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Top soldier to hold summit on sexual misconduct in Canadian Forces

Last Updated Jul 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm EDT

Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance appears as a witness at a House of Commons standing committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Canada’s newly minted chief of defence staff will hold a summit this August with the leadership of the Canadian military to determine the way ahead for eradicating sexual assault and harassment in the Canadian Forces.

Gen. Jonathan Vance says there will be other announcements in the near future laying out changes to how the military handles sexual misconduct but in the meantime, suggests victims call 911 or go through existing channels.

In a letter sent to all members of the Canadian Forces, Vance says while he knows individual commanders are already taking action, their efforts need to be co-ordinated.

He likened the approach to a formal military operation and says he has named it as a result — Operation Honour.

In a scathing report released this spring, former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps had indicated sexual misconduct is “endemic” in the Canadian military and suggested leadership tolerated abuse.

Her report made 10 recommendations and in the letter Vance says he is committed to their implementation as rapidly and effectively as possible.