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Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces and Women, Peace and Security

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) recognize that armed conflict, natural disasters, and humanitarian crises affect women, men, girls and boys differently. As noted in Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, women’s participation is vital to achieving and sustaining peace, and has a tangible impact on the operational effectiveness of our forces. Women broaden the range of skills and capacities among all categories of personnel, improve the delivery of peace and security tasks, enhance situational awareness and early-warning by facilitating outreach to women in communities, and improve a military force’s accessibility, credibility and effectiveness in working among local populations.

As such, DND/CAF are committed to being a strong partner with Global Affairs Canada in putting women and girls at the centre of Government of Canada efforts to prevent and resolve conflict. Integrating United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and embedding gender perspectives into our policies, training/education and operations are moral and operational imperatives that will contribute to a culture of respect internally and increase DND/CAF effectiveness as it delivers on its mandate.

To achieve the goals of Canada’s renewed National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (the Action Plan), DND/CAF will focus on improved governance, training/education, accountability, recruitment, and the integration of gender perspectives into CAF operations. The five objectives under the Action Plan 2017-2022 are:

DND/CAF support for Canada’s renewed Action Plan builds on a number of recent, new directives and initiatives – as set out in Strong, Secure, Engaged – aimed at integrating gender perspectives into our internal policies and into our operations abroad, notably as it relates to recruitment, diversity, responding to inappropriate behaviour, and training/education. DND/CAF will use targets and indicators to track our progress as we implement our strategies to achieve the above goals.


1. Implement the tenets of UNSCR 1325 and implement all aspects of the Departmental Diversity Plan



2. Recruitment and Retention to leverage Canada’s diverse population

Baseline: The CAF will continue to seek to increase the number of women in the CAF as well as improve retention of women in the forces.


3. Education and Training

Baseline: Increase awareness of gender perspectives and GBA+ through education and training.


4. Support International cooperation on Women, Peace and Security

Baseline: DND/CAF will engage with foreign defence and security organizations to implement the tenets of UNSCR 1325.


Through the new initiatives described above, DND/CAF have established a strong foundation to support the implementation of DND/CAF activities that advance the WPS agenda. Over the course of the renewed Action Plan 2017-2022, DND/CAF will focus on implementing and tracking these initiatives, with a view to delivering results – for example to further integrate GBA+ within DND, meet recruitment targets, and increase the number of uniformed women deployed to international operations. DND/CAF, as a committed partner, has identified a number of priority activities to support the ongoing implementation of the Action Plan, consistent with Canada’s new defence policy. These activities are organized around the following themes:

Each of these themes have specific targets that will be measured and reported on an annual basis, and if required, may be re-examined in line with the departmental and Government of Canada priorities. The detailed list of DND/CAF targets for the Action Plan 2017-2022 – including baselines, activities, and indicators to measure progress – is provided below.

Priority 1: Governance

Context: DND/CAF will establish and update departmental directives, policies and guidelines to ensure gender perspectives are embedded in all processes, policies procedures and associated documentation.

Continue to implement the tenets of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions and implement all aspects of the Departmental Diversity strategy

Target 1.1:  Further integration of a Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) perspective within National Defence.

Baseline: Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Directive for Integrating UNSCR 1325 and Related Resolutions into CAF Planning and Operations.


1.1.1 Integrate WPS agenda along with gender perspectives into Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board and associated Cabinet submissions, policy documents, appropriation directions, procurement requirements, project proposals, strategies, Operational Plans, Operational Orders, exercises and related peace and security activities.

1.1.2 Publish a Department of National Defence (DND) GBA + Directive to provide guidance to the L1s.

1.1.2 Establish and hire a DND GBA + Director.


1.1.1 Number of L1s that have established Gender Advisors (GENAD) for CAF.

1.1.2 Number of L1s that have established a GBA + Advisor or Gender Focal Points (GFP).

1.1.3 Number of operations and/or exercises that have a GFP.

1.1.4 Number of L1s that have established and implemented a GBA + Action Plan.

1.1.5 Number of operational orders that have a Gender Annex or gender inputs.

Target 1.2: Effective support for and implementation of the CAF Diversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Baseline: CAF Diversity Strategy and the CDS approved Action Plan as per January 2017.


1.2.1 Establish a framework for the development and attainment of Diversity within the CAF through better understanding of the concept of Diversity and the development of tools to support it.

1.2.2 Allocate, with support and commitment of leadership, appropriate resources and capabilities to effectively implement the CAF Diversity Strategy Action Plan.

1.2.3 Monitor the CAF diversity climate.


1.2.1 Number of Diversity Strategy Action Plan tasks completed.

1.2.2 Employment Systems Review/Diversity Climate Survey results.

Support international cooperation to on WPS

Target 1.3: DND and CAF continue to engage with like-minded foreign defence and security organizations on implementing tenets of UNSCR 1325.

Baseline: N/A


1.3.1 Support the participation and leadership of women in delivering peace and security efforts.

1.3.2 Continue to support the engagement of senior DND and CAF champions and key staff in leading and promoting UNSCR 1325 in international fora (UN, NATO, CANZ, 5 eyes etc.).

1.3.3 Share knowledge and expertise on gender equality and gender norms with Canadian Defence and Military experts and stakeholders.


1.3.1 Participate in and/or conduct Gender Conferences within a community of practice.

1.3.2 Number of senior/key leaders resources to speak at international forum of gender practices within National Defence.

1.3.3 Encourage inclusion of gender perspectives in National Defence contributions to international fora, such as the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP), and UN committees and sub committees and senior Defence related meetings.

Priority 2: Training and education

Context: National Defence continues with the objective to integrate gender perspectives and GBA + as part of the curriculum for all relevant leadership, planning and procurement courses provided to military and civilian staff. Training provided to foreign military staff through the Military Capability Training Program (MCTP) also has curriculum focused on gender perspectives and the importance of conducting GBA+, and includes awareness and training on SEA.

Direct mandatory completion of the Status of Women GBA + Introduction Course within the National Defence

Target 2.1: Mandatory completion of the on-line GBA+ Introduction course for all National Defence military and civilian staff.

Baseline: Currently mandatory for all designated Canadian Armed Forces members.


2.1.1 Continue monitoring the completion rate of GBA+.

2.1.2 Through a Training Needs Assessment, identify if a National Defence focused GBA + Advanced course for both the Operational and Strategic/Institutional level is warranted.

2.1.3 Promote the importance of GBA + analysis and support special GBA+ information sessions such as GBA + week activities.

2.1.4 Actively support L1s by providing GBA + information briefs and presentations by GENADs and GFPs.


2.1.1 Number of CAF staff who have completed the On–line GBA + Introduction Course based on Human Resource Management System (HRMS) data.

2.1.2 Number of DND staff who have completed the On–line GBA + Introduction Course based on HRMS data.

2.1.3 Increase in the quality of GBA+ of Memoranda to Cabinet (MC), Treasury Board (TB) submission and Request for Proposal (RFP) that are submitted within the Department.

2.1.4 GBA + requirement are integrated into the Project Approval Directive (PAD).

Assess current and future Gender perspectives and GBA+ training and education approaches

Target 2.2: Assess current Gender and GBA+ training and scope any additional training required.

Baseline: Gender Perspectives training currently incorporated into 14 CAF courses including pre-deployment training provided by the Army Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC) in Kingston as well as courses provided by the MCTP.


2.2.1 Continuous review of all CAF leadership and pre-deployment training to ensure updated material on Gender perspectives and GBA+ is included.

2.2.2 Review of all relevant DND courses (procurement, HR, diversity, leadership) toensure updated material on Gender perspectives and GBA+ is included.

2.2.3 Assess the need for periodic refresher training on GBA+.

2.2.4 Where possible post CAF members to foreign peace support centers to enhance Defence Department knowledge of gender, and promote Canadian perspectives.

2.2.5 Provide continuous education of gender based issues including education and awareness of the Strategy and Plan of Action to Address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA), as well as Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) reporting mechanisms, to all staff expected to deploy on operations.


2.2.1.Number of CAF and DND courses that have curricula focused on gender

2.2.2 Number of Military Cooperation Training Program (MCTP) courses provided/delivered that have curricula focused on gender.

2.2.3 Number of CAF and DND staff who attend gender course at the Nordic Center for Gender in Military Operations.

Priority 3: Accountability

Context: National Defence is committed to the tenets of UNSCR 1325 and to ensuring that National Defence continues to lead in all aspects of Gender equality, both within the institution at home and abroad. CAF was one of the first militaries to open all employment opportunities to women and will continue to Champion WPS and gender issues.  The Defence Team leadership will continue to work with other Government of Canada departments and agencies, as well as with like-minded partners, to assert the rights of women, men, girls, and boys in all fora. National Defence leadership is committed to ensuring that gender perspectives are woven into our daily activities and will advocate for the advancement of the WPS agenda when we engage bilaterally or in multi-national fora, including NATO and the UN.

Continue to enhance the role of the CAF UNSCR 1325 Working Group (UIWG)

Target 3.1: Continue to enhance the role and membership of the CAF UNSCR 1325 Working Group (UIWG).

Baseline: UIWG established


3.1.1 Continue to meet quarterly to discuss, solicit input and make recommendations on UNSCR 1325 implementation and related issues.

3.1.2 Provide input and track gender and GBA+ training.


3.1.1 Track recommendations made by UIWG.

3.1.2 Track level of L1 involvement in UIWG.

DM establishes a GBA + directive

Target 3.2: DM publishes a GBA + directive NLT winter 2017.

Baseline: Directive currently in draft.


3.2.1 DM directive is published and L1 are directed to establish GBA + Advisors.


3.2.1 L1 Action plans published.

3.2.2 Number of L1s that have a GBA+ Advisor.

3.2.3 DM GBA+ Director position established.

3.2.4 DM GBA+ Director for DND is hired.

IDC participation

Target 3.3: Ensure continued departmental representation at the Status of Women (SWC) led Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) on GBA+.

Baseline: Current DND and CAF representation on the IDC.


3.3.1 Ensure appropriate representation on the IDC.

3.3.2 Participate fully in all IDC initiatives and any possible sub committees.

3.3.3 Provide input to IDC and SWC on tools and products provided on the GBA + web site.


3.3.1 Annual GBA + survey completed as scheduled.

Priority 4: Recruitment and retention

Context: Further to the CDS Directive on Recruitment, the CAF will continue to seek to increase the number of women within the CAF, and in turn the number of women available to be promoted to senior positions or for deployment. Recruiting processes including advertising, wait process times, job availability, application procedures, testing, medical and fitness standards are all aspects that affect the decision process of a potential new recruit. In addition, aspects such as family balance, job enjoyment, selection for professional development, velocity of promotion and safe and harassment free work environment are all factors that contribute to making the CAF an “Employer of Choice”.

Increase the recruitment of women to the CAF

Target 4.1: Increase the percentage of women in the Canadian military by 1% per year to achieve a desired goal of 25% by the end of FY 2026.

Baseline: Percentage of women in the Canadian military is 14.9 % (Based on CAF Employment Equity Report for fiscal year 2015-2016.


4.1.1 Identify the barriers which will streamline the application process, including wait times for, testing, medical examination, offer of employment, and enrollment to support the recruitment of women who select a career in the military.

4.1.2 Enhance the Recruiting Campaign and advertising to target women to join the military with emphasis on both common and unique employment opportunities.

4.1.3 Increase the availability of both women Champions as well as a cross section of serving women to attend and participate in events that promote women in the military and their achievements within all trades, with emphasis on non-traditional jobs such as the infantry, artillery and related combat arms employment.

4.1.4 Establish a Strategic Intake Plan (SIP) for women by year to include women-centric recruiting programmes.

4.1.5 Focus on high schools to encourage women to consider a career in the military by establishing a targeted campaign.


4.1.1 Number of women who apply to the CAF.

4.1.2 Number of women who are given an offer of employment.

4.1.3 Percentage of women who join for non-traditional employment.

4.1.4 Identify reasons (when possible) why the applicant disengaged from the recruiting process.

Increase the retention of women in the CAF

Target 4.2:  Understand the major reason for the release of women from the CAF and eliminate/mitigate any issues if they are identified.

Baseline: N/A (annual release numbers).


4.2.1 Departure/exit surveys/interviews are conducted.

4.2.2 Release data is tracked and reviewed.

4.2.3 Consult and exchange information with other militaries on trends and retention strategies and programs.


4.2.1 Annual release data from the CAF.

4.2.2 Review exit surveys for trends and cluster issues.

Increase the number of Women in Senior level positions in National Defence

Target 4.3: Increase the number and proportion of women at Senior Levels Non Commissioned Members, Officers and executive-level) DND and CAF.

Baseline: CAF Employment Equity Report 2015-2016 Schedule 6


4.3.1 Continue to select qualified women for deployments.

4.3.2 Continue to select women for leadership and education training. 

4.3.3 Encourage women at all levels to actively participate in activities that promote women empowerment within the GOC and public fora.

4.3.4 Develop a mentoring framework for all CAF members.

4.3.5 Monitor career progression of women in the CAF.

4.3.6 Incorporate GBA+ considerations/review into the applicable aspects of career management, including women representatives on all promotion boards.


4.3.1 Number of senior women, officers and Non Commissioned Members, deployed on operations.

4.3.2 Number of senior women, officers and NCMs, selected for foreign posts.

4.3.3 Percentage of women NCMs by military occupations promoted to the ranks of Master Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer.

4.3.4 Percentage of women officers by Military Occupation Groups promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant-Colonel and higher.

4.3.5 Percentage of women officers appointed as Commanding Officers (COs).

4.3.6 Percentage of women NCMs holding Senior Appointments.

4.3.7 Number of women holding senior positions (Executive Level-1 and Colonel or above).

Priority 5: Integration into operations

Context: Modern international and domestic operations require members of the CAF to interact with host nation forces and local populations. It is critical that CAF members understand how conflict can affect diverse populations of women, men, boys and girls differently, and can identify risks to the local population that could be incurred by engaging with military forces. As such, we must ensure our members have the right tools and mindset to deal effectively with diverse and often vulnerable populations. Due to cultural norms, religious affiliations or past experience, some segments of the population may have difficulty interacting with military forces that are predominantly male. This reflects the need to ensure that adequate numbers of female military members are represented in key functions that may interact with diverse segments of the population. Integrating gender perspectives into military operations as well as deploying women at all rank levels is essential to achieving mission success - both in terms of contributing to peace and security and advancing gender equality.

Increase the number of women deployed in International Operations

Target 5.1: Promote and increase the number of uniformed women deployed to international operations (NATO, UN, and Coalition).

Baseline: Regular Force women in international operations calculated at 11.6% and Reserve Force women at 17.5%.


5.1.1 Continue to promote the importance of gender considerations in military operations

5.1.2 Foster the importance and benefits that conducting mixed gender patrols on operations can lead to greater operational effectiveness.

5.1.3 Support the increase of women in Command of operations at the senior level.

5.1.4 Select women for senior command billets/positions.


5.1.1 The number of women selected for operations.

5.1.2 The number of women selected for Outside Canada program (OUTCAN) positions.

5.1.3 The number of women selected for foreign staff colleges.

Establish GENADs in all specified units

Target 5.2: Support the number of staff employed as Gender Advisors (GENAD)

Baseline: There are three GENADS in the CAF (one at the strategic level and two at the operational level).


5.2.1 Continue to identify prospective staff to serve as GENADs to be able to grow the capability.

5.2.2 Provide ongoing education to all L1s on the capabilities and benefits of engaging GENADs, early and often.

5.2.3 Establish and publish GENAD support material (handbooks etc.) to disseminate to all staff functions.


5.2.1 GENAD selected and functional for the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Army and Chief Military Personnel.

5.2.2 Number of GENAD deployed on operations or ready for deployment.

Establish GFP in all specified units

Target 5.3: Gender Advisors and /or Gender Focal Points (GFP) are fully integrated in all operations (Domestic and International).

Baseline: Ten GFP are trained and ready to deploy.


5.3.1 Encourage staff to seek GFP training and education.

5.3.2 Update of CDS directive to ensure that leaders know the requirement to have GENADs and GFPs.


5.3.1 Number of GFP trained and ready for deployed operations.

5.3.2 Number of GFP deployed.

5.3.3 GFP handbook or ready reference pocket guide for GFP and Commanders is published.

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