Annex  H – Support Services


Resiliency: capacity of soldiers, sailors or air personnel to recover quickly, resist, and possibly even thrive in the face of direct/indirect traumatic events and adverse situations in garrison, training and operational environments.

Areas of Assessment

  1. In the VCDS mandate letter, the SSAV Team was directed to assess:
    1. The support available to the N/OCdts;
    2. How the availability of these resources is communicated; and
    3. Additional support services available to N/OCdts.
  2. Support available from the Chain of Command and Cadet Chain of Authority (CCoA) is as follows:
    1. Chain of Command. Every Naval and Officer Cadet (N/OCdt) is assigned to a Squadron under the responsibility of an officer (Squadron Commander) supported by a Senior Non-Commissioned Member (Sr NCM) (Sergeant or Warrant Officer). Squadron Staff work a normal 0700-1600 workday. Availability/visibility after hours depends on the staff’s leadership and willingness;
    2. RMC Duty Officer. A Duty Officer is available 24/7 on the RMC grounds. Assignment as a Duty Officer is shared among all military officers below the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel at RMC and the Canadian Defence Academy/Military Personnel Generation (CDA/MILPERSGEN) headquarters (including Post-Graduate students and military faculty). As a result, the Duty Officer may not be fully aware of the N/OCdts programme and challenges; and
    3. CCoA. Third and Fourth Year N/OCdts are assigned positions of responsibility (bar positions) within the Squadron/Wing hierarchy from Cadet Section Commander up to Cadet Wing Commander. The bar positions change every semester to provide maximum leadership opportunities.
  3. Within the College, N/OCdts have access to the following services:
    1. Chaplaincy. Three chaplains are posted to RMC (Catholic, Protestant and Islamic faiths are represented at this moment). They each have a private office and are available on a walk-in basis. The chaplains provide counselling services and work in a multi-disciplinary approach with medical, mental health experts, the Chain of Command, CCoA and the Peer Assistance Group (PAG). They provide religious services at the Multi-Faith Centre and chapels and offer an active Ministry of Presence for N/OCdts and College staff. This service is confidential and no record of discussion is maintained. A chaplain is on call 24/7 for emergencies;
    2. PAG. 25 N/OCdts are trained to offer advice and to refer other N/OCdts to the appropriate service upon request. The training is extensive and takes about one week to complete. In order to qualify as a PAG member, N/OCdts must fit this training into their already busy schedule. PAG members do not provide counselling service. One senior officer (rank of Major) at RMC is responsible for the PAG; and
    3. Harassment Advisor. RMC, like all Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) units, must have a harassment advisor, and their contact information is available on the RMC net.
  4. Services available from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston include the following:
    1. Medical. 33 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (33 CF H Svcs C) is a medical clinic located at CFB Kingston, and offers health services to CAF members at RMC, including the N/OCdts. This clinic provides services similar to those found in community clinics, treating non-life threatening illnesses, performing minor surgical procedures and providing pharmacy services. The clinic also offers a range of mental health services, from psychosocial services to addiction counselling, general mental health evaluation, treatment and counselling. After hours, or for specialized services, CAF members posted to Kingston receive care at the Kingston General Hospital (civilian) or other healthcare facilities in the area (specialist clinics, for example);
    2. Dental. The Kingston dental detachment belongs to 1 Dental Unit, headquartered in Ottawa. The dental clinic offers high quality full spectrum dental services to the CAF members posted to Kingston. After hours, CAF members can access care through a 24/7 on-call service offered by the dental clinic (dentist and dental technician). For specialized services, CAF members are referred to the civilian dental specialists in the Kingston area; and
    3. Mental Health. RMC has recently been the subject of a pilot project, with two social workers from 33 CF H Svcs C providing psychosocial and counselling services two days a week at RMC. During the previous academic year there were approximately 94 intakes, with the 71 intakes during the first four months of the current academic year suggesting increased use of these services. The social workers are fully booked conducting either intakes or consultations/counselling. The wait time for an appointment is a matter of days (2-3 days), well within CF H Svcs standards (maximum of 14 days for psychosocial services and 30 days for general mental health services).
  5. Civilian support services available within the greater Kingston area include:
    1. Sexual Assault Centre of Kingston. The Sexual Assault Centre of Kingston is a non-profit organization, funded by the Ontario province and through private donations. It provides free, confidential, non-judgmental support to survivors of sexualized violence, offers school and public education on issues of sexualized violence and strives toward the prevention of all forms of sexualized violence. It has a 24/7 crisis line: 613-544-6424 or 1-877-544-6424, offers bilingual services, and is open 0900-1600 Monday to Friday, but can also offer assistance and services outside the regular hours by appointment; and
    2. 9-1-1. The ‘9-1-1’ service is a Canada wide number that can be called to request emergency responders (fire, police, paramedics).
  6. Additionally, N/OCdts, like other CAF members, have access to the following resources:
    1. Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC). The SMRC was established to provide support to CAF members who have experienced or witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior. CAF members can call 1-844-750-1648 or e-mail A team of professional counsellors is available to provide support, information, and referrals 0700-2000 Monday to Friday, Eastern Standard Time. CAF members who call outside of these hours or on statutory holidays may leave a message and at their request, a staff member will return their call within one business day; and
    2. Canadian Forces Member Assistance Programme (CFMAP). CFMAP is a voluntary and confidential service for CAF members and their family members who have personal concerns that affect their personal wellbeing and/or work performance. The service is provided by the Employee Assistance Services of Health Canada on behalf of the CAF, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 1-800-268-7708. .
  7. Logistic Services. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is double-hatted with the Director Support Services position. Information Technology (IT) services are not readily available outside regular work hours. Deficit Reduction Action Plan cuts have resulted in the loss of civilian positions, especially cleaning and maintenance staff (11 positions). RMC has also experienced staff shortages, such as five vacant positions in the College orderly room. This had an impact upon the N/OCdts, as 45 travel claims from the summer training period had not been processed as of November 2016. Finally, centralization of infrastructure responsibilities under the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), has reduced RMC’s ability to prioritize needed infrastructure maintenance.
  8. Library Services. The RMC Library is housed in the Massey building. The collection consists of approximately 370,000 equivalent volumes, including 250,000 books (the balance made up of materials in other formats). The amount of space allocated to the RMC library is generally considered to be below the standard expected of a university with a broad range of undergraduate, graduate and research programs. The Science and Engineering library materials, which had been housed in another building, have recently been amalgamated with the main collection in the Massey Library. A 2010 space study concluded that the library has a requirement for nearly 6,000 m2 but has only 2,500 m2; thus it is 240% over-capacity. The principle reason for the lack of space is the addition of the science and engineering materials.
  9. Student Services. RMC houses a Language Centre that develops the capacity of approximately 500 N/OCdts to communicate in both official languages (80% are in their first or second year at RMC). The Language Centre is supported by a Writing Centre that provides support to undergraduate students in developing writing skills in English and French. RMC also has a strong policy on accommodating students with learning disabilities.
  10. Athletic Department Services. Athletic Department staff sustained a 10% cut as the result of the Strategic Review. They support the First Year Orientation Programme (FYOP), and are responsible for:
    1. Conducting the FORCE test, RMC Physical Performance Test (PPT), and the Basic Military Swim Standard;
    2. Conducting physical education classes, and supplementary physical training for First and Second Year N/OCdts who have not passed the PPT; and
    3. intramurals, coaching the varsity teams and competitive clubs.
  11. Other Services. Many others at RMC may also serve as unofficial support to the N/OCdts, including academic and other military or civilian staff (e.g., competitive club coaches, barbers, CANEX employees, cleaning and kitchen staff).
  12. Infrastructure. RMC is situated on Point Frederick just east of downtown Kingston, Ontario. This scenic location, at the junction of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, is historic importance, as are some of RMC’s buildings. RMC has limited office space, which is generally considered to be utilized at capacity, accommodating the staff who support its undergraduate, graduate, research and continuing education programs.


  1. Health Services. Health services are of high-quality and available. This was a regular comment (18 mentions) in the interviews performed by the SSAV Team.
    1. Analysis. CF H Svcs C is a Care Delivery Unit (CDU) clinic, offering medical services to CAF members posted to the Kingston area. It delivers high-quality care in a timely manner, and the services meet the Surgeon General’s standards of care.
  2. Occupational and Medical Readiness. Every N/OCdt goes through a medical screening at a Canadian Forces Recruiting Center before enrolment. This medical assessment is done by a medical technician, and the documentation is reviewed by the Recruiting Medical Officer at CF H Svcs Group Headquarters in Ottawa. The purpose of an enrolment medical is to screen potential candidates for enrolment in the CAF. It is not a true occupational medical assessment. As a result, it will typically be considered valid only for a period of 24 months. Following enrolment, CAF members undergo a regular periodic health assessment (PHA) at the 24 month point which remains valid for the normal duration of a PHA (as stated in H Svcs Policy 4000-21), barring any change in medical circumstances. However, N/OCdts at RMC only undergo a health assessment toward the end of their final year (unless they are injured, or they develop a medical condition while at RMC), to confirm their eligibility for commissioning and promotion. By this point, their occupational medical assessment is two years’ overdue.
    1. Analysis. PHA period of validity: the enrolment medical assessment has expired by the time a N/OCdt approaches commissioning and promotion. From an occupational and medical fitness perspective, CF H Svcs could lack awareness of a number of medical issues affecting a member who has completed four years of stressful university education along with a rather intensive military training schedule. In this period of young adulthood, many opportunities for prevention have also been lost (smoking cessation, drugs and alcohol abuse counselling, nutrition and weight counselling, safe sex advice, sexually transmitted diseases detection, treatment and prevention, etc.). Mental health problems could also be detected by medical professionals during this period.
      1. Health Readiness (KEY RECOMMENDATION): It is recommended that Canadian Forces Health Services Group review the periodic health assessment policy (4000-21) to determine the appropriate period of validity for the enrolment medical assessments of N/OCdts attending military colleges. The Surgeon General should study the feasibility of changing the policy for periodic health assessments for such N/OCdts, ensuring that the enrolment medical assessment is not the only one conducted during those first four years of service. It may be appropriate to mirror the process used for aircrew personnel, allowing a yearly medical questionnaire to be filled out by the N/OCdts and reviewed by a clinician, with a full medical assessment being conducted at the end of the N/OCdts’ second year.
  3. Mental Health Services. RMC staff and the N/OCdts consider that these services should continue to be offered at RMC, where they are very accessible (multiple interview comments). However, a problem mentioned a number of times during interviews are the location in which they are offered (in one of the dormitories, a very busy place where anybody can pass by at any time, and see those who are accessing the services). Mental health stigma as a barrier to accessing services was mentioned at least 10 times during interviews with N/OCdts, and one person also observed that services are not available outside regular work hours.
    1. Analysis. An ongoing pilot project is demonstrating that the social workers are busy. The number of intakes in 2015 (94) means most of these N/OCdts were seen between 3-5 times after intake, making the number of necessary appointments quite high (i.e. 400-500 appointments). Some of these N/OCdts would have required referral to the CFB Kingston medical clinic, for issues necessitating more specialized services (psychology, psychiatry, addiction counselling, and medical care). 33 H Svcs C is analyzing the results of this pilot project at the moment, and will make a decision soon on the resources needed if mental health services are to be provided at RMC on an ongoing basis: at the moment, the CFB Kingston medical clinic is providing the social workers involved in the pilot project without additional resources. The social workers are currently providing services at RMC in an unsuitable location, too public and in an area where N/OCdts seeking the services can be observed by RMC staff and other N/OCdts. The RMC Deputy Commandant has been working to find a different location, but has not been successful to date. A more private location would help to further reduce barriers to obtaining mental health services.
      1. Mental Health Services. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that RMC find a more private location to further reduce barriers to obtaining mental health services. 33 CF H Svcs C should be resourced to provide these services on an ongoing basis.
    2. Mental Health Stigma: CAF members, like civilians, are often reluctant to admit to having mental health issues. For many there is a stigma associated with seeking help. Some view it as a sign of weakness. For others there is a fear that seeking help will negatively impact their career. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that problems escalate to the point where they get out of hand and subsequently have career implications. It is important for supervisors to create a workplace climate that encourages CAF members to access the services available to them. CAF members should also be aware that their medical information is confidential, with access to it being restricted to those involved in providing them with care. Commanding Officers have a right to know the limitations imposed by the member's medical condition upon their employment, as well as the prognosis, but not the nature of the medical condition or the course of treatment.Footnote 158
      1. Mental Health Stigma (Supporting Recommendation): RMC staff should counter mental health stigma by actively communicating the confidentiality of medical information in the CAF, and by continuing to encourage CAF members to access the services available to them when they have mental health concerns.
  4. H Svcs Access: Four individuals interviewed mentioned that accessing services provided at CFB Kingston is difficult and time-consuming, especially for N/OCdts with a full academic schedule. There is an hourly shuttle bus service to the CFB Kingston medical clinic. The SSAV Team heard that trips to the clinic can sometimes take up to three hours. Those N/OCdts who have vehicles can drive to the clinic, but may have to take a long walk to the location where their vehicles are parked. First Year N/OCdts are not permitted to keep a vehicle on RMC grounds.
    1. Analysis: The clinic’s location and hours of operation may not be well-suited to serving the RMC N/OCdts. The clinic is located at CFB Kingston, requiring N/OCdts to use a shuttle bus service to reach it. RMC has recognized access to the clinic as a problem, and has requested the establishment of a Care Delivery Unit (CDU) on the RMC grounds as a priority. An option analysis is being conducted by 4 H Svcs Group and 33 CF H Svcs C Kingston to find ways of improving N/OCdt access to services. Although the allocation of a CDU to RMC is an option, it would require a departure from the clinic model. This is based on providing quality care and best services by using centralized resources (pharmacy, physiotherapy, mental health services, and immunization, nursing and case management services).
      1. H Svcs Access: (Supporting Recommendation): It is recommended that 4 H Svcs Group and 33 CF H Svcs C Kingston complete an options analysis for improving N/OCdt access to medical services, and should consider in doing so the possibility of offering medical services outside regular working hours.
  5. Dental Services. Difficulty accessing the dental clinic was mentioned once during the interviews, but no other comments were made on this issue.
    1. Analysis: The dental clinic at CFB Kingston sees every N/OCdt yearly for an examination and for hygiene services; it is open weekdays during regular working hours. There is a duty dentist on call 24/7 who can be reached by phone for emergencies.
      1. Dental Services: (Supporting Recommendation): It is recommended that the Base Kingston Dental Clinic ensure that the 24/7 on-call service for emergencies is well advertised at RMC.
  6. Access to Other CFB Kingston Support Services: There were some issues raised during interviews with regards to N/OCdts obtaining their military ID cards while at RMC. The CFB Kingston office responsible for providing the cards is only open during regular working hours, making access difficult for N/OCdts who have a full class schedule. Base Supply is likewise open only during regular working hours.
    1. Analysis: Accessing support services provided by CFB Kingston can be time-consuming and sometimes impossible, depending on a N/OCdt’s class schedule.
      1. Access to Base Services: (Supporting Recommendation): It is recommended that CFB Kingston and RMC review options for improving N/OCdt access to supply and ID card services at CFB Kingston.
  7. Chaplain Services: During interviews, the SSAV Team heard many positive comments like “outstanding”, “amazing” and “excellent” with regards to the chaplain support available to N/OCdts, although concern was also raised that the ready availability of chaplains means that some N/OCdt problems are not brought to the attention of their Chain of Command in a timely fashion.
    1. Analysis: Chaplain support is excellent and available. There are currently three chaplains posted to RMC.
  8. Peer Assistance Group (PAG). Various comments were made about the PAG. Some concerns were raised with regards to confidentiality issues and respect for necessary boundaries. Some N/OCdts indicated that they would not consult PAG members due to this concern. Some N/OCdts viewed the PAG as a useful (although perhaps underused) service. The efforts made in this area are truly commendable – indeed, the PAG can potentially add another layer of social support and enhance mutual bonding within the N/OCdts. RMC data showed 40-70 PAG interactions per month in the fall of 2016. Most were self-contained, and did not result in a referral (17 referrals for 69 interactions in one month, and 7 referrals for 40 interactions in another). Comments received during interviews also mentioned a time management issue for those N/OCdts who are PAG members, including some difficulty fitting the extensive training into their schedule at the beginning of the academic year.
    1. Analysis. The SSAV Team notes that confidentiality and boundary issues can have serious consequences. From a medical point of view, it is understandable that N/OCdts will have some problems trusting their peers regarding the confidentiality of their personal of medical information. Medical professionals and chaplains are bound to confidentiality, whereas N/OCdts are not. Confidentiality relies on their willingness to keep things confidential, which can be variable for each individual. The training necessary to be a PAG member takes a week, and the demands on these PAG members can be also quite significant and somewhat difficult to manage given the requirements of the RMC programme. The Canadian Army has adopted the Sentinel peer assistance initiative which may provide useful lessons for RMC in terms of addressing these concerns.
      1. Peer Assistance Group (PAG). (KEY RECOMMENDATION ) It is recommended that the delivery of peer support through the PAG be re-evaluated by RMC with the aim of addressing concerns over confidentiality, early engagement of the existing chain of command, amount of training, and to align with the validated CAF Sentinel programme.
  9. Massey Library: The SSAV Team heard strong views, across many groups, that the Massey Library is no longer suitable (unanimous comments from > 50 interviewees). The problems are with the aging infrastructure, the library’s content, and its filing system.
    1. Analysis. The Massey Library is in a state of disrepair, and is not adequately supporting the needs of the N/OCdts, or any of the RMC programmes. The building itself suffers from significant deficiencies and the HVAC systems cannot maintain a proper environment for either books or people. There is no proper filing system, so that the building houses a “book repository” rather than a library. The Library is well over capacity. A briefing note has been sent to the CF Real Property Operations Group (CF RP Ops Gp), and the project for the Massey Library is planned for around 2035. The availability of electronic and paper documents is poor, following a reduction in the Librarian’s level of financial authority.
      1. Massey Library: (KEY RECOMMENDATION): It is recommended that the CAF re-examine the priority and capital investment phasing associated with the replacement of the Massey Library with a view to completing this project much sooner than the current 2035 timeframe. Potential options to integrate a Learning Commons / Student Services Centre should be considered. In the interim, the Canadian Forces Real Property Operations Group should support RMC in finding solutions to the College’s immediate needs with respect to library services.
  10. Student Services. The SSAV Team observed that RMC lacks a student services centre and student commons. This was recognized by multiple individuals (more than 30 times) during interviews, including by staff from the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA)/Military Personnel Generation (MILPERSGEN) Headquarters. It was seen as a major detriment to the aim of providing modern, centralized and useful services to students for studying and collaboration.
    1. Analysis. The SSAV Team observed that there is no student services centre at RMC. N/OCdts can experience difficulty in knowing where to access learning resources to improve study habits or time management, receive counselling for their undergraduate programmes, get information for their future careers in the CAF, or receive tutoring. The Language Centre is not properly staffed, and the SSAV Team heard that on a regular basis, second language training is stopped for indefinite periods of time due to insufficient numbers of staff. The SSAV Team assesses that N/OCdts would be much better served if there was a Student Services Hub or Portal to enable them to access the services they need for academic and potentially military information purposes. Further it is assessed that the Language Centre needs to be better resourced. The CFB Kingston Base Personnel Selection Office (BPSO) offers services in career counselling and orientation and psychological testing. However, the BPSO serves all CAF members in the Kingston area and, as with other services, is not available outside normal working hours. For learning disabilities or mental health issues in needs of accommodation, N/OCdts can consult the RMC Associate Registrar for Undergraduate Studies (AR-UG).
      1. Student Services Centre. (KEY RECOMMENDATION) It is recommended that in line with the re-capitalization re-assessment for the Massey Library, RMC together with staff from Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), assess whether a Student Services Centre is required at RMC and if so, what form it should take; and
      2. Language Centre. (KEY RECOMMENDATION) It is recommended that the existing RMC Language Centre be resourced at levels that will allow for uninterrupted instruction for the N/OCdts at RMC.
  11. Human Resources. RMC has requested an increase in the number of positions twice in the past few years. These requests were not approved.
    1. Observations and Analysis.
      1. Training Wing/RMC Operations and Plans Cell. The operations and plans cell has two full-time positions. RMC typically organizes N/OCdt participation in some 50 major events during the course of the academic year and summer training period. The SSAV Team heard that the operations and plans staff lack the capacity to properly plan and execute activities, and are extremely challenged in coordinating the response to significant events at the College. The SSAV Team heard from other sources that RMC is not as responsive as other units in CDA/MILPERSGEN. N/OCdts must sometimes do much of the planning for activities and events themselves, on top of the RMC programme;
      2. Athletic Department Staff: The Athletics Department lost Salary Wage Envelope (SWE) funding as a result of cutbacks. This resulted in a reduction in hours for all Athletic Department staff, because a decision was made to decrease their working hours by 10% instead of cutting two full-time positions. This has had a negative impact on the programme at RMC, specifically in the lack of Athletic Department staff to supervise the fitness component of the First Year Orientation Programme, as well as conduct Supplementary Physical Training, and provide coaching and instruction in physical fitness. Despite the reductions, the staff continue to invest their own time to ensure the welfare of the N/OCdts to the best of their ability. In the area of physical fitness, the SSAV supports the recommendation of the 2016 RMC Fitness Review Findings that RMC military staff be required to attend a minimum of two Personnel Support Programme (PSP)-led training sessions;
      3. Maintenance and Cleaning Staff. The Strategic Review also led to reductions in support services positions, especially for cleaning and maintenance staff (11 positions), so that RMC no longer appears clean or properly maintained. This presents a negative environment for the N/OCdts and erodes pride in the institution;
      4. Logistic Support. The RMC Chief Information Officer (CIO) is double-hatted as the Director of Support Services, responsible for the provision of logistic and administrative support to RMC. RMC would benefit from a dedicated Logistics Officer filling the position of Director of Support Services without the additional CIO responsibilities; and
      5. Public Affairs (PA). RMC has one Public Affairs Officer (PAO) at the Capt/Lt(N) rank level, who is primarily focused on reactive responses to media queries (i.e., issue management, traditional media relations, etc.). While these activities are a reality for any CAF unit, RMC would be better served if a degree of priority and resources were placed in proactive activities; in particular, an active social media approach supported by compelling imagery, in order to support a timeless narrative of the many good things happening at the College. The SSAV Team observed that the prevailing public narrative regarding RMC centres on negative subject matter. In addition, a number of N/OCdts interviewed expressed disappointment that this narrative tends to overshadow the many positive aspects of the College.
    2. Human Resources Recommendations.
      1. Resource Levels for the Athletic Department Staff and SPT Staff. (KEY RECOMMENDATION)) It is recommended that CDA/MILPERSGEN headquarters and RMC address military and civilian human resources gaps in the areas of the Personnel Support Programme (PSP) staff in the Athletic Department to include the Supplemental Physical Training staff, the establishment of military positions and manning for the Training Wing/RMC Operations and Plans cell, the capacity, establishment and manning of the College Orderly Room, and that a review of the capacity of the maintenance and cleaning staff be conducted;
      2. Supplemental Physical Training. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that RMCensure an acceptable staff to N/OCdtratio by hiring additional coordinators; and
      3. Public Affairs support. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that CDA/MILPERSGEN review the PA support framework at RMC with a view toward augmenting the CAF public affairs officer with a civilian communications advisor (e.g. IS-03) and CAF Imagery Technician (e.g. Corporal) in order to ensure sufficient and ongoing focus on telling the many positive stories of the RMC experience, in the digital and visual narrative space in particular.
  12. Financial Authority and Core Functions. The SSAV Team received multiple comments during interviews about how the centralization of services and processes within the CAF during the last 10-15 years has resulted in significant limitations to RMC’s responsiveness in dealing with infrastructure renovations and repairs, buying electronic documents for the library, hiring, etc., and that the financial authority available to the Commandant and Principal is insufficient. The SSAV Team also heard frequently that the delivery of the programmes at the College has suffered as a result – from the ability to obtain books for the N/OCdts to conducting research in support of the academic programme.
    1. Analysis. The SSAV Team assesses that several elements of the RMC programme should be considered for designation as Core Business Activities. In addition, the SSAV Team assesses that the Delegation of Financial Authorities for Financial Administration for DND and the CAF should be reviewed, in view of concerns that the financial authority available to the Commandant and Principal does not reflect RMC’s size and complexity; and
    2. Financial Authority and Core Functions. (KEY RECOMMENDATION) It is recommended that CDA/MILPERSGEN headquarters and RMC review which elements of the RMC programme should be designated as Core Business Functions, in accordance with Treasury Board guidelines. In addition it is recommended that CMP/Commander MILPERSCOM consider approaching ADM (Fin) to request an amendment to the Delegation of Authorities for Financial Administration for the DND and the CAF in order to increase the level of financial authority available to the Commandant and Principal.
  13. N/OCdt Pay and Deductions for Rations and Quarters (R&Q).
    1. Observations:
      1. N/OCdt Pay: Several N/OCdt identified their pay as a concern during interviews. There is a perception that the pay has not increased as it should have over the years, in comparison with the pay rates of other CAF members; and
      2. Rations and Quarters. N/OCdts also indicated to the SSAV Team that the deductions from their pay for rations and quarters (R&Q) at RMC are too high in relation to the perceived quality of either the food or the quarters;
    2. Analysis:
      1. History of N/OCdt pay rates:  In 1970, N/OCdt pay started at $200/month, edging over $1000/month in 1997, reached $1536/month in 2012, and then $1567/month after March 2013. The pay rate for a Fourth Year N/OCdt (pay increment 3) is now $1666/month. The SSAV Team assesses that N/OCdt pay rates have increased significantly over the years, but is not able to confirm that they have kept pace with the pay rates of other CAF members; and
      2. Rations and Quarters. The deduction for quarters is a very minimal portion of the amount deducted from N/OCdt pay each month. The monthly deduction for rations is determined by the Minister of National Defence, effective 1 August of each year:Footnote 159
    3. Recommendations:
      1. N/OCdt Pay Rates. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that a review of N/OCdt pay rates be conducted to determine if they have kept pace with the pay rates of other CAF members; and
      2. Ration Deductions. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that an affordability study of ration deductions based on N/OCdt pay rates be conducted by DGCB, as referred to in MILPERSCOMGEN 001/13, Interim Direction for Delinking of Rations and Quarters.
  14. Holding Platoon Support: The SSAV Team was informed during interviews that the career management and development opportunities for N/OCdts assigned to the Holding Platoon were not optimal, leading to a morale problem in the platoon.
    1. Analysis. According to RMC policies, a Progress Review Board (PRB) is held when a N/OCdt is experiencing difficulties with one or more aspects of the RMC programme. A PRB makes a recommendation, which could include that the N/OCdt should cease training and be removed from the RMC operational environment, but continue in the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) as a member of the Holding Platoon. N/OCdts may be assigned to the Holding Platoon for different reasons, including medical, disciplinary, or administrative. The Commandant’s Priorities 2016 document states that the College will evaluate all procedures governing the Holding Platoon with the goal of enabling the success of Holding Platoon members; and
    2. Holding Platoon Support: (Supporting Recommendation): It is recommended that RMC evaluate the procedures supporting the holding platoon members, as stated in the Commandant’s Priorities for 2016, to improve success, career management and administration of the members.
  15. Resiliency Centre Initiative: The SSAV Team has reviewed the Mission Analysis and Concept of Operations to develop and implement the RMC resiliency component training education and support programme. The latest draft of this document was written in November 2016. The aim of the analysis was to identify the requirement(s) for a comprehensive resiliency component training, education, and support programme at RMC, including a Resiliency Centre, and to provide a plan for implementation to Interim Operational Capability in the spring of 2017 and a Final Operational Capability in the spring of 2018. The SSAV Team was briefly introduced to this initiative on arrival at RMC, but received no comment or opinion on it during interviews. The SSAV Team sought specialist advice, which suggested that – although this initiative is well-intended – there are concerns about the plan for its execution.Footnote 160
    1. Resiliency Centre. (KEY RECOMMENDATION) It is recommended that RMC engage with medical stakeholders at Health Services as soon as possible to perform a RMC needs assessment for resiliency training and mental health support as a programme before continuing with the Resiliency Centre initiative. It is recommended that RMC halt ongoing ‘Assist’ training and replace it with the ACE (Assist-Control-Escort) training that is recommended by the specialists for suicide prevention.
  16. N/OCdt awareness of support services at RMC. The SSAV Team heard that, for the most part, N/OCdts are aware of the various support services. Some comments were made that – while there is an abundance of support at RMC for the N/OCdts – a centralized or common portal through which they can be accessed is lacking. Information on support services was displayed prominently in dormitories, common areas, as well as distributed by electronic media throughout the College. The RMC website contains a long list of contact information for the services available at RMC and at CFB Kingston. The main external support services, such as the 24/7 crisis line for Kingston, or the Kingston General Hospital point of contact are also included. N/OCdts are briefed on those services upon arrival, during the First Year Orientation Programme (FYOP), and staff who are newly posted to RMC receive the information during their orientation week. The list of support services is also printed in multiple copies and taped to dormitory doors, rendering the information readily available. The SSAV Team received only one comment that referred to any difficulties, in relation to finding RMC’s harassment advisor. Another observation was that the N/OCdts could be briefed on available services after FYOP, when they are less sleep-deprived.
    1. Analysis. The SSAV Team assesses that communications are adequate. However, the timings of briefings to newly-arrived N/OCdts could be improved by providing them after FYOP, in order to increase the possibility that the information will be understood and retained.
  17. Infrastructure: (Library discussed separately) RMC infrastructure is worn. It comprises a mix of heritage buildings, older dormitories and academic facilities, and newer construction that was put in place to accommodate the significant increase in the Cadet Wing following the 1995 closures of Royal Roads Military College and Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean. There is limited office space, which is generally considered to be used at capacity accommodating the staff supporting RMC’s undergraduate, graduate, research and continuing education programmes.
    1. Observations.
      1. Dormitories: RMC has five dormitories, for a total of 588 rooms for 975 N/OCdts. N/OCdts typically share a room for their first three years at RMC, with 85% of Fourth Year N/OCdts having single rooms. Dormitory rooms at RMC vary somewhat in size between buildings. Most of the dormitories were built before 1960, with one built in 2011;
      2. Dining Hall: RMC has a large N/OCdt dining hall, but it is moderately strained with 975 N/OCdts. The breakfast sitting is usually most busy. Classes are staggered around lunch to spread out dining. Dinner usually sees staggered arrival of N/OCdts and so is not generally problematic. The dining room is very noisy and is clearly an old facility;
      3. Gym Facilities: RMC has access to a large gym that serves staff, N/OCdts, CFB Kingston and the public. It is generally considered busy, but sufficient for its level of usage, and with room to accommodate additional demand. Problems arise when RMC blocks the facility for an event, and CFB Kingston personnel are unable to access it for a number of hours. This results in frustration for them and creates an “us and them” environment with the College; and
      4. Parking: At RMC, parking is very limited, and spread out over the campus, with 278 parking spots being assigned to N/OCdts.
    2. Analysis.
      1. Infrastructure: The SSAV Team assesses that there are significant issues with the infrastructure at RMC. Concerns were raised over potential health and safety concerns within the dormitories, usability and noise levels in the dining hall, water leaks, and faulty roofing. It is evident that a significant capital investment is required to address the overcapacity and generally poor condition of the Massey Library. These particular issues should be addressed as a priority by the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) and the CF RP Ops Gp;
      2. Facilities. RMC currently shares fitness/sports facilities with CFB Kingston. Facilities include a gym, field house, indoor soccer pitch and arena. With the exception of the Constantine Arena, the facilities appear to be in good shape although inadequate for the number of personnel using them. The arena is old and has failing infrastructure. CFB Kingston shares publicly-funded equipment with RMC, but RMC has purchased equipment for the RMC physical education, intramural, and competitive club programmes, in some cases duplicating equipment procured by CFB Kingston non-public funds. Concurrent use of the facilities by both CFB Kingston and RMC requires de-confliction that has resulted in some facilities being unavailable to one or the other at different times. Routine activities or short notice events remain a point of friction with CFB Kingston that – while managed by RMC staff – result in N/OCdts being exposed to hostile attitudes from some CFB Kingston personnel denied use of these facilities. While in general the facilities are well maintained, the Constantine Arena is old and prone to issues that result in cancellation of hockey practices or games;
      3. Equipment. As a result of CFB Kingston and RMC sharing of the facilities, two sources of public funds as well as non-public funds are used to support the procurement and maintenance of equipment. Some overlap of resources was noted by the SSAV Team, due to equipment being purchased by CFB Kingston non-public funds and therefore unavailable for RMC use (and vice versa), requiring duplicate or additional equipment to be purchased that might not otherwise be required;
      4. Passage of Information. Athletic Department staff expressed frustration that the Medical Employment Limitations (MELs) of Varsity team members are not provided to them by the medical clinic. Another area where information is not readily passed are the results of the FORCE test conducted during the Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) course before N/OCdts arrive at RMC, so that RMC must re-test all First Year N/OCdts upon arrival. This imposes a duplication of effort and a level of confusion over RMC fitness standards; and
      5. Dining Hall. The N/OCdt dining hall is very noisy, because of its high ceiling and open space, conducive to sound travel. This very busy kitchen, like other CAF kitchens, has a regular “basic food cost”, but unlike those kitchens serves three meals a day to a N/OCdt population with a range of specific needs. For example, food quality and quantity is limited for Varsity team members arriving late for dinner, and no snack is generally available at night (however, snacks can be made available during exams, when requested by the N/OCdts).
    3. Infrastructure Recommendations:
      1. Infrastructure. (KEY RECOMMENDATION) It is recommended that RMC, the Canadian Forces Real Property Operations Group and CFB Kingston evaluate the overall state of infrastructure at RMC, identify potential health and safety issues, address long standing repair issues and establish priorities for near term operations and maintenance of RMC infrastructure;
      2. Dining Hall noise level. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that strategies be studied to improve the noise level of the dining hall. If improved, the dining hall could be more conducive to be used as a student commons for study and homework, as a mitigation strategy for the Library issues;
      3. Basic Food Cost (Supporting Recommendation): It is recommended that there be consideration of an increase in the Basic Food Cost at RMC. The SSAV Team understands that similar proposals have been approved for other CAF kitchens. This proposal is currently being developed by RMC Food Services staff;
      4. Notice of unavailability of facilities. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that Base Kingston personnel be given as much advance notice as possible when facilities like the gym will be unavailable;
      5. Athletic Facilities and Equipment. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that a replacement for the Constantine Arena be identified as a priority on the RMC Master Real Property Development Plan. Further, RMC and CFB Kingston should explore a proportional distribution of public and non-public funds for the purchase of equipment to be used by both CFB Kingston and RMC; and
      6. Passage of Information – Physical Fitness. (Supporting Recommendation) It is recommended that RMC liaise with the medical clinic at CFB Kingston at the beginning of each academic year in order to confirm arrangements for the clinic to communicate MELs to the Athletic Department.
  18. RMC Staff Well-Being. The RMC Health and Wellness Working Group (HWWG) was established on 10 October 2014, but held very few meetings and did not meet for almost a year and a half. It was reactivated in November 2016 during the SSAV Team visit to Kingston.
    1. Care for the caregivers: Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress, is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among individuals who work directly with trauma victims such as therapists, nurses, teachers, psychologists, police officers, paramedics, animal welfare workers, health unit coordinators and anyone who helps out others. The SSAV Team has observed some compassion fatigue in RMC staff and is concerned about their well-being because of the high level of stress to which they are exposed;
    2. Analysis. The HWWG is to continuously promote and enhance the health and wellness of all faculty, staff and students at RMC by developing, supporting, synchronizing and assessing initiatives aimed at ensuring that RMC remains a safe, positive, respectful, harassment-free and healthy place to learn, teach, research and work. Apart from the positive impact on productivity, a healthy and safe workforce establishes the DND/CAF as an employer of choice. The understanding of health has expanded significantly to include a broader series of determinants such as physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional, familial and intellectual elements, all of which are shaped by environmental influences in the workplace and elsewhere;
    3. Compassion fatigue needs to be considered in the RMC environment. Learning self-care strategies (good sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques, yoga, healthy dieting, regular exercise, spirituality, etc.) can decrease the amount of stress and make a person become more resilient; and
    4. Staff Well-being. (Supporting Recommendation):
      1. It is recommended to continue with regular HWWG meetings; and
      2. It is recommended that RMC evaluate the possibility of offering a seminar on compassion fatigue and self-care to staff as soon as possible. The chaplains, health promotion staff and medical clinic staff can assist in its development.

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