Canadian Military Colleges Review Board - Terms of Reference


    Reference: Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review 20 May 2022

  1. On 29 April 2021, the Minister of National Defence (MND) announced the launch of an Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR) of current policies, procedures, programs, practices, and culture within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND). In May 2021, DND/CAF engaged former Supreme Court Justice, The Honourable Louise Arbour, to undertake the review. The aims of this review were to: shed light on the causes for the continued presence of harassment and sexual misconduct despite efforts to eradicate it; identify barriers to reporting inappropriate behaviour; assess the adequacy of the response when reports are made; and make recommendations on preventing and eradicating harassment and sexual misconduct.
  2. The Report of the IECR (the “Report”) included the views and workplace experiences of current and former DND employees, CAF members, and defence contractors. The IECR team conducted a review of the recruitment, training, performance evaluation, posting, and promotion systems in the CAF, as well as the military justice system’s policies, procedures, and practices to respond to allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct. It also considered all relevant independent reviews concerning DND/CAF, along with their findings and recommendations.
  3. The Report was produced on 20 May 2022, and on 30 May MND welcomed the Report. In her 13 December 2022 report to Parliament, MND directed DND/CAF officials to move forward on implementing all of the 48 recommendations as described within the Report.
  4. The Report identified serious deficiencies and systemic issues with the experience of naval/officer cadetsFootnote 1 at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), in Kingston and Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean), known collectively as the Canadian Military Colleges (CMCs), and documented persistent concerns with sexual harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. The Report concluded that the CMCs “appear as institutions from a different era, with an outdated and problematic leadership model”. In particular, the Report viewed the CMC Cadet Wing structureFootnote 2; as antiquated and counter-productive and recommended that it should be eliminated. Further, the Report identified systemic deficiencies and harmful cultural issues at the colleges and concluded by questioning the purpose, outcomes, and methods for, and with which, the CMCs currently operate.
  5. These findings led to two recommendations specifically focused upon the CMCs, as follows:
    1. Recommendation 28. The Cadet Wing responsibility and authority command structure should be eliminated; and
    2. Recommendation 29. This recommendation consists of two parts, as follows:
      1. Part 1. A combination of Defence Team members and external experts, led by an external education specialist, should conduct a detailed review of the benefits, disadvantages, and costs, both for the CAF and more broadly (i.e. the nation), of continuing to educate Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP)Footnote 3; cadets at the CMCs. The review should focus on the quality of education, socialization and military training in that environment. It should also consider and assess the different models for delivering university-level and military leadership training to officer cadets, and determine whether RMC and RMC Saint-Jean should continue as undergraduate degree-granting institutions, or whether officer candidates should be required to attend civilian university undergraduate programs through the ROTP.
      2. Part 2. In the interim, the Chief of Professional Conduct and Culture (CPCC) should engage with RMC and RMC Saint-Jean authorities to address the long-standing culture concerns unique to the military college environment, including the continuing misogynistic and discriminatory environment and the ongoing incidence of sexual misconduct. Progress should be measured by metrics other than the number of hours of training given to cadets. The Exit Survey of graduating cadets should be adapted to capture cadets’ experiences with sexual misconduct or discrimination.
    3. Recommendation 28 is directly related to both parts of Recommendation 29 and, as such, has been subsumed into the work to address the latter.
  6. Mandate

  7. As per Part 1 of Recommendation 29 of the Report, the conduct of a review of the CMCs will be conducted by a blended DND/CAF and external review board as directed by MND. Part 2 is being led by the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) and supported by CPCC, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA), and the CMCs. These terms of reference apply to Part 1 of Recommendation 29 and will address Recommendation 28 as well.
  8. Convening Authority

  9. The Deputy Minister of National Defence (DM) and Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) will jointly convene the CMCs Review Board to address Recommendation 28 and Part 1 of Recommendation 29 of the IECR; they will be hereafter referred to as the "Convening Authority".
  10. Scope of the Board

  11. The Convening Authority mandates the CMCs Review Board (hereafter referred to as the “Board”):
    1. to review the costs, benefits, disadvantages, and advantages, both to the CAF and the nation, of continuing to educate ROTP naval/officer cadets at the CMCs;
    2. to assess the comparative quality of education, socialization (including inculcation of Canadian values and expectations), and military leadership training in the CMCs environments;
    3. to assess the potential of different models for delivering university-level education and military leadership training to naval/officer cadets; 
    4. to recommend whether RMC and RMC Saint-Jean should continue in their current or an altered capacity as undergraduate degree-granting institutions, or whether all ROTP naval/officer cadets should instead be required to attend civilian university for their undergraduate education;
    5. if it is recommended that the CMCs should continue as undergraduate degree-granting institutions, the Board will examine:
      1. the model of early leadership development that draws upon the current Cadet Wing structure and recommend whether it should be eliminated or modified, and
      2. any other changes required to improve the conduct of the CMCs ROTP model, such as ensuring that ethics courses are taught by independent specialists;
    6. if it is recommended that all ROTP naval/officer cadets attend civilian university undergraduate programs, the Board will assess:
      1. the feasibility of integrating: military leadership; physical fitness and sports; and bilingualism into naval/officer cadet development by means of a modified military college model;
      2. how to transition to a modified military college model, ensuring the academic completion for those cadets still in the CMCs system; and
      3. the implications for other programs at the CMCs, such as: undergraduate education to other members of the Defence Team, and the public; graduate studies (to include those offered through the Canadian Forces College), other related programsFootnote 4 ; and defence research.
  12. Responsibilities of the Board

  13. The Board will submit a final report to the Convening Authority to include specific recommendations on the following:
    1. the recommended model for university-level education and military leadership training to naval/officer cadets;
    2. whether RMC and RMC Saint-Jean should continue as undergraduate degree-granting institutions.  If it is recommended that they should continue as such, the Board will make recommendations as to:
      1. whether the Cadet Wing structure should be eliminated or modified, and
      2. any changes required to improve the conduct of ROTP at the CMCs,
      3. any additional courses and curriculum changes that are warranted; 
    3. whether ROTP naval/officer candidates should be required to attend university undergraduate programs solely through the ROTP Civilian University model. If this course of action is proposed, the Board will make recommendations on the feasibility of the CAF adopting a modified military college model; and
    4. if significant change is recommended, an outline planFootnote 5 for:
      1. the transition to a modified military college model and the completion of under-graduate education by currently enrolled cadets, and
      2. the delivery of other functions in support of the Defence Team currently provided by the CMCs.
  14. The Board will employ an evidence-based approach in executing their mandate. They will consult broadly with subject-matter experts across a range of domains, both in Canada and abroad, and with both current and former members of the Defence Team with lived experiences at the CMCs. All information received by the Board will be duly considered, and all recommendations will be based upon a documented, transparent process of analysis, derived from evidence and research. All information gathered, submitted, or considered will be appropriately catalogued and archived.
  15. Board Composition

  16. As stated in the Report, Recommendation 29 Part 1 is clear in that this review will be led by an external education specialist, and that it be composed of a combination of external and Defence Team members. An effective review will require different perspectives, competencies, and qualifications. Therefore, the CMCs Review Board will be comprised of the following:
    1. Chairperson: an independent external-to-DND education specialist.
    2. Members:
      1. Four external civilian members; and
      2. Two Defence Team members, with at least one General/Flag Officer or Captain(Navy)/Colonel, and one executive level DND public service employee.
  17. The Board will have access to specialist advice and be supported by a team for its administrative needs.
  18. Methodology and Approach

  19. The following guidance is provided to the Board:
    1. the Board’s recommendations will apply to both CMCs, noting and addressing circumstances unique to either RMC or RMC Saint-Jean;
    2. the Board will examine the conduct of naval/officer cadet education and military leadership training from a sample of allied nations for models from which best practices would be adaptable, feasible, and advisable to the Canadian context; and 
    3. the Board’s work plan will include a review of previous studies into the operation of the CMCs including, but not limited to, the following:
      1. Report of the Ministerial Committee on the Canadian Military Colleges (May 1993);
      2. Report of the RMC Board of Governor’s Study Group – Review of the Undergraduate Programme at RMC (Withers Report, 24 September 1998);
      3. Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV) – Report on the Climate, Training Environment, Culture and ROTP Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada (10 March 2017);
      4. 2017 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada, Report 6 – Royal Military College of Canada – National Defence (OAG Report 6 – RMC); 
      5. A Qualitative Study on the Career Progression of General Officer / Flag Officers in the CAF, Defence Research and Development Canada Scientific Letter (July 2018);
      6. Distribution of Scientific Brief: Highlights of Studies Comparing Officers From Various Entry Plans, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (23 November 2018); and
      7. The RMC Response to Report 6, RMC, of the 2017 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada (10 July 2019).
  20. Deliverables

  21. The Chairperson shall ensure the production of the following deliverables:
    Ser Task and/or Deliverable
    1 Written work plan and verbal briefings to Convening Authority
    2 Progress Reports to the Convening Authority
    3 Draft Report to the Convening Authority
    4 Final Report to the Convening Authority
  22. Language Requirements

  23. The Board shall conduct all meetings and interviews in English and/or French as required by the person being interviewed. When required, document translation, including of any deliverables, will be facilitated by the support organization.
  24. Support to the Review Board

  25. DND has overall responsibility for funding and support to the Board. As a minimum, the support staff will include a Director/Chief of Staff (COS), with public affairs-/communications, legal, linguistic, intersectional analyst, and administrative (clerical, travel, etc.) support).
  26. The support staff will provide a liaison function between the Board and DND/CAF organizations and external expertise. The support staff will facilitate timely access to DND/CAF documents, employees/members, and, to the degree possible, external experts, stakeholders, and foreign military organizations. The support staff will also coordinate any briefings to be provided by the Defence Team to the Board and facilitate access to other relevant source material or people.
  27. The Board will be provided with access to relevant records under the control of the DND, or the CAF, through the support staff. All access to relevant records will be provided subject to applicable exemptions, or those ordinarily applied under the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, with the support staff consulting with the Director of Access to Information and Privacy if required.
  28. Confidentiality and Disclosure

  29. The meetings of the Board, as well as information gleaned throughout the interview and report-writing process, and the contents of the Draft Review Report and Final Review Report (until published), are confidential. In addition, the Board will conduct the review with discretion and confidentiality.
  30. Conflict of Interest

  31. The actual and perceived impartiality of the Board, and the support staff, is of utmost importance in order to ensure the credibility of the report and its corresponding recommendations, and their utility for the evolution of the CMCs and, in turn, the CAF. Before empanelment, all board members will be required to disclose any real, apparent, or potential conflicts of interest. Board members will be briefed after empanelment on mitigating any apparent or potential conflicts of interest. Should an issue arise wherein a Board member has a conflict that cannot be mitigated, the Convening Authority may remove the individual from the Board.  
  32. To reduce potential undue influence, the support staff will be geographically separated from either Kingston or Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

Table of Abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning
CAF Canadian Armed Forces
CCoR Cadet Chain of Responsibility
CCPC Chief Professional Conduct and Culture
CDA Canadian Defence Academy
CMP Chief of Military Personnel
Comd Commander
COS Chief of Staff
DGMPRA Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis
DND Department of National Defence
IECR Independent External Comprehensive Review
MND Minister of National Defence
MPC Military Personnel Command
N/OCdts Naval/Officer Cadets
RMC Royal Military College of Canada
RMC Saint-Jean Royal Military College Saint-Jean (Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean)
ROTP Regular Officer Training Plan
SSAV Special Staff Assistance Visit

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