Message from the Chief of the Defence Staff

Statement / February 23, 2018

My primary concern as your Chief of the Defence Staff is the morale, safety, and wellbeing of the women and men who serve our nation as members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Let there be no doubt, any incident that jeopardizes the safety or dignity of our personnel gets my full attention and the consequences that might entail.

In early December 2017, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was allegedly sexually assaulted while the aircraft was on its way to Greece to bring members of Team Canada to entertain our deployed personnel overseas. This is a serious matter, and a Military Police investigation was commenced resulting in charges being laid against a civilian member of the Team Canada trip.

The circumstances that gave rise to this incident also merit attention. Within days of the aircraft returning to Canada, the Commander of the RCAF ordered an administrative investigation to determine what transpired on that flight, and what conditions existed that either permitted or exacerbated the alleged misconduct.

In this matter, I must make determinations based on formal and thorough administrative investigations and ascertain if further investigation is warranted. This takes time, but prudence and due process demand nothing less.

Today, I received the results of the RCAF Commander’s report, and will study its findings closely. In the interim, I have ordered the following:

  1. Alcohol will not be served aboard RCAF service flights for Team Canada trips in the future; and
  2. Team Canada visits are suspended until a thorough review of their intent and conduct is completed.

The Commander of the RCAF and I are deeply concerned and disappointed about what is said to have transpired aboard this service flight, and we will sponsor the necessary changes to prevent reoccurrence and ensure the safety and morale of our members.

Jonathan H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff

Date modified: