Internal Communiqué from Commandant and Principal – BOI Findings on Three 2016 Suicides

Feature photos: (L-R) 26390 Harrison Kelertas, 27250 Brett Cameron and 27215 Matthew Sullivan

Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report on 2016 Suicides Public ReleasePublication du rapport d’enquete sur suicides de 2016

Internal Communiqué from BGen Sébastien Bouchard, Commandant, and Dr. Harry Kowal, Principal

Two years ago, RMC was shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of three members of the RMC family in a very short span of time. The tragic deaths of Officer Cadets Harrison Kelertas, Brett Cameron, and Matthew Sullivan as well as the devastating impact on their families, friends and all those who knew them still resonate with us all.

In accordance with Canadian Armed Forces policy, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) was convened to look into the circumstances surrounding their deaths and the results have recently been briefed to all three families as well as the media.

While we now have a better understanding of the circumstances, we may never know all of the details and factors that led up to these three tragedies. The BOI has provided a number of recommendations for RMC and we assure you that action is being taken. In fact, many of the recommendations have already been actioned, in line with the 2016/17 Special Staff Assistance Visit and the Office of the Auditor General’s report, which resulted in a significant number of positive changes at the College.

For some of you, the media attention surrounding the release of the BOI report may reopen old wounds and stir up emotional responses. If you find yourself having difficulty reflecting on the tragic events of 2016, you are not alone. This is normal. If you feel the need to reach out to your friends, colleagues, or any other services available for support, please do so. We also ask you to keep a watchful eye on one another.

Here are some of the additional support mechanisms in place for you:

Military members in the Kingston area can call 613-541-5010 ext. 5776 during working hours for Mental Health support.

Anyone in the Kingston area can contact Crisis Services at 613-544-4228, 24 hours a day.

Any military member or civilian employee of RMC and the Defence Team can reach out for support through the Member Assistance Program at 1-800-268-7708, 24 hours a day from anywhere across Canada.

Communiqué interne de Bgén Sébastien Bouchard, commandant, et M. Harry Kowal, PhD, recteur

Il y a deux ans, le CMR était surpris et attristé par la perte soudaine de trois membres de la famille du Collège militaire royal (CMR) en très peu de temps. Les morts tragiques des élèves-officiers Harrison Kelertas, Brett Cameron et Matthew Sullivan, ainsi que les répercussions dévastatrices sur leur famille, leurs amis et tous ceux qui les connaissaient suscitent encore des émotions chez nous tous.

Conformément à la politique des Forces armées canadiennes (FAC), une commission d’enquête a été mise sur pied pour examiner les circonstances entourant ces décès. Les résultats de la commission d’enquête ont récemment été communiqués aux trois familles ainsi qu’aux médias.

Bien que nous comprenons mieux les circonstances, nous ne connaîtrons jamais tous les détails et les facteurs qui ont mené à ces trois tragédies. La commission d’enquête a toutefois fourni des recommandations à l’intention du CMR auxquelles nous vous assurons que des mesures sont prises. Il est important de savoir que nous avons déjà mis en œuvre plusieurs de ces recommandations suite à la visite spéciale d’aide d’état-major et le rapport du vérificateur général du Canada de 2016/17, qui ont abouti à un nombre important de changements positifs au collège.

Pour certains d’entre vous, l’attention médiatique suscitée par ce rapport d’enquête pourrait raviver de vieilles blessures et provoquer des réactions émotives, ce qui est tout à fait normal. Si vous avez des difficultés à composer avec les événements tragiques de 2016, vous n’êtes pas seul. Si vous en ressentez le besoin, parlez à vos amis, à vos collègues ou aux services de soutien à votre disposition. Nous vous demandons également d’être attentif les uns envers les autres.

Voici d’autres mécanismes de soutien qui vous sont offerts :

Les militaires dans la région de Kingston peuvent téléphoner au 613-541-5010 poste 5776 pendant les heures de bureau pour obtenir du soutien.

Toutes les personnes dans la région de Kinston peuvent communiquer avec les Services de crise au 613-544-4228, 24 heures par jour.

Tous les membres civils ou militaires du CMR et de l’Équipe de la défense peuvent demander du soutien par l’intermédiaire du Programme d’aide aux employés (PAE) et du Programme d’aide aux membres des Forces canadiennes (PAMFC) au 1-800-268-7708, 24 heures par jour, de n’importe quel endroit au pays

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Board of Inquiry Findings on Three 2016 Suicides 

The Board of Inquiry into the three suicides involving RMC Cadets in 2016 recently made its findings public. Below is the text of the report which e-Veritas was able to access. Much of the report was redacted and is therefore not included here. (You may have to ‘hold Ctrl and click+ – a few times for better viewing)

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

 

3 Comments

  • D. W. McCaw, LCOL (ret)

    July 23, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I was very interested in the report from the BOI on suicides in 2016 because I conducted a similar inquiry on a suicide at RMC in 1993. My report was not as comprehensive and had more limited terms of reference for a single suicide, but the recommendations, from what I can recall from 25 years ago, were very similar to the recommendations in this report. It will be interesting to see what recommendations will be implemented and if young lives are saved.

  • 13139 Mitchell MacLeod

    July 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    I fervently hope the College and the CF in general take these recommendations seriously. Equally I trust the families and friends of these three Cadets have received some degree of closure with the issuance of these findings. Unfortunately in the past, mental health issues in the Military were swept under the carpet, out of sight , out of mind, with little thought as to their root causes, or solutions to them. Sad state of affairs.

  • Maisonneuve

    July 23, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Pretty generic report…nothing regarding the responsibility of the chain of command… unless it is in the redacted portions.