Part III – Conclusion and List of Recommendations


The exposure of sexual misconduct in the CAF has shed light on a deeply deficient culture fostered by a rigid and outdated structure that did little to modernize it. For all the hardship it has caused over decades, the attention that this issue has recently attracted presents opportunities for change that might have been unimaginable without such a shock to the system. 

In my view, two things could derail the path to significant change. The first would be to assume that this is only attributable to a culture of misogyny, and that change will come naturally with time and more enlightened attitudes. The second would be for the CAF to think that it can fix its broken system alone.

List of Recommendations

Recommendation #1: The formal definition of “sexual misconduct” in the DAOD 9005-1 and other policies should be abolished.

Recommendation #2: Sexual assault should be included as a standalone item in the definitions section of the relevant CAF policies, with the following definition:

sexual assault (aggression sexuelle): Intentional, non-consensual touching of a sexual nature.

The policies should then refer to the Criminal Code as the applicable law regarding sexual assaults.

Recommendation #3: The relevant CAF policies should adopt the Canada Labour Code definition of harassment.

Recommendation #4: The current definition of personal relationship should remain:

A personal relationship is: 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.

The concept of “adverse personal relationship” should be abolished. All CAF members involved in a personal relationship with one another should inform their chain of command.

Commanders should be given appropriate guidance as to how to handle the situation presented to them. It could range from doing nothing, to accommodating the relationship through available measures, or, if need be, ensuring that the members have little professional interaction with each other. There are, of course, a whole range of intermediate measures that may be appropriate to address the best interests of the organization, the parties, and other stakeholders.

Should an undisclosed personal relationship come to light between members of different rank, or otherwise in a situation of power imbalance, there should be a rebuttable presumption that the relationship was not consensual. Any negative consequences should be primarily visited on the member senior in rank or otherwise in a position of power.

Recommendation #5: Criminal Code sexual offences should be removed from the jurisdiction of the CAF. They should be prosecuted exclusively in civilian criminal courts in all cases. Where the offence takes place in Canada, it should be investigated by civilian police forces at the earliest opportunity. Where the offence takes place outside of Canada, the MP may act in the first instance to safeguard evidence and commence an investigation, but should liaise with civilian law enforcement at the earliest possible opportunity. This should include:

  • Sexual offences found in Part V of the Criminal Code;
  • Sexual offences found in Part VII of the Criminal Code, including but not limited to sexual assaults; and
  • Any “designated offence” as defined in subsections 490.011(1)(a), (c), (c.1), (d), (d.1) or (e) of the Criminal Code, to the extent not already captured above.  

Recommendation #6: The DMCA should engage in an externally-led quality assurance assessment – similar to that conducted by the SARP initiated by the CFNIS – of the administrative reviews conducted from 2015 to date relating to sexual misconduct, which administrative reviews resulted in retaining the member without career restrictions.

Recommendation #7: The CAF should not file any objections based on section 41(1)(a) of the CHRA, and should allow the CHRC to assess any complaint for sexual harassment, or for discrimination on the basis of sex, regardless of whether the complainant has exhausted internal complaint mechanisms.

The Minister should seek assistance from her colleagues to ensure that the CHRC and the CHRT are adequately resourced to assess complaints against the CAF and hear them in a timely manner.

Recommendation #8: The CHRA should be revised to permit the award of legal costs and to increase the amount in damages that can be awarded to successful complainants. To assist in the implementation of this recommendation, the DM should bring this matter to the attention of the appropriate authority on an immediate basis.

Recommendation #9: Any complaint related to sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex or involving an allegation of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex should be first directed to the CHRC, should the complainant so choose. The CAF should no longer object to the jurisdiction of the CHRC on the basis that internal remedies, including its grievance process, have not been exhausted.

Recommendation #10: Grievances related to sexual misconduct should be identified, prioritized and fast-tracked through the grievance system at both the IA and FA levels.

The VCDS or their specific delegate should manage the process for all grievances related to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment or sexual discrimination or involving an allegation of reprisal for reporting, or otherwise disclosing sexual misconduct, sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. For such grievances, the CFGA should designate an IA with subject matter expertise, and who is outside the grievor’s chain of command.

QR&O 7.21 should be amended to make it clear that grievances related to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination should be mandatorily referred to the MGERC.

The CDS should remain the FA and be required to dispose of the matter within three months.

Recommendation #11: Article 5 of the DAOD 9005-1 should be removed and QR&O 4.02 (for Officers) and 5.01 (for NCMs) should be amended to exempt sexual misconduct from its application. Consideration should be given to abolishing the duty to report for all infractions under the Code of Service Discipline.

Recommendation #12: The SMRC’s name should be changed to Sexual Misconduct Resource Centre.

Recommendation #13: The SMRC should be reinforced as primarily a resource centre, with adequate expertise and capacity, solely for complainants, victims and survivors of sexual misconduct.

Recommendation #14: The SMRC should ensure that it can facilitate immediate access to legal assistance to victims of sexual misconduct. Such legal assistance must be available across the country and on the full range of issues related to sexual misconduct in the CAF, including in respect of the various processes triggered by disclosure. To do so, the SMRC should compile a roster of civilian lawyers able to provide such services and ensure that they are properly trained to do so. The SMRC should also prepare a schedule of fees for such services, and provide for direct payment to the lawyers.

Recommendation #15: The ownership of training and prevention of sexual misconduct should be transferred to the CPCC. The CPCC should continue to consult the SMRC on the development of program content, delivery and methods of evaluation for sexual misconduct, but the SMRC should not be engaged in actual program delivery or monitoring.

Recommendation #16: The monitoring of the CAF’s effectiveness in responding to sexual misconduct should be removed from the SMRC’s mandate. Instead, the SMRC should be required to refer concerns in that regard to the ADM(RS). The SMRC should be empowered to direct the ADM(RS) to conduct an administrative investigation into matters relevant to its mandate.

Recommendation #17: The SMRC should remain within the DND and continue to report to the DM.

Recommendation #18: The administrative structure of the SMRC should be reviewed in order to increase its independence, effectiveness and proper place in the Defence Team.

Recommendation #19: The EAC’s role, composition and governance should be reviewed. It should be composed of external experts and advocates for victims and survivors, with adequate representation of equity seeking and minority groups who are disproportionately affected by sexual misconduct. It should publish an annual report to provide an external perspective on the evolution of the SMRC’s role and performance.

Recommendation #20: The CAF should restructure and simplify its recruitment, enrolment and basic training processes in order to significantly shorten the recruitment phase and create a probationary period in which a more fulsome assessment of the candidates can be performed, and early release effected, if necessary.

Recommendation #21: The CAF should outsource some recruitment functions so as to reduce the burden on CAF recruiters, while also increasing the professional competence of recruiters.

Recommendation #22: The CAF should put new processes in place to ensure that problematic attitudes on cultural and gender-based issues are both assessed and appropriately dealt with at an early stage, either pre- or post-recruitment.

Recommendation #23: The CAF should equip all training schools with the best possible people and instructors. Specifically, the CAF should:

  • prioritize postings to training units, especially training directed at new recruits and naval/officer cadets;
  • incentivize and reward roles as CFLRS instructors, and other key instructor and training unit positions throughout the CAF, as well as the completion of instructor training, whether through pay incentives, accelerated promotions, agreement for future posting priority, or other effective means;
  • address the current disincentives for these postings, such as penalties, whether real or perceived, for out-of-regiment postings during promotion and posting decisions; and
  • ensure appropriate screening of qualified instructors, both for competence and character.

Recommendation #24: The CAF should assess the advantages and disadvantages of forming a new trainer/educator/instructor occupation within the CAF, or a specialty within one of the human resources-related occupations, in order to create a permanent cadre of skilled and professional educators and trainers.

Recommendation #25: The CAF should develop and implement a process for expedited, early release of probationary trainees at basic and early training schools, including the CFLRS and military colleges, who display a clear inability to meet the ethical and cultural expectations of the CAF.

Recommendation #26: The CAF should increase the number of opportunities for CAF members, particularly at the senior leadership and GOFO levels, to be seconded to the private sector, and to other government departments.

Recommendation #27: The CAF should fully implement the recommendations as described in the Deschamps Report on training related to sexual offences and harassment.

Recommendation #28: The Cadet Wing responsibility and authority command structure should be eliminated.

Recommendation #29: A combination of Defence Team members and external experts, led by an external education specialist, should conduct a detailed review of the benefits, disadvantages and costs, both for the CAF and more broadly, of continuing to educate ROTP cadets at the military colleges. The review should focus on the quality of education, socialization and military training in that environment. It should also consider and assess the different models for delivering university-level and military leadership training to naval/officer cadets, and determine whether the RMC Kingston and the RMC Saint-Jean should continue as undergraduate degree-granting institutions, or whether officer candidates should be required to attend civilian university undergraduate programs through the ROTP.

In the interim, the CPCC should engage with the RMC Kingston and the RMC St-Jean authorities to address the long-standing culture concerns unique to the military college environment, including the continuing misogynistic and discriminatory environment and the ongoing incidence of sexual misconduct. Progress should be measured by metrics other than the number of hours of training given to cadets. The Exit Survey of graduating cadets should be adapted to capture cadets’ experiences with sexual misconduct or discrimination.

Recommendation #30: A section should be added to the PAR requiring the supervisor to certify that, to their knowledge, the CAF member being appraised is not currently subject to any investigation or proceeding, whether criminal, disciplinary, administrative or otherwise, related to allegations of sexual misconduct.

If the supervisor is aware of such an investigation or proceeding, they should not reveal its existence if doing so would compromise its integrity.

Otherwise, the supervisor should provide all relevant details of the investigation or proceeding.

Recommendation #31: A past misconduct sheet should be prepared for each candidate considered for promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel/commander or above, or to the rank of chief warrant officer/chief petty officer 1st class, by an appropriate unit under the CMP. The past misconduct should include anything the CAF deems to be serious misconduct, but should include at a minimum, convictions for Criminal Code sexual offences and findings of sexual harassment. The CAF should also prepare appropriate guidance to selection boards on how to take past misconduct into account as part of their deliberations and decision-making. Finally, the CAF should make appropriate provision in its policy for rehabilitation, including the removal of criminal convictions for which a record suspension has been granted.

Recommendation #32: In fulfilling her responsibility in approving GOFO promotions, the Minister should be assisted by a senior civilian advisor, not currently a member of the Defence Team. In her consultation with the CDS, the Minister should examine what efforts are being made to correct the over-representation of white men in GOFO ranks.

Recommendation #33: The new processes for psychometric evaluation and confirmatory 360-degree review used in the promotion of GOFOs should be carefully reviewed by an external expert on an annual basis, with a view to their progressive refinement. The results of this annual review should be reported to the Minister.

Recommendation #34: The new processes for GOFOs, including psychometric testing and 360-degree multi-rater assessment should, at a minimum, be expanded to candidates being considered for promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel/commander or above, or to the rank of chief warrant officer/chief petty officer 1st class.

Recommendation #35: The PaCE system should be modified to include a self-certification requirement on the PAR for those being considered for promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel/commander or above, or to the rank of chief warrant officer/chief petty officer 1st class, similar to that already in place for GOFO nominations. The candidate would need to certify that they are not subject to any current or prior investigation or proceeding, whether criminal, disciplinary, administrative or otherwise, related to sexual misconduct; and, if they are, provide all relevant details.

Recommendation #36: The CAF should establish a system of progressive targets for the promotion of women in order to increase the number of women in each rank, with a view to increasing the proportion of their representation in the GOFO ranks above their level of representation in the overall CAF workforce.

Recommendation #37: The CAF should review universality of service through a GBA+ lens and update it to ensure that women and sexual misconduct victims are treated fairly, taking into account their particular situation and risk factors.

Recommendation #38: All succession boards should adopt the approach and methodology of the RCN in its “incident review list” to ensure that concerns are properly captured and brought before boards on a consistent and continuing basis.

Recommendation #39: All succession boards for majors and above and master warrant officer / chief petty officer 2nd class appointment boards should include an independent civilian member from outside the Defence Team.

Recommendation #40: The CAF should prepare a new policy on succession planning based on GBA+ that ensures women are not subject to directly and indirectly discriminatory practices in succession planning, and that provides appropriate guidance to career managers, succession boards and others involved in succession planning.

Recommendation #41: The Minister should be briefed by the ADM(RS) directly on all investigations related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and leadership culture in the Defence Team.

Recommendation #42: The ADM(RS) should report annually to the Minister on statistics and activities related to investigations under the DAOD 7026-1, in line with what is required under the PSDPA.

Recommendation #43: The Executive Director, SMRC should be able to independently direct the ADM(RS) to conduct an administrative investigation into matters relevant to the SMRC’s mandate.

Recommendation #44: In the case of GIC appointees, such as the CDS and the JAG (who must be members of the CAF at the time of their appointment), consideration should be given to removing any legal impediments – such as privacy concerns – that preclude access by the PCO to personnel files in the CAF, including conduct sheets.

Recommendation #45: The CPCC should host a public online database for all internal Defence Team research and policies relating to sexual harassment and misconduct, gender, sexual orientation, race, diversity and inclusion, and culture change. If a document cannot be made public for security reasons or otherwise, it should still be listed in the database to facilitate access by persons with the requisite clearance or approval.

Recommendation #46: With input from the academic community, the QR&O listed at article 5.2 of the DAOD 5062-1 should be reviewed and revised as necessary to facilitate research. In addition, the CAF should consider waiving the SSRRB ethics review of an external proposal that has already been approved by the Research Ethics Board of an academic institution.

Recommendation #47: As a first step, the Minister should inform Parliament by the end of the year of the recommendations in this Report that she does not intend to implement.

Recommendation #48: The Minister should immediately appoint an external monitor, mandated to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in this Report and other external recommendations that she accepts.

The external monitor should be assisted by a small team of their choosing that is external to the Defence Team. They should have access to all documents, information, individuals and entities they deem relevant, including ECRIC.

The external monitor should produce a monthly “monitoring assessment and advice” report directly to the Minister and publish bi-annual public reports.

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