DAOD 5012-0, Harassment Prevention and Resolution

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2000-12-20

Date of Last Modification: 2017-01-27

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).


  • CFAO 19-39, Harassment
  • CPAO 7.18, Harassment

Approval Authorities:

  • Chief of Military Personnel (CMP)
  • Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Civilian) (ADM(HR-Civ))


  • Director Human Rights and Diversity (DHRD) (policy and instructions for CAF members)
  • Director Civilian Labour Relations (DCLR) (policy and instructions for DND employees)

2. Definitions

harassment (harcèlement)

Improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace, including at any event or any location related to work, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It also includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act (i.e. based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, pardoned conviction and conviction for which a record suspension has been ordered). Harassment is normally a series of incidents but can be one severe incident which has a lasting impact on the individual. (Based on the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution, Treasury Board)

Note 1 – Harassment may include the abuse or misuse of authority inherent in the position of an individual. However, if an individual has authority over another individual in a situation by virtue of law, military rank, civilian classification or appointment, the proper exercise of that authority is not harassment. This includes the proper exercise of authority related to the provision of advice, the assignment of work, counselling, performance evaluation, discipline and other supervisory and leadership functions.

Note 2 – Any ceremony or other event, such as an initiation rite, that involves participation as a result of expressed or implied coercion, and that demeans, belittles or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, is harassment. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 19050 to be revised)

responsible officer (agent responsable)

  • a director general at National Defence Headquarters;
  • a superior of a director general at National Defence Headquarters in the case of a complaint of harassment involving a director general or superior of a director general;
  • an officer commanding a command or formation;
  • a chief of staff or equivalent officer at a command or formation if directed by the applicable commander;
  • a commanding officer of a formation headquarters if directed by the formation commander in the case of any complaint of harassment made by a CAF member;
  • any other commanding officer; or
  • a senior civilian manager who is a head of a lodger or integral unit in a region or formation.

(Defence Terminology Bank record number 43231 to be revised)

workplace (milieu de travail)

The physical work location and the greater work environment where work-related functions and other activities take place and work relationships exist. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 43176)

3. Policy Direction


3.1 The DND and the CAF affirm that a work environment that fosters teamwork and encourages individuals to contribute their best effort in order to achieve the defence objectives of Canada is essential. Mutual trust, support and respect for the dignity and rights of every person are essential characteristics of this environment and are directly linked to the first ethical principle (Respect the Dignity of all Persons) in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics.

3.2 Harassment in certain forms is not only against the law, but also erodes mutual confidence and respect for individuals and can lead to a poisoned work environment. As a result, operational effectiveness, productivity, team cohesion and morale are placed at risk.

3.3 The following six criteria, as set out in the definition of harassment in section 2 of this DAOD, must be met for harassment to have occurred:

  1. improper conduct by an individual;
  2. the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known that the conduct would cause offence or harm;
  3. directed at another individual;
  4. offensive to that individual;
  5. was a series of incidents, or one severe incident which had a lasting impact on that individual; and
  6. occurred in the workplace.

3.4 When harassment as defined in section 2 is considered not to have occurred but a workplace conflict exists, steps must be taken by the responsible officer (RO) to address the conflict.

3.5 Detailed implementing instructions are set out in the associated Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions.

Policy Statement

3.6 The DND and the CAF are committed to providing a respectful workplace through:

  1. prevention of harassment by:
    1. establishing promotion of a comprehensive harassment prevention and awareness policy;
    2. offering informal conflict resolution, in a timely fashion, if appropriate;
    3. ensuring that all DND employees and CAF members have the right to be treated respectfully and with dignity in a workplace free of harassment; and
    4. ensuring that managers, supervisors and leaders at all levels take immediate steps, whether or not a complaint has been submitted, to stop any harassment that:
      – they witness; or
      – is brought to their attention;
  2. resolution of harassment by:
    1. establishing efficient harassment complaint resolution processes, including workplace restoration activities; and
    2. taking steps in the workplace when it has been determined that harassment has not occurred but that a workplace conflict exists; and
  3. monitoring of the effectiveness of this DAOD and other applicable policies and instructions.

3.7 Harassment in any form constitutes unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated in the DND and the CAF. It is prohibited for any DND employee or CAF member to subject any person in the workplace to harassment.


3.8 The DND and the CAF must provide DND employees and CAF members with:

  1. information about:
    1. conduct that constitutes harassment;
    2. their rights and responsibilities in respect of harassment prevention and resolution;
    3. ways of dealing with harassment; and
    4. the resources available to them;
  2. ongoing prevention activities to promote a respectful workplace;
  3. knowledge of the various informal resolution mechanisms in the case of harassment;
  4. access, without fear of reprisal, to effective, timely and confidential harassment complaint resolution processes;
  5. clear roles and responsibilities for ROs, harassment advisors and investigators, labour-relations officers and other persons in key positions in support of harassment prevention and resolution; and
  6. guidance, support and training for ROs and supervisors to carry out their responsibilities to prevent harassment and resolve harassment and conflict situations that may occur.

Note – All parties directly involved in the resolution of a complaint of harassment or workplace conflict are expected to limit the discussions pertaining to the complaint to those who need to know.

3.9 The ability of the DND and the CAF to provide confidential harassment complaint resolution processes may be limited by any obligation on a CAF member to report to the proper authority an infringement of the pertinent statutes, regulations, rules, orders and instructions that govern the conduct of any person subject to the Code of Service Discipline. Unit authorities should consult with the local representative of the Judge Advocate General as appropriate.

4. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

4.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance. Consequences of non-compliance may include one or more of the following:

  1. the ordering of the completion of appropriate learning, training or professional development;
  2. the entering of observations in individual performance evaluations;
  3. increased reporting and performance monitoring;
  4. the withdrawal of any authority provided to a DND employee or CAF member;
  5. the reporting of suspected offences to responsible law enforcement agencies;
  6. the liability of Her Majesty in right of Canada;
  7. the application of specific consequences as set out in applicable laws, codes of conduct, and DND and CAF policies and instructions; and
  8. other administrative or disciplinary action, or both.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the Treasury Board Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

5. Authorities

Authority Table

5.1 The following table identifies the authorities associated with this DAOD:

The ... has or have authority to …
  • issue policies and instructions concerning harassment prevention and resolution for CAF members.
  • issue policies and instructions concerning harassment prevention and resolution for DND employees.
level one (L1) advisors and commanders of commands
  • establish harassment prevention activities in their organization that are consistent with this DAOD and the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions;
  • establish an implementation plan within their organization for the application of this DAOD and related procedures; and
  • assign a harassment advisor within their organization.
Director General Military Personnel and DHRD
  • develop policies and instructions on harassment prevention and resolution for CAF members;
  • oversee the effectiveness of this DAOD for CAF members; and
  • oversee L1 advisor and commander of command implementation plans in their organizations and the application of this DAOD and related procedures for CAF members.
Director General Workplace Management and DCLR
  • develop policies and instructions on harassment prevention and resolution for DND employees;
  • oversee the effectiveness of this DAOD for DND employees; and
  • oversee L1 advisor and commander of command implementation plans in their organizations and the application of this DAOD and related procedures for DND employees.
  • oversee responsibilities set out in the policies and instructions concerning harassment prevention and resolution, including the entering of all harassment complaints in the electronic database.

6. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

  • DAOD 1001-0, Access to Information
  • DAOD 1002-0, Personal Information
  • DAOD 2017-0, Military Grievances
  • DAOD 2017-1, Military Grievance Process
  • DAOD 5016-0, Standards of Civilian Conduct and Discipline
  • DAOD 5019-2, Administrative Review
  • DAOD 5019-4, Remedial Measures
  • DAOD 5019-5, Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Disorders
  • DAOD 5026-0, Civilian Grievances
  • DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages
  • DAOD 5046-0, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • DAOD 5516-0, Human Rights
  • DAOD 6002-2, Acceptable Use of the Internet, Defence Intranet, Computers and Other Information Systems
  • DAOD 7002-0, Boards of Inquiry and Summary Investigations
  • DAOD 7023-0, Defence Ethics
  • DAOD 7023-1, Defence Ethics Programme
  • CF Military Personnel Instruction 01/11, Management of CF Transsexual Members
  • CDS Guidance to Commanding Officers
  • A-FN-100-002/AG-006, Delegation of Authorities for Financial Administration for the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)
  • Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics
  • Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions (will be published in the near future)
  • DND/CF Guidelines for the External Use of Social Media
  • Instrument of Delegation of Human Resources Authorities for Civilian Public Service Employees of National Defence
  • Guidelines for Civilian Discipline
  • Guidelines for Civilian Grievances
  • CATO 13-24, The Cadet Harassment and Abuse Prevention (CHAP) Program in the Canadian Cadet Movement (available in paper copy only)
  • Harassment Prevention and Resolution Policy, Canadian Forces Non-Public Funds Web site
  • Preventing Harassment and Abuse Through Successful Education (PHASE), Junior Canadian Rangers Web site
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