Conflict and Complaint Management Services Centre opens in Cold Lake

Jeff Gaye
Capt Kyle Wall, left, Alison Arnesen, Col Paul Doyle, Lise Rioux-Joudrey and CWO Remi Nault cut the ribbon to open the CCMS centre in Building 67.

Jeff Gaye

4 Wing now has full-time Conflict and Complaint Management Services (CCMS) available to members and their chains of command.
Cold Lake’s CCMS centre opened its doors in Building 67 last Wednesday. The new office is part of a Chief of the Defence Staff initiative under the Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management program (ICCM) to open 16 such centres at bases across Canada.

The last one, at CFB Edmonton, opened Friday.

4 Wing Commander Col Paul Doyle said the Cold Lake CCMS centre will be “a streamlined location where members of the 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake defence team can seek guidance and support related to issues surrounding Alternative Dispute Resolution, harassment prevention, military grievances, human rights complaints and other services.”

“We will have two civilian agents and a military agent here,” said Alison Arnesen, regional manager for the four offices in the West/North Region. These are located in Cold Lake, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Esquimalt.

“If a CAF member has a grievance or harassment complaint the agents will be able to provide them with the appropriate information and guidance. They will also be able to support the chain of command with these types of complaints,” Arnesen said. “The CCMS office ultimately will enable the defence team to effectively manage their conflict and complaints early, locally and informally where appropriate.”

Part of the goal is to resolve more disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR. Arnesen says this is more efficient, and often more satisfactory, than supervisors asserting their power or employees asserting their rights.

“It is an alternative to the power-based approach or the rights-based approach. What that means is it’s a lower level conversation without having to file a grievance or harassment complaint,” she said.

“It’s more timely and informal. It won’t take months and years to deal with some of these complaints. There should be a higher satisfaction level from an increase in those lower-level conversations with the chain of command before they go into those other systems.”

The CCMS agents will be reaching out to chains of command in Cold Lake to inform them of the local centre and its services. Each chain of command will pass the information to its members.

While it is primarily intended for military members, the CCCM can also complement the processes that are in place for civilian employees. Those procedures are governed by collective agreements, but Arnesen said ADR services are available within that framework.

The CCMS model was tested over the past year at four prototype locations: Borden, Kingston, Valcartier and Montreal. Those
locations all experienced a reduction in grievances and harassment complaints, and an increase in lower-level conversations using ADR.

“I am extremely excited to see the same benefits here in Cold Lake and within the West/North Region,” Arnesen said.