DAOD 2008-0, Public Affairs Policy
Date of Issue: 1998-01-30
Effective Date: 1998-03-01
Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Forces (CF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).
- NDHQ Policy Directive P/95, DND/CF Communications and Public Affairs
- NDHQ Policy Directive P/91, DND/CF Communications and Public Affairs
- CFAO 19-28, Public Affairs Function
Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister (DM) and the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).
Enquiries: Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs) (ADM(PA))
- Canadian Forces Member (membre des Forces canadiennes)
- A Canadian Forces (CF) member is a member of any component of the CF, Regular or Reserve, unless the contrary is indicated.
- Issue-Specific Public Affairs Plan (plan d'affaires publiques axé sur un problème particulier)
- An issue-specific public affairs (PA) plan articulates the approach and activities required to support the implementation of a specific program, initiative, operation and/or event, or to manage an issue or crisis.
- Public Affairs (affaires publiques)
- Public affairs (PA) encompasses activities related to informing internal and external audiences. It includes research and analysis, communications advice and planning, and the delivery of information programs.
- Public Affairs Material (matériel d'affaires publiques)
- Public affairs material refers to information products designed to support public affairs activities with internal and/or external audiences.
- Public Affairs Plan (plan d'affaires publiques)
- Public affairs plan is specific documents that articulate the public affairs objectives, themes, approaches and activities required to support the implementation of a policy, program, operation or initiative, and/or to manage an issue or crisis.
- Public Announcement (annonce publique)
- A public announcement refers to an official public statement or public affairs activity designed to inform the public of a new initiative, or the DND and/or CF's position on a policy, program, service, operation, activity, initiative, issue and/or crisis. Examples include issuing a news release or bulletin to inform the public of a new policy, program, service, base opening/closure, special event and/or changes in a CF operation.
- Strategic Public Affairs Plan (plan stratégiques d'affaires publiques)
- The Strategic Public Affairs Plan is issued annually and provides overall direction for public affairs programs and activities in the DND and the CF. The plan articulates objectives, corporate themes and major public affairs activities. It links governmental, ministerial, and DND and CF public affairs priorities and goals to provide guidance for all operational public affairs planning activities.
Together, the CF and the DND is a unique Canadian institution. They bring together Canadians from all regions of the country and all ethnic backgrounds, through military and public service, in pursuit of the common mission of defending Canada and Canadian interests and values while contributing to international peace and security.
In fulfilling this mission, the role of Public Affairs (PA) is to promote understanding and awareness among Canadians of the role, mandate and activities of the CF and DND, and of the contributions that the CF and DND make to Canadian society and the international community.
Canadians expect and deserve to know what the men and women of the CF and DND do on their behalf. Public support for the CF and DND follows from public understanding of how the CF and DND make a difference at home and abroad. Public confidence, in turn, is enhanced by the ability of the CF and DND to achieve its mandate in a manner that is open, transparent, and consistent with Canadian values and expectations.
In short, public support and confidence follow from the ability of the CF and DND to both deliver and inform.
The intent of the PA policy is to ensure that Canadians are well-informed and aware of the role, mandate, operations and contributions of the CF and DND. The policy is designed to establish and articulate PA operating principles, authorities, accountabilities, responsibilities, requirements and guidelines for CF members and DND employees at all levels to help them build, nurture and maintain a strong relationship with the public.
The policy seeks to achieve these objectives by establishing a modern, progressive and professional approach to PA that actively encourages openness and transparency, integrates PA into CF and DND operations at all levels, delegates authority and empowers CF members and DND employees to speak more openly to Canadians about what they do and how they make a difference to Canada and the international community.
It is DND and CF policy to:
- inform the public of its policies, programs, services, activities, operations and initiatives in a manner that is accurate, complete, objective, timely, relevant, understandable, and open and transparent within the law;
- take into account the views and concerns of the public when planning, developing and implementing policies, programs, services and operations;
- fully integrate PA into the decision-making process for policy development, program design, service delivery and military operations; and,
- coordinate PA planning and program delivery, including internal communications, within a planned, corporate framework based on a partnership among commanding officers (COs), DND managers and professional PA practitioners.
The CF and DND shall:
- embed the principles of openness, transparency and accessibility into the day-to-day operations of the CF and DND, while respecting the constraints to openness imposed by legislation and regulation;
- embed into the CF and DND chains of command responsibility for fully integrating PA, including internal communications, into the decision-making process for policy development, program design, service delivery, and military doctrine and operations;
- articulate and communicate accountability and responsibility for PA across all levels to ensure the PA roles and responsibilities of all CF members and DND employees are clearly defined and understood;
- establish procedures for the proactive management of issues and crises placing priority on identifying problems, promptly implementing solutions, and promptly informing the public in a complete and accurate manner of what the CF and/or DND are doing to address the issues or problems and why;
- integrate PA operating principles and requirements into military doctrine, military planning, decision-making, and the achievement of CF operations;
- incorporate PA components into pre-deployment training and major training programs for new recruits, officer candidates, leadership and management candidates;
- establish requirements, procedures and standards for advertising, audio-visual and multi-media production; corporate internal communications; PA research; publishing; Internet publishing; and, PA training and education to ensure that PA programs and activities are planned, resourced and executed in a manner that is cost-effective and consistent with modern PA practices and in accordance with federal identity standards; and
- review and update the PA policy and its related orders and directives every five years.
Legislation, Regulation, and Policy
DND employees and CF members at all levels must manage their PA programs and activities, as appropriate, in accordance with the principles and requirements of federal laws and policies, including the:
- National Defence Act;
- Official Languages Act;
- Access to Information Act;
- Privacy Act;
- Copyright Act;
- Official Secrets Act;
- Canada Evidence Act;
- Financial Administration Act;
- Government Communications Policy; and
- DND and CF Security Orders and Directives.
CF members must also adhere to the principles and requirements of Queen's Regulations and Orders, including:
- QR&O 19.14, Improper Comments;
- QR&O 19.36, Disclosure of Information or Opinion; and
- QR&O 24.02, Press Releases Regarding Casualties.
Openness, and Transparency
CF members and DND employees face significant challenges in their efforts to inform the public and ensure the public's right to know, while being fully aware and respectful of legal restrictions on releasing detailed information about:
- individuals (restricted by the Privacy Act);
- sensitive elements of military operations (restricted by the National Defence Act and the Official Secrets Act); and
- issues before the courts (which is restricted by the Canada Evidence Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
While these restrictions place legal limits on the ability of the CF and DND to live up to demands for complete openness, every effort should be made to be as open and transparent as possible within the law.
To this end, CF members and DND employees at all levels shall manage their programs and activities in a manner that:
- maximizes public and media accessibility to information regarding DND and CF policies, programs, services, operations and initiatives in a timely manner and within the law;
- minimizes the need for the public or media to resort to the Access to Information Act as a means of obtaining information from DND or the CF; and
- conforms to both the letter and the spirit of the Access to Information Act.
Regardless of rank or level, CF members and DND employees are accountable to their chain of command for the accuracy and currency of the information they make available to the public.
PA is a responsibility of the CF and DND chain of command, and must be adequately resourced and fully integrated into the decision-making process for policy development, program design, service delivery, and military operations.
To this end, Group Principals and Environmental Chiefs of Staff (ECS) shall:
- familiarize themselves with PA policies, orders, directives and strategic priorities; and
- ensure that the PA components of their programs, operations or activities are adequately resourced to support operations and/or policy, program and service delivery.
Group Principals shall:
- ensure that their PA account managers are members of group or branch management committees; and
- provide their PA account managers access to the information required to participate effectively in decision-making and provide PA advice on the impacts of decisions taken.
- ensure that the most senior Public Affairs Officer (PAO) assigned to a
command, area, division, wing, base or unit reports directly to their CO and is
included in all key decision-making fora, committees, and/or work groups;
- provide their senior PAO access to the information required to participate effectively in decision-making and provide PA advice on the impact of decisions; and
- integrate the principles, requirements and objectives of the DND and CF PA policy and its related orders into military doctrine.
Flexible, but Corporate
With support from public affairs officers or account managers, COs and DND managers shall ensure that the PA components of their programs, operations and/or activities reflect the needs of their intended audiences and:
- advance the priorities of their Command or Group;
- contribute to the achievement of CF and DND priorities;
- contribute to public understanding and awareness of the CF and DND as a whole; and
- are evaluated in accordance with CF and DND performance measurement practices.
Perhaps more than any other function, internal communications is a collective responsibility that cuts across all levels of the DND and the CF.
CF members and DND employees have a responsibility to keep their colleagues informed of how their activities impact on their unit, base or section. COs and DND managers, in turn, have a responsibility to inform CF members and DND employees of corporate policies, programs and services that have a broad impact on the CF and DND.
In this corporate context, internal communications is a vital element of PA. CF members and DND employees contribute to public understanding of what the CF and DND do on behalf of Canadians. To communicate effectively with the public, however, CF members and DND employees must be well-informed.
To this end, internal communications shall be a responsibility of the DND and CF chain of command and shall be fully integrated into PA planning and program delivery.
In fulfilling their responsibilities for internal communications, COs and DND managers shall:
- incorporate internal communications into their PA plans;
- ensure that the internal communications components of their programs, operations or activities are adequately resourced to achieve planned objectives; and
- include internal communications when implementing PA programs.
Modern Values and Practices
COs and DND managers shall ensure that:
- their PA materials and activities reflect modern Canadian values, including the elimination of sexual stereotyping and the fair, representative depiction of people in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity;
- a proportion of annual PA expenditures are directed toward PA materials for use by the blind or visually impaired and/or others who are unable to read print or use alternate media;
- they make information available to the public as clearly and concisely as possible, in both the form the public needs and the official language of its choice.
COs and DND managers shall ensure that PA materials are made available:
- simultaneously, with equal prominence and linguistic quality, in English and French in accordance with DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages;
- simultaneously, in all regions of Canada, when they contain information of a national scope or nature (information of a regional or local scope or nature should be made available, as appropriate); and,
- in a manner responsive to Canada's multicultural character (this may involve producing PA materials in languages other than the official languages).
COs and DND managers shall ensure that CF members and DND employees receive the training required to complete assigned tasks in accordance with PA policies, orders and directives.
Federal and Corporate Identity
All DND and CF PA materials shall meet the requirements of the Federal Identity Program and the requirements of the DND and CF Corporate Communications Standards (to be developed).
DND and the CF, like all federal departments, agencies and institutions, has a responsibility to support the overall efforts of the Government of Canada to explain the decisions of Parliament to the public.
For this reason, all DND and CF public affairs plans, materials and/or activities shall, as appropriate:
- take into account the over-arching priorities and objectives of the Government;
- take advantage of opportunities to explain to the public how DND and CF initiatives support Government priorities and objectives, and/or how DND and CF programs and activities relate to or support other government programs, such as foreign policy and international development assistance; and,
- take advantage of opportunities to work in partnership with other departments and agencies when communicating with the public in order to reduce duplication and costs.
The following table identifies the authorities responsible for implementing the policy.
|The...||has/have the authority to...|
Commanders of Operations
Area, Division, Base, Wing, Formation and Unit Commanders
- Government Communications Policy, Treasury Board Secretariat
- Framework for Managing Public Affairs in National Defence and the Canadian Forces, Defence Management Committee, August, 1996.
- DND and CF Corporate Communications Standards (to be developed)
- National Defence Act
- Official Languages Act
- Access to Information Act
- Privacy Act
- Copyright Act
- Official Secrets Act
- Canada Evidence Act
- Financial Administration Act
- QR&O 19.14, Improper Comments
- QR&O 19.36, Disclosure of Information or Opinion
- QR&O 24.02, Press Releases Regarding Casualties
- DAOD 2008-1, Public Affairs Accountabilities and Responsibilities
- DAOD 2008-2, Media Relations and Public Announcements
- DAOD 2008-3, Issue and Crisis Management
- DAOD 2008-4, Public Affairs, Military Doctrine, and CF Operations
- DAOD 2008-5, Public Affairs Planning and Program Delivery
- DAOD 2008-6, Internet Publishing.
- DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages