Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) Annual Report 2022-2023

Expanded reach. Increased support.

Client Voices

“Never forget that you make a difference in other people’s lives. You did for me and continue doing so.”

Message from the Chief Operating Officer

During the 2022–2023 fiscal year, the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) team remained dedicated to designing and implementing programs that have a direct impact on the lives of individuals affected by sexual misconduct.

This year, the Independent External Comprehensive Review conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Arbour made nine recommendations for the SMSRC. The Minister reviewed and accepted the nine recommendations and we worked diligently to start implementing changes to make our services better and more accessible for the SMSRC community, building upon the mandate letter commitments of the Minister of National Defence. 

The SMSRC’s top priority has always been to make our programs and services available to as many people as possible. As such, the organization continued to improve, develop, and implement programs and services to better support individuals. The report will highlight the work we have undertaken this year to expand our reach.

Throughout the report, you will notice an increase in the number of individuals accessing SMSRC services. This was due in part to the expansion of our services to current and former Department of National Defence (DND) public service employees and former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). We will soon extend our support to Cadets, Junior Canadian Rangers and family members of the wider Defence community, aged 16 and above.

Like last year, with the increased activity, the launch and delivery of various programs, we managed exponential growth of our budget and staffing needs.

As we move into the new year, our clients’ needs will remain at the forefront of our work. We will continue to raise awareness of the SMSRC so that those who need our support know what programs and services we offer and how to access them. We will also continue to engage with the community and strengthen partnerships so that we can improve our programs and services and better meet the needs of those we serve.

As we navigate change and growth, the team continues to show the energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to deliver on our mandate. I am grateful for all the work they do. Together we remain committed to delivering the programs and services needed to support the Defence community affected by sexual misconduct.

Linda Rizzo Michelin
Chief Operating Officer
Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre

About the SMSRC

The SMSRC, formerly known as the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC), is a recognized centre of expertise that provides and facilitates access to support services and resources for currently serving and former members of the CAF and current and former DND public service employees affected by sexual misconduct, as well as members of the Defence community who support them.

In addition, delivering a growing suite of support services, the SMSRC provides advice, guidance, and recommendations to the DND and CAF on all aspects of sexual misconduct.

The SMSRC operates independently from the CAF chain of command. The Chief Operating Officer reports directly to the Deputy Minister to ensure the independence of the support services provided to people affected by sexual misconduct and expert advice provided to the Defence Team.

Programs and Services

Program/Service Name How It Helps
24/7 Response and Support Line Confidential support, information on options, guidance on supporting others, and referrals to care and service organizations.
Response and Support Coordination (RSC): Continuing support and assistance from a dedicated coordinator.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Peer Support Program (PSP) Opportunities for those who have experienced military sexual trauma in the DND/CAF to give and receive support amongst themselves.
Restorative Engagement: Opportunities for members of the 2019 CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement to share aspects of their experience(s), impacts, insights and/or ideas for change.
Training and Education: Training of stakeholders on preventing, responding to, and supporting people affected by sexual misconduct. During 2022-2023, work was completed to transfer this program to the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) as per the recommendations of the Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR).
Community Support for Sexual Misconduct Survivors Grant Program (formerly Contribution Program) Funding for projects led by Canadian not-for-profit, community-based service providers to support those affected by sexual misconduct in the wider Defence community.
Expert Policy Advice and Research Guidance and current information on sexual misconduct and prevention.
Communications and Marketing: Outreach activities and communications support to increase awareness of the SMSRC programs and services.

Program Partners

Military Liaison Team (MLT): Works with the SMSRC as a direct liaison with the CAF, providing information and guidance on military policies, processes, and procedures to CAF members, Chains of Command, and the SMSRC.

Financial Snapshot

Expense Amount
Support to Programs $5,212,373
Restorative engagement $5,333,426
Grants and Contributions $2,449,425
Programs and Services $7,205,938
Total $20,201,163

SMSRC and the Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review

The Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR) of the DND and CAF, published in May 2022, had a significant impact on the SMSRC throughout 2022–2023. The former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour’s report aimed to:

Nine of the recommendations in the IECR concerned the SMSRC. During 2022–2023, the SMSRC worked diligently to address these recommendations. The following chart describes the action(s) taken and the status of each of the recommendations.

Recommendation Status
12: The SMRC’s should change their name to Sexual Misconduct Resource Centre. SMRC was renamed Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) as of December 2022, to better reflect the scope of services provided.
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. The SMSRC reviewed its mandate and services to ensure alignment with this recommendation. Future expansion efforts will remain in alignment with our mandate.
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. Throughout 2022–2023, the SMSRC prepared to launch the first phase of its Independent Legal Assistance (ILA) Program, which provides reimbursements for eligible legal expenses paid by individuals who experienced one or more incident(s) of military sexual misconduct.
15: The ownership of training and prevention of sexual misconduct should be transferred to the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (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. SMSRC transferred three programs to CPCC in 2022–2023. The SMSRC will continue to be consulted on the development of program content, delivery, and methods of evaluation for curriculum related to sexual misconduct and this will be formalized in a service level agreement with CPCC.
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. The SMSRC’s mandate no longer includes monitoring the CAF. SMSRC worked with Associate Deputy Minister (Review Services) to determine which mechanisms, procedures, and training would be needed to best deliver on this recommendation. Next steps include the development of referral procedures and other documentation.
17: The SMRC should remain within the DND and continue to report to the Deputy Minister (DM). In line with this recommendation, and at the Minister’s direction, the SMSRC will continue to report directly to the DM.
18: The administrative structure of the SMRC should be reviewed to increase its independence, effectiveness and proper place in the Defence Team. An organizational review was undertaken and is still underway, in collaboration with Associate Deputy Minister (Human Resources—Civilian). SMSRC also presented a submission for the departmental accountabilities, responsibilities and authorities (ARA) and functional authorities (FA) framework to highlight its key areas of responsibility within the DND/CAF.
19: The SMRC External Advisory Council’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. A review of the role and composition of the SMSRC’s External Advisory Council is running concurrently with the administrative review.
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. SMSRC worked with ADM (RS) to determine which mechanisms and procedures would be needed to best deliver on this recommendation. The next steps include the development of referral procedures and other documentation.

Client Voices

“I would like to highlight how efficient, supportive, and human your help has been. The type of support that I received from you and the military police through recent events gives me confidence in the institution and its genuine desire to contribute to cultural change and to help members.”

Programs and Services

Response and Support Team (24/7 Line)

One of the SMSRC’s ongoing priorities was to expand the reach of the Response and Support Team in 2022–2023. The Team continued to provide telephone and email support and saw an increase in new cases during the year related to the addition of two new client groups (DND public service employees and former CAF members) in late 2021.

At the same time, the RST continued to work towards extending support to Cadets, Junior Canadian Rangers and family members of the wider Defence community, aged 16 and above. Although these groups did not officially have access to support as part of our mandate, counsellors provided callers from these groups with information and referred them to an appropriate community-based organization.

Figure 1: The number of new cases created in the past five fiscal years.

The number of new cases created is different from the number of total calls. In 2022-2023, there were a total of 2,086 calls.

Client Year Number
CAF 2018–2019 380
2019–2020 496
2020–2021 440
2021–2022 566
2022–2023 651
NON-CAFFootnote * 2018–2019 105
2019–2020 153
2020–2021 214
2021–2022 599
2022–2023 780

Figure 2: Gender distribution of new callers in fiscal 2022–2023.

Gender Callers (#)
Woman 645
Man 528
Unknown 254
Other 4
TOTAL 1,431

The nature of calls is reflected in Figure 4. New callers are not only people affected but people seeking information or guidance.

Figure 3: The number of new cases created each month over the 2022–2023 fiscal year, by CAF membership status.

Month CAF NON-CAFFootnote * TOTAL
April 2022 45 62 107
May 2022 59 85 144
June 2022 44 69 113
July 2022 38 64 102
August 2022 31 46 77
September 2022 73 89 162
October 2022 60 48 108
November 2022 65 61 126
December 2022 64 45 109
January 2023 75 93 168
February 2023 58 61 119
March 2023 39 57 96
TOTAL 651 780 1,431

Figure 4: Client category for each new case in fiscal 2022–2023.

Client Client category Number of cases
CAF People affected (self-disclosing) 263
Chain of Command 210
Information seeker 92
Third party / Friend / Colleague 67
Accused of committing sexual misconduct 10
Family member 7
Bystander 2
Other 1
NON-CAFFootnote * People affected (self-disclosing) 567  
Information seeker 115
Third party / Friend / Colleague 82
Family member 13
Accused of committing sexual misconduct 1
Bystander 1
Chain of Command 0

Figure 5: Services provided for each contact in fiscal 2022–2023.

Service Provided 2022-2023
Information 51.78%
Supportive counselling 29.80%
Facilitated access 8.03%
Referral to RSC Program 7.52%
Consultation with MLT 1.82%
Crisis intervention 1.02%
Live transfer to RSC or MLTFootnote * 0.04%

Response and Support Coordination (RSC) Program

Throughout the year, the Response and Support Coordination (RSC) Program also continued working to expand its reach. With teams serving the National Capital and Quebec regions, the SMSRC established several new teams to continue to provide support in regions across the country.

In May 2022, we set up a team to serve British Columbia, after which Alberta was included and was renamed the Western region. In March 2023, we created a team to serve Ontario, and the region was renamed Central after being expanded to include Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We also hired a team in the Atlantic region in March 2023 to serve New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

To standardize processes and guide case coordination across all regional teams, a new RSC Guide was developed.

Throughout the year, the RSC team collaborated extensively with internal and external partners to develop partnerships, broaden the team’s knowledge of the resources available, and support clients. Regional teams also worked to increase awareness of the SMSRC by assisting with local outreach activities.

Figure 6: RSC activity for the past three fiscal years.

  2020–2021 2021–2022 2022–2023
# of new cases 82 154 202
# of times supportive counselling was provided 868 1499 2152
# of calls/emails with clients 1954 2402 4813
# of months (on average) of active involvement with RSC 6 4 10.36
# of calls/emails with chain of command 31 77 198
# of calls/emails with internal and external partners 280 392 1100
# of accompaniments 0Footnote * 15 16

Client Voices

“You are an angel sent to me from heaven. Thanks to your interventions, I found the courage and strength needed to take the steps and continue my process. You gave me a voice.”

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Peer Support Program (PSP)

One of the SMSRC’s key priorities is the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Peer Support Program (PSP), jointly delivered with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). It is a unique service within Canada that aims to provide a range of peer support opportunities to the MST Community.

To ensure the MST PSP offerings meet the needs of community members, this program continuously seeks community feedback and consultation to help with the development and vision of the program’s offerings.

Togetherall Discussion Platform

In June 2022, the MST PSP launched the peer support discussion platform Togetherall, an anonymous web-based platform for people affected by military sexual misconduct to post about their thoughts, needs, impacts, and experiences (without supplying personal details) and to help foster unity, care, and relief for community members. From June 2022 to March 2023, 228 people registered for Togetherall. Since the launch, more work has been done to the platform in response to feedback received from the community.

Formal MST Peer Support Group

The major priority for the MST PSP in 2022–2023 was planning for the launch of the Formal MST Peer Support Group. During the year, the MST PSP team worked with VAC to develop the clinical framework for this offering, registration and intake processes, and educational material. The Peer Support Group will offer 90-minute sessions, hosted virtually, led by a trained Peer Facilitator with lived experience and supported by a Mental Health Professional.

In collaboration with the VAC team and community members, a training program was being developed to equip Peer Facilitators with the knowledge and skills to lead group sessions. The team drafted a Peer Facilitator Manual and group session PowerPoint presentations to guide the Peer Facilitators and Mental Health Professional in delivering the educational material.

Working with the SMSRC communications team, MST PSP began recruiting Peer Facilitators and interested community members to evaluate and provide feedback on the Formal MST Peer Support Group.

Restorative Engagement (RE) Program

The Restorative Engagement (RE) program was mandated as part of the 2019 CAF-DND Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement, referred to as the Final Settlement Agreement (FSA). The FSA provides compensation to current and former members of the CAF, current and former DND public service employees, and Staff of Non-Public Funds (SNPF) who experienced sexual misconduct within their military service and/or in the military workplace (“class members”). The FSA also gives the option to take part in a Restorative Engagement (RE) program.

The RE program creates opportunities for:

Restorative Engagement – Who’s Who?

Defence Representatives: Members of the CAF and DND public service employees selected for their formal and informal leadership roles within the institutions and nominated by their CAF Chain of Command (CoC) to take part in RE to carry out real-time culture change.

Class Members: Current or former CAF members and/or DND/SNPF employees who have experienced sexual misconduct.

Restorative Practitioners: DND public service employees hired by the SMSRC for facilitating participation of Defence representatives and class members in the program. Restorative practitioners do not have a duty to deport and are independent from the CAF CoC.

Restorative Engagement Quick Facts

From 1 April 2022 - 31 March 2023:

  • 5,812 class members expressed an interest in the program
  • 298 class members were contacted to take part in the program
  • 77 class members completed the program

Building on consultations held in 2020 and 2021, the RE program was launched on 15 November 2021 with a three-phased approach, consisting of Initial Operating Capacity (IOC), Final Operating Capability (FOC) and a Close Out phase. This innovative program is the first of its kind in the Government of Canada.

The RE program remained a key priority for the SMSRC in 2022–2023. During this period, the RE program was in its IOC phase. The RE program is tracking lessons learned and is refining the program design and operations accordingly. The RE program has also been engaging with class members to ensure they are up to date with the status and happenings of the RE program. During the 2022–2023 fiscal year, two secure class member updates were sent by email and mail, providing class members with information on the RE program.

During IOC, the intent was to contact an initial group of class members (between 150 and 250 class members). This approach was to ensure that the program would be responsive to the needs and that all the necessary resources, supports and systems were in place. The program contacted 298 class members during this period.

Duty to Report Exception

In May 2022, the RE program sought and acquired an exception to the duty to report as set out in the Queen’s Regulations and Orders (QR&Os) articles 4.02 (Duties and Responsibilities of Officers) and 5.01 (Duties and Responsibilities of Non-Commissioned Members).

The amendment of articles 4.02(1)(e) and 5.01(e) of the QR&Os in May 2022 created the exception to the duty to report within the context of a restorative engagement program.

This means duty to report does not apply to the RE program and is therefore not a barrier to disclosures being made within the RE program.

Class Members

Early in the program, it became clear that many class members needed more time than expected to reflect on whether they wanted to take part and/or to prepare for their direct or indirect engagement session.

In response, the program adjusted its service delivery model, targets, and timelines to give class members the space necessary to meaningfully participate.

Defence Representatives

Defence representatives take part in an intensive and immersive experience, known as the cohort, where they develop knowledge and skills needed to engage restoratively as well as identifying pathways to act at the individual, collective and institutional levels to address and end sexual misconduct. Cohort participation is either full-time (daily for 12 weeks) or part-time (daily on alternating weeks for 15 weeks).

From 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, 52 Defence representatives took part in seven cohorts (five full-time and two part-time).

Restorative Practitioners

Finding and recruiting knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced restorative practitioners is essential to the operation and success of the RE program. Restorative practitioners fulfill a range of roles in the RE program and must be prepared accordingly. As such, when joining the program, they complete a required orientation which includes on the job opportunities to practice skills, engage in dialogue and learning in groups as well as enhance their knowledge of restorative approaches and institutional change.

In 2022, the RE program recruited and trained 11 new restorative practitioners, who were assigned to five regions (Atlantic, East/NCR, Central, Prairies/North, Pacific/North).

These restorative practitioners completed their orientation in September 2022 and have been actively working with class members and Defence representatives since then.

Military Liaison Team (MLT)

The Military Liaison Team (MLT) works with the SMSRC and is a key partner in the SMSRC’s comprehensive delivery model and approach to addressing sexual misconduct. The MLT contributes to the effectiveness of the response and support services provided to CAF members by helping affected members and the Chain of Command (COC) navigate and manage what can be sensitive and challenging situations.

MLO and MPLO: Roles and Responsibilities

Responds to CAF members’ questions on military policies, processes, and procedures Provides information to affected people on reporting, investigation, and justice procedures
Provides guidance and support for Chains of Command on sexual misconduct Provides guidance and support for Chains of Command on criminal sexual offences
Facilitates communication amongst the SMSRC and the Director General Professional Conduct and Delivery (DGPCD), Chief of Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) and other Level 1 Staff Facilitates communication amongst the SMSRC and Miliary Police Group and the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service (CFNIS)
Advises the SMSRC on CAF culture, trends, sexual misconduct policies, directives, and procedures Advises the SMSRC on military/civilian justice processes as it relates to sexual offences

The MLT consists of three (3) Military Liaison Officers (MLO) and a Military Police Liaison Officer (MPLO). MLT referral services increased significantly in 2022–2023, primarily due to the SMSRC adding new programs and expanding existing programs to new client groups. The MLT received 341 referrals from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, an increase of 17% from the last fiscal year. Referrals come from several sources including the 24/7 Response and Support Line, the RSC program, and the RE program.

The MLT actively takes part in SMSRC outreach to increase awareness of MLT services provided at the SMSRC. In 2022–2023, the MLT participated in 29 outreach sessions in person and virtually.

Figure 7: MLO referrals received in 2022-23

Total referrals: 227

By Program Referrals %
24-7 67%
RSC 23%
Direct 8%
RE 2%
By Client Referrals %
Affected Member 52%
COC 39%
3rd Party 5%
Bystander 4%
By Category Referrals %
CAF 89%
Former CAF 7%
Civilian 3%

Figure 8: MPLO Referrals received

Total referrals: 114

By Program Referrals %
RSC 54%
24-7 41%
Other 5%
By Client Referrals %
Affected Member 72%
COC 18%
3rd Party 6%
Bystander 4%

Support to Community-Based Organizations

Sexual Assault Centre Contribution Program

Launched in 2019, the Sexual Assault Centre Contribution Program sought to address gaps in support services for those affected by sexual misconduct in the National Defence community by funding initiatives to enhance Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members’ access to civilian sexual assault centres near the ten largest Canadian Armed Forces bases (CFBs) in Canada.

Between 2019 and 2023, this program funded nine centres that implemented close to 250 initiatives and provided services to nearly 1,500 National Defence community members. The Contribution Program funded projects until 31 March 2023.

Community Support for Sexual Misconduct Survivors Grant Program

Launched in 2022, the Grant Program is part of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This GBV strategy is the federal government’s contribution to the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence which was launched by federal, provincial and territorial governments in November 2022 to address gender-based violence. The Grant Program is also in line with the Department of National Defence’s Pathways to Progress approach, which aims to establish comprehensive support structures through survivor dialogue and expanding resources.

As a successor to the Contribution Program, the Grant Program has expanded eligibility to service providers across Canada to apply for funding. This inclusive approach empowers a broader range of organizations to offer vital support to individuals affected by sexual misconduct within the Defence community.

In its first call for applications, the Grant Program received applications from 51 organizations seeking funding. Organizations could apply for one-time funding of up to $50,000 per eligible project or recurrent funding of up to $75,000 annually, allowing for adaptable financial support based on the needs of each project.

In 2022–2023, the Grant Program awarded funds to 32 projects led by not-for-profit Canadian, community-based service providers with the capacity and expertise to deliver services and initiatives to people affected by sexual misconduct in seven provinces across Canada. The projects included diverse services such as counselling, education, and outreach.

See Figure 9: Organizations Funded.

Training and Education

In late 2022–2023, the SMSRC transferred three training programs to CPCC as per recommendation #15 of the IECR: the scenario-based e-Learning platform, Respect in the CAF (RitCAF), and Building Our Future.

Scenario-based e-Learning Platform

The scenario-based e-Learning platform (formerly named The Immersive Learning Platform) is an online training environment that features self-paced activities to allow CAF members to practise skills related to professional conduct and culture. Once the SMSRC finished developing the program in December 2022, it was transferred to CPCC.


RitCAF is an interactive workshop designed to promote respect in the CAF through awareness and understanding. It aims to empower CAF members to take a stand against sexual misconduct and to support those affected. From April 2022 to December 2022, the SMSRC delivered 119 RitCAF workshops to 1,389 participants before it was transferred to CPCC.

Building our Future

Development of the Building our Future program was completed in 2022–2023. It is a comprehensive prevention program for Naval/Officer Cadets (N/OCdts), intended to promote respect through awareness and understanding and empower Royal Military College (RMC) students and future CAF members to take a stand against sexual misconduct and support affected people. The program is progressive, and each workshop aims to develop knowledge and skills to foster sustainable change in attitudes and behaviours to create a climate and culture of respect within the CAF.

The core learning objectives of the program are to:

The table below provides a brief overview of the program’s progressive curriculum:

Understand and prevent Respond Support
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Consent Stress Bystander intervention Respond as a supportive leader
Barriers to consent Relationships Receiving disclosure of incident of sexual misconduct
The spectrum of sexual misconduct The spectrum of sexual misconduct

In March 2023, the Training and Education team collaborated with CPCC and the RMC to deliver facilitator training to N/OCdts who were selected to be peer facilitators. On 31 March 2023, the SMSRC transferred Building our Future to CPCC.

Figure 9: Organizations Funded

Province Organizations funded
British Columbia
  • Ann Davis Transition Society
  • Veterans Transition Network
  • Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre
  • Dragonfly Centre—Sexual Assault Services
  • Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton
  • Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services
  • Sexual Assault Centre Kingston
  • Lawson Health Research Institute
  • Huronia Transition Homes
  • Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing
  • Women Warriors’ Healing Garden
  • Durham Rape Crisis Centre
  • Ending Violence Association of Canada
  • Counselling and Family Service Ottawa
  • Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa
  • Collaborative Justice Program
  • Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
  • Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women
  • Viol-Secours
  • The Pepper Pod—Retreat Centre for Women Veterans
  • Centre de ressources et d’intervention pour hommes abusés sexuellement dans leur enfance (CRIPHASE)
  • Centre pour les victimes d’agression sexuelle de Montréal
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada
  • Soutien aux hommes agressés sexuellement — Estrie
New Brunswick
  • Sexual Violence New Brunswick
  • Family Enrichment and Counselling Service, Inc.
Nova Scotia
  • Avalon Sexual Assault Centre
  • Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative
  • New Start Counselling
Newfoundland and Labrador NL Sexual Assault Crisis Centre

Client Voices

“I don’t know how to say it other than just—thank you, thank you for being there today and always. It’s a difficult day and facing it alone would be impossible.”

Policy, Research, and Partnerships

As a centre of expertise on sexual misconduct, the SMSRC provides expert advice, guidance, and recommendations to the CAF and DND through policy advice, research initiatives, and community partnerships.

Strategic Policy

Throughout 2022–2023, the Strategic Policy Team provided input to DND Parliamentary Affairs on Memorandums to Cabinet, Committee Notes/Question Period Notes, Order Paper Questions, Briefings and Briefing Notes to Senior Executives, Treasury Board Submissions, and all other ad hoc requests that pertain to the SMSRC’s subject matter expertise.

Implementation of Recommendations from the Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR)

The Strategic Policy team worked closely with Director General External Reviews Implementation Secretariat (DGERIS) to respond to and track progress on recommendations from the Honourable Louise Arbour in the IECR.

Accountability, Responsibility and Authority (ARA) and Functional Authorities (FA) Review

The SMSRC provided its first submission for the ARA/FA Framework to highlight its key areas of responsibility within the DND/CAF, and to further reinforce the mandate of the SMSRC as a centre of expertise on sexual misconduct including the delivery of support services to affected people.

Independent Legal Assistance Program

The SMSRC continued to develop throughout 2022-2023 the first phase of the Independent Legal Assistance Program. After exploring several options, the SMSRC established a reimbursement program to provide immediate support while the permanent service model is developed.

To enable reimbursements, the team put several pieces into place, including the establishment of authorities and approvals, securing the required funding, and setting up all the tools that would support program implementation and delivery, including ensuring the security and protection of personal client information.


In 2022–2023, the Research team supported the development and implementation of research and evaluation related requirements for various SMSRC support services.

The Applied Research and Resource team (previously the Prevention team) continued to develop research projects related to the prevention of sexual misconduct. A research study examining risk factors related to sexual misconduct is in the data collection and analysis phase, with preliminary results expected in 2024-2025.

Evaluation of the Building Our Future program

The SMSRC developed an evaluation strategy for the Building our Future program to assess the intended short- and medium-term outcomes of the program. The evaluation is scheduled to coincide with the implementation of the Building Our Future program at RMC in 2023–2024.

Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF (SSMCAF)

The SMSRC collaborated with Statistics Canada to launch the third cycle of the Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF (SSMCAF) in October 2022. The SSMCAF collects information about the prevalence and nature of sexual misconduct within the military, the reporting of sexual misconduct to authorities, military members’ perception of the CAF’s response to this issue, and the CAF’s progress in addressing sexual misconduct in the ranks. The survey results will be available in late 2023–2024 and will be used to develop initiatives and to monitor overall progress.

Quality, Standards and Program Management

The Quality, Standards and Program Management (QSP) team played a critical role in supporting SMSRC programs, processes and initiatives, so that they align with the Government of Canada and DND requirements, quality management principles, and evidence- and trauma-informed best practices.

While the consideration and application of privacy, information management, security, and Gender-Based Analysis (GBA) Plus principles to all aspects of the SMSRC’s work and mandate is a shared responsibility, the QSP team played a critical role to facilitate the subject matter expertise review on these issues. This included, for example, playing a leadership role in ensuring that GBA Plus is consistently and effectively applied to initiatives.


The SMSRC’s Partnerships Team completed groundwork for community consultations on the SMSRC programs and services, including the development of a draft stakeholder engagement framework.

The team also hosted three meetings with the SMSRC’s External Advisory Council (EAC), which provides independent, third-party advice to the Chief Operating Officer of the SMSRC on a variety of sexual misconduct topics.

Communications & Marketing

The Communications and Marketing team provides strategic communications advice and support to all programs, services and initiatives offered by the SMSRC. It works to inform people affected by sexual misconduct in the wider Defence community about the SMSRC’s programs and services. The team is also responsible for media relations, issues and crisis management, web content management, social media platforms, internal communications, linguistic services, creative services, and the outreach program.

Social Media

This year was one of growth for SMSRC social media platforms. Building on the existing presence on Twitter and LinkedIn, a Facebook account was created in 2022 to further diversify the SMSRC’s audience.

Social Media Highlights

  • Twitter:
  • LinkedIn:
    • 111 posts
    • 11,000 impressions
  • Facebook:
    • 190,000 viewers (159,000 in the English account / 31,000 French)
  • Engagement:
    • Comments and replies received on SMSRC’s three social media channels increased by 161%
    • Interaction with SMSRC content increased by 57.7%

Web Presence

The SMSRC web presence is the main source for all information, tools, and resources for those affected by sexual misconduct and those who support them. In 2022–2023, the Communications and Marketing team began work to update and restructure the website content, revise its look and feel, and improve its accessibility and usability.

Figure 10: Website traffic

  Page views for fiscal year 2021–2022 Page views for fiscal year 2022–2023
English webpages 34,295 46,557
French webpages 6,351 7,014
Total 40,646 53,571
  Unique Visitors for fiscal year 2021–2022 Unique Visitors for fiscal year 2022–2023
English webpages 18,948 26,188
French webpages 3,490 3,966
Total 22,438 30,154


To increase awareness of the SMSRC’s programs and services, the Communications and Marketing Team offered two types of sessions: SMSRC 101 and Trauma-Informed Care. These sessions, delivered in collaboration with personnel from the 24/7 Response and Support Line team, the RSC team and the Military Liaison Team, provide tools and resources for leaders as well as information for people affected by sexual misconduct.

In 2022–2023, 83 sessions were delivered to over 3,200 DND/CAF members and the wider Defence community. There were 51 virtual sessions and, with COVID restrictions easing, in-person sessions were resumed with 32 sessions held on bases and wings across Canada.

Continuing Progress

Since 2015, the SMSRC has been unwaveringly dedicated to supporting the needs of people affected by sexual misconduct in the Defence community through the growing suite of programs and services described in this report. Looking ahead to 2023–2024, the following areas and initiatives are expected to progress throughout the year.

Mandate and Awareness

Awareness has proven to be a challenge for many SMSRC programs and initiatives. A comprehensive SMSRC awareness campaign is being planned across the country to spread the word about the resources that are available.

Independent Legal Assistance

In early 2023–2024, people who have experienced military sexual misconduct will be able to get reimbursements of their eligible legal fees incurred on or after April 1, 2019. In the second phase, the SMSRC will hire legal resources to provide some legal services internally. Options for a permanent program model, will be developed to facilitate access to lawyers for legal information, advice, and representation, at no incurred cost to clients. The SMSRC will engage stakeholders and people affected by sexual misconduct to identify ongoing needs and develop and implement the program.

Peer Support Program

The SMSRC plans to launch Formal MST Peer Support Group sessions in both official languages in 2023–2024. With the ongoing development of the PSP offerings, the community can expect to receive continued updates about peer support services in the coming months including the Togetherall platform, PSP Group sessions, and ways to get involved.

Restorative Engagement

As the first program of its kind in the Government of Canada, the RE Program demonstrates the positive impact of a restorative approach in working towards a respectful and inclusive culture. As the program continues to engage with class members over the coming years, the lessons learned will be invaluable for the Defence community in Canada and in other departments who are looking to undertake similar initiatives. Next steps include increasing outreach to class members and potential Defence representatives as well as hiring additional restorative practitioners and support staff to increase the program’s capacity. Program enhancements will play a significant role in continuing to support the needs of those involved.

Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF

Results from the third Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF will be available in late 2023–2024 and will provide valuable information to support ongoing improvements.

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