Strategic Issue Paper for the Minister of National Defence: Culture Change

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Summary

  • [REDACTED] There are opportunities to embrace areas for culture change and continue to evolve as an institution to reflect the values and standards of conduct expected by Canadians.
  • National Defence’s current agile and flexible action plan, Pathways to Progress, captures some of the key efforts planned or underway. The plan contains four interrelated lines of effort to remediate and prevent further harm to Defence Team members and achieve positive and measurable culture change: supports to survivors, justice and accountability, culture change, and stakeholder engagement.
  • Building on these initiatives, there are additional opportunities for action that could enhance or accelerate the ambitious culture change agenda, including: [REDACTED]

The Challenge

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Context and analysis

  • Systemic misconduct is not new to DND/CAF. Despite changes, external reports, internal investigations, as well as litigation, have indicated that the CAF has historically lagged behind the federal public service. Beginning in February 2021, media reported allegations of sexual misconduct against a former and the current Chief of Defence Staff, as well as other senior CAF leaders. These reports served as a catalyst in shedding new light on DND/CAF’s challenge to meaningfully address systemic misconduct. Criticisms focused on: the lack of support to those affected, DND/CAF’s rejection of external oversight, the complex complaints system, fear of reprisal, a perceived lack of independence by internal organizations responsible for receiving and/or investigating reports.
  • In April 2021, the Federal Government announced $236.2 million over five years in Budget 2021 to address sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and to support survivors. At that time, the Government also commissioned an Independent External Comprehensive Review of misconduct, led by the Hon. Louise Arbour, and announced the creation of a new organization: The Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC).

Way Forward

  • National Defence’s current agile and flexible action plan, Pathways to Progress, captures some of the key efforts planned or underway. The plan contains four interrelated lines of effort to remediate and prevent further harm to Defence Team members and achieve positive and measurable culture change: 1) Supports to Survivors; 2) Justice and Accountability; 3) Culture Change; and 4) Engagement.

Next Steps

  • National Defence has identified ambitious areas of opportunity that could enhance and accelerate the culture change agenda.

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