NW Week

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Changing military culture can take up to five years according to a senior officer

senior officer

Key Takeaways:

  • According to Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan, success is defined as a workplace where employees feel “psychologically safe.”
  • The Canadian Armed Forces’ chief of professionalism and conduct is planning a five-year campaign to change the military’s culture to end sexual misconduct.

However, Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan admits that she and others leading the Department of National Defence charge have yet to define success in the fight against sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior.

At the moment, success is defined as the point at which military personnel “feel psychologically safe showing up to work every day,” Carignan said at a technical briefing for journalists on Thursday.

Carignan estimates that it will take five years to implement “effective, irreversible, positive changes” in a military system that has resisted change for decades.

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The briefing, delivered by Carignan and Denise Preston, the head of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC), follows the federal government’s historic apology to sexual misconduct and discrimination victims.

Survivors of sexual assault and critics reacted cautiously to the apology, saying they need to see proof of progress.

senior officer to end sexual misconduct could take five years; Image from Military.com

The briefing on Thursday was intended to address those concerns by providing a detailed account of what is being done internally to support survivors and address their concerns and demands for a responsive and impartial system.

“An apology is insufficient, and the time for action has arrived,” Carignan said. However, the briefing did not address some more contentious issues, such as how sexual assault cases will be transferred to civilian authorities. More briefings are planned for the future.

News reported last month, citing leaked internal documents, that the federal government has set aside up to $77.7 million for survivor supports, justice, and accountability initiatives, and culture change.

The majority of that amount, $22.1 million, has been set aside to expand SMRC services in five regions through the country. The Liberal government pledged earlier this year to increase the number of SMRC centers and make them more accessible to the public.

Anand was told that implementing the final Arbour report is a “priority” and that the reforms should include “external oversight over the reporting, investigation, and adjudication of complaints, outside the chain of command.”

Source: CBC News

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