Change in Canada's military is long overdue

June 1, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Following the release this week of the Report by Honourable Louise Arbour, Marie-Claude Landry Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issues the following statement.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission applauds the thorough and comprehensive investigation conducted by the Honourable Louise Arbour in her Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. The Commission wholeheartedly supports her findings and recommendations.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about how the culture of sexual misconduct and harassment in Canada’s military has been a deeply-rooted problem that has existed for well over a century. This week’s report confirms those same concerns — that while military women are expected to serve their country, they are not afforded the same equality, dignity and respect as their male counterparts.

The time for change is overdue. Outrage is not enough. Promises to do better are not enough. Expecting that organizational change will automatically come with time and as societal norms and attitudes change is not enough.

This report offers a roadmap towards deep organizational change. Forceful, definitive action is necessary. Increasing representation in military decision-making roles is necessary. Providing meaningful and independent access to human rights justice is necessary. These and other positive steps outlined in the report must be taken now.

We encourage the Government of Canada and Canada’s military to provide the appropriate support and resources required to give meaning to the recommendations contained within the report. The Commission looks forward to working with the federal government, Parliamentarians and Canada’s military to bring about this important organizational transformation.

Canada’s military has a long and proud tradition of working to safeguard the rights and freedoms of both Canadians and citizens around the globe. It is time to ensure that everyone who carries out this noble mission can enjoy the same rights and freedoms.

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Associated Links

Part III – Conclusion and List of Recommendations - Report of the Independent External Comprehensive Review

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