Statement from the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces on the 2022 Statistics Canada Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces
December 5, 2023 – Ottawa, ON – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
The Deputy Minister of National Defence, Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer, issued the following statement today regarding the results of the 2022 Statistics Canada Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF):
“We would like to thank Statistics Canada for conducting the 2022 Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF. We would also like to thank all CAF members who participated in this important survey. We acknowledge that completing a survey of this nature can be very difficult, and we sincerely appreciate the continued willingness of our members to share their experiences and contribute to efforts to build a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace for all.
“The Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces provides us with essential data for understanding the issues and where we need to focus our efforts. While we have taken some important steps as an organization to prevent and address sexual misconduct, we know that much more work remains to be done and these survey results underscore both the urgency and complexity of the issue.
“We are extremely concerned to see that our members continue to experience and/or witness sexual assault and sexualized or discriminatory behaviours in our workplace. As was the case in previous surveys, women and members of more vulnerable populations, such as members who are younger, Indigenous, members with a disability or members of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, are disproportionately affected. These results are deplorable, and completely inconsistent with DND and CAF values and ethics. We know that the pain and trauma that sexual misconduct can cause affected persons is significant. Furthermore, it undermines our operational effectiveness, eroding trust, team cohesion and the ability of our members to contribute fully to our mission.
“The continued prevalence of sexual misconduct in our workplace is incredibly disappointing given our sustained focus on addressing it. However, we remain resolute in our commitment to eliminating this issue, and we believe our current approach, which focuses on root causes and is informed by the lived experiences of our members, stakeholders and experts, will lead to enduring change.
“While it is difficult to look beyond the troubling persistence of sexual misconduct in our workplace, there are some results in the survey that suggest our efforts may be having some positive impacts. For example, the number of people reporting that they intervened or took action when they witnessed sexualized and discriminatory behaviours has increased. Reporting of these types of behaviours to someone in authority has also steadily increased since the first survey in 2016.
“It is also worth noting that while many Regular Force members had critical perceptions of the CAF in relation to sexual misconduct, the majority agree that improvements have been made over the course of their careers. We were also encouraged to see that most Regular Force members are aware of the various policies and program related to sexual misconduct in the CAF and that most members’ perceptions of how their own unit recognizes and responds to incidents of sexual misconduct were generally positive. These are positive signs that attitudes and behaviours with respect to sexual misconduct are shifting.
“Nevertheless, we are committed to providing comprehensive and timely support to affected persons in a way that meets their individual needs and empowers them to come forward to seek support without fear of reprisal and/or further harm. People affected by sexual misconduct and those who support them can contact the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre (SMSRC) 24/7 phone line at 1-844-750-1648 to get support, resources, and information.
“It is abundantly clear that we have a lot of difficult work ahead to ensure the lived experiences of our members align with the professed values of our organization. Culture evolution is a long-term and iterative process. We must be willing to continually build, refine and improve our approach as we go. We will continue listening carefully to subject-matter experts, stakeholders and most importantly, our own members to ensure we are building a safe and respectful workplace for all.”
- Defence Officials address the Statistics Canada 2022 Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces
Department of National Defence
- Date modified: