Canada has implicitly and explicitly embraced diversity as one of the foundational characteristics of what makes us a country; however, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) do not reflect the demographic makeup of Canada. Research points out that there have been some improvements in recruiting from diverse groups with more women, and immigrants or people from a visible minority joining the reserves, but there are glaring differences between the CAF and the civilian work force (Park, 2008). For instance, only 6 per cent of people from visible minorities are employed with the CAF compared to 17 per cent of the civilian working population, and only 6 per cent of the CAF are immigrants compared to 21 per cent of the civilian working population (Park 2008, 21).
The lack of diversity is not just a matter of representation; it has practical implications as well. Over time, the military will need to recruit more minorities as their traditional recruitment pool gets smaller (Leuprecht 2009). Now is the time to review the existing institutional values and policies of the CAF as well as plan for future adjustments so that the military can ease into the transition to a more diverse organization. While Canada is doing better than many other countries with encouraging diversity, there is room for improvement and innovation (Park 2008; Ishaq and Maaria Hussain 2014).
With funding support from a Targeted Engagement Grant, as part of the Department of National Defence’s Defence Engagement Program, this one-day workshop aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of academics, policy practitioners, and CAF personnel to present research and insights on this issue. Our goal is threefold:
1) Debate the tactical, normative, philosophical, and national benefits and challenges of having a diverse CAF;
2) Present empirical evidence of CAF recruitment among different intersectional identity groups; and
3) Provide policy recommendations to help the CAF address this issue.
We welcome original research papers that deal with military diversity in various forms, including but not limited to diversity of gender, sexuality, religion, ethnic background, and/or race as well as intersectionality among these and other forms of diversity. Selected papers from the workshop will be collated into an edited publication. Economy travel from within Canada and accommodation will be covered. Please include a bio of 100-150 words along with your abstract.
Deadline for 300–500-word abstracts extended to February 5, 2017
Deadline for 6000–7000-word papers: March 31, 2017
Please send to: [email protected]
The workshop will take place April 12-13, 2017 at the Balsillie School in Waterloo, Ontario.