THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
OTTAWA, Monday, March 18, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence met this day at 4 p.m. to examine and report on
Canada’s national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances
and capabilities; and to study harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted
Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the
The Chair: This is the meeting of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. We have an
extremely busy agenda today, but we are thrilled to begin our session with
the new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Thomas Lawson.
We are looking at the ongoing transformation in
the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Chief of the Defence Staff is here to
give us his perspective and update. It is his first appearance here at the
committee and we welcome him.
I think it is fair to say that the Department
of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are at a significant
crossroads. The Defence Renewal Team is working to build the Canadian Armed
Forces of the future after Afghanistan, the global recession, a continuing
period of economic growth slowdown, spending restraint — all of these
issues. Therefore the aim of defence renewal is supposedly to be "more teeth
and less tail." We have been having this discussion amongst ourselves
whether this is the most accurate way to describe this. I hope we will get
into that with you.
General Lawson is the eighteenth Chief of the
Defence Staff, as of last October. He is the first air force officer to hold
this position. As an honorary colonel in the RCAF, that makes me
particularly proud. I believe it has been 37 years since he was at Royal
General Thomas Lawson, Chief of the Defence
Staff, National Defence: It is, senator. Thank you for mentioning that.
The Chair: He is a bit of a multi-tasker:
He is an electrical engineer but also a fighter pilot. He served on the
Canadian Forces Transformation Team in 2005. His most recent posting before
this one was Deputy Commander of NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense
Welcome, general. I believe you have an opening
Gen. Lawson: Thank you very much. I should
make a small correction. I know you meant to say that I am the first RCAF
officer to have held this position. However, General Raymond Henault, an air
force officer, held it a few years ago.
Regardless, thank you and the committee members
very much for having me. Before I get under way, I would like to thank you
all for your work in support of the country's security and for your
unflagging support of all the men and women in uniform. I come from a family
where that uniform is highly respected; both of my grandfathers wore the
uniform during the First World War, and my father flew Spitfires and
Mustangs in the skies over Europe during the Second World War. I followed
him into the air force and flew 104s in the skies over Germany and back in
Canada. I have flown other aircraft. Also, two of my sons have joined the
air force as aircrew.
So it is a tremendous pleasure and honour for
me to have been appointed Chief of the Defence Staff.
I have been on the job for nearly five months.
In that time I have appeared before your colleagues at the other place. I
have met with my NATO counterparts on the military committee in Brussels and
with defence stakeholders here in Ottawa. I have also had the opportunity to
visit our troops here in Canada, as well as many of those deployed on
operations overseas in Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea.
Last week I had the pleasure of greeting the
crew of the HMCS Regina home to their port in Esquimalt upon
completion of their operations in the Gulf.
These first months have allowed me to develop a
fuller understanding of the environment in which the forces are operating
today, and the dynamics we may face in the future.
Clearly we continue to operate in a complex and
chaotic world, and it seems fair to predict that developing situations will
require us to respond with decisive action at home and/or abroad in the
months to come. While the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to guarantee
the delivery of responsive, agile and decisive forces to confront emerging
threats, there is an economic situation to deal with, as Madam Chair
I assure you, we are not alone in this. In this
period of tightening resources, militaries around the world are forced to
operate with less. In fact, I learned in January at the NATO Military
Committee meetings that virtually every partner in the NATO alliance is
looking at new ways of conducting business so that they can continue to
operate effectively in spite of the current economic climate.
Canada is no different. To be clear, the
Government of Canada has been very supportive of defence, and we have seen
years of badly needed reinvestment. This reinvestment has paid off for
Canada. Certainly the height of the dais from which our government
representatives speak in international forums has been raised significantly
in recent years by the tremendous performance of Canadian Armed Forces
members in North America and around the world.
Still, there is a budget to balance and defence
must do its part, and that has our keen attention.
Specifically, as Madam Chair introduced as
well, we are embarking on an ambitious agenda of renewal and change, with a
view to working better and smarter. The deputy minister and I have tasked a
Defence Renewal Team, which is co-led by a former chief financial officer
and a former Chief of Military Personnel. We have tasked them with three
things: first, reducing administrative overhead; second, energizing business
renewal; and finally, establishing performance metrics to measure our
progress. This effort will remain my centre of gravity for a year, two years
and three years.
It is in this context that I have developed my
priorities for the Canadian Armed Forces, and they are the following, in no
particular order: delivering excellence in operations, leading the
profession of arms, caring for our personnel and their families, and
preparing for the forces of tomorrow.
Before taking your questions, let me talk very
briefly about each of the four priorities I just mentioned.
Operational success is the raison d'être of the
Canadian Armed Forces. If we do not provide this to the nation, then nothing
else we do matters. It is what roughly 1,600 of our troops are delivering on
15 named overseas missions, and it is what thousands more work at every day
here at home.
While our operational tempo is somewhat slower
than it has been in recent years, we are busy. I can assure you that we will
continue to deliver on the tasks assigned to us by the government in the
Canada First Defence Strategy, CFDS. Canadians will continue to be able to
count on their armed forces to defend Canada, to work with our allies in the
U.S. to defend North America, and to aid our citizens in distress
internationally. We will assist in natural disasters and will deploy
military forces to contribute to international peace and stability, no
matter what tomorrow's security environment may look like.
Maintaining mandated readiness levels will
require the Canadian Armed Forces to have the right mix of people, equipment
and resources, and the requisite training to enable them to operate as
integrated, cohesive joint teams across a broad range of threats and
environments — on land, in the air, as well as on and under the sea. This
complex array of tasks must be underpinned by dedicated investments in
readiness within a defined resource envelope that enables the robust and
timely projection of our military capabilities.
As you well know, our ability to maintain
operational excellence depends in large part on our people, both the members
of the forces and the civilian members of the defence team who support them.
Not only are the operational skills of Canadian Armed Forces members high,
military professionalism over the past decade has also been enhanced through
excellent training and world-class professional development. We must not be
complacent about this professionalism, and we must continue to devote
efforts to maintain it and our ethical standards to the highest level.
That is why the next of my priorities as CDS is
to effectively lead the profession of arms.
During my time in uniform, I have been struck
time and again by the calibre of our people. And it is my job to make sure
they and their successors maintain the highest standard through first-rate
education, training, and professional development.
Next, we have a very real responsibility to
care for our men and women — regular force and reserve, injured and on
active duty — and their families. We ask a lot of them, not just physically
but mentally and emotionally, as well. I intend to build on the significant
advances we have made in this area, not only because it contributes to our
operational effectiveness but also because it is the right thing to do.
The successes we have experienced from Kandahar
to Kabul and from our Arctic to Africa have taken dedicated effort and
careful forethought. Perpetuating that kind of excellence will require more
of the same in the future, and that is why we are hard at work in the last
of the priorities I will present now: preparing the force of tomorrow.
For this, we are incorporating the lessons we
have learned from recent operations, especially those learned by Canadian
Armed Forces personnel in places like Afghanistan, Libya, Haiti, the Arabian
Sea and the Arctic. We are moving ahead deliberately on a number of
important procurement projects outlined in the CFDS, and we are making
changes throughout our organization so we can continue delivering results
for Canadians in a way that is both fiscally responsible and focused on
addressing emerging domains and threats, such as cyber.
Madam Chair, while these are challenging
economic times, there are many reasons for optimism. The Canadian Armed
Forces of 2013 is well ahead of where we were back in the mid-1990s. As I
look back fondly on my personal experiences in uniform during those years
and earlier, I can see clearly how far we have come to where we are today.
We are consolidating from a position of
strength that is founded on rich operational experience, world-class
training and an ambitious capital acquisition program that will give our
people some fine equipment with which to work.
The polls all indicate that we enjoy tremendous
support from Canadians. Further, we are experiencing a historically low
attrition rate and have eight applicants for every advertised Canadian Armed
Forces position. Working alongside the dedicated civilian members of the
department, we will maintain the trust of our great nation by continuing to
deliver responsive, agile and effective forces to deal with emerging threats
while carefully managing the resources entrusted to us.
Thank you. I would be happy to take your
The Chair: Thank you for your statements.
Let us echo your remarks about the calibre of people we see at all levels of
the Canadian Armed Forces. On your backs, this country has regained its
respected place at the international table. You have our thanks for those
When you talk about consolidating the position
of strength — the phrase you just used — as we sit here in this budget, do
you think there is really any fat left in this system to cut, either on the
forces side or on the side of the department?
Gen. Lawson: Thanks for the question. Using
the term "fat" the way we see it in our society, it is a kind of pejorative
term we would like to stay away from. I would like to think that there was
fat in the armed forces. I do not think there is. I think that where we have
invested taxpayers' dollars across the capabilities and capacities, and even
in headquarters and contracting, the investment has been well responded to
in terms of capabilities. Rather than cutting fat, we would say we will be
privileging readiness portions of the armed forces as we go forward.
Senator Dallaire: I want to welcome you
here among us. I congratulate you on your appointment and I wish you courage
and determination in the upcoming period which will be increasingly
difficult in the forces.
We have a policy in this committee that we ask
two questions and then hope that we have time for second round. They have
given me the first question as deputy chair. I try to set the scene for
other questions as we move down the road, if you do not mind.
Let us speak about the impact on the human
capital of the forces. In the budget cuts that have happened so far, let
alone the one that will come this week — which we expect to be significant
because of the letter that the Prime Minister sent to the Minister of
National Defence last summer saying that he wanted more out of DND — you
have taken a different perspective than in 1993, 1994 and 1995, when we had
massive cuts. It was simply a third across the board. Here, as we have seen,
we are protecting the capital program, although a lot of it is already
committed to the C-17s, the Hercules, Chinooks, tanks. They are burning up a
lot of your cash.
However, we have seen some projects move to the
right, so we can say we are protecting it, but we are still slipping a bit
of it. There was a decision to protect the personnel side, the numbers,
certainly regular force and, we have been told, reserve, but again that will
have to come out of the O&M. Your purse side is easily 60 per cent; your
capital is about 20 per cent; and yet you still have to absorb these
significant hits that are coming along, which is in the O&M, potentially
reserves, quality of life, training, maintenance, infrastructure and all
that kind of stuff.
How can you sustain the forces if you have a
veteran force that has lots of experience, expecting to be kept busy and
quite intolerant of not getting the support they need because they have
already paid significant prices in the field? How will you sustain them from
not seeing a significant attrition exercise, even though you can replace
them, with all that experience being lost because of the cuts in a lot of
areas that keep their day-to-day going?
Gen. Lawson: Thank you. I think you are
speaking to investment in human capital and how we will sustain them in
their health and well-being.
Senator Dallaire: Training and just keeping
them busy, not just sweeping floors in the army and so on.
Gen. Lawson: We certainly will not be
having them do that. I think you said it very well, senator. In cuts we have
seen in the past, the cuts have very much affected our capabilities,
capacities and personnel. The heartening thing in the refinements to budgets
we have seen in recent years is that we have clear direction from the
government to hold onto all of our capacities and our people, 68,000 regular
force and 27,000 in the reserves. We have also heard the Prime Minister
directly say that he would like to see us exchange tail for tooth to try to
cut our overhead and reinvest in ourselves.
If I could speak to something that I think will
remain privileged throughout, and I think you spoke to it in your question,
we must be very careful as we refine our budgets to ensure that the
underlying fabric of faith between military leadership and those who have
been off on operations is maintained. We have tremendous programs in place,
including the road to mental readiness and all of those things that prepare
people for operations, which largely we did not do decades ago. We prepared
people well militarily and with their equipment, but not for the stresses
they would undergo. While they are on operations, we are careful to ensure
those who have seen events or undergone experiences that have stressed them
are subjected to rigorous debrief in a way that we believe will help in the
future. You have been very aware, senator, that tremendous investment has
gone into our partnerships with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and
other psychiatry addictions counsellors and mental health nurses.
As we refine our budgets and privilege things,
that will be one of the things that needs to be privileged so we will not
feel that any pressures will be taken in that area.
I think you go on further from that, not just
sustainment in health both mentally and physically, but the health of
readiness. That is the other thing we need to privilege by the Prime
Minister's direction. We will do that by doing things like what we have done
with the Joint Operations Command, where we have saved in overhead.
Twenty-five per cent of the dollars that were going to overhead are now
being reinvested in training. While we maintain our three exercises in the
Arctic, that is very expensive training. Certain portions of that training
will be brought back within army, navy and air force lines.
It is very expensive to train in the North. We
will have to do those things that we need to do out on the sea, in the air
and in the North. We will have to carry those out only if they need to be
carried out in those environments. The rest of that can be done within
garrison across our environments, with simulation and things that decrease
the expenses of training. I was just at the naval operations centre and saw
the enormous investment they have had in simulation, which allows them to
practise things inside the NOTC building that they never would have been
able to do without the use of ships and diesel for those ships out on the
high seas. Things like that will allow us to excite, train to excite and
keep our people well trained for fewer dollars.
Senator Dallaire: Neither of us is strong
on brevity, so I have to do this fast.
Gen. Lawson: Sorry, senator.
Senator Dallaire: That is quite all right.
You are giving complete answers. I am also happy to see we had Canadian
Armed Forces come back. I fought for that. I saw that disappear, am glad it
has come back and I think it most appropriate as a terminology. However, it
brings us into the realm of policy and Canada First. If we read Canada First
line by line, we see what is happening now plus the potential of the budget.
We are starting to see some disconnects between that equipment list, what we
said we are doing, sustainment of the funding of the forces and the reality.
General Lawson, are you, not just the ADM,
engaged in a policy review to ensure that what you end up with will be
articulated within policy and not simply what is leftover post-Afghanistan?
Gen. Lawson: As far as the Canada
First Defence Strategy goes, that is extant. The letter that the Prime
Minister gave in his open press in July made it clear that before we get to
a rewriting or refreshing of that CFDS policy, we are to find efficiencies
within our own lines; and then we will talk about a CFDS refresh. In short
answer to your question regarding CFDS, we are not engaged in that policy
review at this time.
Senator Lang: I would like to follow up on
the memorandum that the Prime Minister sent to the Defence Department on the
question of cost savings, which Senator Dallaire touched on. An area of
concern for everyone around this table and for the Prime Minister's Office
is that downsizing within the Defence Department not come on the backs of
the reserve units and the regular forces. In fact, it should be directed
towards administration, if possible. Members of the committee around this
table are concerned about maintaining the reserves. Perhaps you can tell us
where you are in that respect.
Gen. Lawson: The reserves have provided us
with a tremendous capability through our time in Afghanistan. As you are
aware, 20 per cent of our rotations going into Afghanistan after the first
few rotations were provided by our reserve units; and they have been
fantastic. During the Afghan conflict, you also saw that we signed up many
reservists for Class B full-time service. We relied on them to keep the home
fires burning within the headquarters as more and more headed off into
operational service. We see the numbers remaining the same and not dropping
below 27,000; and we are just about at that number. However, we will have
far fewer full-time members of the reserve as we move back to a more
traditional Class A part-time reserve. You have seen recently in various
press articles, I am sure, a disappointment among our reservists that the
training is not as complete as it was during our combat phase of
Afghanistan. This was going to be a natural reduction back to a more
traditional 37.5 armory floor days of training, as we call it, which is
There will be more part-time reservists, and it
will go back to about 37.5 days per year. It will be a bit of a tough pill
to swallow for reservists who have been Class C full-time operational
top-notch members of the forces to come back to a more traditional service;
but the numbers will be maintained.
Senator Lang: I will move to the area of
contracting and your budgetary requirements. My understanding is that this
past year it was about $2.4 billion. How much of that $2.4 billion is used
to support front-line troops? How much is used to support civilian staffing?
That is very important from the point of view of looking at downsizing again
and how those dollars will be allocated.
Gen. Lawson: You asked how much of the $2.4
billion is to support the troops and how much of it is for civilian
Senator Lang: Yes.
Gen. Lawson: I am not sure if I understand
the question exactly, but I will get a clearer answer. It is almost a
pejorative term to say "contractors" and "contracting" these days. It is a
little ironic because about 10 to 15 years ago, we went heavily into
contracting — we had great contractors — to provide pilot training, vehicle
maintenance across all three services and mental health support. That
relieved our members in uniform from those duties that were not clearly
operational so that they could focus on operational duties. Largely that has
worked out extremely well for us. As we do a bear hug on our budget, we will
have to focus on those contractors as the contracts come up for renewal,
refinement or perhaps cancellation. Some of those duties will come back to
our personnel in uniform as a resulting requirement. The contracting has
been tremendously successful in providing services to us across the board
for the army, navy and air force.
On your question about civilian staffing, I
will get you an answer.
The Chair: Thank you for that
clarification. It is important to know. People think that it is extraneous,
but you will take that work back in-house, in a sense.
Gen. Lawson: A certain portion of it, yes.
Senator Munson: General Lawson, I will keep
my questions brief. There appear to be ominous signs with this budget. The
word is that the only people who will have their jobs intact will be those
who are marching on the Hill in the Changing the Guard Ceremony each summer.
Are jobs on the line as a result of this budget?
Gen. Lawson: I wrote down "ominous signs,"
and I will take that piece of paper back with me. I have no ability or extra
information about what is coming up in this budget. What we have, which you
have seen recently, are the Main Estimates for 2013-14. I know exactly what
will happen budget-wise within the armed forces right through to March 2014.
In terms of this coming budget, I am not sure what is coming up.
Senator Munson: You are not sure whether
jobs will be lost.
Gen. Lawson: That is right.
Senator Munson: You referred to the task
force renewal team and reducing administrative overhead, energizing business
process renewal and establishing performance metrics to measure progress.
What does "reducing administrative overhead" mean?
Gen. Lawson: I can give you a fundamental
example. We have seen one with the Canadian Joint Operations Command that
was stood up. It brought three headquarters into one and cut our overhead by
about 25 per cent. Those people did not lose their jobs. Those were
reinvested into the investment fund that we have seen. We require about
3,500 positions to reinvest into capacities that we see as fundamental to
the future of the Canadian Armed Forces but are not yet able to invest in.
Those positions will not be lost but will be reinvested.
Senator Munson: I have one other brief
question. You used the term "teeth from tail." How do you distinguish teeth
from tail? Where would you anticipate the brunt of cuts falling with respect
to personnel, capital equipment, acquisition, operations and maintenance? I
have no idea what "teeth from tail" means.
Gen. Lawson: It is a rather poor analogy
that we fighter pilots used to use in the mess on a Friday night. When I was
flying, I was the tooth and the 20 people working on the jet to get it ready
were the tail. Clearly, I was not going anywhere unless the 20 had brought
the jet to the right level. That is why the analogy does not work well for
us when we are outside a mess. An animal with big long teeth and almost no
tail in that analogy falls over from imbalance. It requires a balance. You
could talk in terms of the teeth alone. If the teeth were the tank heading
out onto the field, the root of the teeth heads well past any sort of jaw we
would have in this type of animal.
I do not think that the tooth to tail analogy
is that useful. However, we will seek to privilege all of those capabilities
and capacities that drive our front-line forces in the army, navy, air force
and special operations. While we have loved our support elements and
headquarters that support that, we will have to look there to congeal a
certain amount of that capability.
Senator Munson: You are saying that the
rank and file should not worry after this budget.
Gen. Lawson: I would not go quite that far.
While we look for a balance between personnel, equipment, readiness and
infrastructure, within that we will look to privilege personnel and
The Chair: Thank you. We would all be
relieved if we could stop using that analogy. Thank you for putting it to
Senator Nolin: General Lawson, thank you
for having accepted our invitation. I am interested in this meeting you had
with the chair of the NATO Military Committee. I assume that he too is
concerned. Unless this was just a courtesy visit, which I doubt, I assume
that he is concerned by the budget cuts to the service.
Could you give us some further details about
the discussion you had with the chair of that military committee, and
enlighten us on his concerns and the future of our relation with our allies,
and also with our Alliance partners, who are also concerned, at a time when
we still have not settled this challenge of balancing our responsibilities
with our 27 NATO allies.
Gen. Lawson: Thank you for the question,
Senator Nolin. The budget refinements that we are seeing now are
representative — probably on the lower end — of many of the chiefs of
defence who were meeting with the President of the Military Committee. He
is, of course, very interested in Canada's direct interest in continuing to
support NATO because we have been such a strong and important partner
through ISAF and through the Libyan conflict. Whenever Canadians come in, we
come with tremendous equipment, professional know-how and very few caveats
on how the commander of the operation wants to go ahead. For those reasons,
he is especially interested in Canadian involvement with and support of
NATO. One of the things that he knows we are not able to benefit from is the
fact that, as NATO goes ahead, the grouping of countries within NATO is very
close. They are small countries, closely grouped, and they are able to take
part in something called "smart defence." In other words, "You keep tanks.
You keep the close combat vehicles, and you keep the trucks. We will come
together for force in the future." We cannot do that. Our only NATO ally in
close proximity is the U.S., and we keep a broad array of capabilities. He
knows that we are not able to benefit from some of those smart defence
initiatives, and that was largely what my conversation with him was about.
As we tighten resources, how will we be able to maintain our capabilities
and support of NATO? I assured him, with the assurance of my minister and of
the Prime Minister, that we will continue to support NATO strongly.
Senator Nolin: One of our best achievements
in terms of strategic alliances is NORAD, and you were intimately involved
in that organization. For a few years now, NORAD’s responsibility has
extended to the coasts, both on the east and west. Tell us about the future.
As Chief of the Defence Staff, how do you see
this challenge which we meet daily with the Americans, which is to defend
North America? How do you envisage the future of NORAD?
Gen. Lawson: The Americans look, as we do,
at the NORAD bi-national agreement as a tremendous success.
Senator Nolin: Why not include the Arctic?
Gen. Lawson: That is right. They rely on
Canadian know-how in the Arctic. Much of Alaska is warmed by the Gulf flow,
so the true Arctic is what we see in our archipelago and our territories.
They really do look to us for a lead. In terms of NORAD and approaching
sovereignty in the North, NORAD allows us to do that as a team. For
instance, our fighters do not make use of our refuellers, based in Trenton.
Our fighters in Cold Lake make use of the tankers out of Alaska and other
parts of the U.S. This is a tremendous confluence of resources that helps
us, as a bi-national partnership, look after our shared sovereignty.
In the future, we will see that the Russians
will continue to probe any sense of weakness in the North, and it will
continue to be of great interest to Canada and the U.S. to ensure that we
have the capability to get up there responsibly and very quickly to meet
unidentified approaching aircraft. It also acts as a safety valve with the
Russians. Together with NORAD, we are working on something called a
"strategic eagle," in which we and the Russians hand off a hijacked aircraft
to each other, in alternating years, to see how our international operations
can occur. This is a very positive development between our three nations.
Senator Nolin: Good.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you very much. I
think it is no secret that the government is quite desperate to balance the
budget, and we have not seen a lot of movement on cutting steel for ships or
buying a jet or getting the helicopters. That seems to be stalled, to some
extent. In fact we were in the east, visiting one of the bases, in the fall.
It was great. There were the Cyclones sitting there. Momentarily, we are
going to take possession of them, but it has not happened. Do you have a
sense that this might be on hold, for the next couple of years, as the
government grinds into balancing the budget? Have they really put this
procurement process, as Senator Dallaire says, "to the right?"
Gen. Lawson: If there is a hold on these
things or we sense a frustration with a lack of progress, I do not think it
is related to the capital. It has not been to this point. The capital is
there to go ahead. Although progress seems iceberg and glacial, we are
making progress on the national shipbuilding strategy. We are in definition
phases on the Arctic operations ship and on the joint supply ship, with the
surface combatant to come. It is actually a stepped process, behind where we
would hope it would be. I would say the same thing for our Maritime
helicopter project that Sikorsky and General Dynamics are carrying out. That
will be a top-notch aircraft. What we see are delays that are often seen
with developing aircraft. They are frustrating, and we wait patiently. I do
not think they are tied — and they certainly have not been tied — to
budgeting regarding the capital invested in that.
Senator Mitchell: Internal memos are
suggesting that you need to divest some infrastructure. Are any bases on the
chopping block, or is there any possibility that you will you be closing
Gen. Lawson: I have nothing to suggest
active bases will be closed, but you have brought up a good point. We have
an enormous number of buildings in the Canadian Forces. There are 21,000
within the army alone. That is an area ripe for consolidation and one that
the Defence Renewal Team is looking at. For every building we take down,
there is a little bit less in payment in lieu of taxes and a little bit less
in O&M that goes into the heating and tarring of the roofs for these things.
It is not simple. Many of our buildings are so old that they are now seen as
heritage buildings at times where we would like to see them more accurately
labelled useless. There
will always be a bit of a pull one way or the other on that one, but you
have highlighted an area ripe for consolidation.
Senator Day: General, thank you very much
for being here. I would like you to expand a bit on the Defence Renewal Team
initiative that you referred to. We have talked a bit about administrative
overhead and reducing that. I understand that. What I did not understand and
would give you an opportunity to expand on is energizing business process
renewal. Can you tell us what you anticipate coming out of that?
Gen. Lawson: It is a great line, is it not?
When I first came in, I was very excited because my predecessor and the
deputy minister were both excited by this. Now, I am truly excited by the
very phrase "business process renewal" because I am starting to understand
what it means.
I can give you an example. When I was the wing
commander of 8 Wing some years ago, I was very well prepared for many of the
tasks that were put in front of me, such as making sure aircraft were ready
to go on short notice, making sure the runways were cleared and the hangars
were tight. I was unprepared for other portions, such as contracting,
working with the shop stewards and negotiating contracts and salaries with
unions. These are things that even if we were not well prepared for them, if
anybody suggested they might be done in more of a horizontal way instead of
giving it to the wing king, as I was, or the base commanders across our army
and navy bases, we would absolutely not have it. We had always done them
within a silo of a base, base whatever.
What we see now is that we cannot afford to be
that myopic. We recognize now that if we take contracting across our 27
bases, stations and wings, we will be able to find savings by using firms
that can provide a common level of service across all of them at reduced
overhead because we are not going to smaller companies to have these things
provided. We will also have experienced and professional negotiators work on
these things instead of a fairly ill-prepared wing commander. That is an
example of a business process that becomes less of a silo and more renewed
so it is across all of our bases.
The procurement process is another example in
which we can see that. Although it is well organized and set up to reduce
risk, it is achingly slow in its output, and we believe there may be ways of
consolidating that such that we see responsiveness and a reduction of
overhead in that as well.
Senator Day: Thank you for that. That is
helpful. I am starting to get excited, not that I understand it, though.
Could you go further and talk about some other
macro decisions that you feel might come from this Defence Renewal Team? I
am thinking that sometimes at the overall level you make a decision such
that, for example, you have too many full-time reservists, as you talked
about earlier, so you will try to reduce the number of full-time reservists
in order to help the part-time reservists. It is a very good policy at that
level, but when you look at the bases, especially the air force — We were at
Shearwater and we were told by the base commander that there are a lot of
full-time reservists there because they did not want to move out of Nova
Scotia; they were critical to the operation in keeping those jets flying,
keeping the planes up there, but they were not prepared to re-join as
regular force members. If you reduce the number of full-time reservists, you
are reducing a capability that is critically important to you.
That is one example I can think of now, but are
there other examples of where you may be contemplating a broad-term change,
a fundamental change, such as contracting out, as you have talked about,
that we should be thinking about? If you can talk about them at the macro
level in saying it is a possibility that might come out of this Defence
Renewal Team, then we can all start thinking about what the effects of that
might be down the line.
Gen. Lawson: There are two things there.
First, you highlight the fact, which goes back to the chair's comment, about
where the fat was. As we squeeze, we find that there is very little fat.
Even this very cogent policy of moving away from Class B, which we have come
to rely on in a big way, to a more traditional Class A comes at the cost of
some capability because these people were, frankly, excellent.
We were not budgeted then and are not budgeted
now to have so many people in Class B reserves. These people have come to
the point where they can now say, even though they are highly experienced,
"Thanks very much, but I am not looking to get back in. It was great while
it lasted and we will see you later."
Anywhere we look for these savings, we will do
so carefully, but there will be some loss of capability. Our challenge is to
find those areas that you have rightly pointed out will allow us to do so
with the least amount of loss in capability.
Second, while you have offered me a chance to
point out where some of these savings might be found — and I have pointed
out a couple — this is difficult stuff. We have not gone through business
process renewal in many years. It has not been done in my 35 years. What we
are doing now has been done by a couple of armed forces, such as the
Israelis recently and the British before them. Mackenzie is the company that
is helping us develop a charter that will focus on some of these potentially
high-profit areas that they have seen with other armed forces, and they are
in the middle of working with our Defence Renewal Team to identify which of
those and others might apply to us.
At the expense of the opportunity to try to
point out where I think some of these are, we have some very bright people
working on coming up with a defence charter in the coming months, which we
will then be able to move out on in areas we think will provide the highest
probability of success.
Senator Day: We look forward to the public
announcements of some of these initiatives as they come along. Thank you
Senator Plett: General, I apologize for
being late. If the question I ask has been asked, you can let me know. If it
has not, then I am surprised that Senator Dallaire did not raise it.
Obviously, one of our government's top
priorities is caring for our men and women in uniform, especially injured
ones. What are some of the recent improvements that we have possibly made
insofar as caring for injured veterans? What are some areas where we might
be able to improve so they can continue to work?
I am on the Veterans Affairs Committee. We were
in Quebec this last week, and we saw a number of injured veterans still
being able to serve well. That is a concern we have, and I wonder whether
you could elaborate on that.
Gen. Lawson: We did talk briefly about
that, but you give me an opportunity to speak a bit more about it. I think
our NATO partners, which we talked about, are now seeing Canadians as being
on the lead of the medical support, both physically and mentally, that we
provide for our personnel, extending to our families as well. We recognize
that one does not have an operational stress injury as an individual; if
they have a family, the family as a group has an operational stress injury.
I would say several things that are positive on
that front. Probably the most positive in terms of organizational support is
the standing up of the Joint Personnel Support Units, which then arms off
into the Integrated Personnel Support Centres. That provides an individual
the opportunity to have a coach through the entire process, those who have
tied together all the various medical arms, which are so obvious to the
workers within those arms but not transparent to people who are trying to
access them. Our JPSUs and IPSCs now consist of people who have become well
organized in that area and help people navigate. This is a tremendous step
forward. First, you are not alone. Second, waiting times and explanations
have become clear.
Partnering with non-military groups such as the
Mental Health Commission of Canada has really been a wonderful thing for us.
I was at a run for St. John's Rehab within Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
in Toronto. For 75 years, St. John's has been working on the rehabilitation
of those who have suffered significant limb injuries, like we have seen so
many of in the last 10 years. In the last four or five years, they have been
training our health workers in uniform to deal with the injuries we have
seen and with many of our injured soldiers.
Finally, something you spoke to, the underlying
health and safety fabric that is provided by a linkage of DND while in
uniform together with Veterans Affairs and the Legion is working very well
to weave the net that is under our injured personnel for their entire
lifetime if they have been injured on operations. Those are some very
Senator Plett: Thank you very much.
The Chair: I want to follow up on a point
that Senator Nolin made on our relations when it comes to smart defence, and
of course geographically this means mostly with the Americans.
On a couple of occasions in the early 2000s
when we said no to partnership in strategic defence and those kinds of
things, it changed the calculation at NORAD a bit. Those with long enough
memories can look back at our decade of darkness when the Americans and
others did not know whether they wanted the Canadians to come along as it
meant they would have to get us there. Has that attitude changed with this
kind of strategic pooling, et cetera? Are concerns being raised about
whether people will be able to do their part and carry their load?
Gen. Lawson: I think that all militaries
are concerned at the prospect of not being able to get themselves well
equipped and into battle, wherever that may be. Investments in Canada,
especially the C-17s, but also the C-130Js and the Halifax-Class
Modernization FELEX program, have ensured that we have carriage capability
for international reach, and carriage across to the harshest portions of
Canada. We are extremely well set up for that.
I will extend your point, because I think you
are actually getting to some historical irritations and rough roads with our
partners to the south when we said no, for very good reasons, to the
invitation to join them in Iraq, for instance, to join in ballistic missile
defence, and as recently as the offer to join in the standing up of Northern
Command after 9/11.
In each case, for our own reasons, and I was
not in on the decision process, our government said no. The surprising and
heartening thing there is that the military relationship does not really
take a hit in these instances. There is a respect among military
professionals on both sides of the border that is so intertwined and common
that it allows us to bounce back from all of these things. Sometimes the
warming happens on the military side before it can happen on the political
and defence industry side.
That is all very good. The existence now of the
C-17s and C-130Js, both excellent ships, provides us the ability to get to
the battle, which may have been somewhat questionable in years past. I do
not think NATO feels that will be in question at all, even with the
budgetary restraints we are feeling.
The Chair: Thank you for putting that on
the record here.
Senator Dallaire: I am glad you said
"bounce back" from the initial hits when those decisions were taken. Doors
have reopened, as you said. That was achieved as well through a lot of
blood, sweat and tears of the troops in the field.
In 2006, an accountability act was introduced
and risk-averse staffing was the norm. You are given a certain budget. The
estimates show that you will be cut by $2.6 billion, which is close to 13
per cent, for fiscal year 2013-14. In fiscal year 2012-13, which is coming
to an end now, how much are you anticipating having to return because you
have not been able to spend it for whatever reason?
Gen. Lawson: I will get you an exact figure
from my new best friend, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. I have
recently heard that the limit of our carry-forward, which may help us a
little bit in 2013-14 by assuaging some of the greatest pressures, will be
around $300 million. That does not mean that we will actually carry that
much forward. I will have to get you the figure of what we estimate we will
be able to carry forward. We have been successful in investing vote 1 and
vote 5 to the levels that we were hoping to invest them at, which has not
always been the case in recent years.
Senator Dallaire: You are quite right. This
year vote 5 was allowed to move to vote 1, which in two previous years was
not allowed. That is a significant amount of money, in the neighbourhood of $400 million.
I will conclude with my concern about cuts in
family support centres. It is now, when the troops are back home and need
that support to restabilize, that we are seeing cuts in those areas. That
might be myopic with regard to retaining experienced people.
Senator Nolin: My question will be brief
and concerns cybersecurity. Several of your colleagues have come to speak to
us about this topic. We are under the impression that here in Canada, we
have a relatively good mastery of this area. When we listen to what the
Americans have to say, however, the reverse is true and we note an immense
Given the relation we have on the military
front with the Americans, how do you plan to deal with the reality of
Gen. Lawson: It is fair to say the
Americans have led the Western world in waking up to the cyberthreat. They
have invested in it more and earlier than most NATO partners. However,
Canada is quickly waking up, with the help of our allies, to the threat that
is out there. Our systems are excellent, especially our very secure systems,
and even they face threats daily at the firewalls, which we believe have
been very effective in barring the way to this point.
We now have a Director General of Cybersecurity
within the Canadian Armed Forces, and that is a new stand up. As we develop
our linkages with CSEC, and continue to work with Public Safety, which has the lead on all things cyber in Canada,
and with the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, we will
become stronger at a rate that we hope and believe will go a long way to
moving us into greater security.
Senator Lang: You mentioned the North a
number of times in your opening remarks. I would like you to expand further
on what will happen in the future as a result of the consolidation and
downsizing of the military. Second, can you tell us whether there will be
military exercises in the North this coming summer?
Gen. Lawson: Yes, all three exercises will
take place as they have in the past. We need those three exercises to take
place. Each one exercises a different portion of our capabilities.
We are seeing training take place that has not
taken place for years. Recently one of our new Hercules aircraft landed on
an ice bridge on top of a lake near Schefferville. That is the first time in
many years that we have done that. In Resolute Bay, the Arctic Training
Centre is standing up. Nanisivik is in our future with a deepwater port that
will take the Arctic offshore patrol vessel as well. In addition, we remain
steadfast in our support of our forward operating bases for F-18s to operate
in the North.
These all continue to display a live commitment
to our North and our capabilities with resources there.
Senator Mitchell: Do you have the
statistics on the percentage of women in the each of the forces? Do you have
statistics on what sort of progress they are making in the senior ranks, and
do you have programs to encourage that?
Gen. Lawson: We had two of our two-star
female generals at International Women's Day a little while ago, and that is
the first time we have been able to say that. We will get the statistics for
you. I think they are about 20 per cent and holding, and that goes all the
way back to the Royal Military College.
The Chair: Thank you very much, General
Lawson. We appreciate your visit here.
Congratulations on becoming Chief of the Defence Staff. We look forward to
speaking to you regularly and often. Thanks so much for being with us.
We will change our focus now to carry on with
our study of harassment in the RCMP and the measures being taken to deal
with it. We have two large panels of witnesses today from the RCMP. We
appreciate your gathering together today.
I know many of you are from Vancouver. We will
hear from our witnesses at "E" Division, the largest division in the RCMP,
which takes in all of the province of British Columbia. We have Deputy
Commissioner Craig Callens, Commanding Officer of "E" Division; Inspector
Carol Bradley, Team Leader, the Respectful Workplace Program at "E"
Division; and RCMP civilian member Simmie Smith, Diversity Strategist at the
RCMP Pacific Region Headquarters and project leader for "E" Division's
Summary Report on Gender Based Harassment and Respectful Workplace
Also with us here in Ottawa we have Sharon
Woodburn, Assistant Commissioner and Director General of Workforce Programs
and Services; and Dennis Watters, Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive.
We will have lots of statements here today and
testimony to hear. We will begin with an opening statement from Deputy
Commissioner Craig Callens. Go ahead, sir.
Craig Callens, Deputy Commissioner, Commanding
Officer "E" Division, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you very
much, committee members and Madam Chair, for the invitation and for allowing
us to join you via video conference today. I am the Commanding Officer of
the RCMP in British Columbia, also known as "E" Division.
Here with me today is Inspector Carol Bradley,
our "E" Division Respectful Workplace Program Team Leader, who is available
to assist with answering any questions related to the Respectful Workplace
activities and initiatives under way in British Columbia. Ms. Simmie Smith,
our Division Diversity Strategist, is also here, and she is available to
discuss the provincial gender-based harassment and respectful workplace
consultation she conducted last year.
I am aware of your interest in the work we are
doing here in British Columbia in relation to our Respectful Workplace
Program. I can provide you with a brief overview and some of the highlights.
Approximately one year ago, shortly after my
appointment as Commanding Officer "E" Division, I requested a practical
assessment of the division's current approaches to maintaining a respectful
workplace. I expressed a strong interest in identifying and exploring new
ways that those alleging gender-based harassment could come forward and
report incidents without fear of reprisal or retribution. I requested that a
broad-based consultation be conducted with a cross-section of members and
employees across British Columbia, not only to hear about their experiences
but to receive any concerns or recommendations they had specific to creating
a safe and healthy work environment.
Concurrently, we also reviewed and analyzed the
results and recommendations of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
Professionalism in Policing project. With that in concert with other human
resource initiatives under way in April of 2012, the "E" Division Respectful
Workplace Program action plan was developed, with 11 specific objectives and
51 action items broken down into three phases with set timelines and goals.
Some of the highlights of our Respectful
Workplace Action Plan are as follows. A respectful workplace literature
review was conducted to identify best practices in relation to creating and
maintaining a respectful workplace in a policing organization. A
division-wide employee survey was conducted, the largest and most
comprehensive ever in British Columbia, with over 3,100 employees responding
with feedback and suggestions on 19 workplace factors. An early intervention
system, the performance awareness reporting system, was implemented to
monitor and track behavioural indicators to ensure early support and
employee wellness. Harassment awareness and investigation training was
completed, and over 100 trained resources are now available across the
province, and 47 Respectful Workplace advisers have been identified and
trained to respond to calls ranging from requests for simple information to
assisting employees who had a workplace issue that needed to be addressed.
My three assistant commissioners, part of my
senior management team, commenced delivery of our ethical leadership
presentation three months ago, during the mandatory operational skills
maintenance course at our Pacific Region Training Centre that is held every
week. I am personally involved in speaking at our supervisor and management
development training programs in which the maintenance of a respectful
workplace has been embedded within the course. We have hired two informal
conflict management practitioners to provide training, support and
assistance to employees, supervisors and managers in addressing and managing
conflict in the workplace in a proactive, timely and effective manner.
A Respectful Workplace advisory committee has
been created to act as subject matter experts and to support our senior
leaders and the division management team as they develop specific plans to
bridge the gaps identified in the employee survey.
Dr. Steven Maguire, a professor at Carleton
University and co-author of the CACP Professionalism in Policing project, is
providing workshops on ethical leadership to our workplace advisers and
committee members. One took place last month, and another will take place
this week. We held a workshop for 24 managers that dealt with promoting
cultural change and enhancing gender diversity two weeks ago.
An electronic confidential reporting system has
been created, which we anticipate will go live by April 1 of this year. It
allows for a confidential reporting option outside the chain of command by
simply clicking on a desktop icon.
The entire plan is supported by a comprehensive
communications plan that works to ensure employees are aware of initiatives
and items actioned. All of the initiatives are being assessed along the way
and monitored as we move forward. We know that monitoring and evaluation is
important to our success, and measures have been established to ensure that
we are on the right track and that any adjustments that need to be made can
A great deal has been done and is being done to
address the issues and gaps we and our employees here and in British
Columbia have identified. We are closing those gaps through this program and
the other initiatives under way nationally.
A respectful workplace program is not about a
quick fix or short-term gains; it is about changing the way we do business.
It is about creating an environment within which employees feel valued and
leaders can flourish. It is also about sustainability, and this has gone
from an idea, to a plan and then to a program, with the intention for this
to be core business for the RCMP in British Columbia. It is an ambitious
plan with short timelines, but I believe it is achievable.
I have provided you with a brief overview, and
we would be happy to take any questions you may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much for that. It
was very comprehensive. Before we begin our questioning, we will hear from
Sharon Woodburn here in Ottawa. Please go ahead.
Sharon Woodburn, Assistant Commissioner,
Director General of Workforce Programs and Services, Royal Canadian Mounted
Police: Good evening, Madam Chair, members of the committee, ladies and
Thank you for the opportunity to come before
the committee to provide an update on the RCMP’s gender based assessment and
Tonight I am accompanied by my colleague Dennis
Watters, Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive at the RCMP.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson in January 2012
committed to the RCMP's gender-based assessment; we refer to it as the GBA.
The assessment focused on three key areas: recruitment, the non-commissioned
officer promotional process and the commissioned officer promotional
After significant research and consultation,
the objective was to find as follows: whether the recruitment and
promotional policies and their application provide equal opportunity for
female regular members. Multiple methods were used to gather information to
meet this objective. They included a document and literature review, over
178 interviews, a review of existing employee surveys and an internal
The questionnaire was a very important tool.
The questions were developed to assess the promotional behaviour of regular
members. It was sent to 7,200 regular members. We had a strong response rate
of 56 per cent, or over 4,200 members. The GBA was completed last fall. The
report included several evidence-based findings that have a positive impact
on female representation and several areas that require attention. One
finding of note is that regardless of gender, all members make it clear that
they want to be promoted based on merit.
The findings are intended to assist the RCMP
achieve a balanced workforce that provides all of its members with the same
treatment and equal access to opportunities. Most of the challenges
identified in the assessment are not exclusive to the RCMP and are faced by
other police services in Canada.
Once the GBA was completed, the Minister of
Public Safety directed the commissioner to prepare a detailed action plan to
address issues identified in the GBA with specific, objective and measurable
milestones and target dates. Commissioner Paulson embraced this directive
and we have seized the opportunity to detail our concrete actions and
efforts to modernize the RCMP.
Gender and Respect: The RCMP Action Plan,
released in February 2013, focuses on two pillars: the culture and the
composition of the RCMP. It identifies 11 themes: addressing harassment,
building respectful workplaces, ensuring transparency and objectivity in
promotions, supporting work-life balance more effectively, recruiting
targets, attracting more women and individuals from other EE groups,
assisting applicants in joining the force, ensuring the officer cadre is
reflective of those they are leading, making officer-level promotions more
transparent, retaining regular members, and looking ahead.
Related to each theme are a total of 37 action
items. Some of the action items are already completed, most have been
actioned and are well on their way to completion. To enhance transparency
and accountability, the full plan is available publicly on the RCMP’s
We look forward to our discussion today and my
colleague and I will be pleased to address any questions you have on the GBA
and related action plan.
The Chair: Thank you both for those opening
statements. I will remind my colleagues again that we will have to be
disciplined today. We want short, sharp questions, and we will try to get
around more than once if we can.
Senator Dallaire: Do they have
interpretation in Vancouver?
The Chair: Do you have translation in
Vancouver for those three of you there, if a question is posed in French?
Mr. Callens: We cannot understand French in
Vancouver, I am afraid, but I understand the translation service is
available to us.
The Chair: Do you have earpieces so that
you will be able to hear? Yes? Let us try it.
Senator Dallaire: Deputy Commissioner, I
saw you and your colleague to the right on CPAC, and I heard the
presentation you made before the committees in the other place. I thought
that your answers had some depth to them. Specifically, the question I would
like you to answer is the following.
What has come out of the briefings we have
received so far is the problem of harassment in the RCMP. I was reminded
that you are not necessarily a paramilitary force, but that you have a whole
bunch of civilians working with you — one third. Are the problematics
different among those in uniform who go through all that selection process
and training versus the civilians? How would it be conceivable that those
who go through far more rigorous processes and have the whole ethos and so
on would have at least a lesser or a different perspective in regard to
harassment than the civilian staff who may not be going through that same
development as you have?
Mr. Callens: Thank you, senator. You are
quite correct that our workplace survey includes all categories of employee:
sworn members of the RCMP, civilian members and public servants. I believe
it is a question of human behaviour and the interaction of human beings. Our
research has demonstrated the challenge and gap for us here in British
Columbia to be around too often displaying rude, disrespectful and at times
dismissive behaviour. I do not think it distinguishes whether you are a
sworn police officer or a civilian.
Any of the initiatives we have put into place
will serve to address the gaps that exist regardless of the category of
Senator Dallaire: That is a disappointing
answer, because I would think that the ethos of those in uniform, with the
training, development, the whole perspective, and the fact that we see red
serge all over the place would have established a whole different ethos,
criteria and standards than the general staff of the RCMP.
That brings me to this question: In your
analysis and your responses, do you see that there is between the NCO corps,
who make up your front line, and your officer corps a different perspective
in regard to the problematic that is evolving or has been articulated and
the development of the appropriate ethos within the RCMP? Are there two
different perspectives in regard to how they have seen it and see the
solutions to it?
Mr. Callens: I do not think so. I can
certainly speak for British Columbia. I think there has been an acceptance
throughout the ranks of the requirement for us to address the issue in
meaningful ways. We have deployed our training resources across all ranks to
enhance our ethical leadership training, decision making and respectful
Respectful workplace advisers, the respectful workplace committee and
subject matter experts are made up of members of ranks from constable
through senior officers.
The Chair: Can we hear from our other two
witnesses in Vancouver on that topic? You can just jump in. Go ahead,
Inspector Carol Bradley, Team Leader, "E"
Division, Respectful Workplace Program, Royal Canadian Mounted Police:
Thank you for the question. As the CO indicated, we have looked at responses
from all categories of employees and all ranks within the force. Generally,
everyone is saying the same thing about the type of work environment that
our employees expect in terms of respectful behaviours, where we need to
focus and can do a better job. For that reason, we are being as inclusive as
possible in terms of reaching out to advisory committees, respectful
workplace advisers, to ensure that we are as inclusive and engaged as
possible in what types of response we need, as well providing ethical
leadership training, informal conflict management skills training, to all
ranks and all categories of employee.
Simmie Smith, Project Leader, Division
Diversity Strategist, RCMP Pacific Region Headquarters, "E" Division, Royal
Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you. In the consultations that I
conducted, a majority of the participants were regular members. There were
civilian members as well, but the majority were RMs. In my findings, as a
result of the participation, I cannot answer the question of Senator
Dallaire, but hopefully I provided some context there.
The Chair: I will use this as a reminder to
direct your question. It might be helpful because it will get a little
Senator Lang: I want to say at the outset
that I appreciate your being here. The amount of information we have been
provided as a committee with respect to the work you have done over the
course of the last year, if not longer, is very much an indication that you
are taking the situation that you face and the question of harassment very
seriously and addressing it as an organization. I know it is not easy. This
is not an easy situation to deal with.
I want to look forward in respect to where you
are today and moving ahead. I want to refer to Bill C-42, to amend the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police act, which just passed the House of Commons and will
now come to the Senate for consideration. Perhaps I could hear from Ms.
Woodburn and Mr. Callens how they see Bill C-42 and how it can help and
assist individuals such as yourselves to do the job you have been asked to
Mr. Callens: Thanks very much for the
question. The primary interface with government on the issue of Bill C-42
rests with our national headquarters. My understanding is that Bill C-42
will provide the commissioner and those he delegates with enhanced
authorities to address inappropriate workplace behaviour, and it will assist
us in streamlining the process around those types of complaints in a much
more expedited and timely manner. When it comes to addressing the root cause
of and, at the earliest possible opportunity, complaints of harassment or
workplace conflict, it has been my experience that that is where we are most
likely to be successful.
Ms. Woodburn: Obviously I agree with that
completely, but as far as the GBA action plan, it was important enough to us
to put it in as the number one action item here. There is a reason for that.
We saw the proposed legislation as a cornerstone or catalyst to the cultural
change we are trying to evoke with this plan and with a bunch of other
measures, too. I am not an expert on Bill C-42. I believe you have
Superintendent O’Rielly coming up, but that is my understanding and the
reason we wanted it in this plan in the first place.
Senator Boisvenu: Thank you very much to all of our panelists. Mr. Callens,
I congratulate you for the work that you have done in your organization. As
Senator Dallaire said, this is serious work.
Harassment is often due to an organizational
culture I would call "a culture of tolerance", tolerance for both the
harasser and the victim, often enough. It condones the reign of silence and
You began your program to change this
organizational culture a year ago. Have you already observed changes in
behaviour, both in the staff and in managers?
Mr. Callens: Yes. Thank you for the
question. I have, but more importantly what I am hearing from members and
employees across the province is that they have too. I think the key for us
is sustainability of our Respectful Workplace Program, and we are moving to
a full-time program within the province of British Columbia.
For us to address this over the long term, we
need to talk about it and provide opportunities for employees to provide us
feedback on how we are doing. While Ms. Smith's original consultations in
the early part of 2012 could be argued to be somewhat unscientific in terms
of the way they were conducted, we followed that up with a much more
scientific workplace survey in which 19 workplace factors were examined and
feedback and recommendations were sought. We are committed to conducting
another survey with our employees in a year from now to supplement the other
informal feedback mechanisms that we have in place and continue to utilize.
The short answer to your question is that we are seeing results, and the
feedback from our members and employees is extremely positive.
Senator Boisvenu: Does your action plan
target civilians as well as officers of the force?
Mr. Callens: Yes. All employees were
invited to participate in the survey. I have an employee advisory committee
that is represented by all categories of employee. The initiatives we have
implemented and deployed across the province do not discriminate by what
category of employee may be affected. Our follow-up survey a year from now
to see what kind of progress we have made, as measured more scientifically,
will include every employee of each category.
Senator Munson: Thank you for being here.
We recognize that the RCMP is trying to set a new table where everyone is
treated equally and the same. I am curious and I put this question to the
deputy commissioner: With all of these investigations going on and workplace
actions in progress, how would you describe the mood in the RCMP these days?
Mr. Callens: I can speak for our division.
Generally speaking, our members have been disappointed and at times
disheartened with the kind of focus, particularly media focus, that has been
brought to bear on what they would consider to be an isolated set of cases.
The important thing for us, and what is buoying or giving comfort and
confidence to our employees, is that we have worried less about trying to
talk about isolated cases and have invested our energy in ensuring that we
have a clear sense of the nature of our workplace, that we make a clear
commitment to demonstrate, through action and not words, that we want a
workplace where members feel valued, where leaders can flourish. We have
sought their feedback, recommendations and ideas on improvement. It is those
ideas and recommendations that have been incorporated into our Respectful
Workplace Action Plan and initiatives. I think the result is that the mood
is uplifted and the feedback has been tremendously positive.
Senator Munson: In that regard, you
mentioned that a division-wide survey was conducted and was the largest ever
in B.C., with 3,100 employees responding with feedback and suggestions on 19
workplace factors. Can you give us some examples of the results of that
survey? You talked about an electronic confidential reporting system that
provides a confidential reporting option outside the chain of command by
clicking on a desktop icon. To whom is the reporting? Who receives the
confidential messages? How does that work? Can you give us examples of what
your survey is telling you?
Mr. Callens: We had two sources of
information: the gender-based harassment consultation and the workplace
survey. Both spoke to a number of issues that demanded sources of
information be made available and sounding boards, perhaps for lack of a
better word, created so that members and employees had a place to go to
discuss their experiences within the workplace and to seek advice. That gave
rise to the Respectful Workplace advisers; and Inspector Bradley can speak
more specifically to some of those activities.
The confidential reporting system outside the
chain of command speaks directly to a recommendation and concern raised
through the course of the consultations and the survey with regard to fear
of retribution or reprisal and a sense that members and employees needed to
have available to them a means of identifying issues in their workplace
without going to their immediate supervisor, line officer or officer in
charge of their detachment. Once that confidential reporting system goes
live, we hope within the next couple of weeks, those reports will go
directly to our Respectful Workplace Action Plan officer, who is Inspector
Carol Bradley. She will ensure that the information is followed up
appropriately and referred to the appropriate place.
The Chair: Ms. Bradley, can you comment on
that? You are outside the chain of command.
Ms. Bradley: Yes, that is correct. That
concern was expressed by a number of employees in terms of the immediate
work environment and how difficult it can be to bring forward a concern to
the direct supervisor or boss. Also expressed was a fear about what that
does with the office dynamics and how it can impact their relationship with
colleagues. To try to address that concern, both the Respectful Workplace
Action Plan advisers and the electronic reporting form were created to
provide options for employees to bring forward a concern or issue. Many
times, we are finding it is conflict in the workplace. It can be fairly
minor, but not to the person involved; and it can reach into more serious
conflict. We wanted to be able to provide an option for that employee to
reach out. What happens with that information depends very much on
consultation with that employee and exploring different options for how to
resolve it. That is how we will try to address some of those concerns.
The Chair: Ms. Woodburn, will this system
be put in place across the country? What is the reaction to it?
Ms. Woodburn: B.C. worked closely with us.
We took some of the ideas that we thought would be good for the country, if
not all of the ideas; and that was definitely one. We have it in as an
action item, and there is a date. We will evaluate the B.C. model to see if
we will expand it countrywide.
Senator Mitchell: I will address my
question principally to Ms. Simmie Smith. Your study was excellent and,
under some circumstances, quite courageous. However, it finds a
contradiction in Mr. McPhail's study. You concluded that the problem is
systemic, and he said that it is not systemic. He has 26 cases out of 718
files received that were sexual harassment. You talked to 426 people, which
included almost only women. You excluded men because it can be difficult for
women to speak about their cases in front of men. Mr. Callens thinks it is a
problem and has 47 advisers and 100 people trained to deal with it in one
province. Can you give us a sense of your conclusion that it is systemic?
Why would it be so? How systemic is it? How did you come to that conclusion?
Ms. Smith: The consultations were
conducted. I need to provide some context. Being systemic is not quite what
I would say, but we have an issue of harassment. It needs to be understood
that when these consultations were taking place, people often referred to
workplace bullying as harassment, which it is for some people depending on
what definition you look at. However, I cannot say 100 per cent that my
finding was that it is systemic.
Those who came forward felt that when an issue
was raised, it was not taken seriously and that our system at the time did
not afford them a place to go where they felt safe. As the consultations
took place, the common theme was that people did not feel comfortable in the
system and that it was more about people being disrespectful and about
managers ignoring their concerns when they came forward.
I hope that addresses your question.
Senator Mitchell: My next question is to
Mr. Callens. I will not mention names, but a case went before a tribunal. It
was ruled that an officer in one province exposed himself in an RCMP office,
and for that he was demoted one rank from staff sergeant to sergeant, docked
10 days’ pay and sent to B.C. If I am not mistaken, you or someone said,
"Someone had to take him." The trick with changing culture is really
changing. The commission has put a lot of emphasis on Bill C-42 in that it
will allow them to fire the people who may be harassing; and I am not saying
that it is widespread. If you were confronted with that situation today, has
your appreciation of the culture changed so much that you would simply say,
"I am not taking him; he should be fired?"
Mr. Callens: As I said publicly,
unfortunately I was not provided with the degree of information that I
properly think I required and deserved under those circumstances to make the
decision. The decision I made with respect to that individual was based on a
limited amount of information that did not include some of the detail you
refer to. I have put systems in place to ensure that I receive all of the
information in advance of making any decision. Ultimately, once that
individual arrived in my division, it became a question of whether his
family needed to continue to suffer what was an organizational gap in terms
of what many think would have been the appropriate way to deal with him in
relation to his continued employment.
Senator Mitchell: Would you fire him now?
Do you have confidence in your heart of hearts that the culture has changed
sufficiently that someone who does that would be not only fired but also
charged criminally? It is a litmus test for the nature of the organization
and its culture. It is breath-taking that he was not fired.
Mr. Callens: The commissioner hopes to
achieve, and we have faith that the bill will do this, as it is or as
modified as parliamentarians do their work, a much less adversarial and much
more effective system that will allow us to deal much more appropriately
with the type of behaviour that needs to be dealt with to ensure that the
RCMP and its members and employees are in step with the expectations of
Canadians. It is our hope that the bill and the changes to the conduct
regime, boards and authorities will give us that opportunity.
Senator Mitchell: We really want to see
Senator Nolin: My
question is addressed to Assistant Commissioner Woodburn, and it is very
Before we see whether the changes, the
legislative proposals and action plans that have been undertaken — and I
have only to glance at the briefing documents we have received to know that
what you have undertaken is gigantic — in order to assess whether the
solution applies to a phenomenon that really exists, you must be able to
answer what I call a preliminary question, which really pertains to the
purpose of the analysis.
What are the basic causes of harassment within
the RCMP? You must certainly have thought about it at some point, since your
action plan is enormous. I presume that you were adequately advised in
analyzing whether there is a problem, and what the cause of the problem
Ms. Woodburn: Thank you for the question.
You are quite correct. I agree wholeheartedly that it is a huge endeavour,
and we have tried to capture more than we set out to in the beginning. It
was a response to the GBA, and then we went wider, as you can see.
Obviously, we are addressing the harassment and some other items.
As far as my perspective on the nature of
harassment in the RCMP goes, I think the CPC report and various other
documents that you have referred to make it kind of clear that it is this
bullying that we talked about or the workplace relations between people.
Frankly, I think it is a matter of letting things fester and not taking care
of them when they are small. When they are normal interpersonal problems
like we have in every workplace, if you do not take care of them, they
fester and end up where we are today. That is my take on it.
This document is intended to move us forward,
to tackle that and to bring it to the point where we can take care of it
when it is small.
Senator Nolin: In
one of the questions, the deputy commissioner did not seem to make a
distinction between the RCMP environment and civil society. In other words,
he seemed to think that these are the same type of environment.
Speaking strictly as an outside observer, I
have a lot of trouble believing that. There must be a culture within the
organization — and the word has been used a few times — that has led
individuals of good will to act a certain way, and motivations that led
them, with impunity, to provoke or put in place or perform certain acts of
harassment which could at bottom be animated by sexual harassment. I am
taking this as an example. I question that reply which implies that the RCMP
environment and the civil society environment are the same. I am having
trouble believing that. The culture of the organization is definitely a
Is it the fact that there is a hierarchical
disciplinary structure? That is what I am trying to understand. Because your
reply and that of your colleagues and the different reports will indicate
whether the solution you are proposing is the correct one.
Ms. Woodburn: Thank you. I will try to
answer your question. It is a tough one. It is a tough question, and I stand
by what I said about festering and starting off small. I did not have the
same experience as we have been hearing publicly in some cases. Not
everybody did. It is an individual thing, and I think the reasons and the
solutions are individual as well. I cannot give you a clear reason why we
have a harassment problem within the RCMP. I know we are focused externally
on crime. We are focused on our work and our clients, and we do very well at
that. Apparently, we do not do so well at our internal relations. That could
be it. Just as the nature of harassment and individual cases of it differ,
there are all different ways to deal with it. The B.C. crews mentioned that
about the respectful advisors. There are different ways to deal with
harassment, and each person will deal with it in a different way. I am
sorry; I cannot give you one clear answer because I do not know. I have any
own view, but I do not know.
Senator Nolin: Thank you.
The Chair: Could we hear from Ms. Smith on
that point? There are two kind of separate questions that I think you are
getting at. One is whether there is a difference between how the civilian
side and the RCMP side respond and react to these things because of changes
of command, but there is also this other issue. As you have rightly said, it
is all individual, in the eye of the beholder, the recipient, the victim or
the perpetrator. It depends on who are you. Ms. Smith, you spent a lot of
time talking to people. Do you see a profound difference between the
civilian side and the RCMP side in how they react in these situations?
Ms. Smith: Thank you for that. In fairness
to the civilian side, I did not have enough participation in my
consultations to really answer that question in the way that I could for the
regular members. The regular members shared a lot, through their
experiences, about what is not working well for them when they are in that
chain of command. For the public servants, if we went out and did a similar
study, I cannot say, at this point, whether we would have similar findings.
The Chair: What about your take on the
question of the individual response? It is kind of hard to have these
fix-all solutions when people perceive exactly the same issue in a very
different way. I spent a lot of years in newsrooms, as did Senator Munson.
There is a lot of behaviour that goes on in there that would seem strange to
the outside world, but it is acceptable inside. I am wondering if there is
some of that there.
Ms. Smith: I am sorry; I missed the first
part of your question.
The Chair: What we seem to be hearing is
that, in the workplace situation, there are quite individual responses. One
person's bullying or harassment is another person's office joke. It is
difficult to have overarching statements because people perceive exactly the
same behaviour differently.
Ms. Smith: That is correct. Through my
consultations with the regular members, I certainly found that someone would
share an experience and some of the challenges they had based on what
happened to them that was completely acceptable to someone else. You are
right in the sense that trying to have one response to fix all of this is
going to be a challenge for us. We will have to find ways to meet our
employees' concerns regardless of category of employee.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Day: My first question has been
answered, but I would like to tell you what I understand here. Deputy
commissioner, the initiative that you took at "E" Division in British
Columbia was separate from the gender-based analysis that was done
nationally and that has been described by the assistant commissioner?
Mr. Callens: That is correct. It was done
considerably in advance, about a year in advance.
Senator Day: You indicated that the
gender-based analysis and the action that flowed from that nationally was
released in February of this year, just recently. Will that supersede the
action plan of "E" Division?
Ms. Woodburn: No, absolutely not.
The Chair: Who are you asking, Senator Day?
Senator Day: I am asking the assistant
commissioner. I want to know what she is expecting from her action plan and
how that will impact on the deputy commissioner’s action plan.
Ms. Woodburn: The gender-based assessment —
the national one — was actually done earlier and finished in the fall. The
action plan I worked on followed that and was released in February. The one
in B.C. was what we looked at for assistance, and it was done the year
Senator Day: Again to the assistant
commissioner, if "E" Division has done this and some of the ideas are being
shared through the assistant commissioner's work here, are "J" Division and
the other divisions doing their own action plan and studies? How will we
bring all of this together and share best practices?
Ms. Woodburn: The other divisions have some
form of respectful workplace already for the most part, but we have actually
put into the action plan to make it mandatory that they have one based on
the B.C. model. Each division is different, as I am sure you are aware, and
they will pick and choose as need be. We will keep an eye on it in Ottawa
from our policy centre, and the commanding officers have it on their
performance agreement for the accountability. That is the plan by June 2013.
Every division across the country will have some form of functioning
Respectful Workplace Program.
Senator Day: My concern, as you will see,
is that as members get transferred from province to province, there are
different action plans and different rules. They may be expected to
understand them and they may not understand them. That was my concern, and I
think you have put me somewhat at ease.
I would like to go back briefly to the deputy
commissioner. There are two initiatives that I was wondering about. One was
you hired two informal conflict management practitioners to support
employees. How is that coordinated with the external review process for
grievances? Have you made sure there is coordination there?
As you think about the first question, my
second question is in relation to the electronic confidential reporting
system. There is always a concern that if this is anonymous, it might be
used improperly and not for legitimate purposes, such as someone is not
happy with a manager or wants a manager's job, that kind of thing. What have
you built in to guard against that?
Mr. Callens: I think we recognized that we
could benefit from some professional conflict resolution experience within
our division and within our province. I think the hiring of the external
practitioners who have the education, experience and background cannot be
but of significant assistance to assist us in resolving conflict at the
earliest possible opportunity before it turns into harassment and before it
gives rise to a harassment complaint, ultimately a decision that someone
chooses to grieve.
The spirit and intent of informal conflict
resolution assistance is to avoid the harassment and to avoid decisions that
someone would grieve.
With regard to the confidential reporting
system, I think there is a distinction to be made between what is
confidential and whether or not that becomes anonymous. It is not our view
that we will have anonymous reporting that might give rise to all sorts of
activities that are without basis. What the confidential reporting system is
designed to do is provide an additional option and avenue for members and
employees to bring concerns forward that they are not comfortable raising
with their supervisor or their line officer, that they are not comfortable
raising with their staff relations representative or their Respectful
Workplace adviser. This is another option that will allow that employee to
communicate directly with Inspector Bradley, a Respectful Workplace Program
officer, so they can feel comfortable and confident that they will get some
action or simply some information that will assist them with their issue.
Senator Day: Thank you. If I had more time,
I would have asked Mr. Watters what his role in all of this is.
The Chair: We will get back to that. We
will begin on a second round.
Senator Dallaire: You are all officers
here, as you are in uniform. To the two officers of the female gender, have
you ever heard of or had anything been brought to your attention involving
an expression still within the RCMP of "boys will be boys," which has
permitted a certain level of tolerance or bullying or that type of behaviour
as being part of the historic, cultural framework of your organization?
Ms. Woodburn: No. Absolutely not. I have
never heard that as far as my memory allows, nor is that my experience, the
"boys will be boys" ideal. Not at all. I have never felt isolated in a
female versus male perspective in my 26 plus years. No.
Ms. Bradley: Thank you for the question. I
think what I would say, and I will refer back to what Senator Wallin talked
about with the newsroom, how there are cultures within a culture. We can
speculate, I suppose, that the world moves on, things have changed. I would
say it is true that there are probably some types of behaviours in the
workplace that I had seen 27 years ago when I joined the RCMP that would be
completely out of step with what is acceptable today. I would not say they
impacted me at the time as something that — and this is, of course, my own
personal experience — I felt was harassment or that I felt was unacceptable.
I think we have changed and we continue to
change. Perhaps some of the challenges we have are when we are not quite in
step with where we need to be today.
Senator Dallaire: I am following on this
with the reforms that the Canadian Forces went through in the 1990s, having
lived similar experiences that you have and where this sort of attitude
existed. There was an enormous amount done on leadership development and
training that curtailed this. I am surprised to still hear that some
interpret this action as bullying and others interpret it as harassment and
it is difficult to establish parameters. If you have a code of conduct and a
leadership development and training process and the ethos of the institution
throughout the years of evolution are well established, then you would not
have such a variety of interpretation. I would argue that you would have a
very standard interpretation where people can readily say, "This is out of
turn and you are now charged," or whatever term you use within the RCMP.
Do you not find it a bit unusual that an
institution like yours still has such a variety of interpretation?
Ms. Woodburn: I am not sure I understand
the question correctly, but I will do my best. When I say "boys will be
boys" was not my experience, I do not mean to suggest disrespectful
workplace is necessarily absent or was absent.
With respect to the leadership training code of
conduct, by all means you will hear more about that after this session, I
believe. That is key, most definitely. I think what you will hear is that
there is a progression of training that deals with respectful workplace and
harassment as a subcomponent of that. The code of conduct, as we know, Bill
C-42, will change the RCMP Act and the code. Interpersonal relationship
policy as one of the action items is coming up. I think we are tackling it
from that perspective as well. Did I answer the question?
Senator Dallaire: We are getting there.
Thank you very much.
The Chair: What we were discussing earlier
is that people interpret things differently; what offends me may not offend
you. That is who we are and our personalities. It does not have to do with a
rule or regulation.
Did you want to jump in, Mr. Watters?
Dennis Watters, Chief Audit and Evaluation
Executive, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: I was mostly responsible for
conducting a gender-based assessment in the RCMP. That started in February
of 2012 and ended in the fall, which eventually led to the development of
the action plan.
The Chair: What exactly was your role?
Mr. Watters: In February of 2012, as a
result of things that were being reported in the media, the commissioner
asked for an objective, fact-based assessment of why there was not more
female representation in the senior ranks of the RCMP. We wanted to see if
there were any inconsistencies or gaps in either the policies for
recruitment and promotion or the application of them.
The Chair: What did you find?
Mr. Watters: We found that the policies
were gender-neutral, which was fine. However, with respect to the
application of the policies, it was not so much gender gaps as discrepancies
between males and females in some areas, recruiting being one. Applicants
have to complete a physical test prior to being admitted to "Depot." We
found a 14 per cent gender gap in success rate. We also found both external
and internal factors that members take into consideration prior to deciding
whether to apply for a promotion. The external factors were more work-life
balance. Many of the issues are more generational now as opposed to gender
The Chair: We are seeing that in the
medical profession, too.
Senator Day: Will it be your role to
analyze the outcomes of the various initiatives and objectives to determine
whether they are being achieved?
Mr. Watters: The action plan identifies two
areas where an audit will be undertaken. There was some concern regarding
the rationale for the selection of members by some line officers, and that
is included. I am proposing it to my external departmental audit committee
this week as an audit to be undertaken in the near future.
Senator Boisvenu: Your report is entitled
Gender and respect — The RCMP Action Plan. To me this implies that
you have a particular concern for the situation of women. Women make up
about 20 per cent of the 20,000-odd employees of the RCMP. Of the 1,100
complaints that were filed, is the proportion of complaints made by women
the same, that is 20 per cent from women, and 80 per cent from men? What is
the proportion of complaints filed by women, considering the fact that you
represent 20 per cent of the workforce? Is there a balance there, or an
Mr. Watters: My report did not focus on
harassment in the RCMP. It mostly looked at the reasons why there are not
more women in the RCMP.
Senator Boisvenu: You talk about equality
between the sexes and respect. Women make up 20 per cent of RCMP personnel.
Did they file 40 or 50 per cent of the complaints? This would give us an
indication about the situation of women in connection with harassment. You
do not have that information?
Mr. Watters: I do not.
Ms. Woodburn: That is an excellent
observation. I do not have the answer with any of the statistics. Of the
20,000, 20 per cent are female. I do not have the harassment complainant
statistics with me.
Senator Boisvenu: It would be interesting
to have that.
Ms. Woodburn: Yes, certainly.
The Chair: We heard from Mr. McPhail that
there were lots of reports from men as well, because it is a broader issue.
Do any of our guests in British Columbia have
any information to share on that?
Mr. Callens: No. Thank you.
Senator Lang: I would like to explore Ms.
Smith's report a little further. It is now over two years old, is it not?
Ms. Smith: It was submitted to the
commanding officer one year ago.
Senator Lang: For one year prior to that
you were putting the report together; is that correct?
Ms. Smith: No. I started the consultations
in January of 2012, and the report was completed by April.
Senator Lang: There was a point made
earlier about harassment being systemic in the organization. In the
conclusion of your report you said it is an exaggeration to suggest that it
is rampant in every aspect of the workplace, and then you go on to say that
employees want the opportunity to discuss their concerns and receive advice
in a confidential and respectful setting, et cetera.
From reviewing your report, it is clear to me
that harassment has been part of the culture for some time. You have
identified it and have made a number of recommendations that you believe
should be put in place. Do you believe that in the short period of time
since the report was made public we have been making progress in confronting
the problems that you had to deal with face to face?
Ms. Smith: I was pleased that the
commanding officer accepted the report in its entirety. I am extremely
pleased with the progress we have made. Inspector Bradley has done an
outstanding job. The recommendations that were made as a result of my
consultations are extremely consistent with what the participants provided.
We are not yet there, but we have made an incredible amount of progress in
ensuring that what the participants suggested is being implemented.
Senator Lang: A question was posed earlier
to the assistant commissioner with respect to the general policy across the
country. I want a clarification for the record, as I am somewhat confused.
British Columbia brought forward an action plan that formed the basis of the
plan for national headquarters and the RCMP throughout the country. Yet, I
think you said that at the same time individual regional commands would be
able to put their own action plans in place.
I do not see how that will work for a national
organization that needs a national framework in order to meet these
problems. Could you clarify that for the record?
Ms. Woodburn: I will clarify. The B.C.
action plan, as we have already heard, was prepared about a year before the
national action plan. When I said "borrowed," I meant that it was part of
our research, among other papers and things that made sense for us to look
at while we were writing the national action plan.
When I talk about the other divisions, it is
not an action plan that they will have. It is the Respectful Workplace
Program as per the National Action Plan. We have mandated, I guess you could
say, the other divisions to come up with their program, not an action plan.
It is a little bit different, but you are quite right, we do not want all
the divisions in the country running around with various action plans
confusing everyone. We need a national perspective on it; we need to take
the best from each division and spread it throughout the country so that it
is stronger from coast to coast.
I am sorry I misled you. I hope that clarifies
it. There will not be a lot of different action plans; there will be
respectful workplace programs in every division. They may be a little bit
different, but I do not foresee big differences.
The basic elements will be in every single one, and that is what we will be
Senator Mitchell: Commissioner Callens, I
applaud your special effort in B.C. I think this program has real promise,
and the gender-based program has real promise as well. The success of each
of those cases would be dependent upon measuring and auditing.
My first question would be to Mr. Watters and
to whomever else, and then I have another brief question after that. You
alluded to this to some extent, but do you have a structured way in place
and the resources to properly audit on a regularized basis the gender-based
Commissioner Callens, have you structured an
audit process? There are many techniques for evaluating qualitative and not
just quantitative corporate culture elements. It would be reassuring to us
and to Canadians to know that this is part of it. If you cannot measure it,
you cannot manage it.
Mr. Watters: Thank you for the question.
For example, in the action plan there was an issue about the lack of
transparency and objectivity regarding the promotional process. The action
plan came out, and one of the areas of concern in that action plan was some
validation committees to assess the applications of people and how line
officers were selecting individual members to receive the promotion. What we
have been asked to do, and I have included it in my next year's risk-based
audit plan, is look at how the validation boards do the validation of the
applicants that are submitted to them. As well, we will be assessing how the
line officers end up making the selection of a particular candidate. This is
the objective of the audit. Obviously, we will take a few cases when this
new process is put in place and assess whether it is fair and transparent.
Senator Mitchell: Commissioner Callens, you
made the point, and it is in your action plan, that you brought in outside
professional help with respect to conflict resolution. That is a great idea.
Cultural change and corporate cultural change are extremely difficult and
very complex. Have you thought about bringing in outside experts
specifically with knowledge and expertise in cultural change? I would ask
that more generally also of Commissioner Woodburn, whether at a national
level you have solicited help from cultural change experts. It is a huge and
difficult job, and it does not just happen necessarily because you have a
Mr. Callens: I will speak to it from
British Columbia. Indeed, we have engaged a number of external professionals
to assist us in understanding not only where some of our performance gaps
are in these areas but also how we can close them, whether it is Dr. Maguire
from Carleton University or professionals within British Columbia around
gender difference and how to understand and ensure those things are
considered properly within the workplace in what is the largest division in
the RCMP. We have engaged a number of those folks and continue to rely on
Ms. Woodburn: The answer from the national
perspective is no, not yet. This report, or the action plan portion, was
released February 14, 2013. In the action items here, 11.4 is the key one
that we are just about to complete, and that is the adviser. This person is
the one who will be steering and making the audit function, I guess, for the
implementation of the plan. I would imagine that it will be in this area
that help, where we need it, the experts and what have you, will be brought
The Chair: This question may be to Mr.
Watters. I am not sure who is best to answer it. When we talk about these
issues of merit in both men and women, saying that is what we want the rule
to be, in trying to prevent problems, do we get so specific in terms of
criteria and meeting standards and objectives that we miss that ability for
a senior leader to say that woman has just got what it takes, or that guy
has what it takes, and they need to move up the chain? Sometimes we take out
that human factor.
Mr. Watters: My view is that you have to
allow for some flexibility and judgment in the process. Coming out of the
assessment that we conducted, many of the members who had gone through the
process felt that, in many instances, there was too much subjectivity and
not a sufficient amount of objectivity.
The Chair: We will take one final question
from Senator Dallaire, and then we will move on. We have six people in our
Senator Dallaire: To link up with what you
are doing, you are called the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive, and I am
seeing you more in the concept of an inspector general type of person versus
an auditor, because you are looking into career matters and things like
that. I just do not like that term, when you are talking about people's
careers and a structure, to call it an audit, but it is a review process, an
inspector general process.
When I look at these problematics that have
been identified there and then I look into what Deputy Commissioner Callens
has been doing out west in his organization, I am wondering whether the
concept of 360-degree assessments, all the way around and assessing from the
bottom upward just as much as assessing downward, has been considered as an
option and whether or not civilian oversight or even participation has been
considered within the work you are doing to give you that credibility. The
troops need to know that the seniors are actually very responsive to them,
and vice versa. Have you seen a need to go beyond that?
Mr. Watters: I can speak only to my role.
Essentially, adding to the independence, I report directly to the
commissioner annually. I can say I am responsible for developing a plan as
to where I will focus my resources and what areas I will be looking at. When
we develop this plan annually, it is through wide consultation across the
force. If some of these issues would surface back then, it is something in
the plan I would be proposing to the commissioner going forward.
Senator Dallaire: It is not a permanent
process that you see yourself involved in in the career management side.
Mr. Watters: I can look at procurement, HR,
finances — pretty much all of the organization.
Senator Dallaire: I was asking Mr. Callens
about the civilian oversight and whether you needed that civilian oversight,
as the forces used extensively in the 1990s when they reformed. Do you see a
need for that to build credibility within your structure?
Mr. Callens: I am sorry, senator. I missed
the first part of your question.
Senator Dallaire: In the massive reforms at
National Defence with the Canadian Forces, they went with civilian oversight
to see and assess whether or not the leadership was actually implementing
the processes, and you had feedback from the lower ranks all the way up. Did
you not see in all these innovative ideas you have been bringing forward
that it would have helped the credibility of pushing it by having an
oversight review of what you have done by a civilian structure?
Mr. Callens: We have had tremendous success
with civilian oversight in a whole number of areas within the organization,
and I do not think it hurts us one bit. I agree with you. I think that still
is available to us, and it certainly is still a primary consideration for
us. I would say that in my particular case, in the face of what I thought
demanded urgent action, we took action. However, I do not think I would want
to leave anyone with the impression that we are not continually open to
further refinement of our response to what we all consider to be a
The Chair: Thank you all very much, and
particularly those in British Columbia. I know it is difficult to hear and
go through the translation. We appreciate your willingness and your patience
on that. To our guests here, thank you so much for being with us.
We will welcome our new panel, having now dealt
with a minor technical issue. We have with us today from Regina, from RCMP
"Depot" Division, which is the RCMP Academy, Assistant Commissioner Roger
Brown, Commanding Officer; and Christine Hudy, Training Programs Evaluation
and Support Curriculum Development.
With us here in Ottawa we have Deputy
Commissioner Daniel Dubeau, Chief Human Resources Officer for the RCMP;
Matthew Venneri, Acting Director for National Performance Programs, Learning
and Development; Sergeant Richard Davis, from the RCMP's Workplace Relations
Services Directorate; and Superintendent Michael O'Rielly, Director,
Legislative Reform Initiative — Bill C-42 — so we will be talking about that
Deputy Commissioner Dubeau, I think you have an
Daniel Dubeau, Deputy Commissioner, Chief Human
Resources Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Good evening, Madam
Chair, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this
opportunity to speak to you.
I am Dan Dubeau, the RCMP’s Chief Human
Resources Officer. Appearing with me this evening are my colleagues Michael
O’Rielly, Director, Legislative Reform Initiative, Sergeant Richard Davis,
Workplace Relations Services Directorate, and Matthew Venneri, Acting
Director, National Performance Programs, Learning and Development.
Also joining me via videoconference from
"Depot" Division are Roger Brown, Commanding Officer, and Christine Hudy,
Training Programs Support and Evaluation.
The issue of harassment is one that the RCMP
takes very seriously. Today I would like to provide you with an overview of
our programs that demonstrate the RCMP’s commitment to provide a safe and
respectful work environment, free of discrimination, offensive behaviour and
harassment for all employees.
As you know, Commissioner Bob Paulson recently
appeared before two parliamentary committees to discuss this topic. He
highlighted our gender and respect action plan as well as the Commission for
Public Complaints Against the RCMP's report on harassment in the RCMP and
the 11 recommendations it contained. All recommendations were notionally
accepted by the commissioner. In fact, the RCMP has already advanced in most
of them including the oversight of the harassment complaint process, the
development of service standards to guide the harassment process and a new
guide on how to prevent and deal with harassment, which will be distributed
in the next few weeks. However, our efforts to prevent workplace harassment
start at day one of the 24-week Cadet Training Program. Throughout their
time at "Depot," cadets are continuously reminded that they have to make the
right choices while on duty and off and that need to come forward to report
The time spent on topics related to harassment
in the training program is significant. In fact, it is comparable to time
spent on other key topics, such as powers of arrest and release, risk
assessment and interviewing. The importance of a respectful workplace and
ethical behaviour is a recurring theme woven throughout the program. In the
first days of their orientation, the commanding officer discusses the rules
and regulations applicable to cadets while in training and emphasizes that
these expectations will follow them throughout their careers.
It is reinforced that each individual cadet has
a role, as a member of the troop, to stand up and speak out if they witness
any troop mates committing wrongdoing, such as harassment, bullying, lying
or cheating, as these behaviours are not tolerated in "Depot" or the RCMP.
Throughout the training, a cadet is assessed by all facilitators on a set of
standards and will receive an unacceptable rating if they treat others with
disrespect or insensitivity. In fact, immediate termination of the contract
will result if the cadet is involved in misconduct or criminal activity
while in the training program or involved in incidents of harassment or
discrimination where counselling
is judged to be an insufficient or inappropriate intervention given the
nature of the incident, or where counselling was provided and ignored.
The cadets are advised in numerous sessions to
become familiar with these standards as this is how they will be assessed.
Following their graduation from Depot, new members go through a six-month
Field Coaching Program. Here, they are assessed and are expected to meet a
series of competencies addressing the RCMP core values. All field coaches
assigned to these new members are mandated to successfully complete a Field
Coach Course. The course addresses harassment in the workplace including
scenarios and debriefing on workplace harassment issues.
As well, the RCMP implemented a mandatory
online harassment prevention training course for all employees. Currently,
94 per cent of our employees have completed it. The RCMP is working to
establish a respectful workplace program nationwide, an item in the gender
and respect action plan. The program sets out the expectations for all
employees on what constitutes a respectful and harassment-free workplace and
outlines how to recognize when these expectations are not being met, how to
engage in early intervention and how to build relationships. Recognizing
that supervisors are the first to deal with harassment complaints, the RCMP
provides training for new supervisors and managers that focuses on managing
workplace relations, promoting a respectful workplace and applying a
harassment investigative process. Both the supervisors’ and the managers’
development programs have a session solely dedicated to ensuring a
respectful and healthy workplace. The RCMP's Officer Orientation &
Development Course is undergoing a major redesign and is currently piloting
modules on managing workplace relations and the prevention and resolution of
harassment in the workplace. Finally, if passed, Bill C-42 will
significantly help the RCMP deal with harassment.
The initiatives I have spoken of today
demonstrate how the RCMP is continuously making improvements to our policies
and procedures that assist in maintaining a safe, healthy and respectful
workplace for all our RCMP employees.
Thank you. My colleagues and I would be pleased
to respond to any questions.
The Chair: With the coach system, the field
coaches, once an officer is assigned out, is that someone they would call?
They are three months out on post and they have a question. Is that the
person they would call?
Mr. Dubeau: Actually, the field coach is
the person that is with them for up to six months and they mentor them
through the whole program. They are with them for calls and as they become
more competent and pass certain stages, they go on their own. However, that
is who they discuss their issues with and who mentors them through the
process of becoming full-fledged police officers.
Senator Dallaire: First, for the commander
of "Depot," Assistant Commissioner Brown, I am an artillery officer and one
day we are going to make a patrol down there and get those two guns that you
have from us from the northwest campaign. You better put some guards out;
they are precious to the artillery and not just to you guys.
You called the candidates who came into your
"Depot" cadets. When they graduate, what do you call them?
Roger Brown, Assistant Commissioner, Commanding
Officer, "Depot" Division, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: They become
regular members upon successful completion of the entire Cadet Training
Program. They would be sworn in and presented their badge on the last day of
training, at which time they go out to their detachments, and that is when
they are introduced to their field coach. Then they start their six-month
field coaching program.
Senator Dallaire: They graduate as a member
of the RCMP. Is that their official title?
Mr. Brown: They are a cadet and upon
graduation they are a regular member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Senator Dallaire: How do you instill the
ethos of your corps when everyone is calling you employees versus those in
uniform who are ranked and have titles? Civilians have ranks and titles. I
know you are the RCMP team, but why have you created this sort of
terminology of employee and management when in fact you are a commanding
officer and as such have command responsibilities to subordinates and not to
employees in the context of that?
The reason I ask is that it seems to me there
is a question of how you are instilling this ethos and culture within your
institution with regard to those in uniform versus those in civilian dress.
Mr. Brown: I will speak, primarily. The
majority of the teaching staff here are regular members. We have a component
of civilian members as well, plus a large component of public service
employees who make up the entire "Depot" division from an employee
perspective. When the cadets come in, they are introduced to the
organization as a cadet in training with a goal of becoming a regular member
of the RCMP. They are in uniform for their entire training, albeit the
distinction between them is that they wear cadet epaulets as opposed to a
rank insignia and are not referred to as "constables."
They go downtown on drives and into the City of
Regina for various training programs and cannot be distinguished as a
regular member of the RCMP because they have not completed the training. As
they go through the training, they achieve different parts of their uniform
through a variety of ways. The most common way is from having completed
parts of the training program itself, and then they go on to receive all
their uniforms prior to graduating and becoming full members of the RCMP.
Throughout the whole training program, there is
a clear distinction that they are cadets in training and not regular
members. That program was initiated in the mid-1990s, between 1993 and 1994,
when we put in the first version of the Cadet Training Program. Today we are
at version 8, which means we have had several reincarnations of the program,
all with the goal of making the program up-to-date and inclusive of topics
such as the one we are dealing with today.
There is a distinction, if you will, in that
the cadets are not employees. We do not have the employee-employer
relationship with the cadets, who are in training. The most important part
for us to zero in on is the fact that because it is a training agreement, if
you will, under the Cadet Training Program there are stipulations with
respect to what they have to do to complete the program. The RCMP Act, as an
example, does not apply. If we have a cadet who does not meet a particular
portion of the program, we can deal with that. If we have a cadet in
training who does not meet what we believe falls under the core values of
the RCMP, we can deal with that outside the grievance process and the RCMP
Act, which allows us to have a different relationship. I am not sure if it
zeroes in on the point of exactly how they feel, but we have conscientiously
made the decision since the mid-1990s that cadets in training are on a
training contract and become members upon successful completion and moving
Mr. Dubeau: We have a rank structure in the
RCMP, being a police organization. We have to respond to certain situations
where we need that rank structure in place in case of emergencies and where
you need a command and control to happen. We call all our police employees
of the force regardless of which act they are sworn under. We are a team,
and we have to respect each other regardless of which act we fall under.
Some of us wear our uniforms and have our respective rank on our shoulders.
We are trying to work through the culture by saying we are all together on
this and looking at the same goal of public safety. We are all members of a
team. Regardless of your rank and which act you are sworn under, you are a
member of the RCMP and an employee of the RCMP. We call ourselves "members"
because under the RCMP Act we are members. We are all employees of this
organization and members of this team; and we have to treat ourselves with
Senator Dallaire: I am harping on this
because you are different in that you are part of an institution. You
project yourself across the country as different. Look at all the red serge
uniforms we see across the country. You have become an icon, and the levels
of respect for you and what is demanded of you are high. In the 1990s, the
force went through a horrific time with the media, and you are going through
a terrible time, which should be expected because of that demand for a high
standard. I am picking up that we are looking at the RCMP generally and not
at its core entity — the uniformed corps of the RCMP; and I am not
denigrating anybody else. The structure is military with its rank structure,
not unlike what we see in other places, and people show deference to that
rank. Should it not be an institution with an ability to influence that
ethos and culture and to eradicate some of the scenarios we have seen
repeated without having to revert to more systemic general responses versus
responses specific to those in uniform?
Mr. Dubeau: I agree. I believe that the
gender-based assessment was focused at uniformed members. Many of our action
plans are focused on the regular member or police officer. There is a higher
expectation because of the nature of the business we do and how visible we
are. We expect a lot from our members. The commissioner made it clear that
he has a high expectation of all employees, but as a police officer he has a
higher expectation to deal with people with respect and professionalism.
That is why most of our action plans contain a big focus on the regular
member component of the house, which is the police officer side of the
Senator Lang: I would like to direct a
question to our representatives from the "Depot" Division in Regina. In your
speaking notes, it is clear that a lot of work has been done in the Cadet
Training Program to bring forward the question of harassment and
highlighting it, and the importance of dealing with it on an ongoing basis.
For how long has the topic of harassment and its apparent priority on the
agenda with "Depot" been in place with respect to the training program?
Christine Hudy, Training Programs Evaluation
and Support Curriculum Development, "Depot" Division, Royal Canadian Mounted
Police: The mechanisms and the method with which we present the material
on harassment have been in place since the mid-1990s when we moved to the
Cadet Training Program from the recruit training. Its basic structure has
been in place since the mid-1990s.
Senator Lang: Mr. O'Rielly has the
distinction of being the Director of Legislative Reform Initiative on Bill
C-42. What further has to be put in place to deal with questions of
harassment and other aspects of the organization?
Mr. O'Rielly, could you outline for us the
importance of Bill C-42 as it relates to harassment and what it will do to
give the force another tool to meet these problems within the organization?
Superintendent Michael O'Rielly, Director,
Legislative Reform Initiative, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: The
important piece with Bill C-42 is that it would allow the commissioner to
overcome a dichotomy that we have been working under since the early 2000s
when Treasury Board first came out with a harassment policy. The Treasury
Board harassment policy is designed well in terms of awareness, prevention
and early resolution. The resolution and investigation component of that
policy is well designed for the core public administration. However, we, as
the RCMP, run into a challenge. If there is an administrative investigation
into an allegation, for example harassment, and if a disciplinary sanction
or measure were to be imposed at the end of the process, it would demand
under the legislation, Part IV of the RCMP Act, that the conduct or
disciplinary process be followed in place of the Treasury Board policy
investigation process as set out by Treasury Board.
As I said, the only process we have in the RCMP
to investigate a contravention or alleged contravention of the code of
conduct under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and take it before a
conduct board or an appropriate officer or decision maker at some level
within the RCMP is to follow the legislated steps. The challenge we run into
is that the RCMP Act does not allow for certain components of the Treasury
Board investigation process. We need to bear in mind that the Treasury Board
process is designed very much to enhance and repair relationship breakdowns,
assist people in the workplace to overcome disagreements, in some cases take
the necessary steps to protect complainants, and to address disrespectful
behaviour. As a result, a complainant under the Treasury Board policy when
there is an investigation has the right to receive a copy of the draft
investigation report and make representations in terms of that report. You
also have the ability to understand and be told what has happened to the
investigation and, if discipline has been imposed, what the discipline is.
That happens under the Treasury Board process. Once the RCMP Act is evoked
and the code of conduct investigation is initiated, we lose that capacity
because the legislation does not permit the release of a draft investigation
Part IV of the RCMP Act does not provide for an
ability to involve the complainant much more than as a witness if there
happens to be a disciplinary hearing. If they are not a witness, they do not
have a part to play in the code of conduct process. That is designed to have
the management of the RCMP, through the chain of command, address
contravention of the code of conduct as between management and the specific
employee. The complainant is left out in the dark.
Bill C-42 would provide the ability for the
commissioner to establish, under the commissioner's standing orders, which
is a regulatory instrument, a new form of conduct investigation that would
be specific to harassment. As a complainant, once I have made my complaint,
it goes through a process that looks exactly the same whether it is
investigated under the Treasury Board policy or under the RCMP, including
incorporation of the RCMP Act, because it will still remain consistent that,
if the ranking officer wishes to pursue conduct measures against me as a
respondent, it will still have to go through Part IV. However, it would be a
modified version of a conduct investigation, which would allow for the
release of a draft investigation report, for the parties, if they find it
agreeable, to attempt another effort at informal resolution and for the
complainant, once the decision has been made and if a conduct measure is
imposed, to be advised of that.
The other piece we are looking at is the code
of conduct. We are reviewing the code of conduct right now to determine
whether we will be including harassment as a contravention of the code of
conduct or whether we will leave it as it is right now, as disgraceful
conduct. This is, again, in an effort to ensure that, when someone complains
of harassment, we are able to zero in with a single process that can address
their concerns from start to finish.
Senator Plett: Deputy commissioner, you
said that cadets will receive an unacceptable rating if they treat others
with disrespect or insensitivity, and you outlined how that will happen and
so on and so forth. I have a couple of questions around that.
In the last five years, how many cadets would
have received an unacceptable rating, and how many cases are there at
"Depot" on issues like this? Overall, in the report on RCMP workplace
harassment, we see that the RCMP are about the seventh worst, if you want to
use that terminology. There are about six police services in Canada that are
worse. Is it the same at "Depot"? What number of cadets would have received
the unacceptable rating?
Mr. Dubeau: May I direct that question to
Assistant Commissioner Brown?
The Chair: Absolutely. Go ahead.
Mr. Brown: Thank you very much for your
question. It is not uncommon for a "U" to be issued to cadets throughout the
training program because you get a U from a curriculum perspective. You
could get a U, which is "unsatisfactory," for driving, shooting, police
defensive tactics and the like. It is not just in the area of harassment or
improper conduct that that is used in the assessment process.
I went back and looked at our records from 2000
to today. There were actually six files that were specific to harassment
where all cadets did not complete training. Five were actually terminated,
under the cadet training process, because of issues that surfaced —
inappropriate sexual comments and inappropriate actions with respect to
harassment. To answer your question specifically, there were six between
2000 and today.
In other areas under the core values, if there
are areas with respect to dishonesty and questions of integrity, compassion
and respect, those would also constitute an "NI," which means "needs
improvement." That is behaviour that raises a red flag, and that goes
through an assessment process. If it is felt that a cadet's behaviour can be
corrected and that they can meet all of the core values, they will indeed
graduate. If it is a U, which stands for unsatisfactory, that immediately
constitutes a file review through the system, which would go through the
senior NCO or the staff sergeant at the applied police science section. It
would then go to inspector level, in my building here, and then to the cadet
training officer, who would make a decision as to whether or not that file
should result in a termination based on the allegations.
That whole process, from the time a cadet is
issued a U for inappropriate behaviour to that extent, could take anywhere
from 24 to 48 hours as it works through the process. We then also have a
process, on our human resources side of the house, for an independent review
of the files to ensure that everything that was done indeed meets the
criteria set out in the Cadet Training Program so that if, subsequent to the
termination, it worked its way through the Federal Court or outside
legislative world, we would have everything documented and be able to
substantiate the decision made here at "Depot."
Senator Plett: Of those six, how many were
gender-based, sexual harassment cases? In that period of time — I think you
said from 2000 until today — how many cadets have gone through "Depot"?
Mr. Brown: I can tell you that I have been
here for four and half years, and almost 5,000 have graduated from "Depot"
in the time that I have been here. That was from 2009 onwards. That is when
we were at the peak of training. That is when we had upwards of 56 troops a
year. Prior to that, the numbers were a little lower but a fairly
substantial number. If you go back to 2000, you are probably talking about
7,000 or so members in the field now that would have graduated in that time
Senator Plett: I do not know whether you
answered the question about how many were of a sexual nature or
Mr. Brown: All terminations were males.
Five were terminated, and one chose to resign prior to the termination
process being completed.
Senator Plett: Thank you.
Senator Nolin: I will direct my question to
Assistant Commissioner Brown. Following on the previous question, using
those six cases as a trigger, did you introduce psychological evaluation of
Mr. Brown: That has always been part of the
process from the initial recruiting process onwards. We actually have staff
here, professionals in that particular area. If we see that a case warrants
a referral for that particular reason, we do that. That could actually be
done before the termination process would take place.
Senator Nolin: It is a step at the end of
evaluation, not a prerequisite for everybody?
Mr. Brown: In the recruiting process, it is
a prerequisite, yes.
Senator Nolin: It is for everybody?
Mr. Brown: Yes.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you to everybody
for being here. I would like to start with Mr. Dubeau. In your presentation,
you mentioned that both the Supervisor Development Program and the Manager
Development Program have sessions solely dedicated to ensuring a respectful
and healthy workplace. Mr. McPhail's report pointed out that, of the 1,872
people who enrolled in the Supervisor Development Program over the period of
time that he studied, only 699 completed it. In the case of the Manager
Development Program, of the 699, coincidentally, who had started that, only
276 had completed it. Therefore, the program is not much good if people are
not completing it. Have you rectified that? If not, what steps will you take
to do that?
Mr. Dubeau: To rectify that issue, we have
had a conversation with our commanding officers, and we have drilled it down
to all the people who are actually supporting the people who come into the
programs. You are investing in this employee to go into the program, so we
expect them to finish it.
We have gone to our commanding officers and
re-emphasized to all our people that when you send employees into a program,
they have to finish it. It is a one-year to 18-month program; you cannot
just go for 10 days in the classroom and that is it. You have to actually do
the rest of it to be certified.
We have re-emphasized that. The commissioners
had a conversation with all commanding officers, re-emphasizing the
expectation that everyone sent into a program will complete it. There is an
expectation of 100 per cent completion rate. We will now be tracking and
monitoring that to ensure it is 100 per cent.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you. Much is made
both in your testimony and in the earlier panel of the Respectful Workplace
Program. A lot of emphasis has been placed on that and a lot of hope, I
expect, in the force as well.
Mr. Callens has a unique program in British
Columbia in addition to this. Why is it that if this special program is
needed in B.C. it is not being done nationally? Second, what resources, what
money have been allocated to the Respectful Workplace Program in total on a
national basis to make that program work?
Mr. Dubeau: What B.C. has done is specific
to B.C. because of their infrastructure; there are almost 10,000 employees
there. Through our HR component and HR service delivery arm, we are now
meeting with a group from B.C. and finding out the best practices they have
put in place. The commissioner has asked every commanding officer to pick up
some of the best practices and communicate them across the country instead
of having a national gathering. Look at your division or your province and
gear it to your province. That was the intent. There is a national
I now have a working group that has been set
up. It is kind of a steering committee to understand what is happening
across the country and where we are going with this program. The
commissioners have said it will be part of our performance agreements, so
every commanding officer will have to explain how they have rolled this out
in their division and how it has worked. Did it work? Not just roll it out
but ensure that it works. That is the first part.
As to your second question of how much money we
have for the Respectful Workplace Program, I do not have those figures in
front of me. I could try to get them. We are building it now from a national
perspective. As part of Bill C-42, what would a national program look like?
Then we will put money towards it. It would be a reinvestment of the
internal resources to make it work.
Senator Mitchell: You would be able to give
us a budgetary figure? We would like to see that.
Mr. Dubeau: I will provide that.
Senator Mitchell: That would be great.
It is one thing to have this measurement, if
that is the right word, in the agreements you have with your senior
officers, but what about a structured audit that goes through the 37 points
in your gender-based analysis, that goes through Commissioner Callens'
program? What about a structured annual audit? Do you have one? Do you have
the capacity and the money to do it?
Mr. Dubeau: Currently, we do not have one
in place. However, under the CPC report, as you can see, they talk about an
evaluation piece. Even though their report is about harassment, they talk
about a structured evaluation of these programs. We are saying it is not
just harassment, but there are bullying and other behaviours we want to
We do have the capacity internally to do this.
We have our evaluation team. We have already had initial discussions about
how that would work so we can start evaluating our programs and ensure they
are working. If they are not working, how can we modify them to work better?
The Chair: I would like to put a question
to Ms. Hudy and Mr. Venneri as well. When you start to see these changes and
you work things into your programs that you are offering, how easy is that
to do? We have heard from previous witnesses here today that the times are
changing, you have to reflect that, you have more women in the organization.
Do you have to move heaven and earth to do this, or can you make a
recommendation, Ms. Hudy, for example, saying "let us fix the following
Ms. Hudy: Yes. Actually, we have the
flexibility in our unit to make changes to the Cadet Training Program very
rapidly. To give you an example of that, the CHRO came out with an
announcement last Thursday indicating that we have new resources as
employees for the prevention and resolution of workplace harassment. We were
able to look at those new resources on Thursday, assess which of them were
applicable for implementation into the Cadet Training Program, and those
that we identified as being relevant will actually be in place as of
Matthew Venneri, Acting Director, National
Performance Programs, Learning and Development, Royal Canadian Mounted
Police: Same thing for national performance programs, whether it be the
field coaching, supervisor and manager development or the Officer
Orientation Development Course. We, in effect, control the policy. We can do
an overturn overnight. Same example that came out of "Depot" with the
announcement that CHRO made last Thursday. We actually sent out an email
today to all our performance centres across the country to adapt our
programs to the new resources available.
The Chair: That will happen tomorrow?
Mr. Venneri: That will happen tomorrow and
will be implemented immediately.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senator Day: I have a series of short
questions that will help me understand. If I could start with Commissioner
Brown. First, is each troop made up only of women or only men, or do you
have troops that are a mixture of men and women?
Mr. Brown: All troops have a mixture of men
and women. Traditionally, the troops in the past have been 32 persons per
troop. The last few that came in have been 24. The makeup of the troop is
not prescribed coming in. Right now, of all the cadets on base, there are
134 cadets on base, and 41 per cent of the cadets on base right now are
female mixed through the troops.
Senator Day: I have been under the
impression that the men you are recruiting, the males you are recruiting are
more mature and older than they used to be when you were a recruit. Is that
Mr. Brown: The average age of the recruits
right now is around 27. That is for a number of reasons.
I do not think there is a big difference
between the men and the women cadets, to be quite frank. Some of the female
cadets here now have always wanted to be members of the RCMP and for a
variety of reasons, whether it is family, kids, other jobs or whatever, had
to wait for the opportune time.
With respect to maturity, obviously someone who
is 27 probably has more life experience than I did when I came here at the
age of 20 some 30 years ago. However, there is a good mix between the male
and female cadets. I can say quite honestly that with the cadets here on
base right now and the ones who have graduated since I have been here, I
always put two sets of criteria on the table: Would I work with that
individual, and how would I feel if they were to back up my son on a call
working at a detachment in Newfoundland? It is not as much about age. They
are very competent.
Senator Day: You answered the point I was
getting to. I wanted to determine whether there was a difference in age
because you are increasing the intake of women and you are bringing in
perhaps younger women with more mature men. That was the point I wanted to
get to, and you said that is not the case.
Mr. Brown: No. You are going to see the
occasional male and female cadets who are very young — 19, 20, 21 — and the
occasional male and female cadet in their mid to late thirties, averaging
out at 27 with a variety of life experience on both sides of the fence, both
of whom are very competent, committed people who are here because they want
to be here and want to make a difference in the communities where they will
serve across Canada.
Senator Day: Let me finish this line of
questioning with Commissioner Dubeau, if I may. Has any analysis been done
on harassment, particularly sexual harassment, where you are looking at age
differences between the male and female involved in the problem?
Mr. Dubeau: I will look to my colleague. I
do not think we have. I know we have the statistics, but we have not done
Senator Day: So you cannot help us with
Senator Dallaire: Sergeant Davis, you are
the first NCO we have seen. I hope we see more in the process because of the
significance of the endeavour. I am trying to figure out your duties in the
Workplace Relations Services Directorate. Are you handling both the
civilians and the RCMP uniformed members, or is there a different structure?
Sergeant Richard Davis, Workplace Relations
Services Directorate, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you for the
question. The Workplace Relations Services Directorate is responsible for
the oversight of the harassment policies for both regular members and
civilian members as well as public service employees. We are also a new
directorate in that in 2008 there was a vision to develop respectful
workplace policies, of which harassment is part. It has been a slow journey
as we work toward creating a respectful environment for all employees and
Senator Dallaire: You are the main man in
this, the front line of bringing this process to maturity. You have gathered
background material, experiences, lessons learned and so on. Do you have a
formal process for feeding that into the education of officers, NCOs and the
other ranks by influencing the curriculum at "Depot"?
Mr. Davis: Most specifically, we provide
feedback to Mr. Venneri and his team with learning and development. As they
develop and acquire subject matter experts, we provide oversight and opinion
for the RCMP on course development to provide that training. We liaise with
Treasury Board and other federal government agencies on best practices, and
we try to share those through our chain of command.
Senator Dallaire: Does that include the
Mr. Davis: Yes.
Senator Dallaire: You are a directorate.
Are directorates not usually commanded by officers? I am looking at your
ribbons and wondering about your background for doing that job. Did you get
forced into it or were you happy to take it?
Mr. Davis: When I was in Alberta, I worked
in Complaints Administrative Investigation Support Services, which entailed
dealing hands on with internal complaints against employees and managing
harassment complaints for the division. I had the opportunity to come to
Ottawa to work on professional standards from a policy perspective, so it
was a growth position for me. Before coming here, I also had a chance to go
on a UN mission. Upon returning, I had the opportunity to work with
Superintendent O'Rielly in the development of this Workplace Relations
Services Directorate. The vision was to integrate like-minded policy centres
such as harassment, informal conflict management and grievances so that we
could get a synergy going. Conflict is conflict, be it harassment-related or
a simple dispute over a meal claim. Early resolution is the key. We wanted
to develop a directorate that could ensure that the divisions were using
informal conflict management appropriately, and we are continuing that
Mr. Dubeau: You are correct that there is
usually an officer in charge of a directorate. Mr. Davis is one of our
subject matter experts and I thought it was important for him to come today
to give you that detail. He also reports to a DG, who is another officer,
under the occupational health and safety umbrella. The DG just came from the
Canadian Forces and has brought many best practices from the CF to us, and
our existing tight link has become much tighter.
Senator Dallaire: A most appropriate
Senator Lang: I want to return to the
courses that are provided at "Depot." I asked earlier when the courses on
harassment were brought forward and was told it was in the mid-1990s, if I
am not mistaken. Perhaps you could update us on how the course is presented
and how it has changed since then. This has obviously become a more serious
issue both within the organization and at "Depot." Could you expand on where
you were generally in 1990 and where you are now?
Mr. Brown: From the mid-1990s, when we
started with version 1, until today with version 8, the intent has been to
modernize the program in keeping with the current needs of policing in
Canada. When we have something very topical, such as healthy workplaces, the
new version of the program allows us to implement what is required at that
time to ensure that we are meeting the needs going forward.
As Mr. Dubeau mentioned at the beginning, the
issue of harassment-free or respectful workplaces is a huge component that
is woven through the entire six-month program. At a very high level, the
intent is for the 24 weeks at "Depot" to be viewed almost as a 24-week job
interview. Cadets live together. Core values such as honesty, respect,
accountability, professionalism and the like are evaluated in that 24-week
period. If something surfaces that shows us that a cadet does not have what
is required, we can deal with it from that perspective.
Ms. Hudy can go into the specific modules and
the specific time frames in much more detail to hopefully give you a sense
of comfort on how that is woven into the program.
Ms. Hudy: As an educator who formatively
and summatively evaluates educational programs as my job, I feel that the
bones of our training in relation to harassment have always been rather
good. We have made a couple of significant changes over the last few years.
We changed the scenario that we use to present that material. The Cadet
Training Program is a problem-based learning program, which basically means
that everything the cadets learn is taught within the context of
representative problems that they would typically face as police officers in
the field, so when we teach them about harassment, we teach that material in
the same way. We give them a scenario. In the current version of the program
they become aware of an incident of harassment that has happened at the
training academy and the commanding officer asks the cadets to come up with
solutions for dealing with harassment at the academy. That is how we begin
to introduce the topic and devolve that material.
In 2006, the RCMP came up with an online
harassment course that is mandatory training for all employees. That was
also integrated into the Cadet Training Program. It is one of our formal
benchmarks in the program, meaning that cadets cannot graduate from the
Cadet Training Program without successfully passing that course.
In 2009, we made what we believe is a very
positive change. We implemented a new position called the cadet resource
liaison. We felt it was important for the cadets to have someone apart from
the program who could present an objective opinion, who was not involved in
teaching or assessing them. This person is someone they can go to whenever
issues arise for them during training, including incidents of harassment. If
a cadet feels that he or she is being harassed, this person helps the cadet
get the help needed to resolve the situation.
Senator Plett: Going back again to the
report and where the RCMP stands on it, there are three police services in
the report that have a better rating than the RCMP, although I do commend
the RCMP for where they are, and certainly for where they are with the cadet
program. I think what you have achieved and are continuing to achieve is
Earlier, Assistant Commissioner Sharon Woodburn
mentioned that the national force had learned some stuff from "E" Division,
and vice versa, and they had collaborated in their planning.
What are we generally doing collaboratively
with police forces that have a zero rate of harassment? Unfortunately, we do
not have the size of the police forces in the report. Are we working
collaboratively with them to see what they have done right to maintain a
perfect record? Are we working with any private or public organizations,
either at home or abroad, to try to develop some of the programs?
Mr. O'Rielly: Thank you for the question.
As Sergeant Davis was saying, as we were building the Workplace Relations
Services Directorate starting back in 2008, we spent a lot of time looking
at some of the best practices from around the world. The Australian defence
force was actually one of the first pieces that we found on a respectful
workplace. It was a very interesting structure that they were putting
together. It was just recently evaluated, and they have run into some bumps
that they need to overcome. Ottawa Police Service is one we have worked with
quite closely. They were developing a respectful workplace program at the
same time we were.
During the development of Bill C-42 and Bill
C-43, the precursors or feeder pieces of legislation that died on the Order
Paper back in 2011, we did quite a lot of speaking with some of the
departments out of Justice down in the United States, so security service,
the navy after the Tailhook scandal, some of the lessons learned there, and
also the Canadian Forces, because we share that military/paramilitary
history and structure. A lot of what was done in the Canadian Forces, the
way they have sought to balance the component of the strict regimented
approach, command and control over discipline and lining it up with the
softer skills, especially through their alternative dispute resolution
program, was something we worked closely with in developing and mirroring a
lot of their skill sets. We brought over one of their experts to help us set
up our informal conflict management system.
These are all very much works in progress as
the RCMP responds to and plans for some of the changes contained in Bill
C-42 and some of the issues that have been brought forward in recent
history, or recent times since 2011 at any rate. The focus is that if there
is a best practice out there, we will track it down. As Ms. Smith was saying
when she was conducting her research, and also as Deputy Commissioner
Callens said, they spent a lot of time going through literature on this very
subject. It really is a process of continuous learning that we need to chase
down, and it does not stop. I would suggest that even once we establish a
program, someone else will develop something better and we will be chasing
that down as well.
The Chair: Thank you for that context.
Senator Mitchell: I think we are all
encouraged to see that there is a program in place and you are developing
the workplace respect program, but we are not getting a clear or definitive
answer that you have budget allocated. I am not saying you are being
evasive. I am saying there is nothing definitive about an audit process. Why
would we really believe there is this fundamental commitment if you are not
putting any money behind it and you have not yet set up a process to measure
it? You cannot manage anything if you cannot measure it. Where is the
commitment? Convince me that this will work and that you are really behind
this. Why would we believe that?
Mr. Dubeau: We have heard the commissioner
speak about it. He made the commitment. He has directed all of us, in no
uncertain terms, that there is commitment and we are all committed to this.
This is a matter of leadership, and he expects us to lead our organizations.
There is a full commitment to get this going. He has been clear on that.
From our perspective, that is why it was included in the gender-based
management action plan. It is included in there that we will be doing some
stuff. It was in the CPC, which he has already agreed on the de-evaluation
piece. A whole bunch of commitments were made that we will do this.
We do have budgets for our people.
Unfortunately I do not have the numbers tonight. We do have people out there
doing harassment and informal conflict management. It is to get those
numbers together, because they are all over the place. We have to get them
together, and we will get you those numbers.
The commitment has been made clearly by the
commissioner to all the commanding officers. Many of the commanding officers
have picked up on the commitment and are doing things. You heard Deputy
Commissioner Callens. Just the other day I got something from the commanding
officer in Manitoba doing very similar things there. He is saying he has the
public service employment survey, but he also said they are now doing a
second action plan, but he is also going to do more. He wants to bring in
some of the expertise that was working in "E" Division in B.C. and he wants
them to look at his division and see how he can get better. You have our
commanding officer in "K" Division. Everyone is highly committed now because
nobody likes what is going on. We want to do better. We are all proud
members. Every employee of the force is proud, and no one likes what is
going on right now. We believe we are a good organization and we want to be
a better organization.
Senator Mitchell: Paul Kennedy, the former
commissioner of the CPC, in his testimony to the House of Commons said that
they were looking at about 80 code of conduct cases a year in British
Columbia, and it was almost never that someone was dismissed, no matter how
serious those cases were. In fact, as many as one-third of those cases were
Criminal Code violations. In the process of this cultural change that you
have launched yourself on, do you think there will be a change of the view
about Criminal Code violations and people will actually be charged and those
charges will be pursued? Is that something different? Has that been
Mr. Dubeau: I believe the commissioner
talked about dark-hearted behaviour. That is exactly what he is talking
about. He is saying he will not tolerate that in this organization, nor does
he expect anybody to, and he made it clear he will hold anyone accountable
that tolerates that type of behaviour.
Senator Mitchell: That means that people
will be charged?
Mr. Dubeau: Yes.
Senator Lang: I think it is important for
the record to hear regarding Senator Mitchell's question about whether or
not budgetary allocations have been made in respect to looking forward to
the new legislation that will be a part of the pillar of this in dealing
with harassment, and also from the point of view of the complaints
commission. My understanding is that there is an additional $5 million, just
under $5 million, for the complaints commission looking forward, and an
additional just under $10 million for the RCMP to deal with the issues that
we are talking about here today. Is that not correct? Maybe Superintendent
O'Rielly could speak to that.
Mr. O'Rielly: Yes, sir. As the minister
stated in the previous committee appearance at the house, up to $9.8 million
is coming to the RCMP in support of the implementation of Bill C-42.
Unfortunately, I do not have the breakdown of where it will all end up at
this point in time. That will be part of a Treasury Board submission, and we
do not have that prepared at this point.
Senator Lang: Just for the record, there is
budgetary allocation, which I agree with Senator Mitchell is important so
that we can implement it.
Senator Day: We normally vote budget
allocation after the law comes into effect as opposed to the other way
around. I will have to check on that to ensure that this $9.8 million is in
fact for Bill C-42, which has not been passed by Parliament yet. That would
be an interesting process if that is in fact the case.
I have just a couple of short questions. I am
trying to get a feeling for the new realities. Are you paying your recruits
or your cadets during the time they are at "Depot"?
Mr. Dubeau: Yes, there is a cadet
allowance. I would have to ask Mr. Brown to give you the exact amount.
Senator Day: Are you paying them again now?
You stopped for a while.
Mr. Brown: The Prime Minister came out here
in 2009, and cadets have been paid $500 a week allowance for their 24 weeks
in training. That was implemented, has continued and
is still ongoing today.
Senator Day: They get everything else, such
as their uniforms and quarters, and they do not pay anything to go there; is
Mr. Brown: No, it is all-inclusive.
Senator Day: That is unlike Holland
College, for example, where individuals pay to go, and it is longer than six
months. Do you think six months is long enough to instill the doctrine and
the way of doing things for the rest of their lives that you want to instill
Mr. Brown: I am very comfortable with the
time period that we have the cadets here for. Following "Depot," they go to
the field for their six-month field coaching. The training is a year,
overall. Under Ms. Hudy's world in her leadership, the way the cadet program
is set out now in a problem-based setting, we are confident that the cadet
meets what is required of them to go out and do the job in the field.
I have no issues with the time frame that we
have the cadets here. A lot of them come in with previous educational
background, and a lot of them have a variety of life experiences,
educational background and whatnot. We are comfortable with where we are. It
should also be noted that we have people here on a regular basis from all
over the world trying to figure out how they can emulate the program we have
instilled here and to do so under our time frame. Therefore, I have no issue
with that time frame whatsoever.
Senator Day: Mr. Dubeau, is there any
requirement for post-secondary education for cadets, senior NCOs or
Mr. Dubeau: No. The only requirement to
enter the force is high school graduation, but many come in with
Senator Day: From a best practices point of
view, is there any movement in the direction of a requirement?
Mr. Dubeau: At this point, no. A lot of our
target groups we are trying to get in might not have those opportunities, so
when they do come in, we have programs to help them get that education and
help them along. That is what we do.
Senator Day: That is why I said officer
corps and senior NCOs. That is after they have been for quite a while.
Mr. Dubeau: They are given the opportunity.
We do pay for university training for some of them. We have all kinds of
programs available, if they choose to take them. It is not mandatory, except
for certain positions — there are certain requirements there; maybe in our
commercial crime or integrated market teams, there are some requirements.
Senator Day: What about capacity in both
Mr. Dubeau: We are good on that capacity
for both official languages.
That works relatively well. I don’t remember
the exact percentage, but I think it is around 20 per cent.
Senator Day: It is considered in recruiting
an officer, for instance.
Mr. Dubeau: If it is a bilingual position,
yes. We have bilingual positions throughout Canada and service points where
there is demand, in keeping with the Official Languages Act.
Senator Day: Thank you very much.
Senator Dallaire: Mr. Dubeau, allow me to
read a question to you.
Regarding the low completion rates of
anti-harassment training programs for RCMP management as detailed in the
McPhail report that has come out, how is the RCMP ensuring that
longer-serving members are properly trained to identify, prevent, report and
resolve harassment issues? Particularly, I am looking at the leadership
cadres, both the NCOs and the officers. If they will not take the annual
refreshers or whatever term you use, and it does not seem to be mandatory,
how will you ensure they are being kept abreast and are monitored to achieve
I am talking about non-commissioned officers
and officers particularly.
Mr. Dubeau: The harassment training is
mandatory for everybody; everyone has to take it across the force. We
monitor that and we report back to our commanding officers for that.
Mr. Venneri, can you comment further on that?
Mr. Venneri: Through the SPD and MDP, they
do have in-class modules on harassment and respect for workplaces — how to
identify it, deal it and how to have difficult conversations around it. One
of the components to complete the program, which takes 12 to 18 months to
complete, is that they go back into the units and do respect for workplace
activity with their teams and report back to our leadership specialists as
to what they have done. That is one of the components.
That is why you will see some of the completion
rates are low; they do not get completes as soon as they finish in the
classroom. They have some deliverables to give back as part of our program
to change their behaviour to go from an individual contributor to a
supervisor, and one is the respect for workplace activity. They report back
Senator Dallaire: The McPhail report did
not make that clear, and I would still be keen on knowing exactly the
content of what you are providing the NCO and the officer with regard to
this subject matter — what syllabus you are using and how often they come
back into that.
The second dimension of that, because you are
into the training and so on, is this: How much are they responsible for
training their own people in that subject matter? How often do they have
troop commander hours where they are actually providing their experience and
knowledge into their team to ensure that they are up to date with this
Mr. Dubeau: Overall, that is part of the
responsibility. On a yearly basis at assessment time, there is a requirement
that they will have a discussion with every one of their employees about
respect for the workplace. That is on every one of our assessments or
performance evaluations; namely, you are to have a discussion with every
employee about respect for the workplace to ensure they understand it and
understand their responsibilities as well as others’.
One of the recommendations is looking at the
SDP and MDP component in terms of how we can push that out to our managers
who are not coming out on the course. We are looking at how to get that out
faster, because we cannot train them fast enough, so we want to get that
Under Bill C-42, with implementation, there are
plans to start another type of training to get people up to speed on their
Senator Dallaire: Madam Chair, I would
request an indulgence for a small question, please. Thank you.
What about the ones hurting from PTSD and
operational stress injury, and they have either become victims or are
perpetrators in that scenario? It seems to be a subject that does not get a
lot of analysis of the individual and follow-through on that. Have you
matured the program to see where that can be a factor in the exercise?
Mr. Dubeau: We are in the process of
maturing that program and talking to the CF about PTSD and how we can deal
with it as a force. We do have all kinds of structure in place to help under
our occupational health program, but we are now looking at PTSD itself to
see how we can ensure that we are supporting our membership. It is starting.
Bringing in a new DG in from the Canadian Forces was a part of that: Bring
someone in from outside who has experience in another world to tell us about
some best practices.
The Chair: One final question. Then we have
Senator Mitchell: It is on the agenda that
we have an hour and a half.
In any event, one of the things done by the
Canadian military is that they do not just support the actual CF member who
has the PTSD; they also support the family. In developing your program, are
you considering support for the family, as well? It is a family issue.
Mr. Dubeau: We are starting to develop it.
We have moved from our internal member assistant program to EAP, which is
the program the Government of Canada uses, because they provide that family
support immediately. They are already providing that support, which we never
had before, so we moved to that as of September of last year.
The EAP is the Employee Assistance Program. It
is under Health Canada. That opened up the whole world to the family, which
they never had before. Our internal program did not have that.
Therefore, we are reaching out to the families.
It does affect the whole family, so we are ensuring the families are taken
care of. We have a liaison officer with VAC in Charlottetown to work with
their programs, because on that side we need to ensure how to deal with
taking care of them as they transition to civilian life.
Senator Mitchell: In assessing the nature
of the problem, have you reached out to victims of harassment who are often
now on sick leave and removed from the day to day of the RCMP? Have you been
consulting and working with them and doing specific things to find out? They
will give some insights into this; perhaps you would not necessarily have
Mr. Dubeau: At this point, we have reached
out to our members on long-term sick leave to get them to come talk to us,
because many of them have become totally disconnected from us and we are
trying to get it back to the organization.
The Chair: We appreciate your time today. I
would like to thank our witnesses in Regina, as well; sorry for the
technical problems at the beginning. Thank you for being with us. You have
all given us a lot of insight.
We will go in camera now to deal with Senate
business. Thank you.
(The committee continued in camera.)