The evolution of culture: An update from CPCC

December 15, 2022 - Defence Stories

Message du Sous-ministre et du Chef d'État-major de la Défense

The world is changing at an increased rate and complexity for our leaders, teams, and DND/CAF. We must replace dysfunctional conflict with a healthy exchange of ideas and solutions to enable our teams to adapt, innovate, and perform at their best. Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) is committed to leading and enabling DND/CAF on the path of continuous improvement. To do so, CPCC works top down, bottom up and horizontally. You will find below an update on some of the initiatives CPCC is leading to enable culture evolution.

Conduct and Culture Consultation Summary Report

In March, we provided an update on the Defence Team Conduct and Culture Consultations which took place October 2021 to March 2022. The analysis and conclusions contained within the Conduct and Culture Consultation Summary Report were informed by a diversity of perspectives gleaned from engagements with more than 9,000 of our people from regions, force elements, occupations, ranks, and equity-seeking groups. We have further engaged informally with 3,000-plus members. Listening and learning from the lived experiences of current and former members and stakeholders is a foundational piece of culture evolution. This is a bottom-up approach.

Culture Evolution Framework

CPCC is developing a Culture Evolution Framework for introduction in 2023. Defence is not a homogeneous organization. It is comprised of sub-cultures, each requiring a tailored approach. The Framework, guided by a common ethos, will inform strategies and activities within components and sub-components. It will fill a need at all levels to strengthen workplace health, morale, and performance by aligning current and future efforts, while providing the basis for a holistic approach to diagnosing, creating, repairing, and maintaining a healthy culture. Activities and initiatives will be informed by evidence and use consistent approaches, measurements and tools, including Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus). This is a top-down and horizontal approach. 

Conversations on Defence Ethics

More than 75,000 Defence Team members have participated in Conversations on Defence Ethics (CODE) training, a mandated Defence Ethics Programme (DEP). CODE training creates a space to discuss current issues and how they apply to the DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics. Facilitated small group discussions encourage people with different experiences, beliefs, attitudes and ideas to engage, learn from each other, and build consensus. DEP will continue to maintain and evolve ethical scenarios for use at all levels. This is a bottom-up initiative.

Reintegration Framework

The Respondent Reintegration Framework is a tool to support the reintegration of individuals involved in allegations or investigations related to conduct deficiencies while prioritizing the well-being of affected persons in a manner that reduces further harm. It is currently being used on bases, wings, and formations. Transforming our processes using a more human-centric approach to achieve a fair, trusted, accessible, and respectful resolution for all involved remains critically important to us. We continue to review this Framework in light of feedback from the lived experiences of CAF members. This is a bottom-up and horizontal approach.

Leadership Engagement and Defence Team Coaching

Leadership Support Teams (LSTs) help unit leadership to positively affect the work climate by providing tools and best practices to create psychologically safe, collaborative and inclusive environments. It equips leaders with the skills needed to effectively and thoughtfully intervene in situations related to conflict, culture, and professional conduct. Our initial trial was completed in 2022 with the next trial to start in early 2023. Priority will go to basic training where CAF members are first exposed to the culture. The Defence Team Coaching Program fosters leadership development and promotes behaviour that facilitates the creation and maintenance of inclusive environments. Individual coaching programs were initiated in November and team coaching programs will begin in early 2023. This is a horizontal approach.

Complaints Process Transformation

CPCC continues to improve the end-to-end experience of the DND/CAF complaints process. The goal is a better experience for all our people to include simplicity in accessing the right support, transparency, and empathy. A cross-functional team is leading this effort, which includes conducting in-person and virtual consultations. Upgraded technology and services are also part of this effort. Planning will be completed in the next few months with concrete changes implemented in the next 12 to 18 months. Full transformation is an ambitious initiative that takes time, but one that will dramatically improve support to our people when it matters most. This is a top-down, horizontal, and bottom-up initiative.

Final Remarks

Leaders within DND/CAF are telling us about the accelerating speed of change and its resulting impact: pressure, stress, distrust, anxiety, and isolation. In these challenging times we also see excitement, hope, and progress. Many initiatives are already underway by various organizations across DND/CAF. What resulted in success in the past will not be what makes us successful in the future. We are at a time where a shift is required in the “how’’ we conduct ourselves, “how’’ we exercise leadership, and “how” we understand power and authority. Above all else, we are a human organization. This shift is required to leverage the full potential of our people so we remain a force Canadians can rely on to protect their interests at home and abroad. We at CPCC are inspired by the changes and evolution we have seen over the past months and are convinced of our capacity to continue to improve together.


Lieutenant-General M.A.J. Carignan, CMM, MSM, CD

Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture

Chief Warrant Officer Bob McCann, MMM, MSM, CD

Command Chief Warrant Officer,

Professional Conduct and Culture

Marie Doyle

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister,

Professional Conduct and Culture

Page details

Date modified: