Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Jonathan Vance, has accepted all of the recommendations listed in a board of inquiry (BOI) report regarding MCpl. (ret’d) Stéphanie Raymond.
The BOI was convened in Jan. 2015 by the Commander of the Canadian Army after former CDS Gen. Tom Lawson admitted that Raymond had been treated poorly by her chain of command and had been wrongly discharged for accusing Warrant Officer Andre Gagnon of sexually assaulting her in December 2011.
After Raymond continued her fight, stating the military had wrongfully treated her because of her complaint, she was discharged at the end of 2013.
Gagnon was acquitted by a military jury in 2014.
Raymond’s case became a high-profile sexual assault case that garnered national attention and was featured in Maclean’s and L’actualité magazines in May 2014.
“I want to thank Master Corporal (retired) Raymond for having the courage and tenacity to identify a series of failures by her chain of command, which were indicative of larger systemic issues. Because of the concerns she raised, we are now better aware of how tremendous an impact harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour has on our people, and we are taking decisive steps to ensure this type of situation does not reoccur. Her case is one of the reasons why Operation HONOUR exists and why I’m so dedicated to its purpose,” said Gen. Vance in a statement released on May 30.
Raymond was briefed this week by Col. Josée Robidoux, Commander 35 Canadian Brigade Group, on the report.
The report notes that there was an institutional inability to understand the impact of the events of Dec. 2011 on Raymond and the failure of leadership to administer her complaint, including a lack of communication with her and lack of follow-up into her well-being.
Many of the recommendations of the report have already been enacted by Operation HONOUR, the Canadian Armed Forces commitment to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. However, the CDS notes in his statement that through a comprehensive action plan stemming from the BOI recommendations, he has ordered the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the Commander Canadian Army and the Commander of Military Personnel Command to implement the recommendations as soon as possible.
“Harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour is unacceptable and undermines our operational effectiveness. I will do everything in my power to change our culture so our people can operate in an environment that espouses the values we carry as members of the profession of arms,” stated the CDS.