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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

SupersonicMax

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I always though a policy/order along these lines (and borrowing from the old Army concept that you had to get permission to get married) might work.

1. If two service members of different ranks (or three or more for the very enlightened) want to enter into a sexual relationship they will jointly attend before their respective (or joint) superior and declare that intention and sign a declaration to that effect and stating that they are both doing so freely and voluntarily;

2. The CoC will immediately ensure that the senior member has no further supervisory responsibility for the junior where after they are free to continue their relationship as they see fit;

3. In the event that the CoC determines that one of it's service members is involved in a relationship with someone of a different rank without such a declaration in place, they will be called in, interviewed as to the nature of the relationship and take such appropriate administrative or disciplinary action as is necessary based in the circumstances. Such actions shall, as a minimum, result in administrative and disciplinary actions against the senior member for being involved in the relationship without a declaration. (As the senior member he or she should clearly have known better and was at least in breach of the policy/order even when the relationship was truly consensual)

It's a simple policy, puts the onus on the senior member to know better, provides for a way for consensual relationships to continue and, to an extent, provides a senior member who has made a declaration, protection against spurious, after the fact, allegations of coercion.

Yup. Some folks might find this too intrusive but IMHO such a provision is both legal and defensible based on the current climate pervading the CAF.

🍻
I have many issues with such a policy. The CAF has no buisness in authorizing relationships. Sure, it can issue guidance but the declaration should be after the fact, not before, and only if it meets certain criteria (ie: one of the parties is in the other’s CoC).

This declaration would do nothing but cover the CAF’s ass in saying it did its due dilligence. If someone can be coerced into sexual relationships because of perceived authority, that same person can be coerced into making that declaration.

Civilians don’t have to go to their bosses or the courts to request permission to date someone. Neither should CAF members.
 

OldSolduer

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I have many issues with such a policy. The CAF has no buisness in authorizing relationships.
When the CAF was in Afghanistan there were explicit orders, which some chose to disobey.

Your points are good - but the one thing lost here is how such relationships impact operational effectiveness. That should be the focus and this sort of behavior takes time and resources away from operational effectiveness IMO.
 

PuckChaser

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Civilians don’t have to go to their bosses or the courts to request permission to date someone. Neither should CAF members.
You're oversimplifying the issue. Civilian bosses cannot issue a lawful order that could cause grievous bodily harm or death to the other individual, and civilian employers aren't a gold standard of sexual harassment free workplaces.

We should be taking our power dynamics very seriously and how they can impact relationships. The solution is not as simple as you state and has to be found somewhere between "I can bang who I want" and "The CO approves every sexual encounter you have with another military member." Obviously we haven't gotten it right thus far, or are not creating a culture where we're calling out individuals abusing power for sexual gain.
 

Altair

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Don't take a dump where you eat has always been my policy, but I'm not sure it would be an appropriate CAF policy.
 

Good2Golf

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You're oversimplifying the issue. Civilian bosses cannot issue a lawful order that could cause grievous bodily harm or death to the other individual, and civilian employers aren't a gold standard of sexual harassment free workplaces.

☝🏼 This

Perhaps I’m an outlier, but Ive experienced significant poor conduct by leaders outside CAF service as well/more. We should in no way use civilian employers as some paragon of virtuous behaviour. I have been both directly and indirectly in a position to have to employ whistleblower-protected statements to HR to address sexual harassment taking place in publicly-traded companies. Even then, in some cases, the offender continued to climb the corporate ladder, notwithstanding.
 

ballz

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You're oversimplifying the issue. Civilian bosses cannot issue a lawful order that could cause grievous bodily harm or death to the other individual, and civilian employers aren't a gold standard of sexual harassment free workplaces.

We should be taking our power dynamics very seriously and how they can impact relationships. The solution is not as simple as you state and has to be found somewhere between "I can bang who I want" and "The CO approves every sexual encounter you have with another military member." Obviously we haven't gotten it right thus far, or are not creating a culture where we're calling out individuals abusing power for sexual gain.

It can also be pretty frowned upon in civilian workplaces to start dating a coworker, much less a subordinate, and not uncommon to find one or both let go. It's even frowned upon when you try and do the right thing by say, finding another job so as to avoid that situation... good employees are hard to come by and so it can be held against the person who stays with the original company that their inability to keep it professional caused the company to lose a good employee.

The CAF actually seems to tolerate it a lot, perhaps out of necessity given that we are in bubble of our own and also they can't just fire someone without cause, and they find ways to accommodate it (i.e. moving people around into different positions).
 

SupersonicMax

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You're oversimplifying the issue. Civilian bosses cannot issue a lawful order that could cause grievous bodily harm or death to the other individual, and civilian employers aren't a gold standard of sexual harassment free workplaces.

We should be taking our power dynamics very seriously and how they can impact relationships. The solution is not as simple as you state and has to be found somewhere between "I can bang who I want" and "The CO approves every sexual encounter you have with another military member." Obviously we haven't gotten it right thus far, or are not creating a culture where we're calling out individuals abusing power for sexual gain.
Having the right to issue lawful orders that could cause griveous bodily arm or death has nothing to do with authorizing individual relationships. It doesn’t give COs/the CAF carte-blanche for doing whatever they please. We have an expectation of privacy in Canada, specifically laid out in the Privacy act. I should not be required to disclose who I sleep with. The question may be asked, for example for the purpose of a security investigation, but I should not have to answer. In this case, if it is found that I am lying/misleading, there may be losses of priviledges (ie: security clearance) but it would be a really long stretch to apply this same logic to a day-to-day workplace.

Yes, you should be allowed to put as much rope around your neck as you wish and suffer the consequences after the fact when things go sideways. The issue is one of personal responsibility. At some point in a career, one becomes part of the institution, the “they” or “Ottawa.” At that point, your personal actions can have a very real and serious impact on the institution itself. It is important to select people not only on their skills but also their dedication to the institution or their ability to put service before self.

99.9% of the relationships between service-people bring no discredit on the CAF. Those that do as almost exclusively, these days anyway, by people representing the institution. Do you really believe that a simple declaration would have dissuaded Vance or Coates from doing what they did?
 

Good2Golf

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Do you really believe that a simple declaration would have dissuaded Vance or Coates from doing what they did?
Perhaps not, but it would then have facilitated immediate and firm action being taken to remove them from their appointment without the current drawn-out debate of ‘it wasn’t illegal’ vs ‘but it was unethical and/or counter to policy (vice legislation).
 

SupersonicMax

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Well, it is already laid out in a DAOD titled “Personal Relationships and Fraternization.” Not sure what more you need to take actions... The lack of action on itself is a failure of the institution (and the Government for Vance’s case)
 

FJAG

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I have many issues with such a policy. ...
It wouldn't be the first time that we've disagreed. And you're missing the point. It's not that the CAF is authorizing the relationship at all. It's an acknowledgement by the parties that the relationship exists, is non coercive and allows the CoC to ensure that there is no advantage taken of a supervisor position either in the past or future.
... Do you really believe that a simple declaration would have dissuaded Vance or Coates from doing what they did?
Maybe. More importantly it would have made kicking their ass earlier in their careers easier. It would also have stopped or brought into question the current claim in one case that the relationship was inappropriate.

The Privacy Act provides:

4 No personal information shall be collected by a government institution unless it relates directly to an operating program or activity of the institution.

Based on the Deschamps Report (especially recommendation 5) such a policy would most probably pass muster under the Privacy Act as long as it is based on rank differential.

You are glossing over the fact that a policy like the above is rough on supervisors but benign to subordinates specifically to help alleviate the inequities between their positions and as a side benefit helps protect supervisors of after-the-fact allegations. Nowhere is it a cover the ass of the institution through due diligence provision. That's solely your interpretation. There's a whole hockey sock full of additional stuff the institution needs to do.

🍻
 

OldSolduer

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☝🏼 This

Perhaps I’m an outlier, but Ive experienced significant poor conduct by leaders outside CAF service as well/more. We should in no way use civilian employers as some paragon of virtuous behaviour. I have been both directly and indirectly in a position to have to employ whistleblower-protected statements to HR to address sexual harassment taking place in publicly-traded companies. Even then, in some cases, the offender continued to climb the corporate ladder, notwithstanding.
A few tales here:

One of my peers, now a supervisor, was a love interest of a former senior manager in the institution. They are no longer an item BUT one could infer the promotion was based on who was banging who. Not good for staff morale I'd say. My former peer is competent however, but the appearance was not good.

Not long ago one of our staff was fired for having an affair with a fellow staff member who also has not returned to work. Senior management knew about the problem but did very little to stop it. Again, this does not speak well of senior management.

Again - not good for staff morale, which is low already.
 

SupersonicMax

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It wouldn't be the first time that we've disagreed. And you're missing the point. It's not that the CAF is authorizing the relationship at all. It's an acknowledgement by the parties that the relationship exists, is non coercive and allows the CoC to ensure that there is no advantage taken of a supervisor position either in the past or future.

Maybe. More importantly it would have made kicking their ass earlier in their careers easier. It would also have stopped or brought into question the current claim in one case that the relationship was inappropriate.

The Privacy Act provides:



Based on the Deschamps Report (especially recommendation 5) such a policy would most probably pass muster under the Privacy Act as long as it is based on rank differential.

You are glossing over the fact that a policy like the above is rough on supervisors but benign to subordinates specifically to help alleviate the inequities between their positions and as a side benefit helps protect supervisors of after-the-fact allegations. Nowhere is it a cover the ass of the institution through due diligence provision. That's solely your interpretation. There's a whole hockey sock full of additional stuff the institution needs to do.

🍻
What else does it do besides protecting the CAF? Later, it would be fairly easy to argue the subordinate was coerced into signing a declaration. It doesn’t do much to protect anyone beyond the CAF. If Vance’s relationships were known by many people (including his superiors) and nothing was done, despite some pretty clear rules, an extra layer of administration, a declaration, would do zip.

So, let’s walk through a real-world example. Sgt A and Cpl B meet each other in a bar on a Friday night. As the night progresses, they get closer and closer. They decide to get intimate. But wait, they have to wait until Monday to sign declaration before they do anything. Do you truly believe that the declaration will ever get signed? What it’ll do is create an administrative burden trying to administer discipline for failing to report a relationship. I could perhaps see it as an optional process as a means to protect both parties. Given it is voluntary, it would be more difficult to coerce someone into signing one.

edit to add: Also, because a relationship is consensual at the beginning doesn’t mean it is throughout. How often does this thing needs to be re-signed? Everytime people sleep with each other? Every month? Every year?
 

Brad Sallows

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Is one not supposed to obtain affirmative consent at each step of escalation? Maybe that's just for students.
 

SupersonicMax

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There is a difference between the individuals consenting and the CAF documenting that consent.
 

daftandbarmy

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A few tales here:

One of my peers, now a supervisor, was a love interest of a former senior manager in the institution. They are no longer an item BUT one could infer the promotion was based on who was banging who. Not good for staff morale I'd say. My former peer is competent however, but the appearance was not good.

Not long ago one of our staff was fired for having an affair with a fellow staff member who also has not returned to work. Senior management knew about the problem but did very little to stop it. Again, this does not speak well of senior management.

Again - not good for staff morale, which is low already.

The Queen of the North is about as low as you can get, at the bottom of the ocean, allegedly due to some 'relationship issues' on the bridge. The rumours persist amongst the maritime community here on the West Coast:

Captain of B.C. ferry that sank after crew allegedly had sex on bridge makes case for what caused disaster​

In a new book, Colin Henthorne dismisses the idea his crew was having sex on the bridge. Instead, he says they failed to take one crucial step in changing course

Karl Lilgert, the ship’s fourth officer, in charge of the bridge that night, was eventually convicted of criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years imprisonment. Quartermaster Karen Briker, who was on the bridge with Lilgert, was fired by B.C. Ferries amidst rumours that she and Lilgert, who had previously had an affair, were either quarrelling or having sex during a crucial 14 minute period after the Queen of the North passed Sainty Point (where one of the course changes involved in navigating the Inside Passage was usually implemented) until the craft went aground on the rocks of Gil Island.

 

dapaterson

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Interesting how much of this does not relate to SM/SH/SA, but is a leadership and character question - and an organizational culture that does not permit challenges to behavior of peers or superiors, leaving them to operate with impunity, should they choose to do so.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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There are two policy documents that CAF members, especially leaders, should be familiar with: DAOD 9005-1 Sexual Misconduct Response and DAOD 5019-1 Personal Relationships. DAOD 9005-1 was issued last Nov, so its quite fresh.

Sexual Misconduct is defined as "Conduct of a sexual nature that causes, or could cause harm to others, and that the person knew or ought reasonably to have known could cause harm." The nature of misconduct can range from jokes of a sexual nature, sexual harassment, viewing explicit material in the workplace, voyeurism, publication of sexual images without consent and sexual assault. The range of sexual misconduct includes both non-criminal and criminal code misconduct. Consent, or lack thereof, is a key element of sexual misconduct. The policy refers to the criminal code and highlights that no consent is obtained if "the accused induces the victim to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority." So the use of rank and authority by the accused in the situation is certainly relevant, as is the situation/experience/vulnerability of the victim.

The Personal Relationships DAOD recognizes that CAF members have an inherent right to form personal relationships of their choosing and that their privacy should be respected. It also states that there should be fair and unbiased treatment to persons under the care of CAF personnel and that vulnerable persons should be protected from exploitation. So the potential abuse of power must still be considered.

The DAOD outlines the instances when a personal relationship would be considered against the objective of the DAOD (where one member has control/influence over the other's career/work etc). It also states that CAF members must notify their chain of command of a personal relationship that could compromise the DAOD. So a MCpl dating a Cpl in a different unit would not have to inform their CoC, but a MCpl dating a Cpl under their command (in their section) must do so. I find in unit briefings that the Personal Relationships aspect is the one that we have most discussion on.

There are additional instructions regarding personal relationships where one member might be vulnerable to abuse of power. Instructor/student relationships and situations with a direct chain of command are discussed. There is also guidance regarding adverse relationships.

I think that it would be wrong to have a policy where we obtain permission from the Chain of Command to form a personal relationship. People can form consenting relationships - it is up to those two people. If, however, that relationship compromises the workplace then there are a range of workplace consequences with due process.
 

Halifax Tar

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Interesting how much of this does not relate to SM/SH/SA, but is a leadership and character question - and an organizational culture that does not permit challenges to behavior of peers or superiors, leaving them to operate with impunity, should they choose to do so.

I concur. And I have to wonder how this correlates to a PER system ? Have we been promoting the right people, or have we been promoting people with the right ticks in the box ?
 
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