Personnel

Operation HONOUR

  • The Canadian Armed Forces has made eliminating all forms of sexual misconduct its top institutional priority.
  • In 2015, National Defence established the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, independent from the chain of command, to support military members affected by sexual misconduct.
  • In the last Parliament, the Government also passed Bill C-77, which enshrines rights for victims of service offences within the military justice system.
  • More broadly, we are working to establish a workplace free of harassment and discrimination through the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.
  • This plan is promoting an institution-wide culture that embraces diversity and inclusion and ensures action is taken to address unacceptable behavior.

If pressed on the case of Corporal Casey Brunelle:

  • Given that this matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment.

Key Facts

  • In June 2019, the Government added the Declaration of Victims’ Rights to the Code of Service Discipline.
  • The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre offers support to members worldwide, 24/7.
  • In August 2019, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre launched the Response and Support Coordination Program, which provides CAF members who have experience sexual misconduct with a dedicated coordinator, and the Sexual Assault Centre Contribution Program, which provides funding to sexual assault centres operating near ten CAF bases.
  • 6 Sexual Offence Response Teams have been established to support victims of sexual misconduct and ensure timely, professional investigations.
  • 16 Complaint Management Centres have opened to facilitate simplified reporting and resolution of complaints about inappropriate behavior.
  • 114 CAF personnel have been released for harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour (between April 2016 and January 2020).
  • Approximately 45% of incidents are being reported through third parties.

Details

  • In 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) initiated Operation HONOUR to address sexual misconduct within its ranks. It also aims to better align behaviors and attitudes with the modern military ethos, which is based on the principle of dignity and respect for all. It remains the CAF’s highest institutional priority.
  • Support to those affected by sexual misconduct is the main effort of Operation HONOUR. A wide range of support and care is available for affected persons and those who support them, through services such as the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, the CAF Member Assistance Program, and through legislation such as the new Declaration of Victims’ Rights (Bill C-77).

Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC)

  • The SMRC was created in response to the recommendations made by the External Review Authority’s Report on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF.
  • The SMRC operates independently from the chain of command and is a key resource for anyone affected by sexual misconduct. The Centre provides 24/7 confidential counselling, response and support coordination, information and assistance to:
    • Members who have experience sexual misconduct;
    • Members who have been affected by sexual misconduct including a person trying to support another member; and
    • Military leaders who need information on how to best respond to and support other members.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 - Source: QP Note on Sexual Misconduct

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Hateful Conduct in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • Canadians expect their military to uphold shared values of diversity, respect, and inclusion.
  • Racism and extremism are totally incompatible with the military ethos and Canadian values.
  • These things diminish the reputation of the Canadian Armed Forces as a force for good at home and around the world.
  • When one of our members is found to be contravening our core values, we act decisively – respecting the rule of law and due process.

If pressed on screening for potential ideologically motivated violent extremists:

  • Trained recruiters screen new applicants for their suitability and past criminal history – while respecting Canadian privacy laws.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces provides training on appropriate conduct and the military ethos starting at the beginning of one’s career and continues throughout their time in the CAF.
  • This training continues throughout their military careers.

If pressed on remedial measures:

  • Corrective measures are made on a case-by-case basis during, or following, an investigation.
  • The remedial measures range from counseling, administrative  actions, or disciplinary proceedings under the National Defence Act.
  • Administrative measures can include warning, counselling, and or probation, and when warranted, release from the CAF.
  • If a member’s conduct gives rise to a charge under the Code of Service Discipline, the matter may be dealt with through the Military Justice System.
  • A member can also be released from their duties as a result of hateful conduct.

Key Facts

  • A 2018 internal report by the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section found that between 2013 and 2018, 51 Canadian Armed Forces members were identified as either being part of a hate group or undertaking actions that were racist or discriminatory.
  • As of December 5, 2019:
    • 21 members are no longer in the Canadian Armed Forces as a result of various considerations, including medical and voluntary release.
      • 3 members have been released in direct relation to hateful conduct
      • 18 members have voluntarily or medically released
    • Of the 30 remaining members identified:
      • 15 members received remedial measures, such as counselling, warnings, probations, and other disciplinary actions.
      • Investigations into 8 members have found no wrongdoing
      • 7 investigations are ongoing

Details

  • In 2018, the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section published an internal report on white supremacy, hate groups, and racism in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The report found that, compared to the total number of CAF members, the number involved in hateful conduct was statistically insignificant.
  • Following the release of this report via an Access to Information request, civil society groups called for the CAF to recognize the severity of the issue.

High-Profile Incidents of Hateful Conduct in the CAF

  • The Base: In January 2020, former Reserve member, Patrik Mathews, was arrested in the United States. He faces charges stemming from an alleged plot to sow violence, death and racial unrest. Mathews’ case is currently before the courts. Mathews was also involved in the militant neo-Nazi group, The Base. Mathews joined the Reserves in 2010 and was a combat engineer with 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg. He released in August 2019.
  • Iron March: In November 2019, the media reported on leaked material from the defunct neo-Nazi website, Iron March. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network claims one of the website users is a CAF member that arranged an illegal weapons deal in Eastern Europe in 2017.
  • FireForce Ventures: In April 2018, the Canadian Army investigated four Primary Reserve soldiers linked to FireForce Ventures, an online business that sold Rhodesian military style apparel and memorabilia alleged to appeal to white nationalists. Based on the testimonials of the members and information available on the company, the investigation concluded that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Code of Values and Ethics was not breached, and that members were operating a legal business in their civilian capacity. In October 2018 however, the Canadian Army was informed that the co-owner of FireForce Ventures, Henry Lung, a Private in the Army Reserve, allegedly participated in a podcast interview on a site that holds white supremacist views, during which he allegedly made remarks that are counter to the CAF Code of Values and Ethics. In February 2019, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Services determined that Henry Lung violated the CAF Code of Values and Ethics, and administrative measures were taken against him.
  • Three percenters: In February 2018, media reported an increase of right-wing groups in the Maritimes, specifically a group called the Three percenters, who bragged about their shooting capacity and training.
  • La Meute: In October 2017, an investigation by Radio-Canada found approximately 75 CAF personnel were members of La Meute, a Quebec far-right nationalist group. In response, the CAF held conferences with members on bases in Montréal, St-Jean-Richelieu and Valcartier on the role of the armed forces in preventing violent radicalization in the military.
  • Proud Boys: In July 2017, five members of the CAF, who identified as members of a “Western chauvinist” organization called the “Proud Boys,” disrupted a Mi’kmaw ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia. No charges were laid. One member has since left the military and the remaining four were placed on a probationary monitoring period.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: QP Note on Hateful Conduct.

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Promoting Diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces Including Women, Indigenous Peoples and LGBTQ2

  • Embracing diversity enhances military operational effectiveness by drawing on all strengths of Canada’s population.
  • That is why the Canadian Armed Forces’ Diversity Strategy and Action Plan promotes an institution-wide culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.
  • Fundamentally, this includes providing a positive, safe, and inclusive work place and supporting mental health and well-being.
  • National Defence has appointed a number of Diversity Champions to oversee this important work and implement all aspects of the Diversity Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Through these initiatives, the Canadian Armed Forces strives to foster a work place that is safe and inclusive for everyone.

Key Facts

  • Out of 10,118 individuals to join the military in 2018-2019:
    • 1,729 (17.1%) were women
    • 1,199 (11.9%) were visible minorities
    • 380 (3.8%) were Indigenous peoples
  • Programs focused on recruiting and retaining women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and members of the LGBTQ2 community:
    • The Women in Force program provides an opportunity to experience military life before joining.
    • Several recruitment, training and educational programs for Indigenous Canadians (183 candidates participated in 2018-2019).
    • The Positive Space initiative promotes a safe, inclusive workplace for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Details

  • In 2017, through Strong, Secure, Engaged, National Defence committed to a new comprehensive Diversity Strategy and Action Plan, which promotes an organization-wide culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. On-going work to achieve this is done through:
    • The appointment of a Diversity Champion who will oversee all aspects of the Diversity Strategy and Action Plan;
    • Mandatory diversity training across all phases of professional development;
    • Integration of Gender-Based Analysis Plus in all defence activities across National Defence; and
    • Focused recruitment of under-represented populations.
  • A Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Human Resources Strategy and a CAF Retention Strategy are being developed to address attrition and to increase retention in the CAF. The CAF Retention Strategy will be released in 2021.

Women in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • The CAF is committed to increasing the representation of women in its ranks to 25.1% by 2026.
  • The CAF has many initiatives designed to recruit and retain women, such as the Elsie Initiative Barrier Assessment, the expansion of parental leave, the recently launched Integrated Women’s Mentorship Network, Women in Force program, and modernizing dress instructions.

Indigenous Peoples in the Armed Forces

  • The CAF committed to a goal of 3.5% Indigenous representation by 2026.
  • Increasing the representation of Indigenous People in the military is an important part of the Government’s efforts to expand diversity in the CAF. To achieve this, the CAF has created several programs:
    • “Aboriginal Leadership Opportunities Year” provides a one-year education and leadership experience through the Royal Military College of Canada;
    • “Bold Eagle, Raven, Black Bear,” and “Carcajou and Grey Wolf,” are summer training programs that combine military lifestyle with cultural awareness and provide pre-enrollment exposure before participants commit to enrollment in the CAF;
    • “CAF Aboriginal Entry Program” is a three-week program that provides hands-on experience with military training, careers and lifestyle.
  • As a result of these focused recruiting initiatives 380 Indigenous Peoples have joined the CAF in 2018-2019. Almost half of the enrollments are a result of these programs. 
  • Recruiting representatives also continually travel to remote Indigenous communities to provide information on the CAF and other Indigenous entry programs, and to participate in Indigenous community outreach activities.

LGBTQ2 in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • Between 1955 and 1992, homosexuals were prohibited from the Federal Public Service and the CAF (a period known as the ‘LGBT Purge’). In 1992, the Federal Court of Canada declared this policy was contrary to the Charter.
  • In late 2016, class-action lawsuits were filed by three former CAF members against the federal government on behalf of those who were released from the forces and Federal Public Service due to their sexual orientation. The settlement provides up to $145 million: $110 for individual compensation, including $15 million for legal fees, $5 million for external administration, and $15 million for recognition and memorialization exhibits and monuments administered by  the LGBT Purge Fund.
  • On November 28, 2017, in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister issued an apology to Federal Public Servants, CAF members, and criminalized LGBTQ2 Canadians who endured discrimination and injustice based on their sexual orientation.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: QP Note on Promoting Diversity

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Women in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • We remain committed to increasing the representation of women in the Canadian Armed Forces to 25% by 2026.
  • As of January 2020, there were 1,849 more women in the Canadian Armed Forces as compared to 2015.
  • This is a result of several initiatives to establish the Canadian Armed Forces as a profession of choice for women, including:
    • creating the “Women in Force” program, which allows women to experience the military before joining;
    • providing priority to women applicants from military colleges who meet enrollment standards;
    • considering “Gender Based Analysis Plus” in all recruiting initiatives.
  • While progress has been made, we recognize more work needs to be done.
  • That is why, in 2020 and beyond we will be:
    • leveraging the MINDS and IDEaS programs to seek out innovative and diverse perspectives on recruitment and retention;
    • launching a new approach on recruitment of women; and,
    • drafting a new retention strategy for the broader Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Through these initiatives, we continue to ensure the Canadian Armed Forces is an inclusive, diverse workplace of choice, including for women.

Key Facts

  • 15,672 women in the Canadian Armed Forces (15.9%) (as of January 2020)
  • 14 women General/Flag officers and 64 Chief Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers 1st Class
  • Out of 10,118 individuals to join the military in 2018-2019, 1,729 (17.1%) were women
  • Women occupy 104 of the 106 occupation classifications in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Details

  • Women have been serving in Canada’s military for over a century.  All military occupations were open to women in 1989, with the exception of submarine service, which opened in 2001. The Canadian Armed Forces was one of the first military forces to allow women to serve in all occupations.
  • In Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces committed to a goal of having one in four members be women by 2026.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces recruiting strategy for women focuses on raising awareness of career opportunities in the Canadian Armed Forces. This is done through engagement and outreach, advertising, job postings, media partnerships, social media, and recruitment efforts. 
  • For example, the “Women in Force” program has been developed as an introductory program to allow women to experience the Canadian Armed Forces before committing to joining. The program will be incorporated into a larger annual attractions strategy starting in 2020.
  • The efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces to recruit women have shown positive growth. As of February 2020, there has been a 63% increase in Regular Force women enrolments and a 102% increase in Primary Reserve Force women enrolments since 2016. This is an overall increase of 82% in women enrolments since 2016.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion: In 2017, through Strong, Secure, Engaged, the government committed to a new comprehensive Diversity Strategy and Action Plan, which promotes a National Defence-wide culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.          
  • Supporting and addressing mental and physical health: In 2017, as part of Strong, Secure, Engaged, National Defence committed to a new, more inclusive comprehensive approach to care – the Total Health and Wellness strategy, which will receive $198.2 million in funding over the course of 20 years. This new approach expands past the traditional health care model and considers psychological well-being in the workplace, the physical work environment, and personal health (including physical, mental, spiritual and familial.)
  • Addressing sexual misconduct: In 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces initiated Operation HONOUR to address sexual misconduct within its ranks:
    • Operation HONOUR aims to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring by aligning behaviors and attitudes of Canadian Armed Forces members with the military ethos, which is based on the principle of dignity and respect for all; and,
    • Through Operation HONOUR, the Canadian Armed Forces has increased awareness and understanding of sexual misconduct throughout the organization, implemented policies and procedures, and established essential support for those affected by sexual misconduct, through services such as the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, the Canadian Armed Forces Member Assistance Program, and through legislation such as the new Declaration of Victims’ Rights (Bill C-77), when it comes into force.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: Women in the CAF QP note

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Recruitment and Retention in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • Recruitment and retention are central to sustaining a healthy, skilled, and dedicated military force. 
  • That is why we have several recruitment initiatives to establish the Canadian Armed Forces as a profession of choice, including:
    • Creating the “Women in Force” program, which allows women to experience the military before joining;
    • Modernizing and digitizing several recruiting platforms and processes; and,
    • Restoring full degree-granting status for the College militaire royal in St-Jean to help prepare the next generation of Canadian Armed Forces leaders.
  • Equally important, is retention of our skilled and experienced military members.
  • To this end, we offer over 100 unique career opportunities that provide continuous personal and professional development, access to excellent health care, and travel.
  • Our women and men in uniform have responded – we have one of the lowest attrition rates among our Five Eyes allies.
  • Last year alone, these efforts saw 4,819 new members join the Regular Force, and 5,299 new members join the Reserve Force.
  • We will continue to build upon these efforts in 2020 and beyond by launching a new approach on recruitment of women, and drafting a new retention strategy for the broader military.

Key Facts

  • Recruitment:
    • In fiscal year 2018-2019, 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces
    • 4,819 joined the Regular Force for a net growth of 451
    • 5,299 joined the Reserve Force for a net growth of 2,540
    • Annually, the Canadian Armed Forces receives approximately 55,000 –60,000 applications
  • Retention:
    • Canadian Armed Forces attrition rate over the past 10 years has averaged at 7% - 8% for Regular Force.
    • One of the lowest attrition rates in the Five Eyes Community (2018-2019)
  • Diversity Representation:
    • Women – current: 15.9%, goal: 25.1%
    • Indigenous peoples – current: 2.8%, goal: 3.5%
    • Visible minorities –  current: 9.3%, goal: 11.8%

Details

  • A robust recruiting system that engages talent and brings out the best and brightest qualities of new recruits is at the foundation of an effective, combat ready force that is capable of delivering on its missions and Government mandate. 

Recruitment

  • In all recruitment and training, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) aspires to meet employment equity goals and ensure that its composition reflects Canadian society. These goals remain set at 25% for women, 3.5% for Indigenous Peoples and 11.8% for visible minorities. Currently, our representation of women is 15.9%, Indigenous Peoples 2.9% and visible minorities 9.3%.
  • The CAF strives to remain agile and competitive with the labor market and reduce enrollment times. To address this, in early 2019, the CAF modernized and digitized several recruiting platforms and processes, including:
    • A new recruiting website that resulted in a 12% increase in visits compared to the old site;
    • A new recruiting app, which allows users to swipe images to select (or reject) activities of interest to them, helping them to refine their career selections; and
    • New digital recruiting technologies (including virtual reality) have been deployed into recruiting centres and with recruiting teams to allow users to gain a feeling of the CAF environment.
  • The CAF has also restored full degree-granting status for the College militaire royal in St-Jean to help prepare the next generation of Canadian Armed Forces leaders.

Retention

  • Over the past ten years, the attrition rate of the CAF has remained stable at 7-8% (regular and reserve force.) This rate is one of the lowest among our Five Eyes allies. The CAF is in the process of developing a comprehensive retention strategy, to be completed by late 2021.

Version 5; 2020-02-25 – Source: Recruitment and Retention QP note; CMP

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Transition to Civilian Life

  • Life as a Canadian Armed Forces member is a process of continuous transition, from recruitment to the day they take off the uniform, and beyond.
  • National Defence is committed to ensuring our members are prepared when the time comes to transition to the next chapter of their lives.
  • In 2018, we established the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group to provide personalized transition support to all military members and their families.
  • Moving forward, we will continue to work with Veterans Affairs Canada to streamline service delivery for members transitioning to civilian life.
  • This includes the implementation of the Veterans’ Service Card, which clearly identifies eligible members as Veterans for the purpose of providing benefits and services.
  • These efforts also include improving medical information sharing, supporting ill and injured personnel, and enhancing career counseling and training.
  • Taken together, these initiatives will ensure a more seamless transition for Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.

Key Facts

  • The Government of Canada’s investment in veteran’s initiatives totals over $10B since 2016.
  • Since 2017, the Government has created 287 new military and civilian positions to better support the transition of military members and their families.
  • Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group is:
    • headquartered in Ottawa;
    • staffed by approximately 627 personnel;
    • has 9 regional Transition Units; and
    • 32 Transition Centres situated across the country.

Details

  • On December 10, 2018, the Transition Group assumed a new role within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to standardize and professionalize transition services to better meet the needs of all CAF members. The Transition Group, in collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), provides a centralized and reliable source of information and services to support members during and after military service. Services for ill and injured personnel, their families, and the families of the fallen will continue to be a core part of the support this group offers.
  • This group is a critical part of a broader suite of government initiatives designed to improve outcomes for CAF members, veterans, and their families. Initiatives include:
    • Enhanced transition training for all members leaving the military;
    • An Education and Training Benefit that assists with education financing required to reach second career goals;
    • A renewed Veterans Affairs Career Transition Services Program that provides career counselling, resume writing, job-finding assistance, and interview preparation;
    • Partnership with VAC to educate future employers on the benefits of hiring former military members;
    • A Transition Guide that supplies tools for members and families;
    • A Military Career Transition website which assembles online information from the CAF, VAC, and other partners; and
    • A Veteran Family Program, which provides CAF members, medically released veterans and their families with training, information and support to transition.

Version 5; 2020-02-19 – Source: QP Note on Transition to Civilian Life

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Military Health Care Services

  • The health and well-being of Canadian Armed Forces members is a top priority.
  • To this end, National Defence continues to work to ensure health services are provided to members efficiently and at best value for tax payers.
  • That is why we engaged provincial and territorial partners on standardizing reimbursement rates for outsourced medical services.
  • Our intent is to work with federal and provincial stakeholders to develop a fair and equitable permanent solution for reimbursement rates.
  • Our women and men in uniform will continue to receive the quality care they are entitled to and deserve.

Key Facts

  • On October 9, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau said that, “we have made it very, very clear that no military service members will get any cuts to services and hospitals and care providers will not be negatively impacted by this unequal treatment.”
  • On October 9, 2019, Minister Sajjan said that, “we will always ensure that all members have access to the highest quality care, no matter who it is provided by.”

Details

Federal Responsibility for Military Health Care

  • The federal government is constitutionally responsible for providing medical care to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. As a result, under the Canada Health Act, members of the CAF are excluded in the definition of “insured persons” outlined in provincial health plans.
  • Traditionally, the CAF reimburses the cost of medical services provided by provincial/territorial medical institutions on a “pay-as-billed” basis with no established caps and a wide variation in billing rates between providers.

Adjustments to Reimbursement Rates Structure

  • In 2014 and 2016, internal audit reports on National Defence health care expenses recommended that the CAF pursue ways to achieve savings in provincial health billing, to address the lack of price caps and the wide variation in billing rates.
  • Beginning mid-2017, the Canadian Forces Health Services Group engaged with medical associations and federal and provincial/territorial health care representatives regarding new reimbursement rates for outsourced services.
  • In spring 2019, the CAF implemented new reimbursement rates for outsourced health care services.
  • Following concerns from provincial, territorial and hospital partners, the CAF reverted to the original reimbursement rate structure (“pay-as-billed” with no established caps). This interim measure will allow for further discussions between the federal and provincial/territorial governments and medical associations on a permanent solution to reimbursement rates and a standardized fee schedule.
  • Effective in October 2019, the CAF reverted to the old reimbursement rates to allow for further discussions with provincial and territorial partners.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source: QP Note on Reimbursement Rates

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Mefloquine

  • The use of anti-malarial medication is a critical part of ensuring the health and well-being of our military members deployed around the world.
  • Mefloquine is a Health Canada approved medication and is recommended to prevent malaria by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Mefloquine is rarely prescribed to Canadian Armed Forces members.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces only prescribes Mefloquine when alternatives are unsuitable.
  • We will continue to review scientific literature to ensure members receive the best care possible.

If pressed on the litigation against the government:

  • Given that this matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment.  

If pressed on the proposal for an inquiry on the prescription of Mefloquine:

  • The Canadian Armed Forces continuously reviews relevant scientific literature to ensure members receive the best care possible.

Key Facts

  • In 2019, 3 prescriptions of Mefloquine were issued to Canadian Armed Forces members.
  • Approximately 18,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel were prescribed Mefloquine between 1992 and 2017.

Details

  • Mefloquine is a Health Canada approved medication and is recommended to prevent malaria by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Most public health and travel medicine authorities around the world also approve Mefloquine.
  • Since the early 1990s, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has prescribed Mefloquine as an oral anti-malarial medication. Between 1992 and 2019, National Defence prescribed Mefloquine to approximately 18,000 members before they were deployed to malaria-endemic regions.
  • Some CAF members maintain they have suffered adverse side effects as a result of taking Mefloquine as prescribed to them by National Defence. The side effects of Mefloquine are usually mild and self-limiting, (e.g., nausea, strange dreams, dizziness, mood changes, insomnia, headaches and diarrhea). Severe reactions, such as psychosis or convulsions, are reportedly rare (approximately 1 in 10,000 users).
  • The US National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine is currently undertaking a project to assess the long-term risk of anti-malarial medications, including Mefloquine. 

Litigation

  • 195 plaintiffs have brought forward a total of 6 actions against National Defence in Federal Court. An additional 500 more individuals may come forward to file motions.
  • The claims allege that Mefloquine caused the plaintiffs to suffer serious neurological and psychiatric side-effects and permanent injuries. Each claimant is asking for more than $10 million dollars in damages.
  • Somalia veterans are seeking additional compensation because they claim they were required to take Mefloquine as part of an improperly conducted clinical trial.
  • In October, 2019, Romeo Dallaire announced that he is joining an existing lawsuit against National Defence. Dallaire stated to the media that he was taking Mefloquine in Rwanda, that it affected his operational capability, and that he was threatened with court-marshal if he discontinued use of the medication, on the grounds that it would be a self-inflicted wound.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source : CoW Note on Mefloquine; QP Note on Mefloquine

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Mental Health and Suicide

  • We recognize that military service places unique demands on our brave women and men in uniform.
  • We take mental health concerns seriously and work with specialists to reduce stigma, educate, engage, and support our members at all levels.
  • We have committed to a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to care with the Total Health and Wellness Strategy.
  • This strategy will receive $198 million in funding over 20 years and includes initiatives for suicide prevention and support.
  • We have also developed the Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy with our partners at Veterans Affairs Canada.
  • These efforts have created collective action on a wide range of fronts to build resilience, treat illness, and open lines of communication.
  • We constantly assess our approaches to ensure we continue to enhance our ability to care for our own.

If pressed on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder support for civilians:

  • We recognize that unique demands are placed on civilians who work as part of civilian-military teams on international operations.
  • That is why we include a number of mental health resources for civilians, including the Employment Assistance Program, which provides counselling services and health promotion programs.
  • In 2018, National Defence integrated these resources into a new policy to further improve support for civilian employees before and after deployments.
  • Working with federal and provincial partners, we continue to explore options to assist civilians who participated in past operations abroad.

Key Facts

  • The Canadian Armed Forces runs 37 primary healthcare clinics, of which 31 offer specialized in-house mental health care.
  • Within these 31 clinics, there are approximately 465 dedicated clerical, clinical, and managerial positions, including for social workers, mental health nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, addiction counsellors, and mental health chaplains.

Details

  • In 2017, as part of Strong, Secure, Engaged, the government committed to a new, more inclusive comprehensive approach to care – the Total Health and Wellness strategy, which will receive $198 million in funding over the course of 20 years.
  • This new approach expands past the traditional health care model and considers psychological well-being in the workplace, the physical work environment, and personal health (including physical, mental, spiritual and familial).

Support Services

  • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families have access to a number of programs:
    • Psychoeducation and mental resiliency training;
    • A 24/7 referral service for access to confidential, external counselling;
    • A 24/7 family information line;
    • Peer support for those coping with an operational stress injury;
    • A free online mobile information app to provide individuals and their families easy access to information on wellness and mental health; 
    • Spiritual guidance, and support through military chaplains; and,
    • Family support through various military family services.
  • The government is investing $17.5 million, over four years, starting in 2018-19, to create a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions.
  • The Centre will have a strong focus on the creation and dissemination of knowledge on prevention, assessment and treatment of PTSD for veterans and CAF members.
  • There are over 4,000 mental health care providers in the civilian system who have registered to provide care to military members in their own practices.

2018 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • The 2018 annual report on suicide mortality in the CAF concluded that between 1995 and 2017, there was no statistically significant increase in the overall suicide rate.
  • The number of Regular Force males that died by suicide was not statistically higher than the rates in the general Canadian population. Out of all environments, the Army has the highest suicide rates.

Civilians Supporting Canadian Armed Forces Operations

  • The Department is working with the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Treasury Board Secretariat, Health Canada and other government departments to assist civilians who supported international CAF operations.
  • Public Service employees are protected through the Government Employees Compensation Act. Benefits are administered for federal employees through agreements with provincial workers’ compensation boards.

Version 5; 2020-02-19 – Source: QP, CoW Notes on Preventing Suicide, Addressing and Providing Mental Health Care

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Reserves

  • Canada’s Reserve Force plays a critical role in serving our country overseas and assisting Canadians in cases of an emergency or natural disaster at home.
  • To get the most from our military, we are better integrating Reservists by providing them with more opportunities to train and operate alongside Regular Force members.
  • We are also offering Reservists unique and exclusive opportunities to enhance their skills by creating new, full-time roles in areas such as cyber warfare.
  • These investments are not only enhancing our Primary Reserve Force, but improving the overall effectiveness of the Canadian military.

If pressed on Reserve Force pension class action lawsuit:

  • As this matter is before the courts, I am unable to comment further.

Key Facts

  • Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, we met our goal of increasing the size of the Primary Reserve Force to 30,000 (an increase of 1,500).
  • As of December 31, 2019:
    • Primary Reserve Force: 31,192 personnel, with 24,053 parading regularly.
    • Demography of the Primary Reserve: male 25,924 (83%), female 5,132 (17%); under 40 years old 23,328 (75%).
    • Since 2000, 14,744 reservists have been deployed on expeditionary operations and 9,018 on domestic operations.

Details

  • The Reserve Force is comprised of four sub-components:
    • The Primary Reserve consists of a mixture of part-time and full-time personnel working in Reserve units, headquarters, recruiting centres or with Regular Force units across Canada and overseas.
    • The relative sizes of the Primary Reserve elements (expressed as a percentage of the total strength of 31,192) are:
      • Army Reserve (22,331 or approximately 72%)
      • Naval Reserve (4,032 or approximately 13%)
      • Air Reserve (1,986 or approximately 6%)
      • Others (2,843 or approximately 9%), which includes the Health Services Reserve, National Defence Headquarters, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command Reserve, the Legal Reserve and the Military Police Reserve.
    • The Supplementary Reserve augments the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve). Supplementary Reserve members, approximately 5,700 in strength, are not required to undertake military training or duty except in times of national emergency by Order-in-Council. Their period of service is five years or until compulsory retirement age, whichever comes first.
    • The Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service is comprised of approximately 7,200 members and consists of members whose primary responsibilities include the management and administration of the Cadet / Youth Program.
    • The Canadian Rangers provide a military presence in northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada and are made up of approximately 5,300 members.
  • The size of the Primary Reserve is trending upwards in an effort to meet assigned Average Paid Strength growth targets of regularly parading personnel. Growth of the Primary Reserve is a dynamic process as highly skilled and trained Reservists are equally valuable to the Regular Force.
  • There are approximately 800 transfers from the Primary Reserve to the Regular Force per year, allowing the Canadian Armed Forces to retain its previous investment in personnel.
  • Jost Class Action: Plaintiff alleges delays in the payment of pensions to discharged members of the Reserve Force.

Version 5; 2020-02-21 – Source: CoW Note on Reserves, 2019-12-05

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