Minister of National Defence Response to the Auditor General of Canada’s report on inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces
November 20, 2018 – Ottawa (Ontario) – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Following the tabling of the Auditor General of Canada’s report on inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit S. Sajjan, issued the following statement:
“People are at the centre of the Canadian Armed Forces. As outlined in our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, taking care of our women and men in uniform is our top priority. It is imperative for the military to foster a culture based on trust, respect and dignity for everyone. Anything less is unacceptable.
The Canadian Armed Forces is committed to ensuring that it has a workplace free from sexual assault, harassment and discrimination. This is why in 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces initiated Operation HONOUR, its mission to eliminate sexual misconduct from the Canadian military. And this is why, today I welcome the Auditor General’s report.
The Canadian Armed Forces is taking several steps to address both the Auditor General’s recommendations and our own concerns around Operation HONOUR, for example:
- We are making victim support a top priority by expanding the mandate of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, which is independent from the military chain of command. The Centre will become the authoritative agency external to the Canadian Armed Forces, providing advice to senior leaders on all aspects of victim support and advocacy and continuously monitor the conduct of Operation HONOUR. It will also develop a comprehensive and integrated victim case management system.
- We will work with the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre to continue to develop and expand education and training that fosters a sustained change in attitudes and behaviours focused on building a respectful climate and culture that aligns with the Canadian Armed Forces’ ethical principles and values.
- We are developing a comprehensive campaign plan for Operation HONOUR that will establish an expanded performance measurement framework for evaluating our efforts to eradicate sexual misconduct.
- We welcome and will remain open to review from external agencies, such as the OAG, and will actively seek subject matter expertise from others, both inside and external to the CAF.
We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. It threatens the well-being of our people, our abilities, and the long-term health of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Over the past three years, through Operation HONOUR, the Canadian Armed Forces has taken significant action to address all forms of sexual misconduct and lay the foundation to achieve culture change. But there is still much work to be done. I am confident that the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance and his team will address the findings in the Auditor General’s report as they enter the next phase of Operation HONOUR and continue to work toward the elimination of all forms of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. ”
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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