Admiral’s Statement: We need cultural change to combat racism and promote inclusion

Navy News / November 12, 2020

Shipmates,

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are committed to combating racism in our ranks and organization. Roused by the recent and ongoing outcry against racial injustice echoing throughout Canada and around the world, we’ve had cause to reflect on our shortcomings as an institution. What is clear is that racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and discrimination exist within our ranks and organization, despite the efforts of many to combat it. We all need to acknowledge this, completely hoist it aboard, and then commit to fixing it. We must be inclusive by creating a sense of belonging for all who join and serve in our Navy.

This is no small task. It will take a concerted effort by each and every one of us. It will require that we help one another as we listen, learn and act. It will require a cultural change.

To these ends, I have directed that the RCN will promote institutional culture change through an aggressive series of engagements with mid-level leadership (i.e., from Master Sailor to Chief Petty Officer Second Class, and from Lieutenant (Navy) to Commander). These engagements, which will be complementary to ones already held for naval executives at ranks of Chief Petty Officer First Class and Captain (N) as well as Flag Officers, are designed to combat racism and promote inclusion and will be completed by the end of this calendar year. These engagements will enable this important leadership cohort to hear victim testimonials, and receive guidance from experts in the field.

Each of you has a huge impact on our culture and morale. Through your actions and example, you are defining who we are, and only through you can we get better and get right! You can help promote change. In fact, it’s not possible without you. And so, I ask you to do this – with your leadership, support and influence, we can work together to make this, our RCN, a better work place and home away from home for all our sailors.

The introductory message from the Command Chief and me for these important sessions is available at the following links:

In the RCN, we must all have each other's back and together forge a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. We must combat racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and discrimination. We must listen, learn and act.

We must pursue institutional culture change. With these engagements, you will be empowered to be an engine of that change.

Yours Aye,

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald
Commander Royal Canadian Navy