Harassment and violence in the workplace – CAF members

CAF recourse and complaint mechanisms

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Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Department of National Defence (DND) employees have the right to be treated fairly, respectfully, and with dignity. This also means that you can expect a workplace free of harassment and violence.

This page describes what you should know if only CAF members are involved in an incident of workplace harassment or violence. If the incident involves at least one civilian employee, refer to the information for civilian employees.

  • I feel I have been subjected to workplace harassment or violence. What are my rights and responsibilities?

    You can learn about your rights and responsibilities by consulting the following on-line resources:

    You should also consult the Conflict Solutions and Services program. This service helps Defence Team members submit, track, and resolve complaints. To explore your options or submit a formal complaint, contact a Conflict and Complaint Management Services (CCMS) office.

    Be aware that you have the right to receive assistance from someone in a position of responsibility.

    Finally, be sure to document any measures you take to resolve the matter.

  • I am a complainant or respondent in a workplace harassment or violence investigation. How can I make sure I am kept informed of the investigation’s progress?

    Under the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions, which are available only on the Defence Team Intranet, the complaint resolution process should normally last no more than six months. Factors such as operational deployments or extended sick leave can affect the resolution of the complaint.

    Responsible Officers (RO) must keep complainants and respondents informed during a workplace harassment or violence complaint process. Responsible Officers (RO) must acknowledge receipt of a complaint and notify the respondent within seven calendar days.

    For information about the RO’s responsibilities and timelines, review the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions. These Instructions are available only on the Defence Team Intranet.

    If the RO is not keeping you informed about the investigation’s process, write a memorandum to your commanding officer requesting an update and submit it to your chain of command. If you receive no response within 30 days, send a follow-up memorandum with a copy of the original.

    You can also request an update through the Conflict Solutions and Services program. Contact a Conflict and Complaint Management Services (CCMS) office to confirm the status of a complaint.

  • What can I do if I am dissatisfied with the process or findings of a workplace harassment or violence investigation?

    Submit a grievance to your commanding officer. You can refer to Grievances in the Canadian Armed Forces for more information.

    You can also contact a Conflict and Complaint Management Services (CCMS) office to explore your complaint resolution options. Remember that pursuing a resolution informally does not extend the deadlines of the applicable formal process.

    Contact our office if compelling reasons prevent you from addressing your concerns through regular channels. Compelling reasons could include involvement of the chain of command, time sensitivity, health, security, or financial concerns for you or your family. Where compelling reasons exist, our office can ensure the appropriate parties are aware of your circumstances.

  • Can I file a complaint directly with the Canadian Human Rights Commission?

    Current and former CAF members and civilian DND employees who have experienced workplace sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or any other form of discrimination based on sex or gender can choose to bring their complaint directly to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Find out more at Filing a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

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