Outcomes of Administrative Action to Victims of Sexual Misconduct

July 29, 2019 – On July 25, 2019, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) issued direction to personnel indicating that commanding officers can now provide victims with information about the outcomes and conclusions of administrative reviews related to their complaint, as well as administrative actions imposed by the chain of command on the person who caused them harm.

This change in process closes a critical information gap identified by complainants in cases of sexual misconduct and victim advocates. This gap was also highlighted by the Auditor General of Canada, who noted in his Fall 2018 Report on Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour – Canadian Armed Forces that “due to obligations “in the Privacy Act, in many cases, the chain of command did not tell victims whether administrative actions had been taken and why.”

The CAF worked with privacy experts to find a solution to this issue. The new approach respects due process and fairness to all, and prevents the release of highly sensitive personal information, such as medical or psycho-social assessments or treatment. This is consistent with the current approach used by the CAF in relation to harassment cases, and aligns with feedback provided by victims. 

The amended approach reflects the CAF’s commitment to support those affected by sexual misconduct and to develop policies and procedures that are informed by victims and victim advocates. Other efforts underway will ensure that victims remain informed, respected and heard throughout the process when cases of sexual misconduct are being prosecuted, and will create clear statutory rights for victims of service offenses, including sexual misconduct within the military justice system.

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