Conclusion – Becoming a benchmark organization

This final report has drawn on what the Advisory Panel heard from witnesses, internal and external advisory groups, and key Defence Team stakeholders about the current challenges and systemic barriers to a more inclusive organization. It only skims the surface of what the DAGs and Network(s) have to offer in terms of wise counsel.

The key to National Defence becoming an inclusive organization lies in the commitment of its members to be decent human beings, appreciative of differences, and respectful of all those in the workplace.  It depends on Defence Team members becoming more than silent bystanders when they witness inequalities, injustices and any forms of abuse of power. It is each member’s duty to be actively anti-racist, to ardently champion gender equality, and to vigorously challenge the barriers to an accessible environment. Every member of the Defence Team has a responsibility to advocate for equity, particularly if they have benefitted from underlying privilege as a result of Canada's colonial history. This group of privileged people has an additional obligation: to engage in introspection and question the conditions that render their workplace more favourable to them than to their colleagues from diverse backgrounds. The failure to examine unintentional biases leads to unintentional discrimination. These biases, often inherited over decades, must be fervently sought out and eliminated.

Only then can every element of the Defence Team workplace be a welcoming environment where all of its members can thrive.

The Advisory Panel acknowledges that this is a lofty goal.

It also recognizes that leaders within the Defence Team have the necessary experts to mentor and advise them. Once again, the Advisory Panel urges these leaders to listen to their Defence Advisory Groups, Network(s) and marginalized members. They each have their own history, their own challenges, and their own ever-evolving suggestions to build a better future together. They need a safe space to share their wisdom and insights.

Most importantly, Canadians need the entire Defence Team to act.

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