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Changing Armed Forces policies is slow and labour-intensive, external monitor says

Last Updated Nov 20, 2023 at 2:43 pm MST

Canadian Forces personnel stand easy as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, both not pictured, speak during a visit with members of the Canadian Armed Forces at CFB Kingston in Kingston, Ont., Tuesday, March 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The military is finalizing a policy change to abolish its definition of sexual misconduct and to use the Criminal Code definition for sexual assault.

The change, which is expected to be ready for approval by the end of the year, is among the 48 recommendations from former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour in a scathing report about military culture in May 2022.

Jocelyne Therrien is serving as an external monitor whose job is to track the work to implement the recommendations.

Therrien says in her second report that the process to change Armed Forces policies is labour-intensive, and even simple changes can take months. 

The Arbour report called on the federal government to remove the military’s jurisdiction over all sexual offences in the Criminal Code — something the defence minister says will happen in the coming months. 

Since December 2021, 142 of 275 cases reported to military police have been referred to civilian police services.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press