Legal matters

Vice-Admiral Norman

  • This Government and Vice-Admiral Norman reached a mutually acceptable agreement.
  • The settlement agreement imposes a contractual obligation on both Canada and Vice-Admiral Norman to keep the terms confidential.
  • The Government of Canada has a duty to abide by its legal obligations to promote the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.
  • Government institutions have an obligation under the Privacy Act to protect Vice-Admiral Norman’s personal information.
  • We believe this resolution has returned focus to the critical work of the Canadian Armed Forces.

If pressed on the status of the case

  • In May 2019, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada stayed the charge against Vice-Admiral Norman.
  • This ended a court proceeding that has been difficult for ViceAdmiral Norman and for the Canadian Armed Forces.

If pressed on military leadership

  • The Chief of the Defence Staff is responsible for the command, control, and administration of the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • I continue to have the utmost confidence in the leadership of the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Defence Team as we move forward.

If pressed on institutional integrity

  • Every day, the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces serve this country with dignity and honour.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces have strong policies and procedures in place that provide guidance on acceptable conduct.
  • As well, mechanisms are at the disposal of the chain of command to manage any impropriety regardless of the rank.
  • I continue to have the utmost faith in the values and integrity of the Canadian defence institution.

Key Facts

On June 26, 2019, the Government of Canada and Vice-Admiral Norman announced a settlement had been reached.

Details

  • On January 16, 2017, the Chief of the Defence Staff relieved Vice-Admiral Mark Norman from the performance of military duties as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces because he was under Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police alleged in court documents, made public, that Vice-Admiral Norman leaked cabinet secrets to a Davie Shipbuilding executive in Quebec, and advised him how to use the media to press the Government to approve a $667 million supply ship contract.
  • On March 9, 2018, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged Vice-Admiral Mark Norman with one count of breach-of-trust by public officer.
  • On May 8, 2019, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada stayed the charge against Vice-Admiral Norman after it was determined that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.
  • On June 26, 2019, the Government of Canada and Vice-Admiral Norman released a joint statement announcing a settlement had been reached. Following this announcement, Vice-Admiral Norman retired from the Canadian Armed Forces.

Requests to Remove “Self-Harm” Provision in the National Defence Act

  • The health and well-being of Canadian Armed Forces members is a top priority for this Government.
  • This Government recognizes that “self-harm” is an important issue that requires careful consideration.
  • That is why we are taking concrete action through our Total Health and Wellness Strategy.
  • We are also dedicated to improving our military justice system through statutory independent reviews of the National Defence Act every seven years.
  • The next review is scheduled to be tabled by 1 June 2021.
  • We will continue to ensure that Canadian Armed Forces members are well supported and receive the care they deserve.

Key Facts

  • Paragraph 98(c) of the National Defence Act – known as the “self-harm” provision – specifically addresses cases where military member wilfully maims or injures himself or any other military with the intend of rendering himself or that person unfit for service.
  • Since 2000, only one person was charged for maiming or injuring oneself under paragraph 98(c) of the National Defence Act. In that case, the commanding officer decided not to proceed with the charge.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“We will favour a more comprehensive approach to care – known as ‘Total Health and Wellness’ – and will consider psychosocial well-being in the workplace, the physical environment, and the personal health of members.”

Details

  • Paragraph 98(c) of the National Defence Act seeks to address cases where a person subject to the Code of Service Discipline would willfully injure him or herself or another member of her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith, with the intent to render him or herself unfit for service or active service. In the context of active service, such acts may be akin to desertion and therefore the maximum punishment reflects the same as that provided for desertion.
  • While the Code of Service Discipline aims to promote operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces by contributing to the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale, concerns have been raised regarding paragraph 98(c) in the context of mental health and suicide.

Pressure to Review the Treatment of Afghan Detainees

  • The Canadian Armed Forces respects the rule of law and the dignity of all persons.
  • Canada handled, transferred, or released individuals detained by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan within our legal obligations.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces examined allegations regarding the treatment of Afghan detainees, and no charges have been laid in any case.
  • No information has been provided that warrants any further inquiry into this issue.
  • Canada is proud of the honourable work done by our women and men in uniform who served in Afghanistan.

Key Facts

  • Multiple investigations and inquiries have examined this issue including:
    • A Board of Inquiry; and
    • A Public Interest Hearing and Public Interest Investigation by the Military Police Complaints Commission.
  • The Public Interest Investigation is currently ongoing, the Military Police Complaints Commission conducted additional witness interviews, submitted an Investigation Report to the Commission Panel, and provided additional documents and information.

Details

  • Forces handled, transferred, or released individuals in accordance with our legal obligations. Consistent with the rights and protections of the Third Geneva Convention, detainees were treated humanely at all times, and under all circumstances; even if transferred to the Afghan authorities. As such, the Canadian Armed Forces provided detainees with food, shelter, and medical attention. In addition, deploying members received pre-deployment training regarding the handling, treatment, and transfer of detainees. In addition, specific pre-deployment training for Canadian Armed Forces members involving the handling and transfer of detainees was provided.

Investigations Regarding Treatment of Detainees

  • Multiple investigations and inquiries and a civil court examined the allegations regarding the treatment of detainees during military operations in Afghanistan. These include:
    • 2007: Litigation in the Federal Court of Canada brought forward by Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
    • 2008: A four-year Public Interest Hearing launched by the Military Police Complaints Commission;
    • 2010: A Board of Inquiry by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff examining a June 2006 detainee incident;
    • 2011: An investigation conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service into the alleged misconduct by the military police; and
    • 2015: A Public Interest Investigation launched by the Military Police Complaints Commission. This investigation is still ongoing.
  • No charges have been laid nor has any civil liability or responsibility been attributed.

Request for International Criminal Court Investigation

  • In November 2017, former NDP MP, Craig Scott, submitted a brief to the International Criminal Court arguing that successive federal governments abdicated their responsibility to investigate reports of torture in Afghanistan.

Heyder Beattie; Frenette and Merlo Davidson

  • This Government is committed to providing a work environment in which all employees are treated with respect and dignity, free of discrimination and bias.
  • We fully acknowledge the impact that sexual misconduct, racial harassment or discrimination may have on members of the Defence Team.

If pressed on the Heyder Beattie Final Settlement Agreement

  • We have agreed to a settle several class action lawsuits regarding sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence.
  • It is our hope that this settlement will help bring closure, healing, and acknowledgement to those who have experienced sexual misconduct.
  • Impacted individuals will be able to submit a claim for compensation and/or seek to participate in the restorative engagement program at the end of March.

If pressed on the Frenette Proposed Class Action

  • We have entered into settlement negotiations with a class action lawsuit regarding racial harassment and discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces.

If pressed on the Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement

  • In 2017, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reached a landmark settlement of two proposed class actions, claiming harassment of female Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and public service employees on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
  • This was a profound move forward that enabled a renewed focus on initiatives targeted at eliminating discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace.
  • The Federal Court approved the appointment of two additional assessors to assist in the resolution of the claims.

Key Facts

Heyder Beattie

  • 2016-2017: Seven former military members filed class action lawsuits against the Canadian Armed Forces for sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender or sexual orientation based discrimination.
  • Late 2017: Claims consolidated: Heyder (current and former female military members) and Beattie (current and former male military members).
  • February 23, 2018: Announced decision to suspend litigation and begin discussions to negotiate settlement agreement.
  • November 25, 2019: Federal Court approved Final Settlement Agreement. The implementation will begin in Spring 2020.

Frenette

  • December 14, 2016: three former military members filed a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Armed Forces alleging the Canadian Forces failed to protect racial minorities and Aboriginal people from racism within the ranks.
    • The proposed class action was filed on behalf of all current and former Canadian Armed Forces members who are racial minorities, visible minorities or Aboriginal peoples.
  • The parties are engaged in ongoing negotiations.

Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement

  • In 2012 and in 2015, two class actions alleged that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police failed to exercise its responsibilities to ensure employees could work in an environment free of discrimination, intimidation and harassment on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
  • October 6, 2016: Parties signed a Settlement Agreement.
    • By May 22, 2018, there were 3,131 claims filed.
  • As of December 6, 2019, over 80% of the claims have been decided.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“new policy direction … includes specific direction to prioritize diversity and inclusion in the Canadian Armed Forces.”

Heyder Beattie Final Settlement Agreement

  • The parties involved in the Sherry Heyder, Amy Graham and Nadine SchultzNeilsen and Larry Beattie Class Action signed a Final Settlement Agreement in July 2019, which was approved by the Federal Court on November 25, 2019.
  • A total of up to $900 million is available to compensate class members — all current and former Canadian Armed Forces members, employees of the Department of National Defence, or Staff of the Non-Public Funds, who experienced sexual misconduct in the military workplace.
  • The settlement provides financial compensation, the option to participate in a restorative engagement program, and several other measures aimed at culture change and addressing sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Class members who do not want be bound by the settlement have until February 24, 2020 to opt-out.
  • Impacted individuals will be able to submit a claim for financial compensation and/or seek to participate in the restorative engagement program starting on March 25, 2020 and no later than September 25, 2021.
  • Epiq Class Action Services Canada was selected by the Parties and appointed by the court to act as an independent administrator and manage the claims process.
  • The range of individual compensation for most Class Members could be between $5,000 and $55,000, depending on the nature of the incident and the severity of the harm suffered. Class members who experienced exceptional harm and have been denied VAC benefits may be eligible for amounts up to $155,000.
  • The Restorative Engagement program is voluntary and will allow class members to share their experience with senior military or departmental representatives in a safe and respectful environment.
  • The goal of the Restorative Engagement program is to allow impacted individuals to be heard and acknowledged, to contribute to a culture change, and to begin the process of restoring relationships between class members and the Defence Team.

Frenette Proposed Class Action

  • Three former members of the Canadian Armed Forces filed a proposed class action filed on behalf of all current and former Canadian Armed Forces members who are racial minorities, visible minorities or Aboriginal peoples or Indigenous persons.
  • The Plaintiffs allege that, while members of the Canadian Armed Forces, they were subjected to racial discrimination and/or harassment based on race or Aboriginal status.
  • Parties are currently negotiating a Final Settlement Agreement, which will be subject to Federal Court approval.

Merlo Davidson Final Settlement Agreement

  • Merlo and Davidson were two separate proposed national class actions alleging harassment, bullying, and discrimination of female Royal Canadian Mounted Police employees on the basis of gender (Davidson also alleged the basis of sexual orientation). Merlo was filed in 2012 in the British Columbia Supreme Court and Davidson was filed in 2015 in the Ontario Superior Court.
  • On October 6, 2016, the parties agreed to a settlement confirming the abandonment of these proceedings in favor of a conciliation process to compensate all harassed employees and, in some cases, members of their family.
  • As part of the agreement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police agreed to implement the following measures:
    • An official apology by the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the victims.
    • Changes the organizational culture of the force.
    • A scholarship fund to recognize exceptional accomplishment in the fight against harassment.
    • A national advisory council and regional committees to deal with all cases of harassment and intimidation related to gender within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  • The parties initially estimated that there would be approximately 1,000 claimants under the Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement. At the end of the extended claims period the Office of the Independent Assessor had received over 3,100 claims.
  • The claims process, and staffing of the Office, was based on the original estimate. With over three times as many claims as anticipated, the Independent Assessor determined that additional assessors were required to ensure that the claims process proceeded as expeditiously as possible.

JOST (Reserve Force Pension Plan)

  • As this is a current litigation case we cannot speak to the specifics of this case.
  • We have been working to improve service delivery to both Regular and Reserve Force members.
  • Since 2017, PSPC has provided the service delivery of pension benefits through the Canadian Armed Forces Pension Centre.
    • In conjunction with the Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP) Pension Liaison Team, we are working to ensure the timely delivery of pension benefits.
  • National Defence has initiated a release renewal under SSE 28 that is working to standardize and improve the release process across the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • This initiative will, when complete, ensure both Regular and Reserve Force releases are expedited and issues/errors addressed before a member releases.

Key Facts

  • The class action lawsuit includes all members of the Canadian Reserve Forces – Reserve Force Pension Plan – who were entitled upon release to an Immediate Annuity, Transfer Value, Annual Allowance or Bridge Benefit between March 1, 2007 and present.
  • The Department of Justice filed an appeal of the certification order on November 15, 2019.
  • Currently, there is no backlog of cases that are ready to be paid, as steps are taken to review all pension package documentation received to ensure the file is ready for payment when the release date transaction is received.
  • As of July 2016, the Canadian Armed Forces pension plan’s administration is separate from the Canadian Armed Forces release process to allow faster processing of pension payments.

Details

Pension backlogs

  • The initial backlog of Reserve Force Pension files was due largely to the response of the newly created Reserve Force Pension Plan. Implemented in 2007, it provided retirement benefits to approximately 21,000 Reservists who previously had no pension plan related to their military service.
  • The new pension plan allowed all members (Regular Force and Reserve Force) of the Canadian Armed Forces members to buy-back up to 35 years of service in the Reserves in order to maximize their potential pension benefits.

Jost Class Action Lawsuit

  • The Plaintiff alleges that Canada has engaged in chronic and excessive delays in the payment of payment of the Immediate Annuity, Transfer Value, Annual Allowance, or Bridge Benefit (“Immediate Pension Entitlements”) to discharged members of the CAF Regular and Reserve Force pension plans and has not compensated discharged members for these delays.
  • The Plaintiff is seeking damages in the amount of $100 million dollars for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and breach of contract.

LGBT Purge Final Settlement Agreement

  • We are building a Defence Team that reflects the diversity we see in our communities.
  • We are proud that many LGBTQ2 members serve in the military, and we promote the military as an employer of choice for all Canadians.
  • The historical treatment of LGBTQ2 members is a matter of historical record.
  • LGBTQ2 members do not want this treatment buried.
  • Rather, when requested, we amend their National Defence file to make clear that any notations in their file based on past discriminatory policies are no longer considered appropriate.
  • A settlement has been reached and the claims for compensation and/or individual reconciliation are underway.
  • We hope that by acknowledging our failings we can give LGBTQ2 people in Canada the respect they deserve.
  • If pressed on the destruction of the records of convictions

  • Bill C-66 allows for the expungement of any record of conviction of criminal offences involving consensual sexual activity with a samesex partner.

Key Facts

  • November 28, 2017: Prime Minister apologized to civil servants, military members and criminalized Canadians who endured discrimination and injustice based on their sexual orientation.
  • June 22, 2018: Federal Court approved Final Settlement Agreement.
    • Up to $110 million in overall compensation with eligible people expected to receive between $5,000 and $175,000.
  • April 25, 2019: individuals submitted claims to Deloitte Canada to request compensation and/or Individual Reconciliation Measures.
    • 718 claimants: 628 military, 78 public servants, 12 RCMP

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“new policy direction … includes specific direction to prioritize diversity and inclusion in the Canadian Armed Forces.”

Details

  • On November 28, 2017, the Prime Minister delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of, and discrimination against, LGBTQ2 people in Canada.
  • To address the wrongs experienced by those who were unfairly criminalized by unjust laws and actions, the Government passed Bill C-66, the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, which puts in place a process to permanently destroy the records of convictions for offences involving consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners that would be lawful today.
  • The Government also signed a Final Settlement Agreement to resolve the Todd Edward Ross, Martine Roy and Alida Satalic Class Action in a fair, compassionate, and respectful manner that promotes healing and reconciliation.

LGBTQ2 Final Settlement Agreement

  • The parties involved in the Todd Edward Ross, Martine Roy and Alida Satalic Class Action signed an Agreement-in-Principle in November 2017, and the Final Settlement Agreement was approved by the Federal Court on June 22, 2018. The settlement provides up to $145 million, including $15 million for legal fees, $5 million for administration, and $15 million for the LGBT Purge Fund.
  • A total of up to $110 million is available to compensate class members — federal public servants, including members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who were directly and negatively impacted by discriminatory policies and practices.
  • The Individual Reconciliation Measures include the Canada Pride Citation, the personal apology letter, access to certain individual records, and a note to file.
  • Impacted individuals had until April 25, 2019 to submit a claim to Deloitte Canada to request compensation and/or individual reconciliation measures. The claims are still under review.
  • Class members who were found to be eligible for individual compensation began to receive an initial payment of $5,000 in April 2019 and the majority have now received their complete level 1-3 compensation in addition to copies of their service records, letter of apology and the Notation to File, as requested. Assessment for the highest level of compensation continue and approximately one third have been completed to date by the Assessor.
  • Claimants have a choice to receive their Canada Pride Citation certificate and insignia by mail or have them presented in a ceremony with either the Federal Public Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Canadian Armed Forces. Ceremony details are still to be confirmed.

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