Current and former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, and current and former employees of the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces (SNPF, CF), affected by sexual misconduct in the military workplace have two months left to submit a claim as part of the CAF-DND sexual misconduct class action settlement. Sexual misconduct is inconsistent with CAF-DND values and ethics and is a problem that is being taken very seriously. This settlement is an important part of this commitment.
The individual claims process component of the CAF-DND sexual misconduct class action settlement commenced on May 25, 2020, and allows those affected by sexual misconduct in the military workplace to submit a confidential claim for financial compensation and apply to participate in a Restorative Engagement program, until the period to file a claim closes on November 24, 2021.
The Final Settlement Agreement was approved by the Federal Court in November 2019. It applies to people who experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or discrimination based on gender, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation while serving in the CAF, working for DND, or for the SNPF, CF.
The protection of privacy is important, and the claims process is confidential. The fact that someone has made a claim, and all of the information and documents provided by claimants will not be disclosed to claimants’ co-workers, supervisors, or DND/CAF/SNPF, CF leadership, except with the consent of the class member or as required by law.
This settlement provides financial compensation for those who have been harmed by sexual misconduct and makes changes to CAF and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) policies. Compensation is available for incidents of discrimination and harassment, as well as more serious incidents of sexual assault. The range of individual compensation for most eligible class members is $5,000 to $55,000. Compensation will depend on the type of sexual misconduct, an assessment of the harm suffered, and the number of class members that submit claims. Class members with PTSD or other diagnosed mental or physical injuries directly arising from sexual assault or sexual harassment may be eligible for additional amounts. In the case of a CAF class member, these additional amounts are only available if they are ineligible for VAC benefits and their application for reconsideration is also denied. DND/SNPF, CF class members do not need to apply for VAC benefits, unless they also have CAF service.
In addition to the possibility of financial compensation, class members can also choose to participate in the Restorative Engagement program which aims to provide class members safe and flexible options to share their experience of sexual misconduct, its causes and impacts with Defence leadership- to be heard, acknowledged and validated, and to contribute to changing the organizational culture.
The Restorative Engagement team is consulting with external experts on the design of the program. Consultations also include people affected by sexual misconduct, Defence Advisory Groups, and other stakeholders both inside and outside of the Defence Team. The Restorative Engagement program is expected to launch in the fall of 2021.
If you have questions about whether the conduct that you experienced during your service or employment is covered by the settlement, or to learn more about the settlement and submit a claim, visit the class action website at www.caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca or call 1-888-626-2611. If you need legal advice concerning a possible claim in the settlement, you are entitled to receive it free of charge from class counsel as part of the settlement. Contact information for class counsel across Canada is on the class action website. If you are aware of others who may be eligible, please share this information with them.
- Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (24/7)
- Canadian Forces Health Services Centres
- Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (24/7)
- The Family Information Line (24/7)
- CAF Chaplain Services
- Employee Assistance Program for DND Employees (24/7)
- Employee and Family Assistance Program for Staff of the NPF, CF Employees (24/7)