Members of the Canadian Armed Forces Team,
By now, many of you will have read or heard about articles in 'Maclean's' and 'L'actualité' regarding allegations of sexual misconduct within the CAF. I'm certain you were as disturbed as I was at the characterization of the chain of command's role in the handling of allegations laid out in these articles. With this note I wish to make several things clear.
First, there can be no ambiguity regarding the characterization of sexual assault as a crime and a breach of the Code of Service Discipline, and I fully expect the chain of command to meet their obligations, legal and ethical, in the careful management of complaints of misconduct. This includes ensuring that complainants are provided appropriate support. It must be clear to everyone within the CAF that complainants are free to report any misconduct, and that they will be supported by their chain of command without fear of reprisal.
Next, as I said in my public statement, I do not accept from any quarter that this type of behaviour is part of our military culture. As uniformed members representing Canadian society, we must maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in all areas of our conduct. The onus is on all levels within the chain of command to ensure that we protect the dignity and safety of our entire Defence Team.
Finally, we have commenced a review of our policies and procedures to better ensure that we have everything in place to foster a healthy and safe workplace for all members, to reinforce the unfettered reporting of any incidents of misconduct, including sexual misconduct.
There is no doubt where our duty lies and I trust in all of you to ensure that we nurture a safe and secure workplace now and into the future. This is a leadership issue and I expect everyone to do their part in this, from the CDS to our newest recruits.