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Military sexual misconduct apology date officially set for Dec. 13

Click to play video: 'Canadian military sexual misconduct survivors still wait for apology from Ottawa' Canadian military sexual misconduct survivors still wait for apology from Ottawa
WATCH: Survivors of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces are still waiting for an apology from the federal government, as the number of claimants in a class-action lawsuit continues to rise. Mercedes Stephenson explains how this apology will be different from other high-profile apologies the federal Liberal government has issued – Nov 16, 2021

Survivors and victims of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces will get the apology promised to them more than two years ago in a virtual event on Dec. 13.

Defence Minister Anita Anand will offer an apology on behalf of the federal government, while Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre will offer one on behalf of the military and deputy minister Jody Thomas will offer one on behalf of the Department of National Defence.

Read more: Military sexual misconduct apology coming before end of year, Anand’s office confirms

“We know that our collective failure to build an inclusive workplace culture free from these unacceptable behaviours has hurt our people,” the trio said on Monday evening in a joint press release.

“As part of our efforts to restore relationships with those harmed, we will offer a public apology to all current and former members of the defence team who have been affected by sexual assault and sexual misconduct, including harassment, and discrimination.”

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Click to play video: 'Claims in Canadian military sexual misconduct lawsuit nearly double' Claims in Canadian military sexual misconduct lawsuit nearly double
Claims in Canadian military sexual misconduct lawsuit nearly double – Nov 8, 2021

Anand’s office had confirmed last week the apology would come before the end of the year but had not said whether she would officially take part and offer one on behalf of the government.

That’s something advocates have said would be a powerful symbol for survivors and victims, but some had also called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be among those apologizing given the government’s failures to implement key recommendations from the 2015 Deschamps report.

Read more: Gen. Wayne Eyre officially taking over as new chief of the defence staff

That landmark report documented the extent of the longstanding issue of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces, describing the problem as “endemic” and the culture of the military as “toxic.”

In 2019, the government reached a $900-million settlement over a class-action lawsuit from survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct. So far, more than 18,000 survivors and victims have come forward to submit claims.

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Experts have said the Canadian military is facing an existential “crisis” over sexual misconduct within its ranks — a decades-old problem that came under renewed national scrutiny following exclusive, ongoing reporting by Global News about allegations facing its senior leaders.

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