DM/A-CDS message to the Defence Team regarding culture change

April 29, 2021 - Defence Stories

Please visit the Defence Team COVID-19 website for the latest information pertinent to both civilian and military Defence Team members.

The recent months have been difficult for many members of our Defence Team. You have shared your experiences of sexual misconduct, harassment, misogyny, racism, and discrimination that have occurred across our organization. Sadly, it is evident that these behaviours are rooted in an institutional culture that has allowed them to persist despite our effort to eliminate them. We have and will continue to listen. We share your disappointment.

This culture is unacceptable. You are demanding change – and you are right to do so.

Today, we are refocusing our efforts to eradicate all forms of improper conduct, discrimination, biases, harmful stereotypes and systemic barriers across Defence. This is not only about rebuilding your trust in leadership but rebuilding a Defence Team that is truly diverse, inclusive, and respectful of each and every one of its members.

We want to update you on two key measures being taken across Defence to bring about real change that aligns with the shared values and ethical principles we all aspire to uphold.

The profoundly damaging elements of our culture experienced by too many of you will not change on their own and the abovementioned measures represent only the first steps on the road before us. Change is a process, one of which will not be achieved overnight; it requires meaningful actions that are tangible, can be measured, and can be seen in our daily interactions with one another.

There is a shared willingness to break down old systems and forge new ones. We – and the entire DND/CAF leadership team – are committed to providing you with a workplace culture that better embodies the shared professional values and ethos that you not only expect but one that you are entitled to.

Most importantly, we will continue to listen to you; learn from you; and reconcile the wrongs of the past. This is how we hope to regain your trust, and rebuild a better Defence Team for all of us.

Jody Thomas
Deputy Minister of National Defence

LGen Wayne Eyre
Acting Chief of the Defence Staff

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