ARCHIVED - Progress on Reform

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Backgrounder / June 14, 1999 / Project number: BG-99. 067

The Canadian Forces (CF) is at an important turning point in its history. The world continues to change, and the CF must continue to change with it.

This is especially evident in the area of institutional reform. Over the past year, the department has implemented over 300 reforms. These reforms come from five key reports:

  • Special Advisory Group’s Report on Military Justice and Military Investigation Services, the Dickson I Report – 48 recommendations;
  • Special Advisory Group’s Report on Quasi-Judicial Duties of the Minister of National Defence, the Dickson II Report – 18 recommendations;
  • Minister’s Report on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces – 66 recommendations;
  • Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves (SCRR) – 41 recommendations; and
  • A Commitment to Change, Report on the Recommendations of the Somalia Commission of Inquiry – 160 recommendations.

These reforms have had an impact in a number of areas.

The first is who we are. As one of Canada’s national institutions, the CF has a responsibility to ensure that its members reflect Canada’s cultural, linguistic, and regional diversity. With more and more new Canadians taking their place in our society, it is vital that the modern CF be representative of all the people—both men and women—who make Canada what it is today.

Another is in our culture. The CF has a responsibility to operate in a manner that is consistent with Canadian values and expectations. How members and their families are treated, how we train our leaders and managers and how we conduct the day-to-day business of running the biggest federal government department are all areas where we must remain in step with Canadian society as a whole.

All of the changes underway in the CF are taking place with the clear understanding that its members belong to a profession like no other. Military service demands self-discipline, sacrifice, commitment, and a willingness to put one’s life on the line. Canadians know this and place enormous pride in the CF and what it does.

For all of these reasons, the CF must continue to operate in a manner consistent with the highest of public Standards. To make sure those Standards are maintained the department and the CF have embarked upon an ambitious program of reform and change.

Throughout DND and the CF, the results of change are gratifying. Consider these examples:

  • In the area of leadership in the CF , we are adopting new and innovative approaches to management and leadership training;
  • we are thoroughly reforming the military justice system;
  • in working towards a diverse, representative and supportive military culture, we are striving to create a "harassment free environment" and increase the number of women and visible minorities in all areas of military employment;
  • we are developing a contemporary code of defence ethics which we are integrating into the training and day-to-day operations of the CF leadership; and
  • by streamlining the delivery of defence services we are finding new ways to provide a host of services that used to be delivered exclusively by military personnel and civilian employees.

Much remains to be done in many areas, but progress is encouraging and the result will be a better defence organization, better prepared to serve and defend Canadians.

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