Processes and Descriptions
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Rules Governing Personal Relationships between Canadian Armed Forces Personnel
- The rules around personal relationships in the CAF are outlined in administrative orders and directives.
- As per these orders, a member has an obligation to report any personal relationship with another member in the same Chain of Command.
- In turn, the Chain of Command has a duty to ensure that a reported personal relationship does not have a negative effect on the security, cohesion, discipline, or morale of a unit.
- The Chain of Command will ensure appropriate situational-specific criteria when dealing with the relationship.
- For instance, the Chain of Command could arrange for temporary assignments, transfers or change in work assignments, to ensure no negative effects.
- The Canadian Armed Forces is committed to respecting members’ privacy and their inherent right to form personal relationships.
- Personal Relationship: An emotional, romantic, sexual or family relationship, including marriage or a common-law partnership or civil union, between two CAF members, or a CAF member and a DND employee or contractor, or member of an allied force.
Reporting Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour
- National Defence encourages all members to report any incident of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
- If a CAF member is uncertain if an incident constitutes sexual misconduct, they can contact the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) for a confidential discussion 24 hours a day.
- The SMRC can provide confidential advice and referrals to various health and support services, emotional support, and offer information on reporting options available.
- SMRC does not require incidents to be reported for affected members to access support, referrals, or advice.
- When CAF members report an incident to their Chain of Command, leaders must take prompt and decisive action to appropriately address the matter.
- Our goal is for victims who come forward to be heard and to be safe and supported.
- To the greatest extent possible, any response to a reported incident should reflect the affected member’s preferences.
- Defence Team members who wish to proceed with a formal complaint have the option of reporting to their local Military Police unit or civilian police services.
- Members can also report an incident directly to the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service.
- We must all continue to work to create a culture where Defence Team members feel comfortable coming forward and that appropriate action will be taken without experiencing reprisal.
- Bystander training: All CAF members who are bystanders to sexual misconduct committed by any person in the workplace or on a defence establishment are expected to act and have a duty to report to the proper authority.
- Incidents of sexual misconduct reported to COC:
- 282 (1 Apr 2020 – 31 Dec 2020)
Canadian Forces National Investigation Service Investigations
- All members of the Canadian Armed Forces are expected to act in a lawful manner, and in accordance with high standards of conduct and performance.
- The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) is responsible for investigating, reporting, and laying charges in cases of serious service and criminal offences and sensitive matters within National Defence.
- Serious service and criminal offences and sensitive matters include complaints of sexual misconduct by CAF members and DND employees.
- The CFNIS operates independently of the military chain-of-command and conducts investigations without interference and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
- In the case of an inappropriate interference in the conduct of a CFNIS investigation, a complaint can be made to the Military Police Complaints Commission, which has the powers to investigate the complaint independently.
- The Sexual Offence Response Team are dedicated investigators within the CFNIS that provide subject matter expertise on conducting sexual offence investigations.
- National Defence is committed to ensuring that all Military Police investigations are independent, impartial, and conducted in a manner that helps victims feel safe and supported.
- Established in 1997: the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) is a specialized unit established within Canadian Forces Military Police Group.
- CFNIS mandate: investigate serious service and criminal offence and sensitive matters in relation to DND property, DND employees and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel serving in Canada and abroad.
- The CFNIS plays a central role in responding to allegations of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
- Independence: The Military Police (MP) is independent of the chain of command in policing matters.
- Members of the MP performing policing functions are under the full command of the Commander of the Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp), which allows them to perform law enforcement duties independently.
- In the case of an inappropriate interference in the conduct of an MP investigation, a complaint can be made to the Military Police Complaints Commission, which has the powers to investigate the complaint independently.
- The CFNIS is a unit within the independent CF MP Gp CFNIS investigators always remain under the command of the CFNIS Commanding Officer, regardless of their employment within Canada or abroad.
- Process: Complaints can be made to CFNIS by Military Police, chains of command, CAF members, and DND employees, and complainants do not need to be victims of the alleged offence.
- Reporting: CFNIS decisions are distributed to the appropriate authorities within National Defence who require the information for disciplinary reasons or other processes.
- Sexual Offence Response Team (SORT): established in 2016 within the CFNIS to provide investigators with expertise on conducting sexual offence investigations.
- strong>Military Policy Victim Services Program: assists victims of crime by connecting them with resources, providing them advice, and ensuring they stay informed throughout the investigative and court processes.
- CFNIS Mandate: While all military police can lay charges under the Criminal Code or other federal statutes, CFNIS investigators are the only military police who also have the authority to lay changes under the National Defence Act.
- CFNIS Independence: CFNIS investigators always remain under the command of the CFNIS Commanding Officer, regardless of their employment within Canada or abroad.
- CFNIS Investigations: All CFNIS investigations are conducted in a deliberate and comprehensive manner. Each case undertaken by the CFNIS is unique and must take into account multiple factors such as complexity, technical requirements for evidence analysis, and time elapsed since the offence. As such, the completion time of investigations varies from case to case.
- Upon receipt of a complaint, CFNIS validates that the matter meets established thresholds for a serious or sensitive incident.
- Factors indicating that a matter is “serious and sensitive” include the gravity of the alleged offence(s); the rank and functions of the person(s) involved; the nature of the allegation(s) and their impact on discipline; and efficiency and morale of the CAF.
- Incidents that do not meet these thresholds are referred back to the appropriate investigative authorities, either military police or unit commands.
- CFNIS investigates all complaints within its jurisdiction until it is determined that there is no further requirement to pursue the investigation (e.g. complaint withdrawn or determined to be unfounded) or that charges must be laid.
- Once CFNIS investigators lay charges against an offender, the case is referred to either the Civilian Criminal Justice System or Military Justice System for action depending on the circumstances.
- Reporting: CFNIS decisions are distributed to the appropriate authorities who require the information for disciplinary reasons or other processes, this can include commanding officers, Military Careers Administration, military prosecution, attorneys and provincial or federal prosecution authorities.
- Sexual Offence Response Team (SORT): The SORT advises CFNIS investigators on trends in law enforcement, investigative techniques, and best practices for future investigations. SORT members receive specialized training in investigating sexual assault; physical abuse and child death; offences against children; investigative and forensic interviewing techniques; and trauma informed care.
- Military Policy Victim Services Program (MPVSP): Provides assistance to victims of crime by referring them to appropriate resources such as the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, local health care professionals, hospitals, services specializing in victim assistance, children’s aid and protection services, and emergency shelters. The MPVSP also helps ensure victims stay informed throughout the investigative and court processes. CFNIS is responsible for managing the program’s standards, policy development and delivery across the country.
- Every Military Police unit involved in the provision of law enforcement operations maintains an up-to-date listing of local organizations and support groups, and has protocols with local agencies or services to ensure the victim receives the required support.
- Public Communications: Public communications and queries related to ongoing CFNIS investigations are managed by the CF MP Gp’s Public Affairs Officer. Factors considered in the disclosure of information pertaining to a CFNIS investigation include:
- The integrity of the investigation;
- Victim’s safety, rights, security and privacy (size of unit, place of employment or age in case of a young person);
- Rights of the suspects;
- Openness, transparency and responsiveness to the Canadian public;
- Impact to the investigation process;
- Consistency in communication approaches; and
- Compliance with obligations contained in the Privacy Act, National Defence Act, Official Secrets Act, Canada Evidence Act and the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
- Any Defence Team member – military or civilian – has the right to submit a verbal or written complaint.
- Complaints about possible service offences may be dealt with by way of the military justice system.
- CAF members can make complaints about possible service offences to the chain of command, the military police, or the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
- For incidents that may constitute sexual misconduct, CAF members can also contact the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre for a confidential discussion with a counsellor.
- The scope of a disciplinary investigation, including who authorizes and conducts the investigation, is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the complaint.
- Once an investigation has concluded, a commanding officer, a member authorized by a commanding officer or a CFNIS investigator may lay charges within the military justice system.
- Charges for service offences may be tried by court martial or summary trial.
- The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to work to ensure that members who come forward with complaints are heard and feel safe and supported.
- DND/CAF has a range of processes available to address issues that may arise in the workplace.
- All members of the Defence Team can report incidents of wrongdoing to the military police, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the Department’s Review Services, or to the Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman.
- CAF members can also report incidents of wrongdoing to their chain of command.
- Civilian Defence Team members can report incidents of wrongdoing to their superiors or contact their union representatives.
Vetting Senior Military Officials
- The Canadian Armed Forces’ senior military personnel – the General and Flag Officers – are some of the most professional, highly skilled leaders in the military world.
- The selection and promotional process for General and Flag Officers is thorough, systematic, fair, and transparent.
- Every year, a National Selection Board convenes to review the selection and promotion of officers to and between the ranks of Brigadier-General/Commodore and Lieutenant-General/Vice-Admiral.
- Criteria for candidates’ promotional assessment include leadership, judgment, courage, integrity, loyalty, professional skills, innovation, language ability, and HR management.
- Once the selection board has completed its assessment, the results are presented to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).
- The CDS, supported by the Armed Forces Council Executive, weighs the results against institutional requirements, such as vacancies, retirements, new positions, and best fit.
- Once this final evaluation by the Council is complete, the CDS seeks approval for the requested promotions from the Minister of National Defence.
- The CDS also socializes the intended General and Flag Officer employment plan with the MND to inform which officers will be employed in what capacities.
- This ensures that all senior military officials have the capabilities, skills, and professionalism required to be effective leaders to all the women and men who serve under their command.
- The General and Flag Officer National Succession Board historically consists of: VCDS (Chair), RCN, CA, RCAF, CMP, and CJOC.
- It is the forum in which important decision points are debated in support of decisions, including the assignment of General Officers to the various positions and portfolios.
- The General and Flag Officer Selection also includes the other Lieutenant-General/Vice-Admiral in the CAF to ensure selection for specific positions in enabled by all senior leaders.
- The Armed Forces Executive Council is a forum chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff, which includes all 9 Vice-Admirals and Lieutenant-Generals.
Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman
- The Office of the Ombudsman serves to help better ensure the fair treatment of concerns raised by current and former CAF members, departmental employees, and their families.
- The Office of Ombudsman is independent and reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.
- When victims come forward with allegations, they need to have confidence these allegations will be considered without any kind of interference.
- This is why the Ombudsman is one reporting option for victims and those affected by misconduct.
- The Ombudsman has the independence to go directly to the Military Police to launch an investigation or to present the allegations to other authorities depending on the circumstances.
- 1998: The Office of the Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman was created to increase openness and transparency in DND/CAF.
- 2019-2020: The Office of the Ombudsman handled 1,867 total cases.
- 106 cases surrounded issues of alleged harassment.
- Reports: The Ombudsman can report publicly on any investigation or matter within their mandate, and publishes an annual report outlining its activities.
- Recent Ombudsman special reports:
- 2020: Engaged in the World
- 2018: Understanding Retirement and Disability Benefits
- 2017: Positions over People
2015 OAG report on the Ombudsman:
- National Defence has completed and implemented all Management Action Plan (MAP) items associated with the OAG Ombudsman report.
- Scope: governance; financial management; human resource management, and operations.
- National Defence did not fully define its roles and responsibilities for monitoring the administration of the Ombudsman;
- National Defence should monitor the Ombudsman’s financial and staffing authorities;
- The Ombudsman is independent in his investigative functions and does not report to the Deputy Minister
- 2015 and 2017: A service level agreement between the Ombudsman and Deputy Minister outlining roles, responsibilities and activities of financial management were signed.
- Current Ombudsman: Gregory Lick
- November 2018 to present
- Former Ombudsman: Gary Walbourne
- April 2014 to October 2018
- 29 January 2021: Annual Report for the Office of the Ombudsman tabled in the House of Commons.
2015 Spring: Report 7—Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
- The objectives of the OAG audit were to determine:
- Whether the Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (the Office of the Ombudsman, or the Office)established and followed key controls, and systems and practices, related to financial management, contracting, and human resource management in carrying out its mandate, in compliance with government legislation and policies; and
- Whether National Defence (the Department) adequately carried out its oversight responsibilities for the Office of the Ombudsman in compliance with government legislation and policies.
- National Defence (the Department) did not fully define or document its roles and responsibilities for monitoring the administration of the Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of Defence and the Canadian Forces (the Office of the Ombudsman, or the Office). The Ombudsman was treated the same as other senior departmental managers in some cases, but not others.
- National Defence and the current Ombudsman agreed that the Department should monitor the Ombudsman’s financial and staffing authorities to ensure that they were properly exercised. However, the details of how this should be done and the mechanisms for monitoring other administrative activities were not fully defined or documented.
- Both National Defence and the current Ombudsman acknowledged the complexity of their organizational relationship. Department officials agreed that the Ombudsman is independent in his investigative functions and that he does not report to the Deputy Minister. However, both the Department officials and the Ombudsman agreed that the Deputy Minister has ultimate responsibility under legislation to ensure that delegations for financial management and staffing are properly exercised. The audit found that, if monitoring arrangements for these areas differ from those in place for other senior Department managers, they should be carefully defined and documented to ensure consistency with Treasury Board policies.
- The Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces and the Deputy Minister of National Defence should define and document how National Defence will monitor the management of the administrative functions of the Office of the Ombudsman.
- The ombudsman and the Department of National Defence also define and document how the Office will demonstrate that internal controls, including delegated authorities, are operating as intended. Monitoring activities should not impede the operational independence of the Ombudsman.
- The Office of the Ombudsman’s response. Agreed with the findings. The Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces agrees that audit mechanisms, both internal to the Office of the Ombudsman and department-wide, are critical to demonstrating that the finance and human resource authorities delegated to the Ombudsman are appropriately exercised. The Ombudsman commits to working with the Deputy Minister of National Defence to review existing mechanisms, to conduct a gap analysis, and to address all outstanding issues.
- National Defence’s response. Agreed with the findings. National Defence (with the Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces) will define and document the processes by which it will monitor the administrative activities of the Office, to ensure that delegated authorities and internal controls are operating as intended. National Defence will ensure that these processes do not impede the operational independence of the Ombudsman.
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