Storming the ramparts, employment equity and the military

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Brennan, Patricia L.
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This study was conducted with a dual purpose. The first was to explore the theory and history of employment equity in Canada in general and in the Canadian military in particular. The second was to prepare a report on the findings as to why personnel, particularly designated groups under employment equity, choose to leave the military. The intent was to determine if there were significant differences in reasons for leaving between men who make up the majority of the Canadian Forces and designated group members, that in turn could be used to determine if systemic barriers were contributing factors. The study was conducted by comparing data for all who left the military from January 1994 to December 1996 with data from personnel who voluntarily completed an exit questionnaire upon leaving, and then with gender and ethnic information from the 1995 Canadian Forces Diversity Study. Overall the results were consistent for women and men--both citing family impact as the primary category of reasons for leaving. Theresults were less consistent among aboriginal peoples and visible minorities who reported higher instances of career dissatisfaction. Caution is advised in interpreting these results as overall there was a low rate of response from an groups (about 20%), an increased completion rate with rank progression, inconsistent completion rate by occupation and small overall sample of aboriginal peoples and visible minorities. Recommendations for increasing the validity of the exit uestionnaire include making completion mandatory, simplifying the questionnaire and the process for completion, targeting designated groups as well as junior personnel and non-traditional occupations to complete the questionnaire, and instituting a program to refer designated groups to the reserves.