Army fails to remove barriers to rank diversification: ombudsman

Canada’s military ombudsman joins the chorus of those accusing the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense of failing to remove long-standing barriers to recruiting and retaining more women, visible minorities and aboriginal people.

Gregory Lick says in a new report that the Army and the department have taken many initiatives over the past 20 years to increase the share of Armed Forces members who come from these underrepresented groups.

The moves follow several human rights rulings and the passing of employment equity laws, as well as a growing disconnect between the makeup of the military – mostly made up of white men – and the rest of the country’s population.

Lick says the initiatives have generated little progress in increasing representation for underrepresented groups, and the military is far from meeting its own goals.

The ombudsman’s report comes weeks after a panel of retired Armed Forces members released the results of its own review, which faulted the military for failing to act on dozens of studies and past reviews on 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.