Ombudsman Publishes Report on the Administration of Postings, Assignments and Employments of Defence Team personnel outside of Canada

Message from the Ombudsman | 15 December 2020

I am pleased to announce the publication of my report on the administration of postings outside of Canada (OUTCAN) entitled Engaged in the world: A systemic investigation into the administration of postings, assignments and employments of Defence Team personnel outside of Canada”.

The investigation looked at various areas within the administration of the OUTCAN Programme including governance and administration, selection and screening, relocation, support services, benefits and services, health and safety, children’s education, the provision of morale, welfare and family support services, and communication. Overall, we found that members of the Canadian Armed Forces, employees of the Department of National Defence and Staff of the Non-Public Funds who are posted OUTCAN, along with their families, experience unique challenges they might not otherwise face in Canada. Nevertheless, the vast majority of all personnel interviewed (over 80 percent) indicated that they would volunteer again for a subsequent OUTCAN posting or recommend it to others. The investigation identified two overarching issues common to all groups, which are a shortage of trained general support staff and overall communication challenges. Other specific areas of concern are detailed by constituency group.

In this report, we make 13 evidence-based recommendations. If accepted and implemented, these recommendations will help improve the overall experience of Defence Team personnel and their families posted OUTCAN.

The investigation team interviewed 260 constituents in 33 countries by phone, in-person, and by questionnaire. We collected the data for this investigation over the course of the 2019 Annual Posting Season. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the weaknesses of the OUTCAN Programme, but has allowed the Department to react accordingly. This has been reflected in the report.

I wish to thank everyone who contributed to our investigation by sharing their experience and responding to our inquiries.

Gregory A. Lick
Ombudsman

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