By Catherine Villeneuve, The Guard –
In a recent visit to the offices of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct, on 21 November, 2018 in Ottawa, the CAF CWO, Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond shared his vision of what’s next for Operation HONOUR with a special 2019 campaign planning committee.
“Operation HONOUR is all about the respect we have towards the people we work with,” he indicated.
This visit came a few days after the publication of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada’s fall reports, which included an assessment of how the CAF is addressing sexual misconduct. Based on the recommendations, the message from both national and local leadership is very clear; the emphasis must be put on victims and the help that is offered to them. And that involves continued education and effective communication.
The onus is being put on Senior Non-Commissioned Members (NCOs) to enforce the common vision as they are “the ones leading and managing our people every day”. “It [sexual misconduct] will never be fixed if our Senior NCOs do not get more involved,” CWO Guimond added.
To that effect, his vision for the right approach to adopt is threefold.
- Act as leaders;
- Communicate and explain what is right and what is wrong; and
- Correct and put a stop to wrongful acts.
A straightforward message for what he hopes will have a clear and positive impact on CAF personnel. “It’s not good yet, but it’s a little better than it used to be.”
And this is where local actions come into play and have the power of truly making a difference. Right here in the National Capital Region, the Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) Commandant, Colonel Angela Banville, has been hosting several mandatory professional development sessions for the CFSU(O) team that address Operation HONOUR first and foremost.
“It is our duty as Commanding Officers, as leaders, to ensure the success of the mission. Operation HONOUR affects all members of the Defence Team in the NCR and it is imperative that our vision is communicated effectively and to all ranks,” explained Col Banville. \
“Leadership can come from all levels.”
“Having the courage of taking a coworker aside and expressing that this type of humour is not acceptable in the workplace, of reporting an incident of sexual misconduct or harassment to your chain of command, of picking up the phone and calling the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, that’s demonstrating leadership.”
These sessions provide military members and civilian employees the opportunity to review the objectives and founding principles, ask questions and create discussion on the matter. And of course, be reminded of the various resources that are available to them to learn about bystander intervention and help colleagues in cases of misconduct.
For more information on Operation HONOUR guiding principles, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centres (SMRC), a comprehensive list of resources available and more please visit the Government of Canada website.
For more information on the Respect in the CAF workshop held in the NCR, please visit PSP Ottawa Health Promotion’s website.
CAF/DND personnel in the NCR can contact their local SMRC 24/7 at 613-996-3900 or via email.
This post is also available in: Français (French)