Covering letter to the Deputy Minister

July 31st, 2018

Ms. Jody Thomas
Deputy Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K2

Dear Ms. Thomas,

I am pleased to submit the second Annual Report of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Since being appointed as the Executive Director in May 2017, I have focused on several key Priorities to enhance the current operations of the SMRC and to position it for increased efficacy into the future. These include the creation of foundational documents, including a new Charter to replace the Interim Mandate Letter, review of the organizational structure of the SMRC with a view to enhancing capacity, implementation of enhanced service delivery, initiation of stakeholder engagement strategies, and establishment of an External Advisory Council which will meet for the first time this fiscal year.

The staff of the SMRC are extremely dedicated to the mission of the SMRC.  They are thrilled to have an organizational vision for service delivery – provision of a seamless continuum of care. Each of them has risen to the challenge of the numerous changes I have instituted over the past year as well as the numerous “projects” I have assigned to expedite progress.  While the services we have implemented to-date have filled an important void for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who are seeking support subsequent to incident(s) of sexual misconduct, much more needs to be done to better meet their needs in a timely, compassionate and comprehensive manner, to contribute to operational readiness and effectiveness, and to promote the CAF as an employer of choice. In the words of a former CAF member who wrote to me, unsolicited, to offer her support and that of a group of currently serving CAF women, “We'd all like to help CAF become the employer of choice for women (and men). We know there is some work to still be done to make that happen. We all hope to be handing off the best version of CAF we can to the next generation of women. You being successful in your mission is part of that handover.”  Evidently, both current and former CAF members are rooting for us and looking to us as a major enabler in the mission to eliminate sexual misconduct from the CAF. To these women I say “Thank you for your support, your faith in us, and your continued service, despite all that you have witnessed and experienced”. This is why we do what we do.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Denise Preston, C. Psych.
Executive Director
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre

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