CDS Directive – Retention of CAF Members Affected by Harmful and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour

Distribution List

15 June 2018

Chief of the Defence Staff


A. CDS Op Order - Operation HONOUR, 14 Aug 15
B. DAOD 5017-0, Mental Health
C. DAOD 5018-0, lnjured Members and Military Casualties
D. DAOD 5019-2, Administrative Review
E. DAOD 5019-5, Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Disorders
F. CDS Designated Release Authorities - Regular Force, 1 Dec 17
G. CDS Designated Release Authorities - Reserve Force, 1 Dec 17
I. CANFORGEN 216/17, CMP 113/17 081714Z DEC 17
J. FRAG O 004 to CDS Op Order - Operation HONOUR dated 5 March 2018
K. CDS Letter - Ministerial Approval to Retain CAF Members Who No Longer Meet Universality of Service Due to Sexual Trauma dated 13 February 2018 (approved 1 March 2018)


1. General. While we continue to make steady, sustained advancements in eliminating harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour (HISB) throughout the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), there continue to be incidents that threaten the morale, operational readiness and credibility of the CAF. The result of such behaviour is a degradation in the trust of our organization by those CAF members affected by these incidents as well as by the wider Canadian population. Further erosion of confidence occurs when CAF members are medically released because they are permanently unable to meet the minimum operational standards related to Universality of Service due to their Medical Employment Limitations (MELs) attributable to HISB. This stops now as it does not meet our values-based approach for retention and conditions-based approach for medical releases. We must focus first on the well­being and support mechanisms that meet the needs of our members who are negatively impacted by these incidents and who wish for nothing more than to heal and, for many, to remain in the CAF serving their country. ln accordance with my direction at reference J and enabled by the authorities at reference K, we will "henceforth" pursue any/all avenues to retain affected personnel within the CAF until such time as all related investigative, administrative and judicial proceedings have concluded, alternate MOSID employment has been considered if member desires and is eligible to pursue, medical care has been optimized and/or the individual has given clear indication of preparedness to release in advance of these preconditions.

2. Problem Definition. Members of the CAF affected by HISB are, at times, being released prematurely. The CAF must make every effort to ensure those affected by HISB have the confidence to self-identify and seek medical care and Chain of Command (CoC) support. The CAF must integrate the extensive personnel policy changes stemming from Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) and place primacy on the dignity of the individual, in turn, taking every reasonable step to employ these individuals based on their medical assessment and ensuing limitations resulting from being affected by HISB.

3. Assumptions:

  1. With adequate support and access to resources following a HISB incident, many members affected medically will recover and be able to return to full duties within their MOSID;
  2. ln those situations where CAF members are affected by HISB but are not capable of returning to duty within their MOSID due to the severity of their MELs attributable to HISB, some will desire to remain in the CAF in whatever capacity and/or role as is permitted;
  3. Some CAF members affected by HISB will seek to depart the CAF as soon as practicable regardless of investigations, judicial proceedings or CoC support and, in some circumstances, without anybody knowing what occurred;
  4. Some CAF members who are affected by HISB have already departed the CAF and we may never know of this underlying cause for release;
  5. Former CAF members who have been medically released are not eligible for re-enrolment unless MELs permit; and
  6. A case-by-case conditions-based approach to the release of CAF members affected by HISB is required.


4. The CAF will revise all relevant policies and procedures pertaining to release of CAF members known to be affected by HISB in order to ensure that no releases are undertaken without my express knowledge and/or authorization.


5. CDS Intent:

  1. No medical release of a CAF member assigned MELs attributable to HISB will be undertaken without my approval. I will consider the following in making my decision: the member needs for prolonged treatment, institutional care or medical observation; the conclusion of judicial process, military administrative, police and CoC investigations and procedures related to HISB; if sufficient time for comprehensive medical care and support was afforded; and if the member will be able to recover and return to work in their current or another military occupation, or whether the member must be transitioned to civilian life;
  2. Concurrently, I direct a thorough review of all relevant policies and procedures in order to ensure that all CAF members, known to have MELs that are attributable to HISB, are given every opportunity to continue their service and are not disadvantaged by their illness or injury while they recover, or during their transition to another MOSID or life outside the CAF. ln cases where transition to civilian life is desired or required, CAF processes will facilitate seamless transition of the releasing member between CAF and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC); and
  3. Non-HISB related Administrative Review/Medical Employment Limitations (AR/MEL) and/or release policies and procedures are currently being reviewed under the rubric of The JOURNEY.

6. Concept of Operations. ln order to reinforce Operation HONOUR Line of Effort three (Support), any CAF member known to have MELs attributable to HISB shall be fully supported whether they choose not to remain in the CAF, choose to remain in the CAF, or are unable to continue in service.

  1. Voluntary Release. The member requests release regardless of the status of investigations, judicial proceedings, administration and/or medical support requirements. ln such circumstances I am to be advised, in writing, by the CoC, info to CMPC, that the member has been interviewed by her/his Commanding Officer and all options for continued service have been fully explored;
  2. Continued Service. Members who desire to remain in the CAF will be afforded the opportunity to continue their service in accordance with their MELs and in the best interest of their health and care. Recognizing that the healing process may require extended absences or periods of reduced availability, the member(s) will not be penalized in terms of seniority and shall, where applicable, still be afforded professional opportunities and career development in order to maintain their skill and viability for advancement. An occupational transfer may be pursued if desired and member is found suitable or if required by the member's MELs;
  3. Medical Release. When the nature of a member's MELs precludes further service in any MOSID, the affected member shall be fully supported in their transition to civilian life. These individuals shall be closely monitored to ensure a seamless transition of their support and care as they transfer from CAF to VAC. Prior to rendering my decision regarding release, I will consider the following:
    1. Whether the member has an ongoing need for prolonged treatment, institutional care or medical observation by the CAF;
    2. Whether all judicial process, military administration, police and CoC investigations and procedures related to the HISB incident(s) are concluded or deemed complete by the responsible authority;
    3. Whether medical and administrative assessments have been completed and shared with the member (who shall be given every opportunity to make representations);
    4. Whether the integrated transition plan (ITP) assessment has been completed (when indicated) and the member indicates concurrence / non­concurrence with the ITP Board recommendation. Should the member not concur, the matter will be further investigated by Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA); and
    5. Whether the CoC interviews have been completed.

7. Main Effort. Ensure that all CAF members affected by HISB are given every opportunity to continue their service and are not disadvantaged by their illness or injury while they recover or during their transition to another MOSID or life outside the CAF.

8. End State. All policies and procedures pertaining to AR/MEL and/or release of both Regular and Reserve Force personnel have been amended, as directed at Annex A to Reference J, to ensure that CAF members affected by HISB have the confidence to self-identify knowing that they will be afforded the opportunity to continue their service in uniform and/or are fully supported in their transition to civilian life.

9. Tasks:

  1. Collective tasks. All Level 1s (L1s) are directed to:
    1. Support MPC in the implementation of new procedures pertaining to individuals known to be affected by HISB;
    2. Ensure your leadership, especially Formation Commanders and Commanding Officers, understand and execute the new procedures, including any revisions to permanent medical categories (PCAT) Notification and Exit Interview strategies and questionnaires, pertaining to individuals known to be affected by HISB. For any member(s) known to have been affected by HISB who have a current open AR/MEL file, the CoC is to ensure that DMCA is made aware of this fact;
    3. Ensure all professional education and training is amended to institutionalize my intent; and
    4. In all circumstances, privacy rights of individuals, and confidentiality of medical /investigative information, shall be respected.
  2. Military Personnel Command (MPC):
    1. Prepare new PCAT Notification and Exit Interview strategies and questionnaires for Commanding Officers and release stakeholders;
    2. Promulgate revised policies and procedures pertaining to release and/or AR/MEL of both Regular and Reserve Force members affected by HISB;
    3. Update the CDS Guidance to Commanding Officers and Their Leadership Teams to reflect their duties and responsibilities in relation to their members known to be affected by HISB. Specific direction is required in this updated guide to reflect my intention to not release any CAF members (unless specifically requested by the member) until all matters surrounding their individual cases are concluded. Additionally, this new amended document shall include the new questionnaire that all COs and release stakeholders shall abide by in relation to PCAT and/or exit interviews;
    4. Ensure all AR/MEL advisory messages and disclosure packages include a clause that enables members to self-identify in their representations should they have been affected by HISB;
    5. Track all known cases and ensure the member's recovery/return to work plan is in place; 
    6. Surg Gen to review and propose best clinical practices for treating CAF members affected by HISB;
    7. Seek advice from Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) on cases and individuals of interest in order to inform relevant CAF authorities as required thus ensuring a broader understanding of whether a medical release may have a HISB connection; and
    8. Continue to assist in the development of an enhanced victim reporting protocol in coordination with CSRT-SM, JAG and CFPM.
  3. Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS):
    1. Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM). Facilitate the exchange of information between CFNIS, MPC (as the Supported Commander) and Supporting Commanders in order to ensure awareness and visibility on files that are likely to be "complex" due to underlying indicators of HISB. Be prepared to provide advice to the designated MPC OPI on cases and individuals of interest when appropriate from a police function perspective;
    2. CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct (CSRT-SM). To follow up with the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC), which is requested to ensure a broader understanding of victim support related to HISB through the provision of advice / guidance and subject matter expert (SME) support to the CoC as well as the policy update process;
  4. Judge Advocate General (JAG). Provide legal support to MPC, CSRT-SM, and CFPM in the creation of an enhanced victim reporting protocol; and
  5. Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs) (ADM(PA)). Provide support to the communication strategy for this directive consistent with the PA posture identified below.

10. Coordinating Instructions:

  1. PA Posture. PA posture for internal and external communication of this directive will be active. Media queries are to be directed to ADM(PA) Media Relations Office. Posture shall align with broader Operation HONOUR efforts.
  2. Timelines:
    1. CMPC Directive issued NLT 30 days after release of the CDS Directive; and
    2. Reporting and Tracking shall commence immediately and shall be updated on a quarterly basis.


11. Finance. Costs associated with any updating of local documentation and training materials will be absorbed at the local level and pressures will be reported through the normally quarterly reporting process.


12. MPC is the supported Commander.

13. All other L1 s are supporting Commanders.

14. Release Authority. CDS Designated Release Authorities tables IAW REF 1, CANFORGEN 216/17.

15. Points of Contact:

  1. MPC COS Ops -
    Cmdre J.A.S. Page,
  2. CSRT-SM - RAdm J. Bennett,
  3. DGMC - Cmdre C. Sutherland,
  4. Surg Gen - BGen A. Downes,
    DMCA - Col P. Fuller,
  5. DMCPG - Col P. Feuerherm,

J.H. Vance

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