DAOD 5049-2, Conscientious Objection
Date of Issue: 2004-07-30
Application: This is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces ("CF members").
Supersession: CANFORGEN 076/03, Interim Policy - Administration of Conscientious Objectors
Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Director General Personnel and Family Support Services (DGPFSS).
Enquiries: Director Human Rights and Diversity (DHRD)
Enrolment of persons in the CF is strictly voluntary and CF members must be prepared to perform any lawful duty to defend Canada, its interests and its values, while contributing to international peace and security. A CF member who has a conscientious objection remains liable to perform any lawful duty, but may request voluntary release on the basis of their objection.
Eligibility for Voluntary Release
A CF member may request voluntary release on the basis of conscientious objection if the CF member has a sincerely held objection to participation in:
- war or armed conflict in general; or
- the bearing and use of arms as a requirement of service in the CF.
An objection based primarily on one or more of the following does not permit voluntary release on the basis of a conscientious objection:
- participation or use of arms in a particular conflict or operation;
- national policy;
- personal expediency; or
- political beliefs.
Performance of Duties
A CF member who applies for voluntary release on the basis of a conscientious objection remains liable to perform any lawful duty until released from the CF. However, to the extent that the exigencies of service allow, a CF member, while their request for release is under review, shall not be assigned duties that conflict with their stated beliefs. A CF member seeking release is required to perform all assigned duties satisfactorily in an impartial, loyal and effective manner.
A CF member on training who seeks voluntary release on the basis of a conscientious objection shall immediately cease training and be placed in the local or regional holding organization while a decision is being made.
A CF member whose voluntary release on the basis of a conscientious objection is approved shall be released under item 4(c) of the Table to QR&O 15.01, Release of Officers and Non-Commissioned Members, unless release under a more appropriate item is approved by a release authority.
A CF member who has incurred obligatory service as a result of subsidized education or training or a recruitment allowance remains subject to QR&O 15.07, Voluntary Release After Subsidized Education or Training, QR&O 15.071, Voluntary Release After Receiving a Recruitment Allowance, QR&O 15.075, Voluntary Release After Receipt of Pilot Terminable Allowance and other applicable provisions.
A commanding officer (CO) shall process a request for release on the basis of a conscientious objection as expeditiously as possible. Once a determination has been made that a CF member satisfies the criteria in the Eligibility for Voluntary Release block and release under item 4(c) is approved, there is no requirement for any period of notice prior to the release.
The following table outlines the process for the submission and review of a request for voluntary release on the basis of a conscientious objection:
Applicable release authority
Factors to be considered when assessing if a CF member satisfies the criteria in the Eligibility for Voluntary Release block include, as applicable to the CF member:
- the nature of the objection;
- the effects of family background and upbringing;
- the nature and effects of study, training and education in religious or moral doctrine;
- religious affiliation, relevant teachings of the religion and adherence to such tenets;
- the circumstances and influences which solidified or changed the CF member's beliefs;
- the degree of consistency between the beliefs asserted and the CF member's behaviour and conduct;
- the general credibility of the CF member;
- the evidence and the credibility of persons supporting the request for release; and
- the timing and circumstances of the request for release.
A CF member who is not satisfied with the disposition of their request for voluntary release based on a conscientious objection may submit a grievance in accordance with QR&O 7.01, Right to Grieve.
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- QR&O 15.18, Voluntary Release - Officers
- QR&O 15.33, Release on Request - Non-Commissioned Members
- QR&O 7.01, Right to Grieve
- QR&O 15.07, Voluntary Release After Subsidized Education or Training
- QR&O 15.071, Voluntary Release After Receiving a Recruitment Allowance
- QR&O 15.075, Voluntary Release After Receipt of Pilot Terminable Allowance
- CFAO 15-2, Release - Regular Force
- CFAO 49-10, Terms of Service - Officers - Primary Reserve
- CFAO 49-11, Terms of Service Non-Commissioned Members Primary Reserve