Chapter 1 - Overview


  • 1.1. Following the integration of women into combat roles in the mid to late 1980s, CAF harassment policies were promulgated, beginning with CFAO 19-39 in 1988, which first defined sexual harassment and outlined complaint and investigative procedures. A subsequent update would include the addition of harassment on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • 1.2. The Standard for Harassment and Racism Prevention (SHARP) education and awareness program was stood up in 1998 in response to a Maclean’s article. SHARP was not sustained or expanded and was gradually phased out by 2000.
  • 1.3. In 2000, DAOD 5012-0 Harassment Prevention & Resolution Policy was introduced, which placed increased emphasis on prevention and applied to both military and civilian employees. Between 2004 and 2008 the DAOD 5019 series was published, which provided updated direction to CAF members, replacing much of the CFAO 19 series.
  • 1.4. In April 2014, in response to allegations of sexual misconduct within the CAF, the CDS announced an external independent review of CAF workplace policies and procedures. In April 2015, former Supreme Court Justice and External Review Authority (ERA) Marie Deschamps published her report on sexual misconduct within the CAF. The report indicated the existence of an underlying sexualized culture in the CAF, which if not addressed, would be conducive to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The CDS accepted the report and committed to address the issue of sexual misconduct in the CAF as a top institutional priority.
  • 1.5. In August 2015, the CDS issued orders for Operation HONOUR to eliminate sexual misconduct within the CAF, with a primary focus of ensuring the health, safety, and dignity of all CAF members. The CDS’ direction also highlighted the negative effects sexual misconduct has on operational readiness.

The cornerstone of any military is the ability to be ready to respond to a wide variety of challenges at a moment’s notice. Personnel readiness is a function of many factors, the most basic of which is a high degree of physical and mental fitness. Harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour grievously erodes the confidence that members need to successfully carry out military duties. It is from this perspective that harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour involving members of the CAF is an operational readiness issue, incongruent with our ethics and values, potentially in violation of the law, and wrong. Sustained engagement on this issue is critical to our effectiveness as a military force and the continued support of the Canadian people. (CDS Op Order – Operation HONOUR, August 2015). 


  • 1.6. Operation HONOUR is the mission to eliminate sexual misconduct in the CAF. It is based on the principles that:
    1. every member who serves their country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect – anything less is simply unacceptable; and
    2. any attitudes or behaviours which undermine the camaraderie, cohesion, and confidence of serving members threatens the CAF’s long-term operational success.
  • 1.7. Operation HONOUR seeks to achieve a positive institutional culture change in the Canadian Armed Forces through four lines of effort:
    1. understanding the issue of sexual misconduct;
    2. responding more decisively to incidents;
    3. supporting affected persons more effectively; and
    4. preventing incidents from occurring.

Directorate Professional Military Conduct - Operation HONOUR

  • 1.8. The Directorate Professional Military Conduct - Operation HONOUR (DPMC-OpH) leads the CAF response to sexual misconduct at the strategic level. It focuses on:
    1. policy development;
    2. training and education;
    3. performance measurement; and
    4. advice to the chain of command.


  • 1.9. The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) is part of the Department of National Defence (DND), but is independent from the chain of command. Their mandate is to provide timely, compassionate, and comprehensive support to CAF members affected by sexual misconduct. It works in partnership with the CAF to increase understanding, improve preventative measures, and enhance response to these behaviours in the CAF.

“We are an armed forces that absolutely embraces everybody — everybody!
If you don the uniform, you deserve to feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof just like I do.”

General Vance, Chief of Defence Staff addressing his Formation Command Teams at the CDS Leadership Engagement on Operation HONOUR in November 2015.


  • 1.10. The following table describes the responsibilities of all CAF members in each of the Operation HONOUR lines of effort.


UNDERSTAND the issue of sexual misconduct

RESPOND more decisively to incidents

SUPPORT affected persons more effectively

PREVENT incidents from occurring

· Attend professional development activities, and training and education activities in support of Operation HONOUR;

· Be familiar with the Spectrum of Sexual Misconduct;

· Understand the signs and impacts of bullying, harassment, and hazing;

· Distinguish between consent and lack of consent; and

· Base professional relationships on trust and respect, aligned with CAF ethics and values.

· Respond to and report instances of sexual misconduct;

· Respond to acts of retaliation and reprisal; and

· Maintain confidentiality of information.

· Be sensitive to affected person’s needs when receiving disclosures of sexual misconduct;

· Provide continued support to affected persons; and

· Practice self-care.

· Reinforce and model Operation HONOUR-appropriate behaviours;

· Enforce standards of conduct;

· Promote a culture in which bystander intervention is widely accepted, expected, and supported; and

· Intervene in instances of sexual misconduct.



  • 1.11. The majority of personnel within the CAF do not behave inappropriately and have not committed offences. Real and lasting culture change must begin with those personnel who require influence to guide them towards the expected behaviour norm. Leadership will demonstrate integrity and moral courage to promote an environment free of sexual misconduct. High expectations will be communicated, along with clear direction and support tools to facilitate this mission. Leadership, however, is not the sole purview of institutional commanders; the influence of the non-commissioned member (NCM) core within the CAF cannot be overstated. Given that the majority of the CAF is made up of NCMs, NCMs are critical enablers in achieving meaningful and lasting culture change. Instilling large-scale culture change, as that sought with Operation HONOUR, is a long and arduous process, requiring sustained attention and investment over a period of many years.
  • 1.12. “Leaders need to drive change by providing vision and a consistent personal example that empowers and inspires subordinates to set the conditions for the elimination of sexual misconduct,” (General Vance, CDS, addressing the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence Evidence, June 2018).
  • 1.13. Sexual misconduct undermines morale, operational effectiveness, and our legitimacy as a national institution. It is a real and serious problem for the CAF which requires the direct, deliberate, and sustained engagement by the leadership of the CAF and the entire chain of command to address. Continued attention to this issue is critical to our effectiveness as a military force and the continued confidence of the Canadian people and all CAF members. Accordingly, leaders must understand and use the myriad internal and external support services available to both CAF members and the chain of command when dealing with sexual misconduct.


  • 1.14. The following table describes the additional responsibilities for members of a Leadership Team.[1]



UNDERSTAND the issue of sexual misconduct

RESPOND more decisively to incidents

SUPPORT victims more effectively

PREVENT incidents from occurring

· Ensure personnel are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the four lines of effort of Operation HONOUR;

· Establish clear expectations and boundaries; and

· Provide unit professional development activities, and training and education activities in support of Operation HONOUR.

· Take action in response to incidents and allegations of sexual misconduct;

· Investigate suspected instances of sexual misconduct;

· Apply disciplinary, administrative and/or academic measures as required;

· Address acts of reprisal;

· Provide ongoing victim support; and

· Maintain confidentiality of information.

· Create a safe environment for victims;

· Identify members who need support;

· Facilitate access to support resources provided by the CAF and the community; and

· Provide continued support to victims.

· Ensure personnel receive training on bystander intervention;

· Align and maintain command climate with CAF values;

· Reinforce Operation HONOUR-appropriate behaviours through personal example; and

· Enforce standards of conduct.


  • 1.15. Education and training are critical elements for an institution to create and sustain the highest standards of performance and conduct.


  • 1.16. The DPMC-OpH, in collaboration with various stakeholders, are developing and implementing a suite of national education and training products, all of which can be found and accessed through the Operation HONOUR website. Training and education will ensure a common understanding of the issues associated with sexual misconduct and give CAF members the tools they need to appropriately identify, respond to, and prevent sexual misconduct in the workplace.


  • 1.17. The Respect in the CAF workshop is a one-day training session delivered by Health Promotion facilitators and is designed to foster a sustained change in attitudes and behaviours focused on building a respectful climate and culture in the CAF.
  • 1.18. Contact your local Base/Wing Health Promotion Office for current offerings and schedules.


  • 1.19. CAF Bystander Intervention unit-level training helps CAF members recognize and react decisively to sexual misconduct and harassment when they see it. This program illustrates to bystanders and leaders that if they fail to act when faced with an incident of sexual misconduct, they are perpetuating the behaviour. The program also explains the power that bystanders and leaders have to take positive action to stop sexual misconduct and support CAF members. In short, it demonstrates why it is crucial for witnesses to sexual misconduct to speak out against it, rather than stay silent.
  • 1.20. Bystander training is designed to be delivered by unit leaders. The training materials, including a facilitator’s guide, can be downloaded from the Operation HONOUR website, “Training and Education.”


  • 1.21. In order to assist CAF members in addressing the very complex and sensitive issue of sexual misconduct, educational and training videos, designed and developed specifically for use by the CAF, can be downloaded from the Operation HONOUR website, under the “Training and Education” link.


  • 1.22. The following training modules complement the Operation HONOUR-specific education and training initiatives and are available to the entire Defence Team.


  • 1.23. Accessible via the Defence Learning Network, the introductory learning tool is intended for anyone who is new to the topic of diversity and employment equity. It can also be taken as a refresher for those who have previous training.


  • 1.24. The objective of a Positive Space is to foster the creation of an inclusive work environment for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Positive Spaces are volunteer and peer-based support groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) and non-LGBT community members, where they can create networks and seek information and assistance from Positive Space ambassadors. More information on the Program can be found at


  • 1.25. Accessible via the Defence Learning Network, the interactive online module covers the meaning of ethics in government and in Defence and examines what that implies for DND employees and CAF members.


  • 1.26. The objective of the Intro to GBA+ course is to help personnel define the key concepts of GBA+, recognize how various identity factors can influence the experience of federal government initiatives, identify how GBA+ can enhance the responsiveness, effectiveness and outcomes of those initiatives, and apply foundational GBA+ concepts and processes. The course can be accessed at:


  • 1.27. Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) training encompasses the entire package of resilience and mental health training that is embedded throughout a CAF member’s career, including the deployment cycle. It is designed to ensure that the most appropriate training is provided when required to ensure CAF personnel are prepared mentally for the challenges they may encounter. The overall goal of this training is to improve short term performance and long term mental health outcomes.
  • 1.28. R2MR has a solid foundation in the concept of resilience. Resilience is the capacity of a member to recover quickly, resist, and possibly even thrive, in the face of direct/indirect traumatic events and adverse situations in garrison, training, and operational environments. Recovery from the greatest physical and mental hardships of the military environment is geared in the near term to the member’s current mission, but also is required in the long term throughout one’s career.[2]
  • 1.29. More information about the R2MR training can be found at:


  • 1.30. The success of Operation HONOUR in achieving organizational change is measured using empirical, systemic research. The CAF is conducting research to:
    1. determine the scope of sexual misconduct in the CAF;
    2. identify key risks and barriers to a healthy and inclusive CAF/DND culture;
    3. identify key cultural factors and behaviours that enable positive culture change, and that proactively address inappropriate sex and gender-based behaviours in CAF/DND; and
    4. guide ongoing program and policy development.
  • 1.31. There are a number of research studies and/or surveys that are ongoing between Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA) and DPMC-OpH that examine the issue of sexual misconduct in the CAF. Further information can be found at the Operation HONOUR website.


  • 1.32. The CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct has numerous literature reviews available on request. They can be acquired by contacting the DPMC-OpH.


  • 1.33. The CAF has engaged Statistics Canada to conduct regular, voluntary surveys on Sexual Misconduct every 24-36 months. These surveys collect information on the prevalence of sexual misconduct in the CAF, reporting trends, and member awareness of policy, programs, and support mechanisms. This information is used to precisely understand and track the evolving scope and nature of sexual misconduct in the CAF – a pivotal function in implementing and sustaining organizational culture change. The initial survey was completed in 2016 and provided essential baseline data to guide our efforts to address sexual misconduct. The results from the second survey in the series were published in May 2019. Results of the Survey on Sexual Misconduct in the CAF surveys can be found on the Statistics Canada website. Please see the Operation HONOUR Research, data and analysis on sexual misconduct for more information about the survey.


  • 1.34. One goal of Operation HONOUR is to increase leadership awareness and track all reported incidents of sexual misconduct to ensure they are duly reported, investigated, and brought to a suitable conclusion, while respecting the privacy of those involved. OPHTAS is a Protected B system with limited access to select administrators and users. This application was developed to provide an automated capability that captures and maintains case information generated by reports of sexual misconduct filed within a unit. The database allows for detailed tracking of sexual misconduct incidents, from report to closure, even after changes in unit.
  • 1.35. OPHTAS is supported by training and standard operating procedures. Each of the respective Commands/L1s appoint unit administrators and unit representatives who maintain oversight of the cases within their unit. Each L1 has an oversight function within their command only, and DPMC-OpH will run periodic audits to ensure data integrity. Privacy is protected through a secure environment that prevents access to records that are not within the users’ chain-of-command. Due to safeguards within the system, no personal information that can identify an individual can be extracted or used in reports; only aggregated data is used in the generation of reports.
  • 1.36. The unit has 48 hours to input the case into OPHTAS once a complaint has been received. If a case warrants a Significant Incident Report (SIR), the SIR must be sent to all relevant stakeholders. DPMC-OpH will follow up by cross-referencing the SIR 48hrs after reception to ensure unit input into OPHTAS.


  • 1.37. Sexual misconduct is a complex and multifaceted issue that demands the active participation of every member of the CAF. DPMC-OpH has the overall lead to coordinate this effort and provide oversight of all CAF activities related to Operation HONOUR, with the SMRC operating outside the CAF to deliver victim support and subject matter expertise, but there are many other organizations that play a critical role (Figure 1) including:
    1. CDA – Canadian Defence Academy
    2. CFHS – Canadian Forces Health Services
    3. CFNIS – Canadian Forces National Investigative Services
    4. DGMPRA – Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis
    5. DHRD – Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity
    6. DMCA – Director Military Career Administration
    7. DMP – Director Military Prosecutions
    8. ICCM – Integrated Conflict and Complaint Mechanism
    9. JAG – Judge Advocate General

    Figure 1: Operation HONOUR Partners’ Perspective

    Text version

    Each of the key processes functions on the previous slide has a distinct entity(ies) within the CAF/DND that has a mandate or lead role in the management of those processes.

    • DHRD – Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity
    • DMP – Director Military Prosecutions
    • JAG – Judge Advocate General
    • CFNIS – Canadian Forces National Investigative Services
    • DGMPRA – Director General Military personnel Research and Analysis
    • DMCA – Director Military Career Administration
    • CFHS – Canadian Forces Health Services
    • SMRC – Sexual Misconduct Response centre
    • CDA – Canadian defence Academy
    • ICCM – Integrated Conflict and Complaint Mechanism
    • The CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct coordinates and oversees these Operation HONOUR related functions on behalf of the CDS.


    The CAF has set out to change more than just how individual members behave. All of the cogs are working together to change the CAF culture that let harmful sexual behaviours grow, to reinforcing a culture of Duty with HONOUR.


    • 1.38. Canada’s Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged[3], (also referred to as SSE), contains people-centred initiatives and policy direction which form the foundation for a well-supported, resilient and diverse workforce.
    • 1.39. It is the CDS’s intent to reinforce the Operation HONOUR efforts across the CAF with a long-term plan that integrates the mission with the extensive personnel policy changes from SSE, to achieve the desired institutional culture change.
    • 1.40. The SSE initiatives which are in direct or in complementary support of Operation HONOUR are listed below.


    • 1.45. SSE 19: Provide a full range of victim and survivor support services to Canadian Armed Forces members.

      In 2016-2017, the SMRC made significant progress towards meeting client needs. This included strengthening tracking and analytical capabilities through the development and implementation of a comprehensive Case Management System, and expanding the hours of operation to 24/7 to meet the needs of CAF members posted across Canada. In response to its evolving understanding of victim needs, the SMRC is investigating a number of areas to enhance victim support services and will be using data from research and validation initiatives to identify gaps and needs which may include:

      1. response and support coordination program (name TBD);
      2. expanding the options for reporting;
      3. integrated national victim support strategy and plan; and
      4. provision of legal services to affected persons.


    • 1.46 As a result of comprehensive reviews of all policies pertaining to sexual misconduct offences, the Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) directed changes to a number of DMP policies in the following areas:[4]
      1. choice of jurisdiction;
      2. keeping the victim informed;
      3. victims and the investigation of sexual misconduct offences;
      4. witness preparation; and
      5. victims’ comfort and security.

    [1] The leadership team is comprised of the CO and their key personal staff. More detail is contained in CDS GUIDANCE TO COMMANDING OFFICERS AND THEIR LEADERSHIP TEAMS 17 NOV 2017.

    [2] Definition from Canadian Army and adopted by CAF as definition for resilience.

    [3] Canada Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged:

    [4] DMP Policy Directives,

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