Canadian Army using Bystander Training from TED Talk in support of Operation Honour

Article / December 12, 2016

By: 2Lt Aaron Stryd

The Canadian Army is providing training to all personnel on the bystander approach to the prevention of Harmful and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour (HISB). The aim of the training is to promote a culture of respect and vigilance within the Canadian Armed Forces which reinforces ethical conduct and prevents abusive behaviour.

The bystander approach was developed by Jackson Katz, founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program and has been taught in organizations such as the United States Marine Corps, New England Patriots, and NASCAR.

Bystander training recognizes that many perpetrators of abusive behaviour are normal people who have been influenced by a culture that accepts, and sometimes promotes, those behaviours. People who are not a perpetrator or victim of abuse frequently remain silent for fear of impacting their career, relationships, or because they feel it isn’t their business. But when bystanders remain silent it promotes a culture which accepts abusive behaviour and allows it to continue.

Katz believes that it is a leadership issue.   “I run a leadership program, ”  he said during a TED talk in 2012.  “It can be hard to speak up, ”  he acknowledges, it takes people  “with the guts, with the courage, with the strength with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence.” 

The Canadian Army’s bystander training reinforces that all Canadian Armed Forces members are leaders in creating a safe and respectful workplace, and that we all have an obligation to speak out.

I am committed to the termination of HISB in the Canadian Army, ”  said LGen Wynnyk, Commander of the Canadian Army.   “Every soldier and every officer needs to be ready and effective bystanders at all levels of the Canadian Army’s chain of command.  If you see it, hear it or feel it: do the right thing and report it.” 

The training is being delivered through the chain of command. Training is underway with expected completion by January 2017.

To learn more, watch Jackson Katz’s TED talk at:


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