Employment equity and diversity: Force multipliers

CAF members during pride parade
By combining employment equity and diversity, 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force East have focused on maximizing career potential and operational readiness for both military and civilian personnel. In this, the first of three articles, we highlight 2 Cdn Div/JTF (E) efforts and achievements on employment equity, diversity and inclusion.

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Military personnel are at the heart of Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. More than ever, taking into account the physical, psychological, and social aspects of the military is the order of the day.

This ambitious and innovative policy, introduced in June 2017 by Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, intends to develop a new health strategy, modernize family support programs, improve reintegration after injury, and prevent gender-based violence.

Each of these new objectives is in addition to policies already in effect within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Every professional activity is a source of intellectual and social development. Therefore, along with the diversity of each individual, it is the combination of individual and group efforts that contribute to the achievement of set goals.

This was the message conveyed by Brigadier-General Hercule Gosselin on May 17, 2017, the Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in which he reiterated his commitment to “make the workplace a healthy, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment for everyone.” In this regard, the Brigadier-General emphasized that “diversity in our ranks is a force multiplier,” and that this culture must prevail within the Defence Team.

An environment free from discrimination

Since diversity is a universal challenge, the CAF recognizes the importance of keeping pace with the people of this country to foster recruitment and improve retention in a healthy and respectful environment.

To achieve this, 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force East rely on numerous facilities, committees, and groups that coexist with a shared focus on the well-being of staff in order to create a peaceful and productive work environment. For this purpose, everyone works with these key words in mind: equity, diversity, inclusion, and mental health.

Employment equity is among the top priorities of this organization. It is led by a group of four leaders called “Champions”. Champions are designated to develop and support the implementation of outreach activities. They can intervene in situations that may represent problems or obstacles.

This ambitious commitment by 2 Cdn Div/JTF (E) chain of command also relies on the dynamic team within the Diversité+ committee. This committee was created in 2017 in Montreal, and has 56 members in the Saint-Jean and Montreal garrisons and CFB Valcartier. Made up of regular and reserve military personnel as well as civilians, it brings together six subcommittees that represent the different aspects of diversity in the CAF: Women, Visible Minorities, People with Disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples, Religion and Spirituality, and LGBTQ2+.

Diversity is a complex and nuanced subject that is constantly evolving. A continued effort is required to remove discrimination from our workplaces, and to achieve the goals outlined above.

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