Minister Blair announces establishment of Canadian Military Colleges Review Board
December 6, 2023 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, announced the members and mandate of the Canadian Military Colleges Review Board. The Review Board, comprised of five external education and culture experts and two Department of National Defence (DND) / Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, has one year to make recommendations pertaining to Recommendation 28 and the first part of Recommendation 29 of former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbour’s Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR) Report.
The Review Board will analyze the benefits, advantages and disadvantages, both to the CAF and Canada, of continuing to educate Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) naval/officer cadets at Canada’s two military colleges – Royal Military College (RMC) Kingston and RMC Saint-Jean. It will focus specifically on reviewing the current quality of education, socialization and military training at the colleges and consider and assess different education and training models. Employing a documented, evidence-based approach, and following broad consultation with subject matter experts both in Canada and abroad, the Board will make a recommendation on whether the military colleges should continue in their current form or in a different form. It will also assess whether the Cadet Wing responsibility and authority command structure should be modified or discontinued as a leadership development practice.
The Board will be led by the Chairperson, Dr. Kathy Hogarth, and supported by Dr. Chantal Beauvais, a young adult socialization expert; Mr. Michael Goldbloom, a culture evolution expert; Dr. Renée Légaré, an executive expert; Dr. Martin Maltais, an academic expert; Ms. Suneeta Millington, a DND executive; and Colonel Kyle Solomon as the military representative.
Approximately 175 Canadian education and culture specialists applied for the five external to DND/CAF board positions. Board members were chosen for their range of perspectives and background, as well as for their independence and impartiality.
In the meantime, per Madame Arbour’s Recommendation 29, the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) has engaged with the RMC Kingston and the RMC Saint-Jean authorities to address long-standing culture concerns at the military colleges, including concerns regarding misogyny, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. As Madame Arbour recommended, the Exit Survey of graduating cadets has already been adapted to capture cadets’ experiences with sexual misconduct or discrimination. This survey was conducted a few months ago and the findings are currently being analyzed.
“We have an obligation to provide our people with environments where they can reach their full potential – and external perspectives are valuable in achieving this goal. The review of the Canadian military colleges will enable meaningful culture change at these institutions and is an important milestone in our work to build a Canadian Armed Forces where all members feel protected, respected, and empowered to serve.”
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence
“The Board’s work is guided by IECR Report recommendations 28 and 29. Since the release of the report last year, the military colleges have been making progress on addressing some culture concerns unique to the military college environment. We remain open to all findings that can help improve the quality of a military college education.”
Bill Matthews, Deputy Minister of National Defence
“Historically, military colleges have played an important role in the education of officers, both in Canada and amongst allies and partner nations around the world. The CMCRB has a large and important task ahead of it. We look forward to hearing their recommendations as we work to ensure our military colleges continue to develop the future leaders we need for the increasingly dangerous security environment.”
General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff
“Throughout this work we will be consulting widely, both in Canada and abroad, as well as talking to current and former Canadian Armed Forces members with lived experience at the military colleges. We look forward to the challenge and opportunity presented to us as educators, cultural advisors and subject matter experts.”
Dr. Kathy Hogarth, Chairperson, Canadian Military Colleges Review Board
The Royal Military College was founded in 1874. On June 1, 1876, it opened its doors to the first class of 18 officer cadets.
The CAF has two military colleges, Royal Military College (RMC) Kingston and RMC Saint-Jean, which educate and develop a portion of officers of the officer corps in the Regular Force. The military colleges are undergraduate and graduate degree-granting institutions.
The IECR Report by the former Justice Louise Arbour was released on 30 May 2022 and makes 48 recommendations in order to achieve culture change in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces.
On 13 December 2022, the Minister of National Defence presented a report to Parliament, outlining the steps that the Government of Canada would take to respond to all 48 recommendations by Madame Arbour. It also directed the implementation of Recommendation 29 and that implementation of Recommendation 28 be informed and determined by the work of the Review Board.
The review board has seven members, including two DND/CAF members. A consultative process, led by Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Civilian), was used to select the departmental executive. The Military Representative was chosen through the regular General Officer/Flag Officer selection process.
DND/CAF reports and studies have been conducted in the past on the climate and culture of Canadian military colleges, including the CDS-directed Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV) – Report on the Climate, Training Environment, Culture and ROTP Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada – Kingston, 10 March 2017.
- Canadian Military Colleges Review Board Backgrounder
- Canadian Military Colleges Review Board - Terms of Reference
- Royal Military College of Canada
- Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean)
- 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
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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