Building a respectful workplace for the Defence Team

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In our Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – we have made a clear and unwavering commitment to our people – making a healthy workplace a core institutional value across the Defence Team.

We deal with complex, modern defence challenges, both at home and overseas, which create a demanding and stressful work environment. Through your feedback, we’ve heard that our workplace culture and environment still need work.

Creating a healthy and respectful workplace is of the utmost importance to senior Defence Team leadership. For us to make real progress in finding solutions to the workplace issues you identified, we have to be honest about our problems and have serious discussions at the leadership table about how to address them. It is critical that we build a workplace where you feel safe, and instill confidence that you will be treated fairly and respectfully. If we do not feel like “ourselves” in our workplace, we will see a great loss of human and organizational potential.

We can’t just declare what we want our workplace to be. We must demonstrate actual change in the way we make decisions, and how we operate as an organization. As such, we are working on mechanisms to help prevent and modify negative workplace behaviour and biases.

Our Defence Champions will play a critical role in helping advance a culture of respect in the workplace. Positive Space training is being implemented to develop future LGBTQ2 ambassadors in the workplace. We’ve adopted GBA+ systems designed to help us ask the right questions, challenge our own assumptions, and identify potential hidden or unintentional barriers in the work we do every day at Defence.

While efforts are underway to improve your workplace, we know that you will still be faced with difficult and challenging situations. Please bring these matters to your supervisor’s attention, or contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). CAF members can access help through the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program. Both can be reached at either 1-800-567-5803 or 1-800-268-7708 (Health Canada).

We need to be respectful and treat everyone with dignity. This is critical to improving morale within the Defence Team and improving job satisfaction. Whether it be through guidelines or directives, new strategies or new programs, Defence leadership is committed to taking action to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

We are all members of an extraordinary team that accomplishes so much on behalf of Canadians, and together, we all have a role to play to create a workplace that will set the example for other institutions across the country.


Jody Thomas Bill Matthews Gord Venner
Deputy Minister Senior Associate Deputy Minister Associate Deputy Minister
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