An open letter to the youth of the Defence Team: Black History Month

February 1st, 2021 - Defence Strories

Black History Month 2021

Every February, we celebrate Black History Month. It is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions that Black Canadians have made to the fabric of our nation, often in the face of significant discrimination and marginalization.

Recent events across the globe remind us, however, that the discrimination many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) individuals face does not merely live in the past. Racism, both on an individual and systemic level, is pervasive and persistent, and we—as members of the Defence Team, and members of our communities—must take active steps to promote equality wherever and whenever we can.

Pursuant to this, we at the Youth in Defence Advisory Council (YDAC) are encouraged by the Defence Team's senior leadership's efforts to effect change within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. In the spirit of allyship, we are in full support of the anti-racism discussions and initiatives happening within, and beyond, our department.

We envision DND/CAF as a workplace of choice that is diverse, inclusive, and just. As youth representatives from each L1 responsible for providing feedback on departmental policies and initiatives from the youth perspective, we believe we are well-positioned to help build this vision over the long-term.

We recognize that important steps have already been taken in our department; however, we know there is still much more work to do. We strongly believe that the department’s youth must play an invaluable role in DND/CAF’s anti-racism efforts. Although we only represent a portion of the department’s youth voice, we hope to use the YDAC as a means of reflecting and amplifying the youth perspective on anti-racism.

As part of this, we are seeking youth testimonials on how racism and discrimination have affected your experience working in the department and in the CAF. We hope by learning about your lived experiences, we can better understand the real issues the Defence Team’s youth are facing. This will enable us to provide informed recommendations to CAF and DND senior leadership on concrete actions they can take to effect meaningful change.

Beyond this, we will also reach out to other stakeholder groups across Defence to ensure that our input, and our approaches, are both appropriate and closely aligned.

Finally, we also call on you—the youth of DND/CAF—to reflect, listen, and learn, and to take active steps to create change wherever you can.

Identify and reflect on your own biases, including unconscious biases.

Create opportunities for discussion and education in your own teams.

Be an ally to your marginalized colleagues.

Anti-racism is everyone’s responsibility; and, as such, we must be the change, demand the change, and support the change toward and anti-racist workplace through our daily actions.

We hope that you will help us in our efforts by sharing your experiences or feedback, in either official language, to the following positional mailbox: +Youth Council - Conseil des Jeunes@ADM(Pol)@Ottawa-Hull. All entries will remain anonymous and will not be shared without your expressed permission.

As your youth representatives from Defence, we also ask that you hold us accountable. If we are not adequately representing your interests—if we are not doing enough—please let us know. We’re still learning too.

Together, we can achieve the vision of a fully diverse, equal, and equitable workplace.



The Youth in Defence Advisory Council

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: