Feds to Apologize to Victims of Military Sexual Misconduct on Dec. 13

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
November 30, 2021 Updated: November 30, 2021

OTTAWA—A date has been set for the government to deliver its promised apology to victims of military sexual misconduct.

The Department of National Defence announced Monday that the apology will be delivered on Dec. 13 and come in the three parts.

Defence Minister Anita Anand will apologize on behalf of the government, chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre will do the same for the military and Jody Thomas, the deputy minister at National Defence, will speak for the department.

While officials have previously said they were hoping for an in-person event, the Defence Department says the apology will be delivered virtually and streamed online.

The apology was first promised in 2019 as part of a $600-million settlement deal with current and former service members in several class-action lawsuits.

The government had faced calls from the Royal Canadian Legion and others to deliver the apology before the 18-month window for victims to submit their claims as part of the settlement closed last week.

Nearly 19,000 claims were submitted before the claims period ended last Wednesday, with more than 5,000 already approved for payment. Another 4,000 have also asked to participate in “restorative engagement.”

“We know that our collective failure to build an inclusive workplace culture free from these unacceptable behaviours has hurt our people,” Anand, Eyre and Thomas said in a joint statement.

“As part of our efforts to restore relationships with those harmed, we will offer a public apology to all current and former members of the defence team who have been affected by sexual assault and sexual misconduct, including harassment, and discrimination.”

By Lee Berthiaume