Mandate and Methodology

On 29 April 2021, the Minister announced the launch of my Review into current policies, procedures, programs, practices, and culture within the DND and the CAFEndnote 20, including:

  1. An assessment of the policies, procedures, programs, practices and culture within the DND and the CAF, of the causes for the continued presence of harassment and sexual misconduct despite efforts to eradicate it, identification of any barriers to reporting inappropriate behaviour, and the impact of recruitment, training, performance evaluation, posting and promotion systems in the CAF;
  2. An assessment of the causes and effects of barriers to reporting inappropriate behaviour in relation to harassment or sexual misconduct and the adequacy of the policies, procedures and practices to respond when reports are made;
  3. Recommendations to reduce or remove such barriers in relation to harassment or sexual misconduct;
  4. Recommendations on how to prevent and/or eradicate harassment and sexual misconduct within the DND and the CAF;
  5. Recommendations on any further changes to the performance evaluation system and the promotion system used in the CAF with a focus on how senior leaders are selected, while the DND and the CAF are proceeding with improvements;
  6. An assessment of DND and CAF progress made in addressing the recommendations contained in the Deschamps Report;
  7. An assessment of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre’s (SMRC) mandate and activities, including its independence and reporting structure and recommendations for improvement to these elements;
  8. An assessment and recommendations related to establishing external oversight and/or review mechanisms related to harassment and sexual misconduct;
  9. Any other assessments and recommendations that I wish to include to address areas of review mandated to me within these terms of reference that were not addressed in paragraphs A through H; and
  10. A description of the underlying methodology used to make the assessments and/or recommendations above.

My mandate explicitly precluded me from making any assessments or recommendations related to specific casesEndnote 21.

As the first step in my outreach efforts to the Defence Team and the public after the Minister’s announcement, I conducted several media interviews to explain my mandateEndnote 22.

Retainer and outreach

On 21 May 2021, after the execution of the contract with the Government of Canada, I began my work assisted by a team of lawyers and articling students from BLG and an auditor from the OAG. The DND assigned a liaison officer who facilitated access to the DND and the CAF and assisted in collecting documents and in coordinating meetings with members of the Defence Team.

On 17 June 2021, I provided the MND with a detailed work plan that identified my initial assessment of the work, and the anticipated preliminary steps, document and information requests, background research, interviews, consultations, and base visits.

In May and June 2021, I informed the public and the Defence Team of my Review, and invited them to share any information or opinions with me. This outreach included:

  • The launch of a website in May 2021 in both official languages – and – and a contact email:;
  • The distribution of a news release on 29 June 2021 in both official languages, inviting anyone wishing to share information or opinions or participate in the Review, to contact me. The news release was posted on BLG’s websiteEndnote 23 and Canada NewsWireEndnote 24. It was picked up by various English and French media;
  • The posting of social media messages in English and French to promote the 29 June 2021 news release on BLG and CAF Twitter channelsEndnote 25 and the DND and the CAF Facebook accountsEndnote 26;
  • The inclusion of a feature about the 29 June 2021 news release in the Defence Team News’ “all staff” email as well as on the Defence Team intranetEndnote 27;
  • The distribution of a second news release on 23 July 2021, in both languages, inviting any person who wished to share information or opinions or participate in the Review, to contact me by 13 August 2021 to schedule a meeting, or by 31 August 2021 to deliver a written submissionEndnote 28; and,
  • The posting of social media messages about the 23 July 2021 news release on BLG and CAF’s Twitter accounts and the DND and the CAF Facebook accounts. The Defence Team intranet was also updated with the deadlinesEndnote 29.

This outreach generated significant interest. More than 350 people contacted me.

Preliminary steps

At the outset of the Review, the team and I embarked on preliminary research. This step included assessing and reviewing the general legal framework of the DND and the CAF and related organizations within the Minister’s portfolio, and reviewing key documents such as the Deschamps Report, the Fish Report, the Operation HONOUR CDS OrderEndnote 30, the reports of the AG, the Path to Dignity, and reports from various parliamentary committees.

Requests for documents and information

From June to October 2021, I delivered more than 30 requests for information and documents. These requests were broad in scope and reflected the terms of reference. The recipients included the DND and the CAF, including several organizations within the Minister’s portfolio, CAF commands, and organizations both internal and external to the DND and the CAF, namely: the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA), the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC Kingston), Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean) and the Canadian Forces College (CFC), the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the Chief Military Judge (CMJ), the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM), the Military Grievances External Review Committee (MGERC), the SMRC, Veterans Affairs, the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC), the CAF/DND Ombudsman (Ombudsman), Statistics Canada, the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Privy Council Office (PCO), provincial prosecutorial authorities, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Union of National Defence Employees, and the CHRC A list of the formal requests for information and documents can be found at Schedule B.

In the subsequent months, I sought additional information and documents through the liaison officer and directly from stakeholders, leading to more than 85 additional requests for informationEndnote 31. These requests continued until the delivery of my draft report on 21 March 2022. I also received statistical data from the DND and the CAFEndnote 32, and I consulted hundreds of documents from open sources.

I received more than 4,000 documents.

Ally organizations

In accordance with the terms of reference, I reviewed the publicly-available policies and practices of alliesEndnote 33 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which informed myrecommendations. I also met with a strategic advisor to the CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct (CSRT-SM), who described the consultations and meetings held with allies and provided me with relevant information arising out of those meetings.

On 9 July 2021 and 28 July 2021, I sought submissions from the DM, the CDS and the JAG on the 2021 Report of the U.S. Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the MilitaryEndnote 34, and the 2021 UK House of Commons, Defence Committee Report Protecting those who protect us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian LifeEndnote 35. More specifically, I sought their views on whether some of the recommendations in these reports were adaptable to the Canadian context.

Submissions, interviews and consultations

Written submissions

I received more than 80 written submissions from stakeholders.

Confidential meetings with stakeholders

On 30 June 2021, the Review Team and I attended a training on trauma-informed interview techniques conducted by Dr. Lori Haskell, to assist in our meetings with survivors and stakeholders.

From July 2021 to February 2022, we conducted over 245 confidential interviews with stakeholders who reached out with information related to my terms of reference. These included current and former members of the DND and the CAF, consisting of: 

  • regular members and reservists;
  • officers and non-commissioned members (NCMs);
  • General and Flag Officers (GOFOs)Endnote 36;
  • naval/officer cadets (N/OCdts); and,
  • veterans.

My interviews included members of the LGBTQ2+ community, and members of visible minorities and equity-seeking groups. I met people from various organizations with the DND, and from the army, navy, air force, special force, and intelligence. I also met with academics.

Throughout my Report, I refer to the information provided to me by these stakeholders (e.g. where I say “I was told”, “I was advised”, etc.). To protect the confidentiality of these communications, I have refrained from including any footnote reference.

Meetings with representatives of the DND and members of the CAF

The team and I conducted over 115 interviews with members of the Defence Team and other government entities in their official capacityEndnote 37.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most of my interviews were conducted virtually. However, in August and December 2021, I had the opportunity to meet, in-person, members of the Defence Team in OttawaEndnote 38. During these in-person consultations, I met, among others, the CDS and members of his team, the VCDS, the DM, the CPCC, the Director General Military Careers (DGMC) and members of his team, the Deputy JAG Modernization, the Director General Integrated Conflict Complaint Management (DGICCM), the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP), the commanders of the various elements, the Chief of Reserves and Employer Support, the Executive Director of the SMRC and the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) (ADM(RS)).

Throughout the course of my Review, I held several meetings with the VCDS and the CPCC. After the release of my interim report in October 2021, I also had meetings with the Minister and with the CFPM and the Director Military Prosecution (DMP).

During these meetings, I learned about the particular functions, roles and concerns of those officials and organizations. I also asked for their views on possible reforms and recommendations.

Base and college/school visits

Members of the team and I visited RMC Saint-Jean and the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) in person, and RMC Kingston virtually. These visits included:

At RMC Saint-Jean (I met with approximately 200 people):

  • Meetings with the command team, professors, directors and wing officers commanding, and members of the Osside Institute;
  • Three focus group sessions with, (i) military and civilian college staff, (ii) N/OCdts identifying as women, and (iii) all N/OCdts, about sexual misconduct, recruitment, training, and leadership; and
  • A tour of the facilities.

At CFLRS (I met with approximately 155 people):

  • Meetings with command team and instructors and staff;
  • Four focus group sessions with, (i) candidates from the basic military qualification (BMQ), (ii) candidates identifying as women from the BMQ, (iii) candidates from the basic military officer qualification (BMOQ), and (iv) candidates identifying as women from the BMOQ; and
  • A tour of the facilities.

At RMC Kingston (I met with approximately 130 people):

  • Virtual meetings with the command team, Senior Academic Leadership, including the Principal, the Training Wing command team, the command team for the CDA, and representatives of the Athena Network, Agora and the Indigenous Knowledge and Learning Working Group; and
  • Thirteen focus group sessions with, (i) the academic leadership, (ii) academic staff, (iii) college staff, (iv) athletic wing staff, (v) training wing members, and (vi) N/OCdts (eight groups), including meetings specifically for those identifying as women and graduate studentsEndnote 39.

Members of my Review Team also visited in person the CFC, and met with its Command Team and toured the facilities.

In September and October 2021, I also visited in person four CAF bases: Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown, CFB Halifax, CFB Shearwater and CFB Greenwood. Generally, during those visits, I held a town hall meeting, met with the base command teams and held focus group sessions with command teams, junior and senior officers and NCMs, Military Police (MP) and members of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), and CAF members and civilians identifying as womenEndnote 40. In CFB Gagetown, I also met with members of the Combat Training Centre and the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering. I toured the facilities at each base and met with between 200 and 300 people at each one.

Ahead of visits, I informed the Defence Team of the focus groups I intended to conduct. I encouraged their command teams to ensure that participation was voluntary. I also asked people to reach out to me directly should they prefer to meet privately, off-site or virtually. Several people did. For every meeting, we took notes as these meetings were not recorded.

Members of my Review team attended succession board meetings in the army, navy and air forceEndnote 41.

Concurrently to my Review, the CPCC embarked on consultation visits across all bases in Canada. Members of my team attended the in-person visit to CFB WinnipegEndnote 42, and some of the sessions for the virtual visits to CFB EsquimaltEndnote 43, CFB TrentonEndnote 44 and CFB ShearwaterEndnote 45, all in an observer capacity.

would have liked to visit all the bases. Unfortunately, this was not possible given the pandemic and limited resources and time.

Subject-themed focus groups

In November 2021, having conducted hundreds of interviews, I embarked on the next review phase by conducting themed focus groups with experts and members external to the DND and the CAF. Through this exercise, I met approximately 55 people. I conducted 10 virtual bilingual focus groups on the following themes:

  • of the situation (three groups);
  • Accountability and oversight (one group);
  • Human resources management (one group); and
  • Military Justice (five focus groups were held considering the perspective of civilian defence counsel representing CAF members, civilian counsel representing survivors (two groups), provincial civilian crowns, 

I sought a variety of fields of expertise and views. To ensure maximum participation, particularly given the virtual format, I limited the number of participants for each discussion to a maximum of ten, and the Chatham House Rule was followedEndnote 46.

I had representation from British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for the provincial prosecutors’ focus group. I also met separately with representatives of the Quebec Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales. For the civilian police services, I met with members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the RCMP and la Sûreté du Québec (SQ). I was unable to meet with every single provincial prosecution and police service, but I attempted to meet with those who had significant experience with CAF-related matters and who would be most likely impacted by my recommendations.

I also held two virtual focus group discussions with board members and partners of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Final fact gathering

In January 2022, I informed the DM and the VCDS that I was completing my consultation process, and invited them to tell me of any additional people I should meet. Both of them confirmed that there were none.

Interim report

My terms of reference allowed me to deliver any interim assessments and recommendations in the form of letters to the Minister. I provided the Minister with an interim report on 20 October 2021, made public on 4 November 2021Endnote 47.

Final steps

On 21 March 2022, pursuant to the terms of reference and contract, I provided a draft Report to the MND. The MND, DM and CDS responded within 30 days. This is my final Report delivered in accordance with the terms of reference.

I am thankful to all involved in responding to my requests for information and documents, and who supported my site visits. I am also grateful to all those who reached out to me to share their experiences, opinions and suggestions. Even when they were critical of the CAF and of the way they were treated, they expressed faith in its mission and a desire to see the organization improve.

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