Legion calls for compassion, consequences and concrete action
OTTAWA, ON, 17 NOVEMBER 2021 – The Royal Canadian Legion asks the federal government to formally apologize to Veterans who were subjected to sexual misconduct while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Those who served their country and experienced sexual misconduct and harmful behaviour report a range of consequences such as loss of career aspiration, life-long physical and mental health injuries, a lack of trust in the institution and/or they continue to suffer in silence.
As the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – Department of National Defence Sexual Misconduct Class Action Lawsuit nears its closing (November 24), the Legion believes we need to recognize this situation as an institutional crisis and leadership failure over a period of four decades. A failure that degraded trust in the institution, morale and operational effectiveness.
We believe issues related to leadership, culture, support for victims, accountability and transparency remain. We need to see:
- Independent investigations;
- a safe, secure and supportive reporting environment for survivors;
- resources and support for all survivors of sexual assault including CAF members and Veterans;
- accountability from those who are found to have committed the misconduct;
- an independent external oversight body to ensure that initiatives to change the culture and eliminate sexual misconduct are implemented by the CAF.
The plan to transfer the investigation and prosecution of sexual misconduct cases to the civilian just system is a positive step. However, the implementation needs to be transparent, fair, compassionate and considerate of survivors.
As stated in previous communications, The Royal Canadian Legion recommends the establishment of a fully independent Office of the Inspector General of the CAF and the Department of National Defence reporting to Parliament. This will help ensure independence, accountability, oversight, and transparency, and begin to restore trust in the institution.
The Legion is optimistic that positive change will happen, and it needs to start with an apology from the Government.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., and Europe. With close to 250,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: Nujma Bond PublicRelations@Legion.ca/ 343-540-7604