A modern force requires policies that reflect the realities of our ever diversifying work environment. With an impetus on providing increased accountability and the guarantee of a safe workplace for all members, modernizing a harassment policy that has remained largely unchanged since the 1990’s is a priority for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) leadership.
The CAF Harassment Resolution and Prevention Centre of Expertise (CoE) has already begun the process, tasked by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff to oversee this policy rethink.
To ensure that project milestones are clearly articulated and transparent, the CoE has created a modernization placemat, implementation plan, and engagement plan that maps out the underlying process and the route to these changes.
With an approach that puts the needs of the user at the forefront, the CoE will ensure that planning addresses the recently created two streamed Defence approach: CAF Harassment Prevention & Resolution (DAOD 5012-0) and Public Servant Employee Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention (Canada Labour Code, Part II, ((Bill C-65)).
In order to address the current culture and climate within the CAF, modernization will begin with immediate updates to the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instruction Guide (HPRI), the Responsible Officers Guide (RO), and all Harassment Prevention tools and templates.
This will ensure synergy with like-minded Government of Canada regulations, the Canada Labour Code and its applicability to a CAF member when a situation arises with a Public Servant employee.
It is anticipated that the HPRI and RO guide will be ready for release by Fall 2021, while support materials, such as downloadable form templates and tool kits, will be ready as soon as mid-June, 2021 via the Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management (ICCM) intranet site.
Related improvements are being made to Harassment Advisor (HA) training that will increase the CAF’s capacity to assist members. In order to adapt learning options to meet the high demand for HA training, as well as cope with current restrictions, course delivery options are being expanded from a one week in class session to a virtual classroom setting.
Under a more flexible course format, candidates will be given two weeks to complete self-directed modules, followed by virtual classroom scenarios that will expand and illustrate the policy, and a final exam. A successful training pilot was launched in May 2021 with a group of 16 students. Feedback from this pilot will be used to hone the content and delivery of the course for future iterations.
Modernization of the CAF Harassment Prevention and Resolution Policy ensures that users of the policy, our members, leaders, and Defence Team colleagues alike will benefit from regulations that put people and workplace wellness at the forefront. This is a member policy. One that fuels the desire for change and cultivates the need to create a program, not just a policy that enables CAF members to trust that the system will work for them when they need it most. To stay up to date with updates and changes, visit ICCM online: http://intranet.mil.ca/en/organizations/vcds/iccm-harassment.page (link only accessible on a DWAN computer)