Interim Victim’s Liaison Officer Policy

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2022-MM-DD

Date of Last Modification: N/A

Application: This interim policy applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Approval Authorities:

VLO Policy Enquiries:

VLO Program Enquiries:

2. Definitions

“Military Justice System” for the purposes of this policy is as defined in section 71.01 of the National Defence Act.

“Victim” is defined in subsection 2(1) of the National Defence Act.

Service Offence” is as defined in subsection 2(1) of the National Defence Act.

Victim s Liaison Officer” is as defined in subsection 71.16(1) of the National Defence Act.

Rights” for the purposes of this policy means the statutory grants outlined in sections 71.02-71.13 of the National Defence Act.

“Military Justice System Actors” for the purposes of this policy means Military Justice System participants who have a direct relationship with victims, this includes but is not limited to the military police, the military prosecution, and victim support services.

3. Application

This policy informs and supports commanding officers (CO), Chief of Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC), and Victim’s Liaison Officers (VLO) in the administration and execution of VLO roles and responsibilities.

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4. Victim ’s Liaison Officer

4.1 Statutory and Regulatory Framework – Victim ’s Liaison Officer

The VLO’s position, role, and responsibilities are established by National Defence Act section 71.16.

The regulatory framework for VLO is found at QR&O art. 108.02.

4.2 Victim ’s Privacy Interests

A victim’s personal information must be handled and protected in accordance with the Privacy Act and applicable CAF policies around personal information.

When considering how to handle or protect a victim’s personal information, a VLO should refer to their training and applicable procedures for the handling and protection of personal information and seek assistance from their chain of command on appropriate handling and protection practices as necessary.

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5. Victim’s Liaison Officer Role & Responsibilities

5.1 Victim ’s Liaison Officer Functions

The VLO’s statutory responsibilities are established by National Defence Act subsections 71.16(3). It provides:

The VLO may also explain: (i) a victim’s rights as outlined in the National Defence Act (NDA) sections 71.02-71.13 (ii) the VLO’s role and responsibilities, and (iii) the functioning of the Military Justice System and the roles of its participants.

A VLO is not an advocate on behalf of the victim with respect to the conduct of the investigation, decisions on charge-laying, or conduct of proceedings.

A VLO does not provide any form of personal, material, physical or mental health support to the victim. Where required, a VLO may provide information about support programs and services available to the victim.

For additional administrative responsibilities incidental to the VLO’s statutory responsibilities, see section 8 of this policy, below.

5.2 Victim Liaison Officer Request & Appointment

5.2.1 Request for VLO

In accordance with NDA s.71.16(1), a victim must request the appointment of a VLO. There are two options for making this request.

Option 1:  VLO Selection from the Standing List

Suitable CAF members who meet the conditions for appointment as a VLO under QR&O 108.02 may be nominated to CPCC by their chain of command to be certified as VLO in advance, in order to complete the VLO course and be identified on a standing list of pre-certified members. Considerations for suitability are described in Annex B.

This standing list of individuals who have completed the training certification, and meet the other conditions established at QR&O 108.02 will be maintained by CPCC.

Where a victim requests the appointment of a VLO but does not name a specific individual, or that named individual is not available, the victim can be referred to CPCC for selection of a certified VLO from the standing list. Civilian victims who do not have contact with a CO, or any victim who wishes to maintain confidentiality from their CO (see subsection 6.1 below), may also be referred to CPCC directly in order to receive information about the VLO function and to request a VLO from the standing list.

To facilitate such appointments, the individual within the Chain of Command who has received the victim’s complaint, or the victim themselves may contact CPCC to discuss the victim’s request, relevant criteria for selection (rank, certification, other criteria that may be important to the victim), and the availability of members on the standing list.

If requested to do so, CPCC will assist victims in identifying members on the standing list, and then facilitate VLO request and appointment by the selected VLO’s CO (once availability is confirmed).

Option 2: the CO selects a member under their command to appoint as VLO

In accordance with NDA's. 71.16(1), a victim may request that a CO appoint a specific CAF member as their VLO. The CO may appoint the requested member, if they are available, where the requested member meets the conditions for appointment established by QR&O article 108.02, including maintaining a valid VLO certification, and falls within their command. If the requested member falls outside of their command, COs may request CPCC support in facilitating the request and appointment.

Where the victim does not name a specific individual that they wish to request as VLO, the CO may contact CPCC for assistance in identifying a suitable VLO, either in their own command, or from another command, where that member meets the conditions for appointment established by QR&O article 108.02, with the victim’s agreement.

In both cases, where the selected member otherwise meets the conditions for appointment under article 108.02 (such as of the required rank, currently serving in the CAF, and not in the excluded list of persons) but is not certified as a VLO (has not successfully completed the VLO Course within the preceding four years), the CO may request to have that selected member loaded onto the VLO Course, if one is available within a reasonable time. Upon successful completion of the certification, that VLO can then be appointed by the CO. If the member is unable to successfully complete the VLO course within a reasonable time, the victim may be offered the opportunity to request another already certified VLO in the interim and can be referred to CPCC to do so.

5.2.2 Other Cases

Where a specifically requested member cannot be appointed as VLO for any reason, the victim requesting the appointment of a VLO must be offered the opportunity to request that another VLO be appointed. In such circumstances, the CO or the victim may contact CPCC for a list of eligible members from the Standing List.

Where CPCC is contacted directly by a victim with a request to replace a VLO, CPCC may assist that victim in identifying an appropriate member from the standing list, and may further facilitate the victim’s request to that member’s CO for their decision on that member’s appointment as VLO.

5.2.3 Withdrawing a VLO Appointment

If a CO must withdraw a VLO appointment in accordance with NDA s.71.16(2) (“Absence or Incapacity”), upon such a withdrawal, the CO must ensure that another member is appointed as VLO. If the victim expresses that they no longer wishes the assistance of a VLO or wish a different VLO be appointed to them, the appointed VLO can be dismissed and a new VLO appointment can be issued with the new VLO ’s CO.

A victim can be referred to CPCC to facilitate such a request, particularly if no replacement VLO is identified within that CO’s command.

Where the victim confirms they are requesting the appointment of a replacement VLO, the selection and appointment of that replacement should be carried out in accordance with section 5.2.2 of this policy.

Such replacement appointments should be carried out as soon as possible so as to minimize the impact on the victim. To the extent possible, the withdrawal of the original appointment and the replacement appointment should be coordinated to ensure a smooth transition between the outgoing and incoming VLO.

In the event of any withdrawal of a VLO appointment, the CO should communicate the withdrawal to CPCC, with reasons for the decision. Or, as the case may be, CPCC should communicate to the CO the reasons for recommending withdrawal. CPCC will maintain records regarding all VLO appointments, including withdrawals.

5.3 VLO Certification

A member may only be appointed as a VLO once they have received the certification that they have completed the training established by Chief of Military Personnel (CMP).

Certification for VLO will be obtained through the completion of training established by the CMP. Once certified, a member must renew their VLO certification on a four (4) year cycle.

To achieve certification, all VLO must successfully complete training on:

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6. Roles and Responsibilities

6.1 Commanding Officer ’s Responsibilities to Victim

Commanding Officers should:

6.2 Commanding Officer ’s Responsibilities with respect to Victim ’s Liaison Officer

It is important that the CO of a member selected for appointment as a VLO make the selected member available for VLO training if not already certified, and make them available to perform their VLO duties.

Upon being appointed as a VLO upon certification, the CO should:

6.3 Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture

It is important that the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture:

6.4 Complaints and Performance Concerns

The DVR complaint mechanism is not available in relation to the complaints about the administration of the VLO program or the conduct of the VLO. Therefore any specific administrative, service, performance, or suitability complaints from a victim regarding the VLO program or their appointed VLO should be submitted to either the VLO’s CO or to CPCC. Upon receipt of the complaint, the VLO’s CO or CPCC will review the complaint and take any action deemed necessary.

A complaint may be submitted orally, electronically, in writing, or by any other appropriate means.

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7. Coordination and Oversight of Standing List

7.1 Organization with functional authority

A standing list of qualified VLOs will be maintained and administered by the CPCC. The CPCC will communicate with other CAF authorities to identify suitable members to be certified as VLO and added to the standing list.

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8. VLO File Management

8.1 Victim Intake

Upon appointment, the VLO should contact a victim to discuss the VLO role and the victim’s preferred means and frequency of communication as well as any other relevant matters.

8.2 Service Delivery Model

VLO communications with the victim may be held via telephone, email, videoconference, or in person, provided travel is not required.

8.3 Records Management

A VLO will follow their training with regard to record keeping including document security and confidentiality of all information requested and provided to a victim. The goal is to ensure a victim has access to all information they deem necessary and to which they are legally entitled in an easy, and convenient manner.

Selection and appointment records held by Commanding Officers should be transmitted to CPCC for file maintenance and standing list management purposes where relevant. If originals are required to be held within the Commanding Officer’s organization, copies should be shared with CPCC.

8.4 File Completion

Upon closure of a file, the VLO will follow their file closure training, including with respect to information sharing with both victims, their COs, or CPCC, as necessary.

Where notified of the closure of a file, Chief Professional Conduct and Culture may give a victim the opportunity to complete a satisfaction & exit survey.

Responsible authorities, including both COs and CPCC, must maintain and dispose of completed VLO files in accordance with relevant document retention and security policies.

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9. Person Acting on Behalf of Victim

9.1 Assistance to Person Acting on Behalf of a Victim

Upon request, a person or member of the Canadian Forces acting on behalf of a victim, as provided for in subsection 2(1.1) of the National Defence Act, may request an individual to provide them with assistance from the standing list of members certified to be VLO. CPCC can assist with selecting a suitable member and with requesting from the selected member’s CO that they be assigned to provide such assistance

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SH Policy
DMP Policies
CFPM Policies


Annex A - Principles governing the role, conduct, training and appointment of Victims Liaison Officers, the VLO Program Team.
Annex B – Considerations for Identification and Nomination of Suitable CAF Members as standing list VLOs

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