(Ottawa) Changes in policies and procedures within the Canadian army are well underway, but represent a long and labor-intensive process, explains Jocelyne Therrien, the external monitor who is monitoring the implementation work. implementing these changes. His recently released second report to government says there is an “impressive amount of rules and regulations” and a “wide range of policy instruments” governing the Canadian Armed Forces.
“I am told that they can sometimes contradict each other,” writes Mme Therrien in his report of November 7, made public Monday.
“As a result, even relatively simple policy changes can require many months of work by many people,” she describes.
In his first report last spring, Mme Therrien had called for the creation of a multi-year plan to track the progress of the military’s efforts to implement culture change.
She said the Army’s chief of professional conduct and culture, Lt. Gen. Jennie Carignan, developed such a plan this summer. This has not been made public.
“It is critically important that the plan indicates that it will measure and report on results rather than the completion of activities,” M wroteme Therrien.
Review the definition of sexual misconduct
Mme Therrien said the highest levels of the military are clearly working to tackle the problem of sexual misconduct.
However, it is a long process.
Changes to abolish the use of a military definition of sexual misconduct and use a standardized definition of sexual assault in the Criminal Code will be “ready for approval” by the end of 2023, says Mme Therrien.
The move is part of an ongoing effort to address the 48 recommendations made by former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor in a scathing report on military culture in May 2022.
But updating the ministerial directive which uses these definitions “involves more process”.
And it will take until the end of 2024 to update armed forces policies to use the Canada Labor Code’s definition of harassment, she said.
The Arbor report also called on the federal government to remove the military’s jurisdiction over all sexual offenses under the Criminal Code – something Defense Minister Bill Blair said Monday.
However, when asked when this change would come, Mr Blair was less sure.
“I will propose a legislative solution to this problem in the coming months, and hopefully before the end of this year,” he told reporters.
The government accepted a provisional recommendation from Mme Arbor in November 2021 aimed at referring these offenses to civil authorities.
Since then, 275 cases have been reported to the military police. Mme Therrien said 142 of them were transferred to civil police, who accepted 101 cases and refused 41 others. Denied cases were investigated either by the Armed Forces National Investigation Service or the military police.
The report indicates that the 133 cases that were not referred to civilian police fell into several categories: events that occurred outside of Canada, victims who did not want to continue the investigation or victims who wanted to continue in the military justice system.
Mr Blair said he did not believe it was in keeping with the spirit of Mr Blair’s recommendation.me Arbor to let the military justice system continue to process cases.
“Frankly, we want all of these cases to be investigated by the appropriate police and tried by the civil criminal justice system,” he said. This is why we are changing the law. »