Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct
A Canadian flag patch is shown on the shoulder of a member of the Canadian forces at CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg)
OTTAWA -- The commander of the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to formally apologize to victims of sexual misconduct.
The apology comes after, but is separate from, a $900-million settlement agreement that the federal government reached with current and former military members, as well as civilian Defence Department employees, last year after class-action lawsuits were brought against the Forces.
Lawyer Jonathan Ptak, who represented the plaintiffs, says his clients are looking forward to the apology from the chief of the defence staff as well as the Defence Department's deputy minister as soon as is reasonable under the current circumstances with COVID-19.
Ptak says the apology is important for victims of military sexual abuse to heal and have their experiences acknowledged.
The Defence Department is declining to provide details on the apology, but vice-chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau recently told The Canadian Press that it is being planned alongside a week of training for military members on sexual misconduct.
It is not clear whether the apology will be delivered by the outgoing chief of the defence staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, or his still-to-be-named successor.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.
This is a corrected story. A previous version said the coming apology from the Canadian Armed Forces is part of a settlement agreement.