THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE

EVIDENCE


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 Police.

Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

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 Military College.

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 Command.

Welcome, general. I believe you have an opening statement.

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.

[Translation]

So it is a tremendous pleasure and honour for me to have been appointed Chief of the Defence Staff.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 introduced.

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.

[Translation]

Before taking your questions, let me talk very briefly about each of the four priorities I just mentioned.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 questions.

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 two things.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 quite traditional.

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 staffing.

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 readiness.

The Chair: Thank you. We would all be relieved if we could stop using that analogy. Thank you for putting it to bed.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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?

[English]

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 active bases?

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 very much.

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 positive aspects.

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.

[Translation]

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 concern.

Given the relation we have on the military front with the Americans, how do you plan to deal with the reality of cybersecurity?

[English]

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 Consultations. Welcome.

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 be made.

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 gentlemen.

[Translation]

Thank you for the opportunity to come before the committee to provide an update on the RCMP’s gender based assessment and action plan.

Tonight I am accompanied by my colleague Dennis Watters, Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive at the RCMP.

[English]

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 process.

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 questionnaire.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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 website.

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: Do they have interpretation in Vancouver?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 employee.

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 workplace behaviours. 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 Bradley.

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 unwieldy here.

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 do.

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.

[Translation]

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 laissez-faire.

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?

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Boisvenu: Does your action plan target civilians as well as officers of the force?

[English]

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 that.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: My question is addressed to Assistant Commissioner Woodburn, and it is very preliminary.

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 could be.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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 factor here.

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.

[English]

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 before.

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 issues.

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.

[Translation]

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 imbalance?

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

Senator Boisvenu: It would be interesting to have that.

Ms. Woodburn: Yes, certainly.

[English]

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 watching for.

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 action plan?

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 program.

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 their assistance.

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 in.

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 next panel.

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 significant issue.

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 item briefly.

Deputy Commissioner Dubeau, I think you have an opening statement.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 incidents.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 forward.

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 respect.

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 house.

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 report.

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 period.

Senator Plett: I do not know whether you answered the question about how many were of a sexual nature or gender-based.

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 your clientele?

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 oversight.

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 catch.

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 three things"?

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 tomorrow.

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 correct?

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 the analysis.

Senator Day: So you cannot help us with that.

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 supervisors.

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 Canadian Forces?

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 journey today.

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 choice.

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 commendable.

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 considered?

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 that correct?

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 in them?

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 officers?

Mr. Dubeau: No. The only requirement to enter the force is high school graduation, but many come in with undergraduate degrees.

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 official languages?

Mr. Dubeau: We are good on that capacity for both official languages.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 that capability?

[Translation]

I am talking about non-commissioned officers and officers particularly.

[English]

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 on it.

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 material?

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 course on.

Under Bill C-42, with implementation, there are plans to start another type of training to get people up to speed on their requirements.

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 other business.

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 such otherwise.

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.)