Upcoming review of National Defence expected to target violence, toxic workplace culture

With the Independent External Comprehensive Review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces expected to be released next month, PSAC and the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) are expecting that the report and its recommendations will provide yet another urgently needed push towards concrete change and accountability in Canada’s military.

PSAC-UNDE is pleased to have contributed to Madame Justice Louise Arbour’s review to ensure that 19,000 civilian workers who have endured toxic workplace conditions in the Department of National Defence (DND) are included in the scope of the report.

“We are confident that Madame Arbour will be unwavering in her assessment and will provide concrete recommendations — from recruitment to the way that leadership is handled at the top,” said UNDE National President June Winger. “We cannot tolerate a workplace culture that rewards toxicity and silences victims.”

The final Arbour report follows apologies in late 2021 by former Deputy Minister of Defence Jody Thomas and Minister of National Defence Anita Anand. To date, more than 19,500 claims have been filed through the recent DND class action lawsuit

"We are hopeful that our members and all military workers will finally be able to see a clear path towards change,” says PSAC National President Chris Aylward. “The release of Madame Arbour’s report will be a critical opportunity for this government to concretely address the serious harm and broken trust of thousands of defence workers.”

Discussions of sexual harassment, abuse, and workplace harassment can lead to difficult emotions and reactions. If you are seeking help, there are resources available.

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April 28, 2022