Ombudsman's Advisory Committee

The Ombudsman's Advisory Committee consists of eight volunteers with specialized expertise in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence. Their input directly impacts this office with strategic advice related to the mandate, professional principles and organizational structure. 

The council also provides important input on some of the broader issues facing the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, including: operational stress injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, the treatment of military members who are injured in the course of their service, and the challenges facing military families.

Under its mandate, the Ombudsman’s Advisory Committee:

  • Advises the Ombudsman on matters relating to the well-being and fair treatment of members of the Defence community;
  • Makes observations and comments on systemic problems within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces and recommends to the Ombudsman ways to deal with these issues; and
  • Serves as a sounding board for initiatives or recommendations being considered by the Ombudsman’s office.

The Ombudsman’s Advisory Committee consists of the following individuals: 

  • Colonel (Ret’d) John Conrad is a published author, lecturer and a Reserve Brigade Commander in 3 Canadian Division in Western Canada. He has 32 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces regular and reserve components. In 2006, he served as Commanding Officer of the Canadian Logistics Battalion, the unit responsible for sustaining the Canadian Task Force in Southern Afghanistan.
  • Commander Deborah-Lynn Gates OMM, CD joined the Air Reserves in 1988 as a non-commissioned member and transferred into Regular Force in 1996. She accepted her commission in 1999 as a Naval Logistician and has served on both coasts. She is currently working with the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture and is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive and safe environment for all personnel and to leave the organization just as proudly as she did when she joined.
  • Padre Jennifer Gosse joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2007 after serving 10 years in civilian parishes. Posted originally to Halifax she served in various capacities. In 2018, promoted to the rank of Commander, she was posted back to Halifax to the position of Formation Chaplain – MARLANT/JTFA, overseeing a team of 17 military chaplains. In July 2021, she was promoted to Command Chaplain of the Royal Canadian Navy. 
  • LCdr David Arsenault enrolled in the Naval Reserve in June 1984 as a Boatswain at HMCS CATARAQUI in Kingston, ON . Following initial trades training, he spent time in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, sailing in twelve different ships during his sea-going service. In 1997 LCdr Arsenault transferred to HMCS CARLETON in Ottawa, and was subsequently appointed as Coxswain of CARLETON from 2001 until 2004. Afterwards, he served in National Defence Headquarter and with Naval Reserve Headquarters in staff and strategic leadership positions. At the completion of his term as CRES CWO in June 2020, LCdr Arsenault accepted a commission at his current rank under the Special Requirements Commissioning Program. He transferred back to the Royal Canadian Navy and is currently serving as the Project Manager for the Naval Reserve Centennial 2023 project.
    In his civilian career, he joined the Public Service as a civilian with the Department of National Defence in 2008 and works as an Information Technology Project Manager within the Information Management Group. 
  • Captain Mike Scarcella enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Weapons Technician Air in 1981, Captain Scarcella served most of his career as a non-commissioned member attaining the rank of Chief Warrant Officer in December 2006. Having served at bases both in Canada and around the world, including a posting to Baden, Germany in 1987, he has held numerous leadership team positions and appointments to include; 407 Squadron CWO, Theatre Support Element CWO at Camp Mirage, 17 Wing CWO and finally 1 Canadian Air Division/CANAR Divisional CWO. He took his commission in 2017 and now serves as the Officer Commanding the Readiness Training Flight at 12 Wing Shearwater.
  • Lieutenant-General (Ret'd) Walter Semianiw spent 32 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. As he rose through the ranks, he notably served with the Privy Council Office, as the Commandant of the Canadian Forces College, as the Canadian Contingent Commander in Afghanistan, as the Chief Military Personnel and as the Commander of Canada Command. He was also an Assistant Deputy Minister at Veterans Affairs Canada for Policy, Communications and Commemoration. His extensive knowledge of military operations as well as the management of military personnel will undoubtedly be of tremendous insight to me and Council members.
  • Lisa Vaters began her career as a Science Instructor in undergraduate studies for various universities and colleges across the country. For the past ten years, she has worked for Military Family Services and is the Family Coordinator providing support to military families. She has experience in the areas of education, employment, family separation and reunion, health care, child care, Out of Canada services, second language training, bereavement and the Veteran Family Program. Lisa has been a spouse of a veteran for six years and has been the parent of a military member for three years when her son joined the military.
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