Department of National Defence - Reports on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

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Work Environment

Employment Equity

The Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are committed to increasing diversity by creating a workforce that is reflective of the Canadian labour market, and seek to retain their current, valued employees by fostering an inclusive work environment. CAF and DND will need to take appropriate measures to keep pace with the growing diversification of the Canadian population.

As Canada's demographics change, a diverse workforce will allow the CAF and DND to effectively support the implementation of the Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) and the Strategic HR Plan 2012-15.

In fiscal year (FY) 2013-14, Defence will:

  • Renew Employment Equity (EE) governance structure in order to guide EE and the growing emphasis on diversity;
  • Conduct a series of regional EE and Diversity workshops directed toward DND/CAF Employment Equity practitioners, including members of the Defence Advisory Groups;
  • Finish revising the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Policy to ensure full compliance with new Treasury Board issued policy and directive on the harassment complaint process;
  • Staff an amendment to the CF Employment Equity Regulations;
  • Continue work on the creation of an Elders' Council Fire initiative aimed at providing CF leadership with insight and advice on the spiritual needs of CAF Aboriginal members;
  • Continue dialogue with CAF stakeholders towards creation of Special Measures for the recruitment of Women;
  • Validate the outgoing CF EE Plan's Action Items and generate a performance measurement report on the CAF's overall success in the Plan's implementation. The results of this report will also inform the writing of the next CF EE Plan;
  • Conclude the second CAF Employment Systems Review with the resulting recommendations informing the development of the next CF EE plan, being targeted for late 2013;
  • Complete the third phase of Public Opinion Research examining Visible Minorities Recruitment and the Canadian Armed Forces;
  • Conduct research on the recruitment and employment of women in the CAF;
  • Renew and redistribute CAF EE/Diversity internal advertising media over a planned period of two years;
  • In order to ensure CAF military members are aware and better educated on human rights and discrimination as well as ensuring an efficient complaint mechanism is in place to resolve CAF discrimination complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), two Defence Administrative Orders and Directive (DAOD) staffed in 2012 will be published in FY 2013-14. Work on the Religious and Spiritual Accommodation DAOD will continue, which should result in the publishing of the DAOD during the FY;
  • Develop and implement a Defence Civilian EE Plan based on recommendations from the recently conducted Civilian Employment Systems Review (Workforce and Workplace components) in order to ensure that DND has a representative workforce and an inclusive workplace;
  • Continue to provide strategic information to the CHRC to obtain compliance to the Employment Equity Act;
  • Complete the consultation phase of the 2013-18 draft departmental Civilian Employment Equity Plan (CEEP), and implement the communication plan on the activities and initiatives found in the approved CEEP;
  • Improve the oversight of the DND Self-Identification program by conducting the Self-ID Study in collaboration with Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis;
  • Provide timely and accurate EE representation and mobility reports (hires, promotions and departures) to assist Groups and Commands in the development of strategic human resources planning to meet departmental and government priorities; and
  • Maintain positive relationships and partnerships with CAF/DND EE Champions to exert their leadership in National Commemorative Events and at the Champions & Chairs Council meetings (Treasury Board Secretariat).

Official Languages

The new Official Languages Action Plan 2012-17 – "Lead with respect" - was approved on 13 September 2012. The focus of this new plan remains the progression towards overall compliance with the Official Languages Act (OLA). Future compliance will depend heavily on the CAF's success in ensuring our organizational structure supports compliance and in optimizing our OL linguistic capacity building while continuing to promote a workplace that is conducive to the use of both OLs.

Priorities for FY 2013-14 include:

  • To identify the linguistic requirements of all positions (civilian and military);
  • To obtain the right number of linguistically-capable individuals to meet the requirements of the OLA;
  • To plan, develop and promulgate DAODs and other policy and exercise leadership in the implementation, management, and monitoring of all OL policies, directives, initiatives, goals and objectives;
  • To implement the strategic corporate-level communication plan created in 2012 in support of the OL Action Plan to ensure that DND employees and CAF members are fully cognisant of their linguistic rights and obligations;
  • To develop and manage a DND/CF OL Performance Measurement System to accurately assess the level of corporate compliance with the OLA. The aim is to report on activities and achievements as well as weaknesses or barriers in achieving the strategic objectives; and
  • To respond to all OL complaints and act as a facilitator.

Employee Assistance Program

The Department has in place an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that is a voluntary and confidential service to help individuals deal with personal or professional issues that might impact on their work performance.

In January 2012, in addition to the internal peer referral services, the program was enhanced to include access to mental health professionals, offered 24/7, through an external service provider (Employee Assistance Services at Health Canada).

In FY 2013-14, Defence will:

  • Continue to promote EAP services and provide support to Referral Agents; and
  • Continue the modernization of the EAP to provide employees and their family with a high quality service.

Well-Being

Given the predominance of mental health issues in the workplace, Defence has increased the number of in-class courses offered to managers on the subject of mental health and has completed the developmental phase of an on-line course on the same subject.

In FY 2013-14, Defence will:

  • Increase access to mental health awareness training for managers; and
  • Continue to research and share best practices in the field of mental health and well-being in general.

Alternate Dispute Resolution

The DND/CF Conflict Management Program uses the principles of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) to provide the Defence Team with an informal conflict management system as mandated under the Public Service Labour Relations Act. The Conflict Management Program provides intervention services, informal conflict management training and promotional activities.

Members of the Defence Team will be offered intervention services in the form of consultation, conflict coaching, facilitation, mediation and group processes to be used as a first consideration in preventing or resolving workplace conflicts in a timely effective manner. The nature of the interventions will cover a wide span of issues such as working relationships, harassment, working conditions, career/promotion, classification, housing, medical, etc. Some of these issues apply to both military and civilians while others are unique to the military or civilian work forces.

Members of the Defence Team will be provided training that will teach them how to resolve conflict effectively, deal effectively with emerging conflicts situations within their workplace and manage conflict effectively through a series of core courses and the integration of ADR into the Officer, Non-Commissioned Member and civilian leadership professional development programs.

Upon request, members of the Defence Team will be provided presentations and/or briefings that will furnish them with an understanding of the benefits derived from being able to recognize an emerging or existing conflict situation, preventing it or at least resolving it early, locally and informally. In addition, the Conflict Management Program will be showcased at various conferences, retreats, demonstrations and special events to enhance the Defence Team's ADR awareness.

The Conflict Management Program is being re-engineered from a local to a regional model with four Conflict Resolution Centres (CRC). The transition began in FY 2012-13 and will be completed by 31 March 2014. The four CRCs are:

  • CRC West/North. This centre will be located in Edmonton and responsible for delivering ADR services in the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia; and the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut Territories;
  • CRC Central. This centre will be located in Kingston and responsible for delivering ADR services in the Province of Ontario (less the National Capital Region);
  • CRC East. This centre will be located in Ottawa/Gatineau and responsible for delivering ADR services in the National Capital Region, the Province of Québec and to members of the Defence Team located outside of Canada; and
  • CRC Atlantic. This centre will be located in Halifax and responsible for delivering ADR services in the Atlantic Provinces.

As part of the re-engineering and to better align the name with its mandate, the Conflict Management Program will be renamed the Conflict Resolution Program.