Letter to MND: Harassment Policy

16 June 2017


The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive,
13th Floor, North Tower
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K2


Dear Minister Sajjan:

I am writing further to our review of the most recent changes, made in January 2017, to the Department’s Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution (DAOD 5012-0) and supporting procedural instructions (the Instructions). Of particular concern is the change in procedure that has the Harassment Advisor role default to ADM (HR-Civ), specifically to the position of Labour Relations Officer (LRO), for all civilian employees.

This procedural change creates challenges for my office and contradicts the existing delegations of authorities.  Please note that the Ombudsman has delegated authority to receive, administer and respond to harassment complaints for the Ombudsman organization. 

Consequently, in order to harmonize the contradictory instruments, the operational and advisory functions under the policy will continue to be carried out, for the office of the Ombudsman, by my General Counsel whom I previously appointed as my Harassment Advisor. The responsibilities, which remain unchanged from the previous policy, include advising on the application of the DAOD, receiving and administering harassment complaints, and designing and delivering the harassment prevention program for the office. 

Note that the stated rationale for the re-assignment of the function to the LRO is their expertise in civilian human resources issues and the legislative and administrative framework surrounding those issues. My General Counsel has both the legal expertise as well as the approved DND/CAF certification to act as the Harassment Advisor. Additionally, the office of the Ombudsman currently employs seven individuals who have undergone the approved Harassment Advisor training and who stay current

through an annual awareness refresher and periodic group meetings. They act as Workplace Relations Advisors and are part of a robust harassment prevention program.

This course of action is workable for my office and fully consistent with both the DAOD and existing delegations of authority. It also avoids potential issues of blurred reporting lines and discussions of administrative independence.

Accordingly, I have asked my General Counsel to communicate with the appropriate departmental contacts to obtain the updated material to ensure that the treatment of harassment issues is consistent for all civilian employees of the Department.

I remain committed to fostering a harassment-free work environment and to addressing any complaints expeditiously and in compliance with DAOD 5012-0 and the delegated authorities.




Gary Walbourne

Date modified: