Military's diversity, inclusion efforts plagued by shortcomings: internal review

Still reeling from sexual misconduct investigations, new audit shows Armed Forces failing to address plans to meet diversity objectives.  

OTTAWA — An internal Defence Department audit completed last fall -- but only recently released -- has uncovered significant problems in the military’s attempts to promote diversity and inclusion in the ranks.

Those problems included a lack of leadership and insufficient resources and time to push real change, with auditors suggesting the entire effort was poorly defined and planned from the start.

The military also failed to set up any ways to measure whether the work they were doing was having any success aside from trying to recruit more women, Indigenous Canadians and people of colour.

The audit was completed before the recent rash of allegations of sexual misconduct involving several top commanders, which has cast a harsh light on the military’s failure to eradicate such behaviour despite years of promises.

The government has since asked retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour to come up with ways to finally eliminate inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces.

A senior female officer, Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan, has also been officially tapped to lead the military’s efforts to change its culture, which will include implementing Arbour’s recommendations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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