Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces provide update on culture change efforts and military justice system reform
March 31, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of National Defence
On March 30, 2022, the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, and Acting Judge Advocate General, Colonel Robin Holman, provided an update on military justice reform efforts underway at the Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
This builds on the culture change briefing that Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC), Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan, and the Acting Chief of Military Personnel (CMP), Major-General Lise Bourgon provided last week, and the supports to survivors briefing that was provided in December by Lt.-Gen. Carignan and Dr. Denise Preston, Executive Director of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.
These briefings are in line with the Government’s ongoing commitment to providing regular updates to Canadians on the efforts underway to address conduct and culture change. The Pathways to Progress web tracker outlines key efforts planned or underway in the near term to effect conduct and culture change.
During the update, the DND and the CAF confirmed that the approvals necessary to begin the implementation roll-out of critical Bill C-77 components, which will be known as Victims’ Rights and Summary Hearing Implementation, were received last week. Steps towards implementation for June 20, 2022 were outlined. The regulations and policies developed to support the implementation and operationalization of the Declaration of Victims’ Rights were heavily informed by the many consultations undertaken with members of It’s Not Just 20K (previously known as It’s Not Just 700), the Ontario Office for Victims of Crimes, and current and former individual Defence Team members.
Also highlighted was the stand-up of the External Comprehensive Reviews Implementation Committee (ECRIC) to effectively coordinate and oversee the complex work required to implement many varied and often overlapping recommendations received from independent reviews, studies and reports.
Col. Holman provided an update on the work underway to implement the interim recommendations made in October 2021 by the former Justice Louise Arbour. The final report of the independent review led by Madame Arbour is expected this spring. Col. Holman also highlighted work on a number of other initiatives in progress to support military justice reform.
At last week’s update, Lt.-Gen. Carignan highlighted the conclusion of the Conduct and Culture Consultation, which included 279 sessions, totalling over 435 hours, and attracted nearly 9,000 participants. These consultations have helped to define the culture needed as a healthy and respectful workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Lt.-Gen. Carignan also confirmed that a report will be shared in the coming months on what was heard during the consultation process and it will be key in how DND and the CAF develop a culture change strategy.
Lt.-Gen. Carignan also spoke to initiatives underway to promote diversity and inclusion in the Defence Team, particularly inclusive leadership and performance measurement. She confirmed that work is underway to incorporate inclusiveness into performance-management processes for all military members and public service employees in 2022-2023.
Maj.-Gen. Bourgon highlighted multiple initiatives within the CMP and Military Personnel Command having a positive impact on the lives of military members and the overall DND workplace, including: changes to education and training, recruitment efforts, retention, gender inclusive ranks, and the integration of inclusiveness into general/flag officer selection processes. More information on these initiatives can be found here: Spotlight on culture change initiatives for military personnel - Canada.ca
The DND and the CAF are committed to ensuring positive and enduring cultural change. This is critical to supporting Defence Team members and to achieving operational success in support of Canada and Canadians.
“I am deeply committed to leading meaningful progress, and I know that up and down the ranks of our institution, there are people stepping up to lead deep and transformational culture change. Together, we are working to create an institutional culture that enables every member of our team to reach their full potential in an environment where they feel safe, protected, and respected.”
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
“By making substantive, fundamental changes to the military’s culture and its justice system — and by doing it right — we will build the foundation necessary to succeed in creating a new and more positive space for our people.”
Lieutenant-General Frances Allen, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
- DND/CAF conduct and culture change progress tracker
- Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture
- CPCC Leadership Team: Defence Team consultation wrap-up
- Conduct and Culture
- Military Personnel Command
- Spotlight on culture change initiatives for military personnel
- Enhancing Victims Rights in the Military Justice System: An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
- National Defence Act (justice.gc.ca)
- Third Independent Review of the National Defence Act - Canada.ca
- Interim recommendations from the Independent External Comprehensive Review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces
- Joint Statement of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Director of Military Prosecutions
- Message from the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal regarding the transfer of jurisdiction for sexual assault and other criminal offences of a sexual nature
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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