Message from the MND regarding the tabling of the Third Independent Review of the National Defence Act report

June 2, 2021 - Defence Stories


I tabled in Parliament the report on the Third Independent Review of specified provisions of the National Defence Act (NDA) and their operation. The Honourable Morris J. Fish, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, was appointed as the Third Independent Review Authority in November 2020. As part of the review, Justice Fish was provided access to Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Department of National Defence employees, as well as the members and staff of the Military Grievances External Review Committee, the Military Police Complaints Commission, and the DND/CAF Ombudsman.

The report contains 107 recommendations with a majority of them dealing with the military justice system, including the independence of military justice actors and how issues of sexual misconduct are addressed, as well as military policing and police oversight. The remainder of the recommendations concern military grievances and the external review of grievances.

This report comes at a critical time. National Defence is at an inflection point. Over the past few months, we’ve heard far too many heartbreaking experiences of Canadian Armed Forces members and Department of National Defence employees who have been impacted by hateful, hurtful, and harmful behaviour in our ranks. We know that more work needs to be done so we can have meaningful and lasting culture change.

The Defence Team welcomes Justice Fish’s findings, and that is why I have accepted the 107 recommendations, in principle. Justice Fish’s analysis and recommendations will be essential to our ongoing work to strengthen the military justice system. We know the system demands regular and rigorous scrutiny. We will be implementing 36 recommendations in the short term, while others will require additional study, substantial resources, and/or significant legislative and regulatory changes. Additional consultation with stakeholders and survivors will be done on all recommendations to ensure these changes meet their needs.

We will build a more resilient Defence Team that feels safe and supported when they come to work. We are committed to taking action and implementing Justice Fish’s recommendations, as appropriate, as quickly and efficiently as we can.


The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of National Defence

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