CAF publishes new ethos guide: Trusted to Serve

In response to the urgent call for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to change its culture, the military has published a 63-page document outlining the expected code and conduct for its members.

Trusted to Serve

The new CAF Ethos: Trusted to Serve comes at “a particular turning point in our history, as we evolve to better reflect Canadian values, change our military culture, and rebuild trust,” stated a Department of National Defence press release.

“Through the new CAF Ethos, we are renewing our commitment to growth and change to improve the culture, rebuild trust, and expand the existing sense of ethos and Canadian values in the military. The CAF Ethos: Trusted to Serve is founded on core Canadian values and professional expectations, and will be the basis for judgement, decision-making, and conduct within the Canadian Armed Forces. This publication is part of a continuous process to evolve our professional culture – not just to make us more operationally effective, but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

Updated Revision of Duty with Honour: The Profession of Arms

At its core, the guide is an updated revision of Duty with Honour: The Profession of Arms, published in 2009. According to the Department of National Defence, at the core of the new ethos is dignity of all persons.

“As it stands, respecting the dignity of all persons is the only way the Profession of Arms can build and maintain credibility and trust, at home and abroad. Everyone must be treated with respect and humanity at all times and in all places. Everyone deserves to serve in a safe, inclusive environment. This foundational principle, as well as other Defence Team values and ethics, are now incorporated in the CAF Ethos in a way that more fully articulates what is expected from military personnel – with a strong emphasis on character, competence, and trust,” stated the DND press release.

The Ethos Touches On

The ethos touches on military values, including inclusion. Specifically, the CAF Ethos states in this regard: “Those who are inclusive reject racism, sexism, heteronormativity, homophobia, xenophobia or any other form of hateful, discriminatory or hurtful behaviour, conduct or association.”

The document also touches on military values and places a special emphasis on leadership to uphold the military’s new tenants.

The expectation is that the document will serve as a guide for all CAF members and continue to reshape the culture of the military that is currently very much at fire. Every CAF member of all ranks is expected to “take ownership” of the renewed principles and familiarize themselves with this updated ethos.

Adopting the Ethos

According to DND, the Canadian Defence Academy will help each command develop content to raise awareness and empower leaders to engage in discussions with their subordinates year-round. For this reason, anonymous stories may be submitted at the link below.

The document is available in various formats: hard copy booklet, digitally, and on Canada.ca, with digital learning content accessible in autumn 2022 via a multimedia website.

Chief of the Defence

“Our goal is an armed forces in which every member is able to be their authentic self, and feels valued, included, and empowered to bring their best in service to Canada every day. Trusted to Serve represents our renewed commitment to culture change and is a road map for the necessary growth required to rebuild trust. It is a critical tool that will help us achieve this lasting change in our institution,” said Gen. Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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