during the First World War with a National Apology to the families and descendants of the Number 2 Construction Battalion;
- Leveraging the cultural understanding, perspectives and experiences of our Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group members, drawing on their relationships and links with local communities across the country. This advisory group supports the Commander, as Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples, as well as commanders at all levels.
- The Minister and Deputy Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff offered apologies to survivors of military sexual misconduct in December 2021;
- A new command, Chief Personnel Conduct and Culture (CPCC), established in April 2021, is leading a transformation of how sexual misconduct is understood and addressed. With the full support of the Canadian Army, its specific tasks include:
- Improving how misconduct is reported, tracked, and addressed.
- Giving more support to members who have experienced misconduct and others affected.
- Realign policies, programs, and responsibilities to address misconduct.
- An expert-led workshop, Respect in the CAF, has been implemented to foster attitude and behaviour changes and encourage bystander intervention; and
- An Independent External Comprehensive Review, led by Madame Louise Arbour, is ongoing. A final report and departmental response are expected in the spring/summer 2022 timeframe.
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