Following the tabling of the Auditor General of Canada’s report on inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Minister of National Defence Harijit S. Sajjan issued the following statement.
“People are at the centre of the Canadian Armed Forces. As outlined in our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, taking care of our women and men in uniform is our top priority. It is imperative for the military to foster a culture based on trust, respect, and dignity for everyone. Anything less is unacceptable.
“The Canadian Armed Forces is committed to ensuring that it has a workplace free from sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination. This is why in 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces initiated Operation HONOUR, its mission to eliminate sexual misconduct from the Canadian military. And this is why, today I welcome the Auditor General’s report.
“We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. It threatens the well-being of our people, our abilities, and the long-term health of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Over the past three years, through Operation Honour, the Canadian Armed Forces has taken significant action to address all forms of sexual misconduct and lay the foundation to achieve culture change. But there is still much work to be done. I am confident that the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance and his team will address the findings in the Auditor General’s report as they enter the next phase of Operation HONOUR and continue to work toward the elimination of all forms of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.”
The statement comes a day after the launch of the Sexual Assault Review Program (SARP) that will implement an open and transparent case review of unfounded sexual assault files investigated within the CAF by Military Police.
Minister Sajjan says the Canadian Armed Forces is taking several steps to address both the Auditor General’s recommendations, as well as internal concerns around Operation HONOUR.
He says the CAF is making victim support a top priority by expanding the mandate of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre. They will also work on developing a comprehensive campaign plan for Operation Honour that will evaluate efforts to eradicate sexual misconduct.