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Defence Minister Bill Blair speaks with reporters in Nov. 2023. Image: CPAC video capture

More needs to be done to implement all 48 recommendations to change military culture: Blair

By Caitlin Snow Nov 21, 2023 | 12:52 PM

Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done when it comes to changing the culture in the military.

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Arbour made 48 recommendations in an external review last year, including removing military jurisdiction over Criminal Code sexual offences.

Minister Bill Blair says they’ve already made the necessary steps, but the law needs to be changed to make it permanent.

“The changes that we’re making are about the victims, it’s about what we need to do to be supportive and respective and inclusive for them,” Blair said.

Blair says all new cases are now being referred to the civilian justice system and to have the matters investigated by the police of jurisdiction, instead of military police.

Out of hundreds of cases that have come forward, several are still going to military police, however, Blair added some occurred outside of Canada and the government consulted with the victim on how they want to proceed.

Recommendations have made a lot of progress are:

  • Canadian Forces members can now go directly to the Canadian Human Rights commission to have their cases heard
  • improved and expanded the mandate of the sexual misconduct support and resource centre
  • access to the reimbursement for legal assistance and are appealling the counterintuitive duty to report regulations in the CAF.

Blair said about half of the 48 recommendations, should be implemented by the end of this calendar year to create a multi-year plan.