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Independent External Comprehensive Review into harassment and sexual misconduct in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

On April 29, 2021, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, announced the launch of an Independent External Comprehensive Review (Review) of current policies, procedures, programs, practices, and culture within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND). The aim of the Review is to shed light on the causes for the continued presence of harassment and sexual misconduct despite efforts to eradicate it, identify barriers to reporting inappropriate behaviour and to assess the adequacy of the response when reports are made, and to make recommendations on preventing and eradicating harassment and sexual misconduct. It will include a review of the recruitment, training, performance evaluation, posting, and promotion systems in the CAF, as well as the military justice system’s policies, procedures, and practice to respond to such allegations.

The Review will include the views and Defence workplace experiences of current and former DND employees, CAF members, Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces (SNPF) employees, and contractors. It will also include the perspectives of those employees, members and contractors who identify as part of historically disadvantaged groups, with specific focus on women, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) community, to assist the DND and the CAF in furthering understanding of the perspective of these groups. In addition, it will consider all relevant independent reviews concerning the DND/CAF, along with their findings and recommendations.

The Terms of Reference for the Review can be found here.

The Honourable Louise Arbour (C.C., G.O.Q.), a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and now Senior Counsel with BLG, has been appointed to undertake the Review. Madame Arbour served as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda from 1996-1999. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999, and served until 2004, when she was appointed as United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights. More information about Madame Louise Arbour can be found here.

Both the report arising from the Review and the Departmental response to the report will be made public once complete, which is expected to be within 12 months.


To be in contact with Madame Louise Arbour and her team in respect of the Review, please email:

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