About Operation HONOUR

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As announced on March 24, 2021, Operation HONOUR has culminated and is being gradually closed out.

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Description

Operation HONOUR is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission to prevent and address sexual misconduct within its ranks.

Operation HONOUR recognizes that:

  • People are at the centre of everything we do. The way we support and treat them is directly related to our operational effectiveness.
  • Any attitudes or behaviours which undermine the camaraderie, cohesion and confidence of serving members threatens the CAF’s long-term success.

Operation HONOUR vision: A Canadian Armed Forces free of sexual misconduct where all are treated with dignity and respect. 

Operation HONOUR mission: To ensure sexual misconduct is never minimized, ignored or excused so that the CAF cultivates the inclusive and respectful work environment that embodies the ethical principles and core values of the profession of arms.

Strategy

Addressing sexual misconduct in the CAF is a complex mission that requires a significant and sustained effort over many years. To guide this effort, the CAF is implementing a culture change strategy created to prevent and address sexual misconduct in the CAF. The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy is designed to align behaviours and attitudes in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with the principles and values of the profession of arms in Canada.

The strategy has four strategic lines of effort:

  • Awareness and understanding
  • Support for persons affected by sexual misconduct
  • Improve leadership response to incidents of sexual misconduct
  • Institutional leadership 

Leadership and governance

The CAF is responsible and accountable for the implementation of Operation HONOUR. The Directorate Professional Military Conduct (DPMC) is the strategic level planning and coordination organization leading the CAF’s institutional change efforts to address sexual misconduct and promote a focus on the dignity and respect of the individual, through Operation HONOUR activities.

The CAF’s efforts are informed, guided and monitored by subject matter experts in the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, which was established under the Department of the Defence but is independent from the CAF chain of command.

To learn more, consult the Op HONOUR Governance and Monitoring webpage.

Victim support services

Enhancing victim support is the main effort of Operation HONOUR. As part of Operation HONOUR, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre provides individuals affected by sexual misconduct with specialized information and support. CAF members can get support anonymously and confidentially through the SMRC without triggering formal reporting. The Centre provides support 24/7 to members worldwide.

Progress to date

Through Operation HONOUR, we have accomplished essential work in the area of policy, procedures and, most importantly, support for those affected.

The CAF is committed to maintaining transparency in all actions taken under Operation HONOUR. As the CAF worked to establish and implement its initial action plan, it issued four progress reports documenting approaches, initiatives and outcomes of Operation HONOUR in its formative stage:

With the introduction of The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy, the CAF shifted Operation HONOUR to a long-term institutional approach. The strategy includes a performance measurement framework (PMF), which the CAF will use to monitor the effectiveness of the strategy throughout its implementation.

History and context

In 2014, several high profile national media reports put names and faces to individuals affected by sexual misconduct in the CAF. These individuals described their experiences and the impact it had on their professional and personal lives.

Within days of the 2014 coverage, then-Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, announced that an independent review would be undertaken by an External Review Authority (ERA)—former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps. The aim of the review was to analyze our workplace policies, programs and leadership engagement.

Over the spring and summer of 2015 the ERA released the report and its 10 recommendations to address sexual misconduct in the CAF. The CAF accepted all 10 recommendations and committed to their implementation, to the extent possible, through the CAF Action Plan on Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour.

The recommendations continue to guide the evolution of Operation HONOUR today. In fact, the fulfillment of the report’s 10 recommendations has been enshrined in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (Initiative #18).

In August 2015, the new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, issued the order to initiate Operation HONOUR with the mission of eliminating harmful and inappropriate sexual behavior within the CAF.

The initial focus of Operation HONOUR was on:

  • improving support for CAF members affected by sexual misconduct
  • rapidly modifying harmful behaviours, and
  • increasing understanding and vigilance at all levels of leadership

In November 2018, the Auditor General of Canada released a report on the CAF’s efforts to address sexual misconduct to identify areas for improvement and help ensure the CAF was on track for achieving its objectives. The report confirmed that, through Operation HONOUR, the CAF had made some important progress but that there remained much work to do.

Operation HONOUR remains the CAF’s highest institutional priority. The initial response has evolved into a sustained institutional approach focused on fostering a culture where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. To learn more, see The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy.

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