CDS/DM Initiating Directive for Professional Conduct and Culture

April, 2021


  1. (U) The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is at an inflection point with regards to the gap that exists in our desired and professed culture versus the one which we practice. Recent sexual misconduct revelations and allegations against CAF senior leaders are very disturbing and have reaffirmed how much more needs to be done to be the Defence Team that our people, and Canadians, expect and deserve. Furthermore, discrimination and hateful conduct that intersects with sexual misconduct, adding additional layers of harm for Indigenous and racialized people, still occur and we have not made enough progress to address our various biases and dismantle systemic barriers in order to create a truly diverse and inclusive work force and culture. The current crisis must be viewed as a catalyst to establish comprehensive strategies to create a healthier, safer and more inclusive organizational culture. Leadership and management, at all levels, must rebuild trust where it has been broken and we need all of our members to be a part of this renewed effort to create a work environment characterized by mutual respect, dignity, safety and where everyone feels a constant sense of belonging. We must listen and learn from all members, past and present, with a conviction to embrace the individual and organisational changes needed to succeed. Importantly, this includes listening to and supporting victims/survivors, and affected persons and empowering them to exercise greater agency in the response to allegations of misconduct.
  2. (U) Enduring change will require us to consider new perspectives and cultivate mindsets that are not yet universally accepted. This Initiating Directive is intended to break through institutional inertia to begin the steps necessary to achieve this culture change by developing new structure, frameworks, and strategies. It constitutes an order that applies to all officers and non-commissioned members of the CAF and a directive that applies to all employees of DND (DND employees).


  1. (U) The lexicon used for the purposes of this Directive is provided at Annex B. It will ensure a common understanding is applied across the DND/CAF in the application of this and future related directives/orders and will be continuously validated. Systemic misconduct is a term used throughout which, for the purposes of this Directive, refers to the following: sexual misconduct, hateful conduct, any form of discrimination, harassment and violence, employment inequity, and abuse of power in the workplace. This term was deliberately chosen for this Directive to convey the gravity of these prejudicial behaviours and the challenge we face in addressing their systemic causes.

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  1. (U) The 2015 Deschamps Report revealed an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF that needed to be addressed to reduce incidents of sexual harassment and assault, and to create a more inclusive organisational culture that respects the dignity of all members of the Defence Team. We must build on the report findings to gain a sophisticated understanding of ‘why’ this culture existed then and persists today. Despite the numerous initiatives of the last six years, we have simply not achieved the cultural change required and we must embark on a fundamentally new approach to address the root causes of systemic misconduct.
  2. (U) We must recognize and accept that aspects of our culture are not fit for purpose for defence and security in the 21st Century, nor do they reflect the core values of the Canadian society we serve and which rightly holds us to a higher standard. Recent allegations of senior leader misconduct have shone a light on the reality that the desired culture change has not been achieved and is still urgently needed. We must learn from our institutional and individual mistakes and build upon our experiences of the last six formative years.
  3. (U) We will embark upon this critical endeavour with a renewed sense of purpose and deliberate urgency to listen and learn from the lived experiences of our Defence Team members, both past and present, as well as the body of knowledge gained through legacy and extant policies, programs, and research. We must also learn from external consultations and independent reviews that will help us understand the problem and the best ways to address it. Achieving real culture change and addressing systemic misconduct cannot be achieved by issuing a single directive or establishing a named operation. We cannot apply the same “solutions” to culture change we have in the past and expect a different outcome. Therefore, we must fundamentally consider a new approach. This Initiating Directive is an expression of formal intent to recognize that we are on a new path to ensuring we respect the dignity of all persons, at all times and under all circumstances. In order to clearly articulate our vision for the future, we must begin with an accurate understanding of where we are today.

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Problem Definition

  1. (U) Our current culture does not universally reflect a shared understanding and compliance with our values and ethos, including a recognition that diversity, inclusion, and equity must be fostered if we are to maximize the Defence Team’s operational effectiveness. Unacceptable rates of sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination are the harmful consequences of our slow progress towards creating a truly inclusive environment. The lack of faith in reporting and response mechanisms and allegations of senior leader misconduct have diminished confidence in our Defence Team leaders and in our ability to respect the dignity and protect the health and welfare of our members, thus affecting institutional credibility and operational readiness/effectiveness.
  2. (U) Under the current framework – which is fragmented and complex – complaints of misconduct may be made to or through multiple and disparate authorities or organisations. This has resulted in confusion, a lack of integration, and inefficiency. Investigations of complaints may be conducted by various organizations with differing degrees of training and experience, the investigation process is often lengthy and provides limited transparency and support to complainants in understanding the process and in overcoming their moral or physical injuries. These adverse impacts perpetuate a cycle of distrust in our institution and leadership, deterring complainants from coming forward and delaying or even preventing them from seeking help and rehabilitation.
  3. (U) Our ability to understand the scope and seriousness of our challenges is limited. Multiple databases collect and track misconduct-related information making analysis difficult. The separate legal frameworks applying to DND and the CAF means that similar acts of misconduct can lead to different resolution pathways, outcomes, and levels of support depending upon whether the complainant or respondent is a CAF member or a DND employee.
  4. (U) Meanwhile, there is a valid perception that previous change initiatives were ‘made in Ottawa for Ottawa’ and did not tackle core issues of power, privilege, and the existence of social hierarchies that result in some being marginalized, shunned, and harmed. We also recognise the composition of the Defence Team in the National Capital Region is very different from that on our Defence Establishments across Canada which demands approaches to be designed with this in mind.
  5. (U) How do we reconcile the wrongs of the past and the present while building a better DND/CAF for the future? How do we nurture the continued improvement of CAF culture in order to attract and retain talent, and ensure a safe, trusting, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all, while improving our operational effectiveness? How do we strengthen our Human Resource management, strategies, and governance to enable culture change? Where are the failure points for victims and what are the risk factors for perpetration? How do we ensure that reporting and response pathways are person-centred and trauma-informed, so as to prevent further harm to those already affected? Recognizing that military organizations, including the CAF, are inherently hierarchical and that abuses of power imbalances are becoming the flash point in our organization, what approaches will allow us to remove them, while ensuring operational effectiveness? These are just some of the questions that, when answered, will help us chart a path to realise our vision for the future.

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  1. (U) DND and the CAF will continuously progress their culture and governance to better embody shared professional values and ethos that embrace the diversity and values of Canada, wherein all members thrive in a dignified, equitable, respectful, and inclusive institution, while continuously delivering and supporting operational excellence. All reports of misconduct will be met with action that is informed by the perspectives of victims/survivors, thus giving them greater agency in outcomes and – ultimately – better support. Moreover, all members of the Defence Team will actively contribute to culture change and will galvanize to eliminate harmful mindsets and conduct. Our organization will continuously and visibly demonstrate it has no tolerance for abuses of power, discrimination, sexual misconduct, hateful conduct, or harassment. We will have clear and simplified reporting mechanisms in place that balance multiple pathways with unified integration to allow for timelier and trusted processes, and victims/survivors and affected persons will be supported with compassion. We will focus on education and restorative practices for all and on taking appropriate action, including rehabilitation for those found responsible for misconduct. Acknowledging that cultural and social change will be continuous and will be driven in-part by the youth of the nation, leaders will strive for more authentic interactions with all members, thus inviting critical thinking, engagement, greater trust, and creativity. We will treat every set-back as an opportunity to learn and to grow, institutionally, and as individuals.


  1. (U) The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces will immediately establish a Chief Professional Conduct and Culture in order to rapidly define the scope of work and priorities, and develop a detailed plan to align Defence culture and professional conduct with the core values and ethical principles we aspire to uphold as a National Institution.

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CDS/DM Intent

  1. (U) Noting the time needed to truly understand and inspire credible and enduring reform in DND/CAF, this directive seeks to implement several immediate actions, while continuing to grow change space for ongoing conversations, external and independent reviews, and strategic planning and analysis, including Gender Based Analysis (GBA+), that will deepen our understanding. Only then will we be able to plan with conviction, empower our members and be ready to embrace the changes needed.
  2. (U) Our first step will be the establishment of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture as part of the National Defence Headquarters. The Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will be a Lieutenant-General/Vice-Admiral and the Deputy Chief Professional Conduct and Culture a Public Servant at the Assistant Deputy Minister level. The composition of this new organisation will be inclusive of members of all ranks and classifications and will emulate the diversity the Defence Team aspires to achieve. Resources will be assigned to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and begin the process of analysis and planning to address the flaws in our system described above. Subsequently, the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will be responsible to provide recommendations on how this new organisation will achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC) and become the single Functional Authority (FA) for professional conduct and culture – unifying, integrating, and coordinating all associated programs, policies, and activities across the DND and the CAF.
  3. (U) The Chief Professional Conduct and Culture’s initiating tasks articulated below will be purposefully broad to ensure this new organisation is established in a deliberate manner and actions are taken to address systemic misconduct and culture change only once the appropriate consultations have occurred. A unifying FA, once established, will be responsible for charting the path to achieve our vision for the Defence Team.
  4. (U) While this organisation is being stood up, we intend to remain focussed on the following:
    1. Prioritizing victim support, agency, and perspectives;
    2. Recognizing we do not possess the solutions, we intend to follow a ‘Listen; Learn; Act’ methodology;
    3. Applying a standardized ‘Prevent; Respond; Support; Include’ framework to compile solutions to address systemic misconduct;
    4. Respecting procedural fairness and the rights of all members of the Defence Team throughout;
    5. Supporting and welcoming the work of external and independent reviews of our institution and its culture;
    6. Gathering information that incorporates/reconciles stakeholder feedback, ongoing efforts/initiatives, recent reports and studies, successful aspects of Operation HONOUR, while retaining flexibility to incorporate external expert and independent review recommendations;
    7. Closing out Operation HONOUR in a respectful manner. Understanding what did not work and why while harvesting all positive elements of this operation into this renewed Defence Team effort;
    8. Developing mechanisms to allow for the implementation of the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations and enabling the implementation of the amendments to the National Defence Act introduced in Bill C-77 that include the Declaration of Victims Rights;
    9. Concurrently identifying and implementing immediate actions to break through institutional inertia; and
    10. Communicating widely on ongoing efforts.

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Scheme of Manoeuvre

  1. (U) The stand-up of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will be initiated as soon as possible while not rushing to solutions without deepening our understanding of this complex problem. Rather, we must listen, learn, study, harvest, and progress in order to move decisively to our point of departure. We must listen to, and be guided by, victims/survivors, Defence Team members, experts, and external reviews with humility, learn from these engagements and all relevant culture change research, study their findings to truly understand how they may be applied to the DND/CAF, while concurrently harvesting the best features of our current framework and progressing beyond elements that have culminated.


  1. (U) Communications in every form will be critical to the success of this initiative. Empathy, active listening, synthesizing and accurate reframing will be essential skills, while accountability, transparency and inclusivity will be the guiding principles for this work. From leadership through to the working level, communications must always be informed by intersecting perspectives, be deliberate, and sincere. As functional authority and communications enabler, Public Affairs expertise and advice is critical at every stage of this initiative and should be integrated into all planning from the outset.

Steady State

  1. (U) Our culture must continuously adapt to changes in our environment and society; therefore, addressing systemic misconduct has no “end-state.” The “steady-state” we must achieve is for our professional conduct and culture to be aligned with our codes of values and ethics, where all members of the Defence Team thrive in their environment with a sense of inclusion, mutual trust, safety, pride, respect and are free from harassment, discrimination, violence and other forms of misconduct in order to deliver and support excellence in operations.

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Guiding Principles on Constraints

  1. (U) We must respect the dignity of all persons while listening, learning, and leveraging expert advice and the lived experiences of those principal parties most impacted. We must embrace the tenets of a values-based profession and be open to, and embrace, change as an operational imperative. We must build greater awareness of applicable legislation, regulation, and policy, challenging and recommending updates to those instruments in a deliberate and systematic manner. We must recognize, acknowledge and break down institutional barriers. We must improve leader character and align our behaviours, attitudes, and beliefs with our ethical principles and core values.

Guiding Principles on Restraints

  1. (U) We must not rush to failure nor allow institutional inertia and deep-rooted individual and systemic biases to undermine efforts to change and adapt. We must not allow undue deference to tradition restrict our thinking, or compromise our efforts to embrace continuous improvement in a relentless pursuit of operational excellence and excellence in the human dimensions of leadership.


  1. (U) For the purpose of this Initiating Directive, the following assumptions apply:
    1. The Government of Canada will appoint an external review authority that will examine Defence culture and provide recommendations on ways to effect the necessary changes;
    2. The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) will continue to be an external body, independent from the CAF Chain of Command, which provides support to affected people, expert advice to the Defence Team, and monitors progress in addressing sexual misconduct; and
    3. The activities and tasks directed in this Initiating Directive will not alter the role or Departmental linkages of the office of the Ombudsman.

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  1. (U) The following tasks are intended to provide direction on the immediate actions needed to break the institutional inertia that has impeded progress and to establish the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture. L1s/Force Generators (FG) are not limited to these tasks and are encouraged to do more while ensuring they are well coordinated and synchronised with the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture:
    1. Common to all members of the Defence Team. Recognize that this effort is imperative for the future relevance of our institution. As such, fully commit to participating in this process, openly communicate with candour and respect, and fully cooperate and transparently engage with all Internal and External Reviews.
    2. Common to all L1s/FGs
      1. Support the establishment of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture by contributing the right personnel that represent a diverse cross-section of the Defence Team population and experts that are committed to, and passionate about, organizational change;
      2. In coordination with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, begin implementing initiatives that fall within your authorities;
      3. Provide full cooperation and transparency to all Internal and External Reviews;
      4. Ensure widest distribution of this Initiating Directive and supporting information within your organisation and actively communicate leveraging guidance and communications products from ADM(PA);
      5. Actively listen to your personnel, regarding how they experience prejudicial behaviours and systemic barriers through feedback mechanisms to include, but not be limited to individual engagements, focus groups, comment boxes, and Defence Advisory Groups;
      6. Create a “safe space” that encourages dialogue and helps to build trust and belonging. The RCafé initiated by Comd RCAF as well as the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) Positive Space Program are both examples of such a space;
      7. Reflect on your organisational culture and sub-cultures – to include corps/branch traditions and the regimental system – using external subject matter experts, to fully support progressive change and provide feedback of your recommendations to the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture;
      8. Implement and report on the Civilian Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan once published, demonstrating progress by the end of FY 2021-2022;
      9. Collaborate with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and CMP to institutionalize command climate assessments in every unit and staff directorate;
      10. Ensure all Defence Team members complete current and future mandated professional development related to systemic misconduct (such as Workplace Harassment, Violence Prevention, Anti-Racism, and Unconscious Bias). Key topics will be discussed and emphasized through live interactive sessions to permit reflection and meaningful discussion;
      11. Ensure all members, especially leaders at all levels, are held accountable for their actions or inactions vis-à-vis Defence culture and professional conduct;
      12. Be prepared to integrate data solutions, in coordination with ADM(DIA) and ADM(IM), to eliminate service stovepipes; and
      13. Prioritize the forwarding to Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA) of recommendations to release CAF members for conduct deficiencies, along with the evidence necessary to conduct an administrative review IAW Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 5019-2.
    3. Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (Designate). The tasks that follow are intended to establish an IOC for the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and will serve as a guide for the strategic analysis and planning this new organisation will conduct to achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC) and chart a path to our desired steady state. The following tasks relate to establishing the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture at IOC and will be completed as soon as possible:
      1. In coordination with VCDS, ADM(RS), CMP and ADM(HR Civ), complete the administrative organisation and establishment of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture;
      2. Immediately assume responsibility as the principal advisor to the CDS and DM on all matters related to professional conduct and culture in the Defence Team, excluding those that fall within ADM(RS) responsibility or under another review mechanism;
      3. In consultation with CMP, ADM(HR Civ), ADM(RS), JAG and DND/CFLA, complete and publish a Decision Support Framework (DSF) that articulates the considerations and options available to the CDS and DM where they receive a complaint of misconduct against a DND or CAF General Officer/Flag Officer (GOFO) or Senior Executive. The framework should address the following elements: incident awareness, initial assessment, affected person(s) and respondent(s) support, investigation, administrative action, disciplinary action, post decision, lessons learned, and lessons implemented. In relation to CAF members, this DSF will not replace applicable QR&Os, orders, or directives;
      4. Begin consolidating input and perspectives from all victims/survivors and affected persons, L1s/FGs, Employment Equity Champions, Defence Advisory Groups, and other Defence Team Networks vis-à-vis professional conduct and culture;
      5. Contract external experts to inform efforts to understand the factors impacting our professional conduct and culture, to include possible strategies going forward;
      6. Begin defining terminology, in coordination with subject matter experts, such as systemic discrimination, the conduct/behavioural spectrum, intersectionality, gender-based violence, anti-racism and any other key principles. A common lexicon will be critical for future work and will inform all future strategic communications;
      7. In coordination with ADM(PA), develop internal and external communication strategies from establishment to FOC of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture;
      8. In collaboration with internal stakeholders, develop comprehensive Terms of Reference (TOR) that define the authorities, responsibilities, and accountabilities (ARAs), for the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture at FOC. TORs and ARAs will be approved by the CDS and DM, in consultation with all stakeholders, Corp Sec, JAG, and DND/CFLA. Options on accountabilities will be provided to balance the importance of the Chain of Command and independence from it under specific circumstances;
      9. Analysis of ARAs will consider the reporting and necessary actions to take in extraordinary cases where the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture receives allegations of misconduct, made against Governor-in-Council (GiC) appointees, including the CDS, DM, Associate DMs, and the JAG. To ensure a clear process is followed in the interim, Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will, in consultation with the complainant where appropriate, take action on all such complaints of misconduct they receive in the following manner and sequence:
        1. Forward any complaint of alleged misconduct, upon receipt, to appropriate investigative authority. Where the appropriate investigative body is not clear, advice will be sought from the JAG, the DND/CF LA, and/or Privy Council Office (PCO) Legal, as appropriate;
        2. In all cases, notify the Clerk of the Privy Council in writing regarding the nature of the complaint and the investigative authority to which it was referred;
        3. Inform the Minister of National Defence (MND) in writing; and
        4. For greater certainty, the foregoing process shall not apply to complaints of misconduct against military judges.
      10. In accordance with the process set out in DAODs 1000-7, Policy Framework for Military Personnel Management, and 1000-9, Policy Framework for Department of National Defence Employee Management, Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, in coordination with CMP, the VCDS, and ADM(HR Civ), will recommend for DM and CDS approval the assignment of a functional area, which will establish the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture as the single FA responsible for simplifying and improving the current framework to address the causes and handling of systemic misconduct, developing an innovative approach to effect culture change, and unifying/integrating all associated activities across DND and the CAF. The Chief Professional Conduct and Culture at FOC must, at a minimum, achieve the following:
        1. Realign authorities, responsibilities, accountabilities, policies and programs that address elements of systemic misconduct across DND and the CAF;
        2. Simplify and enhance reporting mechanisms, including for those external to the chain of command;
        3. Give greater agency to, and strengthen support mechanisms for, victims/survivors and other affected persons;
        4. Enhance tracking mechanisms from initial reports of misconduct to case closures and integrate additional data points such as intersectionality, reprisals, member satisfaction, and retention; and
        5. Lead institutional efforts to develop a professional conduct and culture framework that holistically tackles all types of harmful behaviour, unconscious biases, and systemic barriers.
      11. Recognizing the overall intent identified above, in the conduct of your analysis and planning, consideration will be given to the following:
        1. Developing independent capacity to receive complaints and ensure appropriate actions are taken by DND/CAF to investigate allegations of misconduct made against Defence Team members, to include GOFOs and Senior Executives, with the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal being responsible for this function in relation to military police, and ADM(RS), in relation to complaints of wrongdoing;
        2. Leading a unified forum for Employment Equity Champions, Defence Advisory Groups, and other Defence Team Networks to drive coherence;
        3. Acting as the institutional sponsor, in coordination with ADM(DIA) and ADM(IM), for consolidating databases and rationalizing access rights and protocols to enable sharing, performance measurement, data-driven decision making, and to inform research;
        4. In coordination with SMRC, Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management (ICCM) and the JAG, consider how restorative approaches can be applied to respond to interpersonal harm and address culture change within the Defence Team;
        5. In coordination with CMP and all L1s/FGs, upgrading training, education and professional development frameworks. Consider conducting a Training Needs Assessment to enhance curricula by adopting a developmental approach to adult learning, tailored to career stages and risk factors, reinforcing ethics, conduct, and accountability, relational skills, and explaining how power dynamics can be harmful, why diversity and inclusion matter, and why healthy and respectful workplaces are vital;
        6. In coordination with ADM(RS), renewing the DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics (2012);
        7. In coordination with CMP, updating CAF leadership doctrine with critical review to incorporate key principles of authentic, inclusive and character-based leadership models, informed by GBA+ and equity, diversity, and inclusion perspectives;
        8. Ensuring coherency between, and aligning where possible, DND and CAF ethical frameworks;
        9. Institutionalizing formal unit command climate assessments to increase transparency and leadership accountability;
        10. Creating a leadership-engagement package for culture change focused on professional conduct and creating inclusive teams, to engage their Units in professional development sessions (comprehensive and road tested with Unit level leadership – ensuring they can use it);
        11. In coordination with the JAG, consider the challenges associated with the “Duty to Report” and, if appropriate, recommend QR&O amendments while exploring the feasibility of an evolution to “Duty to Respond”; and
        12. Consider what linkages should exist between the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and the offices of the SMRC and Ombudsman.
    4. VCDS
      1. Coordinate the staffing and structural establishment of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture;
      2. Accelerate the implementation of restorative services provided by ICCM across their regional centres;
      3. Accelerate the implementation and update the Defence Team Coaching Program provided by ICCM;
      4. Ensure the Defence Employment Equity and Network Champions, Defence Advisory Groups, and other Defence Team Networks have the resources needed to perform their critical advisory function in support of this renewed effort;
      5. ICCM in coordination with SMRC and the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, consider how restorative approaches can be applied to respond to interpersonal harm and address culture change within the Defence Team;
      6. Close out Operation HONOUR in a respectful manner;
      7. Plan and organize the CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Apology to Class Members to be conducted by the CDS and DM to the victims of sexual misconduct in the Fall of 2021;
      8. In coordination with ADM(HR Civ), ensure continued progress on the implementation of the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention regulations, including mandatory training; and
      9. In coordination with JAG, provide the instructions and support required to enable implementation of the amendments to the National Defence Act introduced in Bill C-77 that include the Declaration of Victims Rights.
    5. Corp Sec
      1. Facilitate the administrative stand-up of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture to include full administrative and real life support (office space, IT provisions, supplies, etc.);
      2. Support work of any External Review Authority to be established by the Government of Canada; and
      3. Facilitate External Review Authority access to Defence Team information necessary for the performance of their duties.
    6. SJS
      1. Be prepared to provide strategic planning support to Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, to include integration of L1 and internal stakeholder perspectives via Strategic Operations Planning Groups; and
      2. Prepare CDS/DM Directives in support of the development of future professional conduct and culture strategies.
    7. CMP
      1. Provide personnel management support for the stand-up the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture in coordination with all L1s/FGs;
      2. Work with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture to ensure coordination and integration of research in support of Defence culture strategies;
      3. Develop an enhanced unit assessment process to support the future implementation of L1 Command Climate Assessment frameworks;
      4. Develop a Code of Professional Military Conduct that will provide a pragmatic framework for CAF leaders to instill and enforce expected behaviours, including addressing the concept of power dynamics. The Code of Professional Military Conduct must be consistent with the NDA Code of Service Discipline;
      5. Align all CAF leadership doctrine (Code of Values and Ethics, Duty with Honour, inter alia) with the Code of Professional Military Conduct to ensure consistent language and standards in order to strengthen the ethical and moral foundation upon which all activities must be based;
      6. Develop an evidence-based framework for character-based leader assessments, that complements Performance and Competency Evaluation (PaCE), to provide a broader lens in support of selection and promotion processes, initially for GOFO selection in 2021 and subsequently for all promotion boards and command team appointments at the ranks of Major/Lieutenant-Commander, Sergeant/Petty Officer 2nd class, and above;
      7. Support Chief Professional Conduct and Culture to complete a DSF that articulates the considerations and actions the CDS and DM will undertake in situations where a DND or CAF GOFO or Senior Executive is involved in a misconduct incident; and
      8. Continue to develop the CAF Human Resources Strategy (CAF HRS).
    8. ADM(IM). The IM Group has a unique role to play in culture change and will begin the process to review how it supports this initiative. The DND/CAF and society writ large is undergoing a digital transformation with respect to how information is gathered, stored, and communicated or transmitted. ADM(IM) must ensure our digital domain is not contributing to systemic barriers and exclusionary mindsets.
    9. ADM(DIA)
      1. In collaboration with ADM(IM), lead an effort to inventory and consolidate data assets and IT systems currently used across DND/CAF to capture and manage misconduct-related files in accordance with the Access to Information and Privacy Act and information security provisions;
      2. In collaboration with ADM(IM), reach out to L1 organizations to obtain an understanding of L1s’ data and applications, both current state and anticipated future needs; and
      3. Assess, identify, and implement an integrated solution that eliminates stovepipes and will address current and future data and application needs related to professional conduct and culture.
    10. JAG. Provide legal advice and support to CDS, DM, DND/CAF, to include Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, in respect of all matters related to military law, including military justice.
    11. DND/CFLA. Provide legal advice and support to DND/CAF, to include Chief Professional Conduct and Culture.
    12. ADM(Pol)
      1. Leverage the MINDs program, in coordination with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, to contribute to education and analysis in support of a new framework to address systemic misconduct and Defence culture strategies; and
      2. Facilitate committee preparations for Chief Professional Conduct and Culture.
    13. ADM(DRDC). In coordination with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and CMP/Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA) be prepared to conduct social science research, provide subject matter expert advice, and scientific support to the development and implementation of the new framework to address systemic misconduct and Defence culture strategies.
    14. ADM(HR-CIV)
      1. In coordination with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and CMP, ensure the future framework to address systemic misconduct and Defence culture strategies are employee-centered and properly tailored to public servants;
      2. In coordination with VCDS and CMP, ensure provision of FA advice and guidance as it relates to organizational design;
      3. Engage with the unions on developments and initiatives resulting from Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, as the main interlocutor between the Department and Bargaining Agents;
      4. Develop a character leadership and succession framework for Executive (EX) selection and career management within the Department through the Executive Development Programs (EXDP) for diverse talent, EX talent management program, which addresses succession planning in alignment with Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) directives;
      5. Civilian Labour Relations will maintain their management representation posture and ensure linkages to TBS Labour relation policies, while integrating best practices and recommendations from the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture;
      6. Conduct a full and thorough review of the DM’s Table of Human Resource Authorities to ensure alignment and coverage of all accountabilities;
      7. In coordination with VCDS, ensure continued progress on the implementation of the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention regulations, including mandatory training; and
      8. Ensure continued progress on the review of employment systems and the staffing regime to facilitate the dismantling of systemic barriers for the employment of equity groups.
    15. Employment Equity Champions and Defence Advisory Groups
      1. Provide strategic advice to L0 and L1s on employment equity, diversity, and inclusion considerations critical to eliminate systemic barriers;
      2. Prepare plans on meaningful engagements and actions to be endorsed by Chief Professional Conduct and Culture; and
      3. Actively participate in, and advise on, the design of the Restorative Engagement program for Heyder-Beattie led by SMRC and ICCM.
    16. Anti-Racism Secretariat
      1. Provide strategic advice to L0 and L1s on anti-racism considerations critical to eliminate systemic racism; and
      2. Prepare plans on meaningful engagements and actions to be endorsed by Chief Professional Conduct and Culture.
    17. ADM(PA)
      1. Provide strategic communications advice to inform the development of a framework to address systemic misconduct and Defence culture strategies;
      2. Facilitate and provide PA products to inform internal communications;
      3. Lead all work for surveys and focus groups;
      4. Lead the coordination of responsive, cohesive external communications regarding the issues, developments and initiatives pertaining to systemic challenge framework and Defence culture strategy development; and
      5. Communicate the conduct of an inclusive and transparent external review on DND/CAF culture and systemic misconduct.
    18. Departmental Litigation Oversight (DLO). Integrate Chief Professional Conduct and Culture into DLO governance for the oversight of class action Final Settlement Agreement compliance, specifically for any mandated policy measures associated with culture change.
    19. ADM(RS)
      1. Prepare and support the training day on Ethics in Fall 2021; and
      2. In coordination with Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, review and renew the DND/CAF Code of Values and Ethics (2012).
    20. SMRC
      1. Provide advice and recommendations to DND/CAF on the establishment of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture position and mandate;
      2. Review the SMRC’s governance and mandate in the context of the creation of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, and engage with them to review and renew (if appropriate) the Operating Agreement currently in place between SMRC and DGPMC;
      3. Work collaboratively to enable the mandate of the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture; and
      4. In coordination with the ICCM, supported by the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, consider how restorative approaches can be applied to respond to interpersonal harm and address culture change within the Defence Team.

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Coordinating Instructions

  1. (U) Timings
    1. NLT 15 May 2021 – Concept Paper for the Code of Professional Military Conduct published (CMP);
    2. NLT 15 June 2021 – Chief Professional Conduct and Culture established at IOC;
    3. NLT June 2021 – Heyder-Beattie FSA RE program IOC;
    4. NLT 30 June 2021 – Provisional Code of Professional Military Conduct published (CMP);
    5. NLT October 2021 – Character-based leader assessment implemented for GOFOs (CMP);
    6. NLT November 2021 – Heyder-Beattie FSA RE program IOC launched;
    7. NLT 30 November 2021 – Renewed CAF Ethos published (ADM(RS));
    8. NLT 30 November 2021 – Publish renewed Duty With Honour (CMP);
    9. NLT 30 November 2021 – Implementation Plan for the Code of Professional Military Conduct published (Chief Professional Conduct and Culture supported by CMP);
    10. NLT 1 Dec 2021 – Chief Professional Conduct and Culture provides detailed analysis and recommendations to the CDS and DM on the Master Implementation Plan to achieve FOC;
    11. NLT June 2022 – Publish Code of Professional Military Conduct (CMP); and
    12. NLT Dec 2022 – Release of integrated comprehensive Defence culture strategy (Chief Professional Conduct and Culture).
  2. (U) Reports
    1. All L1s/FGs will provide regular updates to the CDS and DM on progress made implementing this Initiating Directive;
    2. All L1s/FGs will provide initial feedback to Chief Professional Conduct and Culture regarding the characteristics of their specific cultures by NLT September 2021; and
    3. Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will provide weekly updates to the CDS/DM on progress made to establish the future framework to address systemic misconduct, development of a Defence culture strategy, and the feedback received via listening and learning consultations.
  3. Public Affairs Approach. The overall PA approach will be active internally throughout and active externally to inform all audiences of progress, milestones, and work to come. Communications will be shaped so as to seek, welcome and acknowledge engagement, critique, and recommendations in order to have a direct effect on institutional actions.
  4. Strategic Messages
    1. Culture change begins with the recognition that the lived experience of employees and military members does not reflect the professed values of the organization;
    2. Our desired and professed institutional culture is not the lived reality for everyone - we must eliminate, adjust, and strengthen aspects of our culture to fix this;
    3. This holistic and coherent approach will include informed action to eliminate discrimination, biases, harmful stereotypes, and systemic barriers to create a truly inclusive culture;
    4. Culture change targeting attitudes and beliefs cannot be ‘ordered’ - it is complex work that requires dedicated, deliberate, and sustained action to make change while preserving the good work that is being done. This is what we will do;
    5. Most importantly, we must listen to our people - present, past, and at all levels - to learn from and guide actions accordingly, finding solutions and making decisions reflective of their experiences and suggestions; and
    6. This formalizing of intent is testimony to leadership’s renewed commitment to the Defence Team and everyone’s right to work in an environment of mutual respect, dignity, and inclusion, where they have the opportunity to thrive and contribute to achieving mission effectiveness.

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Concept of Support

  1. Finance. Chief Professional Conduct and Culture will identify resource requirements as soon as feasible. ADM(Fin) will assist with the costing of requirements and the identification of funding for presentation to IRMC for approval. Financial coding to allow for cost capture of expenditures related to the stand-up of Chief Professional Conduct and Culture as well as follow on financial coding for the new L1 will be communicated as soon as possible.


  1. Supported Commander. Chief Professional Conduct and Culture.
  2. Supporting Commanders / Group Principals. All L1s and Group Principals.
  3. Points of Contact (POC)
    1. VCDS. BGen J.A.D. Abboud, COS to the VCDS and Col J.J.G.E. Michaud, Director of Coordination for DVCDS;
    2. SJS. Col P.F.J. MacNamara, DG Coord;
    3. RCN. Cmdre D.J. Patchell, DG Naval Strat Readiness;
    4. CA. Col N.S. Roby, Dir CA Pers Management;
    5. RCAF. LCol Maryse Simard, D Air Pers Mgt 3;
    6. CMP. Col L.H.P.S. Boucher, DPS;
    7. CJOC. BGen C.M. Harding, Director General Support;
    8. CFINTCOM. Cmdre C.T. Skjerpen, COS;
    9. CANSOFCOM. LCol B.T. Newlove, OPF2 Coord;
    10. OJAG. Col M.J. Dow, DJAG AL;
    11. ADM(DIA). A.R. Langley, Director Corporate Reporting;
    12. ADM(Pol). Col. A.M. Shortridge, COS;
    13. ADM(Mat). R.C. Mardell, SI7-Professionalization;
    14. ADM(Fin). MGen R.W. Goodyear, C Fin Mgt;
    15. ADM(IE). LCol S.M. House, Asst CME;
    16. ADM(HR Civ). P.J. Hooey, Director General;
    17. ADM(IM). M. Paquette, Director Cyber;
    18. ADM(DRDC). Col N. Lew, SMA to ADM(DRDC);
    19. ADM(RS). M. Gravel, Executive Director;
    20. ADM(PA). Col S.M.M. Godin, Director Public Affairs Planning (Operations);
    21. DND/CFLA. R. MacCallum, General Counsel;
    22. Corp Sec. L.M. Vandehei, DGEIA;
    23. SMRC. Dr. D. Preston, Executive Director; and
    24. DLO. M.B. Mulkins, Executive Director DLO.

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W.D. Eyre
Acting Chief of the Defence Staff

Jody Thomas
Deputy Minister

Annex A: References

Distribution List


Chief Professional Conduct and Culture

Comd RCN
Comd CA
DComd JFC Naples
Corp Sec


Assoc MND
Senior Assoc DM
CAF Ombudsman

CDS/DM Initiating Directive for Professional Conduct and Culture

  1. External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the CAF, M. Deschamps Report, (2015)
  2. 2018 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada (2018)
  3. Upcoming OAG Review (2021)
  4. Operation HONOUR (2015)
  5. The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Strategy to Address Sexual Misconduct (2020)
  6. Duty with Honour: the Profession of Arms in Canada (2009)
  7. Employment Equity Act (S.C. 1995, c.44)
  8. Canadian Human Rights Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6)
  9. National Defence Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-5)
  10. Privacy Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21)
  11. Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
  12. DAOD 9005-1, Sexual Misconduct Response (2020)
  13. Directive on the Prevention and Resolution of Work Place Harassment and Violence, Treasury Board
  14. DAOD 5016-0, Standards of Civilian Conduct and Discipline (2018)
  15. DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics (2012)
  16. Bill C-65 – New Regulations on Prevention of Harassment and Violence in the Workplace (2020)
  17. Bill C-77: An Act to amend the National Defence Act and the make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (2019)
  18. DAOD 5019-0 Conduct and Performance Deficiencies (2020)
  19. Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy
  20. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  21. Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces
  22. Queen’s Regulations and Orders for Canadian Cadet Organizations
  23. CF Mil Pers Instruction 01/20 - Hateful Conduct (2020)
  24. Access to Information Act
  25. CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Final Settlement Agreement (FSA)
  26. Positive Space Program, CANFORGEN 116/18 and 079/20

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Annex B

CDS/DM Initiating Directive for Professional Conduct and Culture


  1. (U) The following definitions are intended to provide a handrail with a view to establishing a common initial understanding amongst the Defence Team. This lexicon will be validated through upcoming analysis to ensure it reflects the language and meaning of contemporary society:
    1. Systemic Misconduct. Systemic misconduct is a term used throughout which, for the purposes of this Directive, refers to the following: sexual misconduct, hateful conduct, any form of discrimination, harassment and violence, employment inequity, and abuse of power in the workplace. This term was deliberately chosen for this Directive to convey the gravity of these prejudicial behaviours and the challenge we face in addressing their systemic causes;
    2. Chain of Command. The use of Chain of Command in this Initiating Directive refers to the military Chain of Command for officers and non-commissioned members of the CAF and the hierarchy of management for DND employees;
    3. Culture. All aspects of a group’s behaviour and social organization. The values, attitudes, and beliefs which provide people with a common way of interpreting events. Culture provides both identity and meaning. It reinforces values and norms and serves as a control mechanism, influencing behaviour. (English) CAF doctrine defines culture as “a shared and relatively stable pattern of behaviour, values and assumptions that a group has learned over time as an effective means of maintaining internal social stability and adapting to its environment, that is transmitted to new members as the correct ways to perceive, think and act.” (Defence Terminology Databank Record 35243 and A-PA-005/AP-004 Leadership in the Canadian Forces - Conceptual Foundations – This is adapted from Schein’s definition of Organizational Culture);
    4. Climate. Day-to-day perceptions of various aspects of an organization, such as decision-making, leadership, and work performance (English). Organizational climate is defined as the shared meaning organizational members attach to the events, policies, practices, and procedures they experience and the behaviours they see being rewarded, supported and expected (Ehrhart, Schneider and Macey);
    5. Values. Global beliefs that guide actions and judgements across a variety of situations (English). Norms and guiding principles that influence attitudes, judgements, choices, attributions, and actions;
    6. Beliefs. Assumed facts about the world that do not involve evaluation. (English);
    7. Assumption. A statement accepted or supposed to be true without proof or demonstration. Assumptions can be explicit or implicit. Implicit assumptions are unstated premises or beliefs that are taken for granted (Paul & Elder). Assumptions have particular importance in an organizational context, where they influence decisions and policies;
    8. Attitudes. Fairly stable emotional tendencies to respond consistently to objects, situations, people or categories of people. (English);
    9. Behaviour. Manner of conducting oneself in the external relations of life; demeanour; deportment; bearing and manners (Oxford English Dictionary). Any action or activity that can be observed, recorded or measured (TERMIUM Plus);
    10. Workplace. The physical work location and the greater work environment where work-related functions and other activities take place and work relationships exist;
      Note: in the CAF context, the workplace can include places such as messes, on-base clubs, quarters, dining halls, gyms, and sanctioned events such as holiday gatherings and course parties as well as office spaces, classrooms, garrisons, ships, hangars, vehicles, aircraft, online forums, etc. CAF members do not simply work for the CAF, but work, socialize and often live within institutional and social structures established by the military.
    11. Military Ethos. It is the foundation upon which the legitimacy, effectiveness and honour of the Canadian Forces depend. The military ethos comprises values, beliefs and expectations that reflect core Canadian values, the imperatives of military professionalism, and the requirements of operations;
    12. Systemic Barriers. Patterns of behaviour, policies and practices that are part of social and administrative structures, and which create or perpetuate a position of relative disadvantage for particular groups;
    13. Institutional inequality. Bias and privilege embedded in norms, behaviors and attitudes of an organization’s culture and structures that reflect the needs, abilities, and perspectives of the dominant, often, originating membership;
    14. Racism. A belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human ability and capacity producing a system of power that artificially organizes people into social hierarchies of inferiority and or superiority of a particular race over another. Racism is expressed in overt and/or latent racist attitudes, behaviour, norms, policies and decisions that lead to racial inequalities based on the colour of one’s skin, ethnicity or heritage;
    15. Anti-Racism. Is the action, policy or practice that opposes prejudice and discrimination based on the colour of one’s skin, ethnicity or heritage;
    16. Equity. In the DND/CAF context equity recognizes the need to adjust structures, policies, practices and access to opportunities for particular individuals or groups of people to facilitate their full participation or full benefit from opportunities and entitlements;
    17. DAOD 9005-1 defines sexual misconduct as “conduct of a sexual nature that causes or could cause harm to others, and that the person knew or ought reasonably to have known could cause harm.”;
    18. DAOD 5012-0 provides a definition on harassment, including a specific mention of harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

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