Institutional Overview

Last spring and summer, there was internal and external skepticism directed at both the desire to solve the problem of inappropriate sexual behavior, as well the military’s capacity to do so. While some of the skepticism remains, and will until it has been unequivocally proven that the Canadian Armed Forces has implemented sustained positive change, the mood is shifting. Members, including those at junior levels, are telling us that awareness has increased appreciably. There seems to be a growing belief that this time will be different. We are also already detecting behavioral changes amongst our members, and being advised of similar observations by the chain of command. This is in stark contrast to the prevailing sentiment a year ago.

There are also early signs that leadership is increasingly vigilant on the issue and more diligent in responding decisively to occurrences of it. Individuals have been called to account and action has been taken by the chain of command that has resulted in some losing their command positions. The Canadian Armed Forces has recently put in place a stronger methodology to identify and track trends in terms of the chain of command’s response to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, and will very soon possess a more thorough depiction of results than it ever has before.

The approach to the Canadian Armed Forces response to inappropriate sexual behavior through Operation HONOUR will continue to be highly visible. This provides not only added impetus to the gravity of the situation and its potential impact on the Canadian Armed Forces continued operational excellence, but continued accountability for this organization and its members. 

The grassroots behavioural and attitudinal change that Operation HONOUR seeks to achieve cannot occur without first putting in place the fundamental conditions at the institutional level needed to support culture change. 

Much of the effort over this first year has involved laying the groundwork for change. While not highly visible, this foundational groundwork is addressing policy, process and structural requirements that will in turn prompt or facilitate much more tangible change in the second year of Operation HONOUR.

This section covers these Canadian Armed Forces-wide initiatives.  

Enhanced Victim Support

One of Operation HONOUR’s defining features is its focus on victims – the start point for the Canadian Armed Forces response to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

This report details many of the ways the Canadian Armed Forces are expanding and enhancing victim support as well as areas that require improvement. These include peer support, advocacy, facilitating reporting through alternate means, improving victim care and providing more tools to members of the Canadian Armed Forces to understand the important roles they can play in supporting and assisting victims.

There is clearly more work to do, but victims of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and sexual offences have more – and different – options for care and support than they did a year ago, and that is significant. 

Victim support in the Canadian Armed Forces is delivered through the concrete care and support options available to those who are adversely affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. This support is reinforced by ensuring that all members are actively engaged in preventing, and responding to the problem. It is also heavily dependent upon a Canadian Armed Forces community that is clearly aware of organisational expectations of behaviour and attitude. 

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre was quickly established to coordinate and enhance victim support for Canadian Armed Forces members, and is a pivotal component in providing such support.  However, supporting victims is a much larger responsibility shared by many elements of the organisation, including the chain of command, the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, the Judge Advocate General, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Director of Military Prosecutions, the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, and the Chaplain General. Each of these organisations is enhancing their support to victims through Operation HONOUR and other initiatives.

In addition to existing options, a peer support network is being developed in coordination with the well-established Operational Stress Injury Social Support group. Conceptually, this network will be separate from, but closely aligned with, the existing peer support structure. It will be based largely on volunteer peer support coordinators under the supervision of Morale and Welfare Services. This initiative will be fully developed over the next six months. 

Another initiative that is in the early planning stages will see a stronger engagement with sexual assault support entities located close to Canadian Armed Forces bases and wings where military victims currently seek support. This initiative will evolve over the next six months.

Sexual Misconduct Response Centre

The Sexual Misconduct Support Centre was established within weeks of the launch of Operation HONOUR, and is a vital part of Canadian Armed Forces support for victims of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. The Centre continues to evolve, evaluating additional services to augment its initial operating capability to better meet the requirements of military members.   

A unique aspect of the Centre is that it offers victims a venue to receive information and support before choosing whether to file a formal complaint or not. The Centre has formalized supportive counselling to enhance its ability to connect with those who reach out for support, working with internal partners to address barriers to seeking support and reporting. This approach includes facilitating direct access to the military police liaison officer and the chaplain working with the Centre, providing a consistent point of contact thus reducing the number of times they have to repeat their story through the initial process of seeking assistance and care, which is tremendously important for victims and those calling on their behalf.

The Centre expanded its operating hours to enhance accessibility to its services across Canada.  Counsellors are now available by telephone and email from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. An assessment is being conducted to fully understand client needs and consider service delivery options as the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre moves to its final configuration in the summer of 2017. This consultation involves both internal and external stakeholders.

Interest in the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre is not limited to victims. A significant number of requests to the Centre are from the chain of command, seeking more information on how to address harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. This reflects the considerable interest by leaders at all levels to improve their ability to deal with such cases – an encouraging development.

At the same time, the perceived barriers inhibiting military members from seeking support continue to exist. This underscores the delicate balance in maintaining the Centre’s independence from the military chain of command while still fully understanding and influencing this constituency. Information shared by those calling the Centre has also highlighted areas of concern to be addressed by the Canadian Armed Forces in its awareness and understanding campaign, as well as ongoing work on training and education, policies and programs. 

Aligned with the External Review Authority comments on and recommendations regarding sexual harassment, the Chief of the Defence Staff requested the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre to review and recommend ways to provide the expertise and advice necessary to enhance not only the investigations but the management of files and complaints regarding sexual harassment. This work has been initiated and will be completed in the next reporting period. 

Canadian Forces Health Services

Improved training and education for military health care professionals, combined with enhanced outreach engagements with local sexual assault centres and other community practitioners, has raised awareness levels for clinicians interacting with patients affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. So, while the way in which clinicians provide medical services to patients has not changed, access to and facilitation of referrals for patients beyond Canadian Armed Forces resources has improved as a result of the increase in training.

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services

Support for members affected by sexual misconduct has been an ongoing concern of Military Family Resource Centres. Their Boards of Directors and Executive Directors have been sensitized to: Operation HONOUR and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre; advised where relevant issues should be directed; and requested to remain responsive to local initiatives. While this has enhanced the awareness and confidence of Family Resource Centres to encourage their constituents to come forward and report incidents, at this time no appreciable increase in the number of engagements related to Operation HONOUR has been registered.

The Family Information Line team has been made fully aware of Operation HONOUR and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, and the potential for increased call intake. They will refer callers to the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre or other support options as appropriate. At this point, no discernible increase in call levels or content has been reported.

Chaplain General

Formal and informal interactions between Canadian Armed Forces chaplains and military members are ongoing, and chaplains continue to provide support, advice and care across the institution. In support of Operation HONOUR, a Chaplain Advisor was appointed to the Strategic Response Team and the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre and provides a valuable liaison to the Chaplain Branch. Operation HONOUR related content has been added to Chaplain professional development and education to enhance the understanding of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, impact on victims, culture change and delivery of support services to the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Canadian Forces Provost Marshal  

As illustrated later in this report, a number of significant actions have been taken by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal to enhance victim support services through increased expertise of Military Police; improved victim interviewing techniques; enhanced control and restrictions over the release, distribution and handling of information related to incidents of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour to ensure greater confidentiality; changes to the trade and rank structure of the Branch; and the creation of dedicated teams of investigators within each regional office to investigate complaints of offences of a sexual nature. Eighteen new positions were added to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service to create Sexual Offence Response Teams with three personnel per regional office. The Provost Marshal has directed that all sexual assaults reported to the Military Police be investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service via these new response teams. Policy changes are also underway to stress the importance of frontline Military Police providing immediate support to victims. The Provost Marshal will continue to build and enable more effective victim support mechanisms recognizing that existing support services are only reaching victims who have made formal complaints and are engaged in investigations. 

Table 1. Victim Support Summary
Enhanced Victim SupportImpact
Supportive counselling introduced by SMRC Better interaction with victim
SMRC operating hours expanded Increased access for victims
Increased training, education and outreach for military health care professionals Improved care and facilitation of referrals beyond Canadian Armed Forces resources
Heightened MFRC awareness of Operation HONOUR
  • Expanded network to facilitate access
  • More responsive to victims
Heightened Chaplain awareness of Operation HONOUR More supportive of victims
Review and recommend ways to centralize expertise and advice to enhance sexual harassment investigations and the management of files and complaints Streamlined processes, centralized expertise and enhanced support for victims and the chain of command
New initiatives for peer support with internal and external partners Expanded network of valuable resources, experience and expertise as well as increased support for victims
Improved victim support services by the Military Police and Canadian Forces National Investigation Service
  • Greater focus on the needs of the victim and ensuring first responders focus on the needs of the victim
  • Improving trust and confidence for victims
Enhanced control and restrictions over the release, distribution and handling of information related to incidents of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour to ensure greater confidentiality
  • Restricting the distribution of Significant Incident Reports related to incidents of harmful and inappropriate behaviour
  • Reducing the  potential for re-victimization through the inappropriate disclosure of information
  • Protecting evidence for trials
Enhanced investigative response
  • Dedicated teams of investigators within each regional office to investigate complaints of offences of a sexual nature
  • Greater expertise and effectiveness
  • Improving immediate support to victims
Improved victim interviewing
  • Canadian Forces National Investigation Service working with United States Army Military Police to increase access to the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview Course

Policy

The harmonization of policy, an activity strongly recommended by the External Review Authority, is a fundamental precursor to initiating and sustaining effective culture change. Policy development is an inherently complex process as it forms the expectations governing the actions of individuals in executing their duties and responsibilities as members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

During this reporting period, the Canadian Armed Forces completed a policy analysis to determine which of the existing policies were related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviours and where there were overlaps or divergence in direction, terminology, definitions, etc. This analysis now forms the basis for the unified policy approach to address harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and conduct in the workplace that will align with Government of Canada initiatives and policy reviews regarding workplace violence and harassment.  

This unified policy approach was developed and approved in April 2016. It addresses not only harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour (as recommended by the External Review Authority), but also the full spectrum of personal conduct within the Canadian Armed Forces. It provides an overarching single policy on personal conduct with subordinate policies or instructions for both military and civilian personnel in contrast to the scattered directives and policies that currently exist.      

A policy development Tiger Team, composed of social policy analysts, will continue to translate the unified policy approach into detailed specific policies, covering reporting, resolution, training and support over the next reporting period. This will finalize the policy modernization. 

The Canadian Armed Forces has developed a CDS Directive with common terminology, definitions and lexicon related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, which is being used in educational content as well as new monthly reporting guidelines. This Directive will be disseminated to all members in the coming weeks. It uses simple, accessible language and straightforward explanations, enabling a better understanding of the problem as well as consistency of terminology. 

In addition, the first of the new Defence Administrative Orders and Directives on Harassment Prevention and Resolution (DAOD 5012) for military and civilian personnel within the Department of National Defence was recently developed and submitted for approval. This directive modernizes harassment prevention and resolution by increasing awareness, encouraging early resolution and recording measurable results. This is contributing to a workplace free from harassment and discrimination for both civilian employees and military members.

The next step in the progression from concept to policy to strategy to plans is the development of a Departmental/Canadian Armed Forces Harassment Prevention Strategy. In turn, the development of annual harassment prevention plans and improvements to harassment investigations, tracking, and resolution and related programs, will follow.

In conjunction with the Harassment Policy, Harassment Investigator and Harassment Advisor courses are being updated and a new Harassment Advisor Train-The-Trainer session will soon be rolled-out in the fall of 2016 to ensure consistency in the delivery of courses and enhance the capacity for harassment advice, investigation and resolution.

Recognising that the Canadian Armed Forces possesses a unique working environment as emphasized by the External Review Authority, the institution will continue to participate in the larger Government of Canada review of policy and program updates in the areas of Diversity, Harassment, Workplace Violence, Health and Wellness and Gender Based Analysis Plus. The organisation has also committed to work with the Canadian Human Rights Commission on matters of policy development and training.

Although the policy foundation is now in place, there is still substantial work remaining before this major undertaking will be complete. 

Table 2.  Policy Summary
PolicyImpact
Conducted policy analysis Basis for institutional policy reform plus integration with stakeholders
Unified policy approach developed Long-term clarity and coherence in policy formulation, consistent with External Review Authority’s recommendation
Policy Tiger Team stood up and tasked to deliver specific policies Increased capacity and subject matter expertise to develop policy 
Common terminology, definitions and lexicon developed and in use in training material and reporting. CDS Directive to be promulgated in September.
  • Improved understanding of policies and directives
  • Common language, definitions and terminology
The Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution for DND/ Canadian Armed Forces completed -approval and implementation expected Fall 2016 Modernized harassment prevention and resolution leading to a harassment and discrimination-free workplace for civilian employees and military members.
Harassment Prevention Strategy under development Enhances understanding, awareness and prevention  
Harassment Investigator and Harassment Advisor courses are being updated and a new Harassment Advisor Train-The-Trainer session will be rolled-out in the Fall of 2016
  • Ensure consistency in the delivery of courses
  • Enhance the capacity for harassment advice, investigation and resolution.

Training and Education

At the heart of a Canadian Armed Forces free of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour is a culture imbued with the values of dignity and respect. Education and training are critical levers for an institution to create and sustain the highest standards of conduct.

Between October 2015 and January 2016, the Canadian Armed Forces completed a system-wide Training Needs Analysis of all training and education programs related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. It identified gaps and deficiencies, and recommended a range of solutions. A review team composed of training experts visited 26 military training establishments across the country. At each location the team qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated leadership, environmental and occupational qualification standards and training plans, identifying gaps and needs. Similarly, courseware, course curricula and all lesson plans were assessed for Operation HONOUR content. This review included small group discussions and working groups, contributing to new instructional strategies for attitudinal and behavioural change. It also led to an inventory of instructional best practices and lessons learned. 

Further to this, an entire end-to-end review of professional development across the Canadian Armed Forces career spectrum will be undertaken in September 2016, and will integrate best practices and lessons learned from the Training Needs Analysis.

Successfully inculcating organisational change requires a mix of initiatives that generate immediate behavioural effects combined with long-term activities that deliver sustained cultural impacts. It was therefore recognized that rapidly-developed interim training and education products would be necessary for the chain of command at all levels to swiftly improve existing training as more deliberate curriculum and tools were being developed. The Operation HONOUR Leadership Toolbox of references, templates and key documents was initially developed to raise awareness of behavioural expectations across the organisation. It is updated regularly and now includes two new online training packages – one for sexual misconduct prevention training and the other for bystander intervention training. And as later outlined in the report, the Service Chiefs and Operational Commanders are further developing this tool set to complement their training objectives.

Bystander intervention training in the form of small group scenario-based discussions at the unit and sub-unit level, was developed and implemented to assist members in increasing the awareness, skills, and confidence needed to recognise and successfully intervene in situations of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. This initial training will form part of a larger, more comprehensive set of resources to be developed. As with some of the other key terminology employed within the practitioner community, the term “bystander” is considered by some to assume a stance of inactivity and there is a shift in some sectors to use more proactive terminology to encourage action and reaction. This may result in a potential future change in terminology for our training products regarding the role of those who witness harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. 

Over the next reporting period the Leadership Toolbox will be bolstered with the addition of new resources and more advanced tools, including additional downloadable training scenarios, videos, and immersive training programs.

At the institutional level, training and educational activities covering the spectrum of social and cultural programs have been enhanced, and are being delivered to all recruits. This provides a stronger message and clear direction on acceptable behaviours from the outset of a military career

This training and education is also being embedded into all leadership courses to ensure that it is nurtured throughout a member’s career. To support this, an innovative set of instructional tools and resources is in development, and will be implemented over the next six months by the Canadian Defence Academy, the institutional lead for training and professional development.

While the curricula for the Basic Training and Basic Officer Training courses were previously modified to address the subject of Operation HONOUR, they will be further updated this September to add greater emphasis on and understanding of Canadian Armed Forces ethos, values and expected behaviours at this foundational training level.    

September will also see the review of instructor awareness at Canadian Military Colleges, Canadian Forces College and the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. This will better equip instructors to identify bullying, harassment, and other inappropriate behaviours and respond decisively to incidents occurring within training environments. 

In addition to the institutional training initiatives discussed above, other professionals such as Health Care practitioners, Chaplains, Military Police and Legal Officers are receiving additional training and professional development opportunities. 

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Director of Military Prosecutions have undertaken specific training initiatives in relation to the investigation and prosecution of offences of a sexual nature to provide investigators and prosecutors with the necessary skills, enhancing their overall interaction with complainants of an offence of a sexual nature.

During the past fiscal year (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016), the Director of Military Prosecutions sent six prosecutors to three training events dedicated to offences of a sexual nature.

Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigators normally receive their Sexual Assault Investigator qualification at civilian police academies across Canada. Currently, 63% of investigators hold this qualification. The Provost Marshal is also working to secure training for National Investigation Service investigators on the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview Course at the United States Army Military Police School. This training was developed and refined with experts specialising in the neurobiology of trauma and memory and enables investigators to more fully understand victim behaviours and memories that would otherwise be confusing or may even have been viewed as evidence of a false accusation. The training is designed to teach investigators how to ensure that victims feel safe and understood, maximize recall, and enhance the overall investigative process by encouraging complainant cooperation and participation while reducing the possibility for false information and recantation.

To build upon our understanding and expertise, the Canadian Armed Forces continues to pursue opportunities for professional development through conferences, symposia, engagement with other institutions and our Allies. There has been considerable interest in the Canadian Armed Forces’ response, strengthening relationships with subject matter experts and others involved in similar endeavours. 

Table 3. Training and Education Summary
Training and EducationImpact
Training needs analysis completed, gaps identified and solutions recommended Permitted improvement in the delivery of training across the Canadian Armed Forces
Operation HONOUR Leadership toolbox developed and deployed Improved capability to handle harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour at the unit level
Bystander Training Package on line and in use Increased ability for bystanders to deal with harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour when and where it occurs
Social and cultural programs reinforced and embedded in all leadership courses Effective teams working in a professional environment maintained throughout a member’s career
Training and education activities covering the spectrum of social and cultural programs will now be conducted starting at basic training for all recruits   Common understanding and foundation of a Canadian Armed Forces culture of dignity and respect
Six military prosecutors attended three legal training events dedicated to offences of a sexual nature Improved subject matter expertise within the Director of Military Prosecutions
Significant increase in the number of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service investigators trained on the Sexual Assault Investigator Course (63%) Increased number of investigators better trained to investigate offences of a sexual nature

Governance

The Chief of the Defence Staff remains responsible for the overall execution of Operation HONOUR and is accountable for its success. The Chief of Military Personnel is charged with overseeing the coordination of Operation HONOUR implementation. She is supported by the Director General Strategic Response Team – Sexual Misconduct, who leads the day-to-day activities.

The Deputy Minister of the Department of National Defence is responsible for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, which is independent of the military chain of command. The Executive Director of the Centre directs the operations of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.

In analysing the governance construct for Operation HONOUR, and consistent with the External Review Authority’s recommendations, the Canadian Armed Forces determined that two entities, one internal and one external, were necessary to achieve institutional culture change. The first body is a strategic level Steering Committee[1] mandated to provide direction and harmonize the overall response to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Canadian Forces Personnel Management Committee is providing that function. The second entity is an Advisory Council that will offer external subject matter expertise from a wide variety of fields related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour victim support, prevention, training, education and policy. The Advisory Council is in development and will be implemented in the next reporting period.[2] Both entities will provide senior leadership with advice and guidance.

Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement is the key to evaluating the degree of organisational culture change that Operation HONOUR is producing. Without the regular and structured measurement of outcomes, senior leadership cannot know if Operation HONOUR has in fact changed behaviours and attitudes throughout the Canadian Armed Forces.

Accordingly, several initiatives have been launched to provide this knowledge, starting with acquiring an institution-wide baseline understanding of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. The Canadian Armed Forces contracted Statistics Canada to conduct a survey between April and June 2016 to determine the nature and scope of the problem. The survey was designed to collect information regarding: the prevalence of sexual misconduct within the military; the reporting of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour; as well as awareness of both Operation HONOUR and associated support mechanisms. This is the first time the Canadian Armed Forces has conducted a pan-organisational survey specifically on this subject. 

More than 40,000 Regular Force and Primary Reserve Canadian Armed Forces members participated in the Statistics Canada survey, sharing their experiences and perspectives. The survey results, which will be published late this year, will provide the institution with a comprehensive baseline that will shape ongoing and future action, including policy development, program review and training modernization. 

Following this initial effort, the Statistics Canada survey will be repeated on a regular basis. The next one will be conducted in 2018 and will be repeated on a cycle of 24 – 36 months thereafter. Planning is underway to conduct institutional level focus group research in the intervening years.  

The institutional organisation responsible for personnel research, Military Personnel Research and Analysis, is currently working with the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre and the Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct to develop performance measurement indicators. To further enhance understanding, new survey questions regarding harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour will be implemented in the fall 2016 Your Say Survey.[3]  Additionally, the personnel research organisation is currently conducting research to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces understands the underlying social and cultural issues both causing, and being caused or exacerbated by, harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.  This research will cover ten diverse subject areas related to critical aspects of Operation HONOUR:

  • Measurement and policy, including survey measurement and best practices associated with victim support;
  • Culture and socialization, including risk factors, Gender-Based Analysis Plus and the concepts of professionalism, and the study of socialization;
  • Culture and language, including the impact of language on culture and the impact of dehumanization;
  • Culture and social media, including the role of social media in sexual misconduct;
  • Culture and change, including strategies related to social change;
  • Leadership, including leadership challenges;
  • Third party reporting/bystander intervention, including the impact of messaging on bystander intervention and review and analysis of peer/team support strategy and impacts;
  • Response to perpetrators, including a review of justice models and the impact on organisations;
  • Career analysis, including internal mobility and flow analysis; and
  • Other projects related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, such as NATO Human Factors and Medicine Research Activities.

In the longer term, credible research in the area of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour from both internal sources and other subject matter experts and organisations will bolster the level of understanding within the Canadian Armed Forces. To this end, the organisation has established a relationship with a number of highly regarded external organisations such as the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research[4] and International Society for Military Ethics.[5] This relationship will provide more comprehensive data, validation and performance measurement in the next year, as well as opportunities for conferences and symposia.

Overall, initial feedback on Operation HONOUR’s progress is encouraging, though it is primarily anecdotal at this early stage of the effort. However, more definitive internal research combined with the Statistics Canada survey will provide a comprehensive baseline of the problem and the progress being achieved.

Table 4. Performance Measurement Summary
Performance MeasurementImpact
Statistics Canada Survey conducted, release of data for fall 2016. Tool designed for other organisations not originally included to follow in near future Significant increase in understanding the issue of inappropriate behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces and a reliable benchmark for future surveys
Future Statistics Canada surveys to be conducted at a regular interval The ability to measure Operation HONOUR progress over time
Changes to Unit Climate Surveys and associated communications of what is changing, when, how can units use them to see cultural change Increased understanding of issue and impact of specific measures
Military Personnel Research and Analysis undertaking research in ten specific areas Increased understanding of the issue on a long-term basis
Established a relationship with a number of highly regarded external national and international organisations including Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research and International Society for Military Ethics. Expanded opportunities for research, professional development and external advice and evaluation.

Data Collection and Reporting

The collection and reporting of data related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour is important to the military for a number of reasons. First, credible information enhances institutional understanding of all the issues and trends associated with such behaviour. Secondly, it reinforces the importance for effective support for victims and the development of preventative programs. Lastly, and as importantly, reliable, verifiable and visible information increases the confidence that Canadian Armed Forces members have in the military’s ability to properly deal with such behaviour. 

Within the Canadian Armed Forces, we have developed and implemented a more central reporting and tracking system to assist us in gathering information across the institution to better understand and track the scope of the problem. The culture change that Operation HONOUR seeks to achieve must be assessed in part by the variation in the number of incidents that are reported over time. This is why one of the priorities identified in the initial progress report was more comprehensive reporting of information related to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, which initiated that in this reporting period.  It is important to note however, that cases of alleged harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour may be reported through a number of means including agencies and authorities outside of the Canadian Armed Forces through civilian police, community services, rape crisis centres, Ombudsman, etc. The Canadian Armed Forces necessarily has little or no visibility for cases reported to these organizations.

Comprehensive data collection and reporting, when supported by relevant metrics, provide the institution with an immediate representation of the problem. This is also an essential contribution to effective performance measurement. The Canadian Armed Forces is implementing an incident tracking system to meet these specific organisational needs.[6] The Chief of the Defence Staff receives immediate notification of incidents of a significant nature related to Operation HONOUR within the Commanders Critical Information Requirements and Significant Incident Reports.  In addition to these reports, information on harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour related incidents[7] is now being captured and reported monthly by all Canadian Armed Forces units as of April 2016. This information is being collected centrally by the Strategic Response Team and reported to the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Every Canadian Armed Forces member is responsible for meeting standards of conduct and performance. If a member has demonstrated a conduct or performance deficiency, a remedial measure[8] may be initiated, if appropriate.

The Canadian Armed Forces chain of command has a range of administrative and disciplinary actions that can be taken to address incidents of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and criminal offences of a sexual nature. Administrative and disciplinary actions serve different purposes. Administrative action may be appropriate when an incident, a special circumstance, or a professional deficiency occurs that calls into question the viability of a Canadian Armed Forces member’s continued service. Disciplinary action, on the other hand, is appropriate when there are reasons to believe that a person subject to the Code of Service Discipline has committed a service offence.

The policing/judicial process is open and transparent; both the Provost Marshal and the Judge Advocate General annually deliver publicly available reports and alleged offenders have professional defenders to ensure their rights are observed.

By contrast, the administrative system, while less formal, makes a wider range of measures available to the chain of command to deal with minor to major misconduct that falls below the threshold for disciplinary or criminal action. For example, an alleged offender can have a formal warning recorded on his or her personnel file to ensure that a second occurrence of inappropriate behaviour is dealt with more severely even if it occurs under the supervision of a different chain of command. More serious conduct issues can result in much more serious consequences – up to and including a release from the military.

Measures that are taken under administrative procedures may not be readily apparent or transparent because no information is released due to concerns about breaching the privacy of the individual, even to inform a victim who may have brought the offence to the attention of the chain of command. As a result, it may appear to internal and external observers, including the victim, that nothing has happened to the perpetrator. Administrative measures may be applied even in circumstances where the policing/judicial system has determined that there is insufficient evidence to lay charges or sustain charges once laid. 

In summary, both systems have measures to protect the rights of the alleged perpetrator; however, the policing/judicial system is open and transparent but is constrained by the high level of evidentiary proof required to find an individual guilty. The administrative measures approach is closed to third party view, but not constrained by the same high level of beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus is a much more agile tool/vehicle.

The chart that follows illustrates chain of command reports on incidents related to Operation HONOUR since 1 April, when the data began to be collected, to the end of July as well as the action taken. Of the 51 completed cases in the chain of command reports:

  • Administrative and/or disciplinary action, collectively referred to here as remedial measures, was taken in 30 of the cases, including seven charges where the respondent was found guilty. The actions taken included release from the Canadian Armed Forces.[9
  • In three reported cases no administrative or disciplinary action was taken.  In four incidents, the offender was not identified and no further action was possible.
  • In one case, the members involved successfully participated in alternate dispute resolution.

Reports of Incidents of Harmful and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviours

Table 5.  Chain of Command Reports of Incidents of Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors: 1 April – 30 July 2016
Status of InvestigationInvestigation FindingAction
Ongoing 97   Remedial Measures* 27
Completed 51 Unfounded 10  
Other Type of Misconduct ** 3
Referred to Civilian Authority 3
Not Pursued by Victim 1
Founded 34 None*** 5
Civilian Offender 3
Remedial Measures 19
Charges 7
Total 148   51   34

 * Chain of Command-initiated remedial measures prior to investigative findings

** Three incidents involved misconduct regarding consensual sexual activity taking place in areas out of bounds

*** Four incidents where the assailant was not able to be identified; and One incident was resolved through dispute resolution

Improved institutional level tracking of complaints and investigations has been put in place by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre and the chain of command. Reports have shown an increase in the number of military police investigations for complaints of offences of a sexual nature over the last six months.

In particular, the total number of founded complaints being investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service for sexual offences in 2015 was 174. The actual number of founded complaints for sexual offences for the first six months of 2016 is 106 representing an approximate 22% increase in founded complaints. This does not come as a surprise, based on both the experience of other institutions and academic research. As the Chief of the Defence Staff said in response to media queries on an increase in the number of incidents being reported, “I’m not happy that it happens at all, but I am absolutely certain that the increase in reporting is as a result of what Operation Honour was entirely designed to do.” This increase appears to be a positive indicator that military members are more aware of the problem and more confident in stepping forward and reporting incidents.

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre provides confidential support without requiring a formal complaint, generally considered an impediment to having victims come forward. For the first full six month period of operations, from January 1st to June 30th of this year, there were 306 telephone or email contacts with the Centre from a total of 204 military members.[10] For subsequent progress reports, the statistics for successive six month periods will be compared to determine trends and developments.

Although sufficient data have not yet been collected to verify the increase in reporting or the cause, it is highly likely the current rise in reporting could be associated with several positive indicators including member awareness of the institution’s willingness to engage on the problem, increased confidence in the chain of command and/or the military justice system, as well as awareness of the range of support options now available to complainants.

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Director of Military Prosecutions are the two organisations central to investigating and prosecuting incidents of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. With its focus on supporting victims, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre is a third organisation providing victim-centred data.  It must be noted that data provided by the Centre relates only to statistics, issues and trends and does not include any confidential information. All three are key contributors of tracking various aspects harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

As the superintendent of the administration of military justice, the Judge Advocate General collects a variety of data on the functioning of the military justice system, including information on the number and types of offences of a sexual nature tried by summary trial or by court martial. In his most recent annual report tabled in Parliament on 20 July 2016, the Judge Advocate General provided a detailed breakdown on the number of charges for offences of a sexual nature that were tried at summary trial and court martial. In previous annual reports these types of offences were not reported individually but were included in the reporting of other offences charged pursuant to section 129 of the National Defence Act. Recently, improvements to the summary trial database now allow better tracking and reporting of such offences.

The Director of Military Prosecutions[11] collects data with respect to the number and types of offences tried by court martial, including all offences of a sexual nature. In his most recent annual report to the Judge Advocate General, the Director of Military Prosecutions provided a detailed breakdown on the number and types of offences of a sexual nature that were prosecuted at courts martial.

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal reviewed military police data collection practices as identified in the last progress report, and continues to implement procedural and technological improvements to improve understanding of the breadth and scope of complaints of a sexual nature reported to the Military Police. The Provost Marshal has also initiated training aimed at improving data collection within the Security and Military Police Information System. Shared Services Canada and the Canadian Forces Shared Services Group are accelerating the implementation of critical updates to the Military Police Information System that will include better analysis tools.

In his most recent annual report, the Provost Marshal provides a detailed account of the number of investigations undertaken by the military police including those for offences of a sexual nature, thus increasing transparency and senior leadership awareness of the nature of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Over the past year, there has been an increase in reporting of incidents to military police authorities, facilitated either by the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre or another victim support option. Many of these are old cases pre-dating Operation HONOUR but are no less important. This increase in reporting was anticipated, and shows that military members are likely more aware of the support options at their disposal and more confident in reaching out for help. As always, members are able to access civilian health, police or other support organisations rather than military ones, if they prefer.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service statistics indicate that 115 offences of a sexual nature were reported to the Military Police between January and June 2016. Of that total, 106 were deemed founded. Although the offence may have occurred outside of this timeframe, it was reported in the timeframe indicated. A number of offences of a sexual nature were reported as a result of calls initially made to the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre and referred to the Military Police Liaison Officer assigned to the Canadian Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct or directly to the Military Police Liaison Officer.

Military Police – Offences of a Sexual Nature Reported, 1 January to 30 June 2016

Table 6. Offences of a Sexual Nature Reported[12]
Time FrameTotal ReportedFoundedOccurred within Quarter*
First Quarter 59 52 23
Second Quarter 56 54 33
Total11510656

* 50 of the 106 founded complaints occurred prior to the start of the quarter but were first reported in that quarter

Sexual Misconduct Response Centre

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre is extracting valuable information from the type of calls and questions it is receiving. This is contributing to the institution’s knowledge about harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Working with the Assistant Deputy Minister Information Management, the Centre has recently acquired a Case Management software system that is enabling them to more readily track and report on the many statistics available based on the nature of the calls they receive and the support they provided.

While the Canadian Armed Forces receives regular reports from the Centre on the number and nature of calls, the organisation does not have access to the confidential information in the database. The case management system maintains caller confidentially in accordance with the Privacy Act

Table 7.  Data Collection and Reporting Summary
Data Collection and ReportingImpact
Developed and implementing an incident tracking system Improved awareness and performance measurement
Improved summary trial data base Better tracking and reporting of offences of a sexual nature
Training for military police designed to improve data collection Increased level of awareness of number of offences of a sexual nature
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre acquisition of case management system Improved ability to extract relevant information and trends

Leadership Vigilance

The Chief of the Defence Staff provided unequivocally clear and highly visible direction to leadership at all levels as well as all members of the Canadian Armed Forces as to the importance of eliminating harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour from the military. He communicated this mission directly to his senior commanders in a face-to-face session on August 20th 2015, highlighting the need for increased vigilance and more decisive response to the problem. This unprecedented approach was subsequently reinforced throughout the chain of command, down to the most junior leaders. The Chief of the Defence Staff Guidance to Commanding Officers has been updated to include more specific direction with respect to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and the responsibilities of commanders. This has also been further reinforced to all members of the command team through presentations, engagement, directives and orders.

The Canadian Armed Forces have recently put in place stronger methodology to identify and track incidents and identify trends. This will provide senior leadership an unprecedented level of awareness and understanding of the problem of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, allowing much more timely and appropriate responses to such situations as they occur. 

One of the noted challenges in achieving this (and in the process reaffirming expectations of members and developing their trust) is the fact that administrative measures imposed by the chain of command are handled strictly between the institution and the member. As a result, corrective actions ordered by commanders are often not at all visible because they are protected by privacy constraints in accordance with the Privacy Act. By contrast, proceedings in the military justice system are open to the public.

Military Justice and Military Policing

The Judge Advocate General, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Director of Military Prosecutions all perform their respective tasks independent of the military chain of command. Such independence is necessary to ensure the military justice system functions effectively, ensuring that members who are alleged to have committed a service offence are dealt with according to the rule of law.

As the Judge Advocate General, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, and the Director of Military Prosecutions are independent actors within the military justice system, they have each taken action different in nature from any action taken by the chain of command to address harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Such actions complement and support the strategy of the Chief of the Defence Staff in Operation HONOUR and seek to enhance the effectiveness of the military justice system in dealing with offences of a sexual nature.

As the superintendent of the administration of military justice, the Judge Advocate General ensures that the military justice system is responsive to the needs of the military, including in respect of offences of a sexual nature, while being fully compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The military justice system assists commanders in maintaining the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the Canadian Armed Forces in cases involving harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Although the Provost Marshal, the Judge Advocate General and the Director of Military Prosecutions have launched several initiatives, they did so in consultation with each other and have coordinated their responses to harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

During this reporting period, several initiatives have been implemented. This includes enhancing how offences of a sexual nature are investigated and prosecuted, improving and increasing training initiatives, and upgrading data collection and reporting. In addition, the Judge Advocate General has announced a comprehensive review into all aspects of the court martial system. Although the review is designed to conduct a legal and policy analysis of all aspects of the court martial system, it will also examine all offences of a sexual nature to determine whether there is a requirement to update or add any additional service offences, whether current sentencing provisions are appropriate, and whether any additional measures should be taken in order to protect the rights or interests of specific groups, including victims of service offences.

Victim Support during Military Prosecutions of Offences of a Sexual Nature

On 19 June 2013, Bill C-15 received Royal Assent and represents the most significant amendments to the National Defence Act since 1998.  Bill C-15 is the government’s legislative response to the recommendations made by former Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, in his 2003 independent report on the provisions and operation of Bill C-25.

Bill C-15 continues to improve various aspects of the military justice system including further enhancing the independence of military judges, expressly providing for the purposes, principles, and objectives of sentencing, and providing for additional sentencing options, to name a few.  However, there are a number of provisions in Bill C-15 that, when brought into force, will provide victims of service offences with specific procedural rights such as their right to make victim impact statements during the sentencing phase of courts martial and the ability of a court martial to make an order for restitution similar to those provisions that exist in the Criminal Code.

Victim impact statements permit individual victims of offences - particularly those who have experienced significant, financial and emotional harm - to have a voice in the sentencing process. These provisions in Bill C-15 will require a court martial to consider victim impact statements presented by a victim during the course of the proceedings or in any other manner that the court considers appropriate.

Restitution orders, brought on application by the prosecutor or by the court on its own motion, will allow the court to impose a restitution order on an offender in situations involving damage or loss of property, bodily or psychological harm and a separate provision that deals specifically with bodily harm or threat of bodily harm to a person — who at the relevant time was the offender’s spouse, common-law partner or child or any other member of the offender’s household.  This provision will permit restitution to victims of service offences without their having to resort to actions in civil court.

Certain provisions of Bill C-15 came into force on 19 June 2013 and 18 October 2013.  Currently the Office of the JAG and the Department of Justice are in the process of drafting the regulations to implement the remaining provisions of Bill C-15. Those provisions of Bill C-15 that address victims’ rights will come into force on a day that is to be determined by the Governor in Council.

Additional efforts were undertaken to amend the National Defence Act through Bill C-71, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and the Criminal Code (Victim’s Rights in the Military Justice System Act) and to create a “Declaration of Victim’s Rights”. The proposed bill would have added, among other things, a “Declaration of Victims’ Rights” granting victims of service offences the rights to information, protection, participation and to seek restitution in respect of service offences in much the same way as the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights grants these rights to victims of certain criminal offences within the civilian criminal justice system.  Bill C-71 was introduced by the previous government in June of 2015 but died on the order paper when Parliament was dissolved before the most recent general election.

However, a number of provisions already exist to protect the victims of service offences. For example, a military judge may order that members of the public be excluded during any part of a proceeding, including during the testimony of a complainant, in order to encourage the participation of victims and witnesses in the military justice process. Military judges may also order a publication ban on the identity of a victim in order to protect their privacy.

In May of 2016, the Director of Military Prosecutions issued a number of policy updates providing direction to all prosecutors within the Canadian Military Prosecution Service concerning the conduct of prosecutions of offences of a sexual nature. The two main objectives of that policy review were to ensure that offences of a sexual nature are prosecuted in the appropriate justice system and that the views of victims are solicited, considered and addressed at all phases of the court martial process.

In any specific case where the alleged offence involves the violation of the victim's personal integrity, including offences of a sexual nature, it is important that victims be kept informed of the progress of the matter through the court martial process. Accordingly, the Director of Military Prosecutions has directed that the responsible prosecutor ensure that the victim is informed throughout the process, including the decision whether to proceed with the matter. When the prosecutor has decided not to proceed with charges referred to the Director of Military Prosecutions, the reasons for the decision should be communicated to the alleged victim. As well, prosecutors should, where reasonable, consider the views of the victim with respect to resolution discussions, especially where the alleged offence involves the violation of the victim's personal integrity. If a plea agreement is reached, the prosecutor should ensure that the victim understands the substance of the agreement and the reasoning behind it.

Although it is inevitable that any judicial process, whether military or civilian, will require a victim to relive the circumstances of the alleged offence, efforts should be made to minimize the effect this has on the victim. To ensure this impact is minimized, the Director of Military Prosecutions has directed that offences of a sexual nature will be given scheduling priority in order to move those cases through the military justice system as expeditiously as possible. In addition, every effort will be made to ensure that the same prosecutor handles the case from beginning to end to avoid the victim having to recount their version of events on multiple occasions to different individuals. The Director of Military Prosecutions has also re-issued a policy on interviewing witnesses in which prosecutors are reminded of the importance of the comfort of the witness during an interview and that victims of sexual offences must, in particular, be dealt with in a sensitive manner.

In addition, prosecutors shall:

  • make all reasonable effort to answer any questions posed by the victim in respect of the proceedings;
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that the victim understands the nature of the proceedings;
  • where appropriate, inform the victim of available support and counselling resources; and
  • make all reasonable efforts to keep the victim informed of the proceedings including plea and sentence discussions, and any verdict, sentence or other final decision in the case.

To minimize the possibility of additional trauma to a victim while testifying at court martial, prosecutors have been further directed to consider additional measures to accommodate a victim's security and comfort such as the exclusion of the public during the victim's testimony, adopting measures allowing the victim to testify out of public view, and precluding the accused from personally cross-examining the victim in those situations where an accused may be self-represented. 

Enhanced Investigation of Offences of a Sexual Nature

Investigators dealing with allegations of sexual assault or other offences of a sexual nature require a unique set of skills to gather the necessary information with courtesy, sensitivity and respect for the complainant. To ensure consistent investigations across the organisation, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal recently directed that all criminal offences of a sexual nature be investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service and policy changes are underway to ensure that victims are provided immediate support by frontline military police. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service has established dedicated teams of sexual offence investigators within each regional office to investigate all such complaints. These Sexual Offence Response Teams have been established with the addition of 18 new investigator positions distributed nationally.

Members of the National Investigation Service have charge-laying authority pursuant to the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces. They can charge all individuals subject to the Code of Service Discipline for service offences. By contrast, other military police members are limited to making charging recommendations to the concerned chain of command, which has final decision-making authority. Although the National Investigation Service is now responsible to investigate all allegations of offences of a sexual nature, frontline military police members remain a key part of the process and they are often the first point of contact for complainants in reporting any offence. The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal is currently instituting a number of policy changes to address the key role played by frontline military police, ensuring they are equipped to provide the necessary support to complainants.

In addition to these policy changes, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal has directed that all allegations of offences of a sexual nature be treated equally, regardless of the severity of the allegations. Such offences (as well as other alleged offences against the person) will be given investigative priority over offences against rights of property, ensuring that those allegations are investigated as expeditiously as possible.

Another significant development triggered by victim concerns relates to the decision of whether to proceed with charges for a sexual assault or other offences of a sexual nature. In the military justice system, National Investigation Service investigators considering charges are required to seek pre-charge legal advice from a military prosecutor before that charge can be laid. Once the file has been forwarded to a military prosecutor, that prosecutor will determine if there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and offer legal advice on whether a charge should be laid. In cases of allegations of sexual assault where an investigator is considering not laying a charge, National Investigation Service investigators must consult a military prosecutor in order to ensure concurrence with the assessment of the investigator not to lay charges. This is a change, as in the past the decision not to lay a charge could be made unilaterally by investigators without seeking legal advice.

Despite the fact that the military justice system currently has a process in place to ensure some degree of review of investigations of sexual assault, further analysis will be undertaken to determine if there are ways to enhance the review of investigations of allegations of sexual assault. In doing so, a number of issues must be considered such as how to deal with issues of confidentiality as well as the proper protection of information that is subject to solicitor/client privilege.

Improved Victim Control of Jurisdictional Authority

The External Review Authority recommended that sexual assault victims be allowed to request the transfer of their complaint to civilian authorities.  She further recommended that in situations where such transfers could not be accommodated, explanations be provided to the victims outlining why this was the case. 

It is important to note victims of a sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces have the choice to file a complaint to either military or civilian authorities. Moreover, even when a victim of sexual assault initially reports to the military police, they may, at any time, request that the complaint be transferred to civilian authorities.[13] However, there may be instances where investigating or prosecuting authorities may, as a function of their own discretion, take a decision contrary to the victim’s wishes. When this occurs, the prosecutor responsible for the file shall ensure the victim is informed of that decision and the reasons for that decision.

In May 2016, the Director of Military Prosecutions updated a number of his policy directives relating to the victim’s perspective regarding jurisdiction for prosecution of an offence between military and civilian authorities. Instead of simply responding to a request from a victim, a prosecutor must now specifically consider the views of the victim in determining the most appropriate jurisdiction. To this end, if a prosecutor determines that the information in the investigation report does not adequately describe the views of the victim, the prosecutor is required to follow up with the investigator and request additional information from the victim to assist the prosecutor in taking the most appropriate decision with respect to jurisdictional preference.

In determining whether charges should be laid, and if so in which jurisdiction it should be heard, the prosecutor must take into account the victim’s views regarding issues such as: the urgency of resolution; safety concerns about possible reprisals from the suspect or others; concerns relating to conditions imposed on the suspect following release from custody; access to victim support services; physical or mental trauma resulting from the alleged offence; physical or mental trauma resulting from participation in court proceedings; and the needs of any children or other dependants affected by the alleged offence.

Court Martial Comprehensive Review

The Judge Advocate General has recently directed the completion of a comprehensive review of the court martial system. The purpose of the review is to conduct a legal and policy analysis of all aspects of the Canadian Armed Forces’ court martial system and, where appropriate, to develop and analyze options to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy of that system and then assess whether changes to any features of the system are required or advisable in order to promote greater systemic effectiveness, efficiency, or legitimacy. In terms of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, the review will examine all offences of a sexual nature to determine whether there is a requirement to update or add any service offences to the existing legislation. It will also evaluate if current sentencing provisions are appropriate and if additional measures should be taken to protect the rights or interests of victims.

It is significant that all members of the Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team are intimately familiar with the External Review Authority report, including its ten seminal recommendations. They are also fully aware of the Chief of the Defence Staff's and the Judge Advocate General’s orders relating to Operation HONOUR. Additionally, the Judge Advocate General has required that any options considered by the team as a means of achieving greater effectiveness, efficiency, or legitimacy within the court martial system are to be consistent with efforts that are being undertaken by other authorities in support of Operation HONOUR.  The review team will deliver its final report to the Judge Advocate General no later than July 2017. 

Table 8.  Military Justice and Military Police Summary
Military Justice and Military Policing EffortsImpact
Director of Military Prosecutions issued policy directive updates providing direction concerning the conduct of prosecutions of offences of a sexual nature
  • Offences of a sexual nature are prosecuted in the most appropriate justice system
  • the views of victims are solicited, considered and addressed at all phases of the court martial process
Director of Military Prosecutions direction that the prosecutor shall ensure that the victim is informed throughout the process including any decision to proceed with the matter or not and the reason communicated if there is a decision not to prosecute Victim awareness maintained throughout process
Director of Military Prosecutions direction that offences of a sexual nature be given scheduling priority These cases to move through the military justice system as expeditiously as possible
Every effort to be made to ensure that the same prosecutor handles the case from beginning to end Avoid the victim having to recount their version of events on multiple occasions to different individuals
  • Canadian Forces Provost Marshal directed that all offences of a criminal sexual nature are to be investigated exclusively by members of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service
  • Regional Sexual Offence Response Teams (SORTs) have been created within the National Investigation Service with the addition of 18 new military police investigator positions
  • Investigations conducted consistently across Canada
  • Increased capacity to conduct investigations
Canadian Forces Provost Marshal directed all allegations of offences of a sexual nature are to be treated equally regardless of the severity of the allegations Ensures all allegations investigated to a single standard

Programs related to Employment Equity; Diversity; Gender Based Analysis Plus; and Women, Peace and Security

Operation HONOUR is linked very closely to other initiatives related to discrimination, employment equity, and diversity across the institution and the Government of Canada.  In addition to the larger effort to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces, related deliverables include an enhanced diversity strategy for the military. The Canadian Armed Forces Diversity Strategy, approved by the Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2016, is an important step towards a military comprised of members who reflect the rich heritage of Canada, and contribute through their unique experiences, abilities, and perspectives. It strengthens the institution’s reflection of the evolving cultural diversity of Canadian society.  It also reinforces the Canadian Armed Forces as an employer of choice for all Canadians.

As well, the Canadian Armed Forces is introducing a more comprehensive conduct policy covering all prohibited grounds for discrimination. This overarching policy framework aligns all related training, definitions and policies across the institution. This addresses the External Review Authority’s observation that existing training, definitions and policies were inconsistent by creating a single simplified framework. 

Eliminating harassment and discrimination is further advanced across the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces by the integration of the Gender Based Analysis Plus processes and the establishment of a Champion for Gender Based Analysis, a more focused effort on gender considerations on operations, as well as through ongoing improvements in addressing complaints in the workplace.

While initially linked to gender considerations on operations and the NATO and UN resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, gender advisors have been appointed to the Commands and their role may expand to include diversity and Operation HONOUR specific responsibilities.

The Personnel Research and Analysis organisation is participating in on-going NATO Human Factors and Medicine research activity, conducting collaborative research on the influence of social, psychological and cultural factors impacting the integration of women in ground combat roles; identifying effective processes and strategies for integration; and identifying appropriate methodologies for monitoring, evaluation, and measurement.

The Canadian Defence Academy and Canadian Forces Recruiting Group have undertaken activities to improve diversity in the military, specifically striving to meet the 1% annual increase in female representation within the Canadian Armed Forces. Ongoing efforts are addressing the recruitment process and experience; marketing and promotion; recruiting policy; retention; and leadership engagement.  These initiatives are supported by communications emphasizing the wide range of professional opportunities for women and demystifying some of the prevailing myths. A comprehensive report on the effectiveness of these efforts will be completed by fall 2016.

Strategic Engagement and Awareness

Sustained culture change cannot happen without integrated and assertive supporting communications. This is because changes in core behaviours and attitudes do not take root and become engrained within an organisation’s DNA merely by direction or decree. Instead, culture change requires buy-in from a critical mass throughout the organisation. Before buying in, stakeholders must be aware of the proposed change; they must fully understand why it is being implemented and how it will impact them; and they must believe in it. Only then are they likely to embody the desired behaviours and attitudes. Generating this awareness, understanding, belief and ultimately engagement occurs only by connecting with key stakeholders.

A twofold communications focus was implemented from the outset of Operation HONOUR. The first pillar is a front-loaded strategic communications function embedded into national planning and coordination, ensuring that perceptual imperatives are considered and reflected in all program conceptualization, execution and evaluation. To develop and implement a comprehensive culture change endeavour such as Operation HONOUR without taking into full account the impact of intended initiatives on the people whose behaviours and attitudes must change would almost certainly be futile. This strategic communications function is occurring both at the Canadian Armed Forces-wide strategic level, as well as within individual sub-organisations including the force generators and force enablers.

The second pillar is robust internal and external stakeholder engagement, delivering both proactive and responsive media relations, stakeholder relations, internal communications and content development. As anticipated, Operation HONOUR has generated significant interest from a range of audiences since its inception. The ability to project information in advance of, or concurrent to, program execution, as well as respond to punctual interest and information requirements along the way, has been pivotal to Operation HONOUR’s early progress. This second bi-annual Progress Report is an example of this active stakeholder engagement.

As with strategic communications, stakeholder engagement is also being executed simultaneously at both the institution-wide and sub-organisational levels. The lower in the structure the communication activity is focused, the more tailored and specific content development and delivery become. A range of internally and externally-focused information products and initiatives have been, or are being, developed at both levels to support this stakeholder engagement.

Enabling Operation HONOUR-driven culture change remains a daunting challenge because of the sceptical perceptual environment it is being conducted in – largely the result of unsuccessful past efforts. Leaders, commanders, operators and communicators alike recognize that only clearly demonstrated change will shift wide-scale perception. Accordingly, progressing from demonstrating intent, then actions, and most importantly tangible outcomes as rapidly and decisively as practicable is pivotal to mission success.

 


Endnotes

[1] The Canadian Forces Personnel Management Committee, chaired by the Chief of Military Personnel, provides senior leadership review and advice on issues, policies, programs and plans affecting the management of military personnel.

[2] This external Advisory Council through its individual members will provide advice from Canada’s private and public sectors. The role of the council is to assist the Deputy Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff in integrating broader expertise, experience and, lessons-learned from the private and public sectors in support of Operation HONOUR.

[3] The Your Say Survey is administered annually to large randomized samples of the Canadian Armed Forces population including Regular and Primary Reserve Force members. This survey is intended to continually monitor the pulse of members on a variety of issues and can be useful to analyse trends.

[4] The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is an innovative organisation that engages existing academic research resources and facilitates the development of new research, research capacity and effective knowledge translation.

[5] The International Society for Military Ethics (ISME) is an organisation of military professionals, academics and others formed to discuss ethical issues relevant to the military.

[6] Due to privacy concerns, data collected is limited to prevent the identification of either the victims or the alleged offenders.

[7] The tracking of inappropriate behaviour includes: abuse of authority, inappropriate sexualized behaviour, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct within the Operation HONOUR nexus.

[8] Remedial measures are serious steps to assist a Canadian Armed Forces member in overcoming their conduct or performance deficiency and are based on established Canadian Armed Forces standards. Remedial measures are part of the range of administrative actions which may be initiated and are, in increasing significance: initial counselling; recorded warning; and counselling and probation. Administrative actions are initiated under regulations, orders, instructions or policies. In addition to the remedial measures, administrative actions include:

  • occupational transfer;
  • transfer between sub-components;
  •  posting;
  • an offer of terms of service in any case in which an offer has not been made by CAF authorities;
  • reversion in rank; or
  • release or recommendation for release, as applicable.

Administrative actions other than remedial measures may be initiated if:

  • a remedial measure has been unsuccessful or breached;
  •  the conduct or performance deficiency is serious enough to warrant such actions; or
  • the conduct or performance deficiency may be better resolved through such actions.

[9] Administrative actions are not punishments under the Code of Service Discipline. Both disciplinary actions under the Code of Service Discipline and administrative actions are meant to address a CAF member's conduct or performance deficiency. They may operate independently or one may complement the other.

Administrative action imposed for the cases in the chain of command report ranged included: remedial measures (initial counselling, recording warning, and counselling & probation); removal of the alleged offender from supervisory duties; and release. Disciplinary action included: extra work and drill; reduction in rank; reprimand; and fine. In cases where the offender was civilian, action ranged from:  termination of casual contract to being moved to different facility. Remedial measures are part of the range of administrative actions which may be initiated and are intended to:

  • make the member aware of any conduct or performance deficiency;
  • assist the member in overcoming the deficiency; and
  • provide the member with time to correct their conduct or improve their performance.

[10] Of the 204 members who contacted the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, approximately 33% (65) were members of the chain of command seeking information on dealing with harmful and inappropriate behaviour involving subordinates or peers. 

[11] The Director Military Prosecutions holds office upon appointment by the Minister for a period not to exceed four years, and may be removed from office only by the Minister, for cause, on the recommendation of an Inquiry Committee. The relationship between the Judge Advocate General and the Director of Military Prosecutions is defined in the National Defence Act. The Director of Military Prosecutions is under the general supervision of the Judge Advocate General, and the Judge Advocate General may issue general instructions or guidelines in writing in respect of prosecutions or in respect of a particular prosecution. 

[12]Source: CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct request for statistics on sexual assaults / sexual misconducts reported to CAF Military Police 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2016

[13] Members of the military police, as peace officers, are not limited to laying charges within the military justice system but may also lay charges in the civilian justice system.

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