Investigation of diversity in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces

Ombudsman Message | 18 December 2020

In July 2019, the Minister of National Defence asked my office to consider possible actions we could take to investigate racism and racial discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Following the Minister’s request, my office conducted a preliminary review of this issue. Our work contributed to a deeper understanding of the scope of issues that would require review by the CAF and the Department of National Defence (DND). 

On December 17, the Minister announced the creation of an Advisory Panel on systemic racism, discrimination with a focus on anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, LGBTQ2+ prejudice, gender bias and white supremacy.

As a result of our review, the Minister has asked my office to orient our investigation towards diversity issues within the CAF and DND including employment equity.

My office had already planned diversity as an area for investigation and our preliminary work had begun. Once our investigation is complete, we will present our final report to the Minister for his consideration.

Ultimately, our efforts will be put towards providing decision makers with evidence-based recommendations concerning diversity issues in the DND and the CAF.

It is important to note that while a Ministerial request to undertake an investigation falls within our mandate, we conduct any investigation as an independent and impartial office.

I encourage all members of the Defence Community to consult our website regularly for updates, and to contact this office with any questions, concerns, or any other issue affecting their wellbeing. We are ready to help. 

Gregory A. Lick

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