I believe it's the management structure that has to change. There has to be more oversight put in, and we have to look at how policy is being facilitated in the Canadian Armed Forces. There were different kinds of issues when I went into the Canadian Armed Forces. Some of the issues had to do with human resource management policies and selection and recruiting policies, where the front-line recruiters in the management system all the way up to the colonels, in terms of the section of personnel selection, were not abiding by evidence-based practices to recruit and select personnel. They had out-of-date practices that were not in tune with getting the right people into the right positions.
An example would be that they were using the same types of selection and skill criteria for a social work officer that they would use for an engineering officer. That is just different. It's a different type of criteria, a different type of skill set, and they didn't really understand that. There were issues in terms of the overall knowledge and skill set of the individuals who were placed in leadership positions in the Canadian Armed Forces. That boils down to how we are educating our military members in terms of their curriculum in the school system that we're putting them through, and then there were issues in terms of the reporting and management structure that was put in place.
Whenever I experienced sexual harassment, I reported it to my chain of command. My chain of command didn't do anything about it. There was a 17-year-old girl who was working in the armoury with me, and that to me looked like a child protection issue, because she was under age. She was asking for help, and there was a lot of lewd behaviour of an escalating gender-based violence method. So I went to the people who were in the appropriate positions and I reported the violence. They didn't do anything.
Then I consulted with community-based members, and I ended up talking to the Saint John city police. The Saint John city police informed the chain of command or they informed the military police. Then the members of my chain of command, who didn't act beforehand, retaliated against me. They had to do an investigation and they had to do something about it within their internal management system. They retaliated against me and tried to have me declared mentally unfit for service and stop my application for direct entry social work officer from going through.
After that happened, I contacted the ombudsman. The ombudsman told me that I had to file a complaint. I filed a complaint back with my chain of command, which was filing the complaint directly with the individuals who tried to have me declared medically unfit for service. Then I also filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission can't come in and help you unless you've exhausted all internal military grievance procedures. What I found was that the military would behave grossly and completely inappropriately and then they would just create a new harassment resolution method to try to make amends for what they did before.
That was a continuous cycle that went on for three investigations for the harassment that happened at the armoury in Saint John, New Brunswick, and one investigation that I wasn't allowed to participate or speak in for the things that were going on at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. Then the commission stepped in. It's going before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
But there are issues with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, as well. I'm not legally protected. It's legal processes that are being used, and I have to try to represent myself. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a social worker, so it's hard for me to know how to go through all those processes and procedures and figure out how to do that.
The Canadian Armed Forces are represented by the Attorney General's office. They have publicly funded legal representation. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is there to represent the interests of Canada. That is not well-defined in terms of whether or not the victim will be protected in terms of what happened with them. I have to figure out how to protect myself in that situation.
I can't get any reimbursement for legal costs. I have to fund that all on my own, whereas the perpetrators have unlimited funding for their legal expenses paid for by the country. I find that to be unfair.