CDS/DM Statement on Harassment and Discrimination to all CAF Members and DND Employees

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all have an important responsibility to ensure that our work environment is harassment-free and respectful. While recent internal CAF surveys regarding our work culture indicate positive results and trends, we can and must do better on behalf of all of our members.  

For context, the recently concluded survey reports indicate that:

  • More than 98 per cent of CAF members are aware that there is a CAF harassment policy;
  • 79 per cent recall having participated in CAF harassment awareness training;
  • 77 per cent believe complaints about harassment would be taken seriously in their unit;
  • Of 2 245 survey respondents, 72 per cent did not report experiencing any form of harassment in the 12 months prior to the survey;
  • 17 per cent responded that they had experienced abuse of authority;
  • 16 per cent responded that they had experienced personal harassment;
  • 1.5 per cent responded that they had experienced sexual harassment;
  • 1 per cent responded that they had experienced hazing;
  • Of note, 17 per cent of CAF members reported that they would not feel free to report harassment without fear of reprisals; and visible minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are reporting more on-the-job discrimination than other members.

Both of us are committed to providing a working environment for DND employees and CAF members that fosters a workplace free of harassment and discrimination; and characterized by mutual trust, support and respect for the dignity of every person in the workplace. We hold our managers and leaders accountable to ensure that these standards are met.

We need your help to maintain such a workplace. If you feel harassed or discriminated against, or if you witness incidents of this nature, then take action. If the issue is not immediately resolvable, deal with the situation professionally and report the incident to your chain of command.

It is the responsibility of your chain of command to support you; however, if you are being harassed or discriminated against and it is your chain of command that concerns you, then report the incident to one level higher in the chain of command.

Further support is also available to you through your local chaplain or social worker, the CAF Member Assistance Program and the Employee Assistance Program, and through the Conflict Resolution Centres.

In short, there is no tolerance of harassment and discrimination. They are poisonous to our workplace and impede our operational effectiveness. Our efforts in this matter must be focused on preventing harassment and discrimination from occurring. But in the event that an incident does occur, we must ensure early intervention and timely and fair resolution. In this way, we can make certain that our military environment is more respectful and inclusive for all.

We all need to be engaged in this. We need to ensure our work environment is harassment-free, and take action if it is not. Together we can make a difference, and support the well-being of our community.

Richard B. Fadden
Deputy Minister

General Tom Lawson
Chief of the Defence Staff

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