Anand appoints external monitor to oversee military efforts to tackle sexual misconduct

Defense Minister Anita Anand has appointed an external comptroller to oversee efforts to combat sexual misconduct and harassment at the Department of National Defence.

Jocelyne Therrien will oversee the implementation of the 48 recommendations of former Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor’s Independent Comprehensive External Review (IECR) into harassment and sexual misconduct in the military.

“This is a critical time for one of Canada’s premier institutions. I am honored to serve as External Comptroller and will perform these duties in an open and responsible manner,” Therrien said in a press release.

Therrien previously worked at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, where she led audits of programs managed by the federal government. She also has experience investigating allegations of workplace harassment in the RCMP.

The appointment of Therrien by the Governor in Council is for an initial term of one year. During this time, she is expected to report regularly on DND’s efforts to change the way the military approaches sexual misconduct.

The military has been reeling in response to a series of sexual misconduct investigations. Since the beginning of February 2021, 13 current and former Canadian military leaders have been sidelined, investigated or forced to retire from some of the most powerful and prestigious positions of the defense establishment.

Some senior military leaders face allegations of sexual misconduct and are being investigated by military police. Two people have been criminally charged in connection with the claims. Others have been furloughed for their own handling of sexual misconduct cases.

The external review

Arbor launched an external review of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian military in April 2021 and delivered its report to the federal government earlier this year.

Among its 48 recommendations is a call for the appointment of an external monitor to oversee the implementation of the other recommendations.

“This appointment responds to recommendation 48 of the report and will help ensure that meaningful culture change within DND and the CAF continues to occur,” Anand said in a press release.

Military sexual trauma complainants have demanded for decades that civilians take on cases of sexual misconduct. They argue that the Canadian Armed Forces failed to adequately support the victims and failed to conduct thorough investigations and prosecutions.

In one of her first acts at the department, Defense Minister Anand – acting on an interim recommendation from Arbor last year – decided to temporarily hand over ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct to security forces. civilian police. The plaintiffs retained the right to have their case handled by the military system.

The military gained jurisdiction over its own sexual assault cases in 1988.

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