Statement from the Minister of National Defence on the First Biannual Report of External Monitor Jocelyne Therrien
May 17, 2023 – Ottawa, ON – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
The Honourable Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, issued the following statement today regarding the External Monitor’s first status report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR):
“Since my first day as Minister of National Defence, I have been clear that my top priority is to create meaningful culture change in the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). That is why, last May, I accepted in full the final report of Madame Louise Arbour’s IECR, and in December 2022, presented to Parliament our plan to address all its recommendations. We are continuing to make progress – and as we do, we are committed to the highest standards of openness, transparency, and accountability.
“To that end, in fall 2022, I acted upon Madame Arbour’s 48th recommendation, and appointed Madame Jocelyne Therrien as External Monitor. Mme Therrien’s mandate is to oversee our efforts to implement the various IECR recommendations.
“Today, we released Madame Therrien’s first biannual status report. I welcome the report and thank Madame Therrien for her meticulous work. This important, impartial oversight helps to hold DND/CAF accountable for building a safe and inclusive workplace free from harassment and discrimination.
“Together, we are making significant progress. In response to recommendation 5 of the IECR, DND/CAF are undertaking detailed consultations with federal, provincial, and territorial partners to inform our way forward on jurisdictional change. As we continue to implement Madame Arbour’s interim recommendation to move criminal sexual offences to the civilian system, the Office of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal has worked closely with the Ontario Provincial Police to implement a means for the referral of criminal offences of a sexual nature between these two organizations, similar to the work done with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Sûreté du Québec, and other police partners across Canada.
“To better reflect its purpose as a resource centre for victims of sexual misconduct, the former Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) is now the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) – fulfilling Recommendation 12 of the IECR. As well, in accordance with Recommendations 13 and 16, the SMCRC is no longer responsible for monitoring the CAF’s effectiveness in responding to sexual misconduct.
“We have also made important progress in addressing IECR Recommendation 14. Last week, we launched the first phase of the SMSRC’s Independent Legal Assistance Program. Retroactive to 2019, eligible legal costs incurred by those affected by misconduct in the CAF will be covered.
“In response to Recommendation 15, the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) has assumed the responsibility for all training and education related to sexual offences and harassment; a mandate previously held by the SMSRC. The CPCC will continue to consult SMSRC on program content, delivery, and methods of evaluation.
“In line with Recommendation 27, an education and training framework has been developed by CPCC which focuses on sexual misconduct, conflict management, workplace violence prevention, diversity, equity and inclusion, and hateful conduct. This framework proposes a continuum of the education and learning that should be delivered to different ranks, at different periods of their career.
“Work on Recommendations 28 and 29 is also in progress, including seeking out external experts to lead a comprehensive review of the military colleges. I am looking forward to announcing the members of the Canadian Military College Review Board very soon.
“As I meet with members of the CAF across Canada and around the world, I see their clear desire to advance meaningful culture change. Together, we must continue to make progress, because failure is not an option.
- Conduct and Culture
- Conduct and culture change progress tracker
- External Monitor Report - First Status Report
- Independent External Comprehensive Review
- Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review
- Minister of National Defence’s Report to Parliament on Culture Change Reforms in response to former Supreme Court Justice Arbour’s recommendations
- Terms of Reference – Independent External Comprehensive Review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces
- Minister Anita Anand appoints External Monitor to oversee National Defence efforts to address sexual misconduct and harassment - Canada.ca
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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