Still little diversity in the Canadian army, according to the ombudsman

Visible minorities, women, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples are still poorly represented in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as well as in the Department of National Defense due to recruitment and retention problems.

This was stated by Canada’s military ombudsman, Gregory Lick, in an investigation report released Monday.

“We have found that despite the efforts of the past 24 years, there are at [ministère de la Défense nationale] (DND) and CAF deep-rooted barriers that impede the achievement of employment equity and representation goals, recruitment, career advancement and retention of personnel, and organizational culture , which are all interrelated,” he said.

The ombudsman’s office had received 931 complaints about recruitment, 879 complaints about career advancement opportunities and 189 workplace discrimination complaints between 2020 and 2021.

“While not all of these complaints were filed by employment equity groups and not all of them would have been found to be unfair, these numbers show that the DND and the CAF are facing challenges when it comes to providing fair and equitable employment to employees and military members,” explained Mr. Lick.

While some progress has been noted for underrepresented groups, rates remain below both parties’ targets.

Informed of this report, the Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, has not yet given her reactions to the ombudsman’s conclusions.

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