Military failing to remove barriers to diversifying ranks: ombudsman

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OTTAWA — Canada’s military ombudsman is joining the chorus of those accusing the Canadian Armed Forces and Defence Department of having failed to address long-standing barriers to recruit and retain more women, visible minorities and Indigenous People.

Gregory Lick says in a new report that the military and department have adopted numerous initiatives over the last 20 years to increase the share of Armed Forces members who come from those underrepresented groups.

The moves follow several human-rights decisions and the passage of employment equity laws, amid a growing disconnect between the makeup of the military, predominantly composed of white males, and the rest of the country’s population.

Yet Lick says the initiatives have resulted in little progress in increasing representation from underrepresented groups, with the military falling far short of its own targets.

The ombudsman’s report comes weeks after a panel of retired Armed Forces members released the results of its own review, which took the military to task for not acting on dozens of previous studies and reviews of racism in the organization.

The scathing anti-racism report also accused the military of not doing enough to detect and prevent white supremacists and other extremists from infiltrating its ranks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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