On December 13th the Minister of National Defence (MND) tabled a Report to Parliament on Culture Change Reforms in response to former Supreme Court Justice Arbour’s recommendations. The report includes an explanation of how the two recommendations relating to the Canadian Military Colleges (CMCs), #28 regarding the Cadet Wing command structure, and #29 regarding an external review of the CMCs, are being approached for implementation.
The bottom line from this update regarding the CMCs is that an external review will focus on both recommendations #28 and #29. The report notes that currently “DND/CAF is developing draft Terms of Reference and a recommended set of competencies and qualifications for the members who would comprise the CMC Review Board. The terms of reference will be submitted for approval by senior leadership within the department, with work expected to commence in 2023 on the recommended detailed review.”
In late October, the then Board Chair of the RMCAA, Jill Carleton, wrote to the Minister of National Defence to express the Alumni Association’s desire to contribute to the review of the CMCs called for in the Arbour Report’s recommendation #29. This letter reiterated the Alumni Association’s support for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, as well as its continuing support for the Canadian Military Colleges, the four-pillars of the Regular Officer Training Plan (i.e., military leadership development, academics, athletics, and bilingualism), and its overarching desire to advance positive change at the Canadian Military Colleges and in the CAF. The Alumni Association is expecting to receive a reply from the Minister to the Board Chair’s letter, now that the MND has updated Parliament.
In early October, the Association heard from the Acting Commander Military Personnel Command (CMPC), as part of a larger CMPC external engagement effort regarding reconstitution of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). We heard clearly that the RMCAA is a key stakeholder who can play a role in supporting CAF recruiting and retention efforts. In particular, the Alumni Association is seen by the Military Personnel Command senior leadership as having an important role to play in enabling culture change to promote a more respectful, inclusive, and safe working environment in the CAF. One of the other ways in which the Alumni can support CAF reconstitution is through mentoring of current Naval/Officer Cadets and mid-career alumni still serving in the CAF, as they navigate through different stages of their careers and professional development.
Since our August update on Alumni Association activities in response to the Arbour Report, the RMCAA response team has been continuing to hear from alumni, to actively monitor the public and media environment, and to regularly engage with key points of contact in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the Commandants of the Canadian Military Colleges.
The Royal Military Colleges Alumni Association, as a registered charity and a not-for-profit corporation, will continue to focus on its mission of advancing the Canadian Military Colleges, promoting camaraderie among their alumni, and preserving their heritage, in a non-partisan manner. The RMCAA expects to have more to say during the external review once the terms of reference, membership of the review board, and timelines are known.
The Canadian Military Colleges alumni network is an important source of talent, experience, and expertise for the CAF, for Canada, and around the globe. We will continue to engage with our network in 2023, and throughout the external review, to explore some key questions, including:
- How best can we, the Royal Military Colleges of Canada Alumni Association, support survivors of sexual trauma?
- How best can we advocate for reforms at the Canadian Military Colleges to make them safer for everyone and more effective in their vocation of producing exemplary leaders?
- How best can we support and enable needed changes to professional conduct and culture of the CAF?
We continue to welcome your feedback and your perspectives. You can reach our Arbour response team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
EN: August update.