Command Team Perspective: Grassroots Initiatives Can Make the RCAF Better

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Magazine Article / August 10, 2021

The Acting Chief of Defence Staff recently provided an update on the work ongoing to set the conditions for making long-term sustained improvements to our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) culture. The approach to “Listen, Learn, Act” is now guiding us in a continuous effort to make necessary changes that result in action, beyond words and also inculcate an open, innovative and inclusive culture.

There are a number of positive change initiatives underway across the RCAF and throughout the coming months we will continue to actively communicate with you to convey important work done, and work that lies ahead.

In this edition of PERSpectives, Chief Warrant Officer Hall and I want to highlight a recent Vector Check session that took place on 7 July, 2021. While all quarterly Vector Check sessions are incredibly engaging and demonstrate our knack for innovation in the Air Force, this recent session focused on initiatives to improve our diversity, equity and inclusion across the Defence Team as well as support Op TALENT initiatives.

Three proposals were presented, with Lieutenant-General Carignan, Chief of Professional Conduct and Culture, attending as a guest. CWO Hall and I want to commend the three individuals who brought forward positive change initiatives, as well as those in their chains of command who saw the potential and supported their personnel to submit proposals.

Here is a brief overview of each proposal:

  1. Ending Flagrant Discrimination Against Transgender Applicants

    By presenting current recruitment procedures and policies from a transgender applicant lens, a member from North Bay, Ontario illustrated how the lack of clarity and transparency places both financial and discriminatory barriers on transgender individuals looking to join the CAF. Actual experiences of transgender personnel were mapped against other demographic groups, identifying existing biases and barriers.

    The member eloquently noted that CAF recruitment information should include the policy on transgender applicants, as well as the reasoning behind each requirement. This information needs to be publicly accessible so that transgender applicants can provide the correct documentation that covers all of the information required.

  2. How Second Generation Gender Bias Impacts the RCAF

    This powerful presentation, made by a member from Ottawa, defined Second Generation Gender Bias (2GGB), outlining how 2GGB hides within an organization’s systemic practices and lacks an obvious, singular rationale. It was explained how, when unaddressed, 2GGB creates disparities that result in low gender representation.

    In order to achieve the desired level of female representation, the member recommended that the RCAF, as part of its commitment to Op TALENT, explore how 2GGB alters its frames of reference, and seek out those systemic organizational processes that devalue female contributions and reinforce privileges of dominant groups.

  3. A Case for Implementing Terms of Service Renewal Ceremonies

    Using the US Navy as an example, a member from Comox, British Columbia explained how leadership is missing out on an opportunity to celebrate a member’s decision to continue service in uniform. Much is said about retention and keeping experience within the RCAF, but currently there is no process to recognize and celebrate a member’s decision to continue service in uniform.

    Noting that the Departure with Dignity (DWD) ceremony is in place to recognize past service, the member recommended that the RCAF take the opportunity to start a new tradition for the right reason: to retain productive, experienced personnel who would otherwise be eligible for release. Direction could be developed and ceremonies could be planned at little or no cost and will promote retention, team building and morale.

Each of the proposals received positive feedback from RCAF senior leaders, and we are committed to championing or dedicating resources to determine next steps for each of these initiatives in close collaboration with our CAF leadership. We were highly impressed with the caliber of the presentations, and the ideas brought forward. Your voices were heard!

Thank you to all those who submitted proposals, and for your diverse ideas that demonstrate the importance of grassroots initiatives that will make the RCAF better. Keep them coming!

LGen A.D. Meinzinger
Commander RCAF

CWO W.J. Hall
RCAF Command Chief Warrant Officer

Did You Know?

Great ideas can come from anywhere! Do you have a proposed solution to an RCAF issue that you think Leadership should know about?

As the RCAF works to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, we call for RCAF aviators of any occupation, of any rank, to bring submissions to the Commander’s Vector Check.

Vector Check is a quarterly meeting conducted in the “Dragon’s Den” style with RCAF Comd LGen Meinzinger and several RCAF General Officers, who listen to and approve solutions, committing funds and resources to solving the problem.

While not every idea will make it to Vector Check, every solution to a problem will get due consideration. Submissions are welcomed via the Vector Check app at link https://app.rcafdispatch.ca

Let’s solve problems together!

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