The Courier

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On May 16th, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, released the third biannual status report of the External Monitor, Madame Jocelyne Therrien.

The report provides an external, independent assessment of the progress made by the Department of Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in implementing the recommendations made by former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour in the Independent External Comprehensive Review (IECR), released in May 2022.

In this latest report, Madame Therrien provides an update on the implementation of recommendations based on her regular discussions with Minister Blair and DND/CAF officials – as well as review of documents, policies, and processes.

Madame Therrien notes there is a strong desire to bring about the change that will reestablish trust in the Canadian Armed Forces as a professional, inclusive workplace – but she also notes there is still a lot of work to accomplish – and that the institution needs to move faster on implementation.

Madame Therrien highlights several advancements, including:

  • introduction of legislation to modernize the military justice system (Bill C-66);
  • transformation of the complaints system, including grievances;
  • appointment of the Canadian Military College Review Board;
  • improvements to the enrollment and recruitment process; and
  • the creation of additional Captain (Navy)/Colonel positions in specified support and specialist occupations, which will provide more pathways to the General Officer and Flag Officer ranks for women.

Madame Therrien notes that the commitment to make the CAF a better place is still present – but that more work is needed to reduce the bureaucratic burden and implement changes more quickly.

In a statement, Minister Blair welcomed this report and thanked the External Monitor for her independent and external perspective. Minister Blair also outlined the progress made to date, and measures that the Government is taking to implement the remainder of Madame Arbour’s 48 recommendations.

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