Minister's Foreword

The members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are dedicated to Canada and its people, protecting and defending the nation’s interests at home and abroad. These courageous individuals choose a career in which they are asked to commit themselves wholeheartedly to ensuring that Canada is Strong at home, Secure in North America, and Engaged in the world. Our people are the heartbeat of the CAF – we cannot protect the interests of Canadians and maintain peace and stability without the tireless dedication of our brave soldiers, sailors, and aviators.

The CAF Retention Strategy is an important step in our work to provide for our people and their families so that they are well-supported, diverse, and resilient. The Government of Canada and the Department of National Defence must meet the needs of these brave individuals and provide for them throughout their careers. Consequently, we will inspire our members to continue their commitment within the CAF. This is fundamental to maintaining a healthyArmed Forces that can continue to protect Canadian interests at home and around the world. Facing unprecedented challenges, new and emerging threats, and reflecting on shortcomings of our history, it is essential that we improve the support we provide to our members. In doing so, our members can embrace their pride in and dedication to the CAF. To all those who continue to faithfully carry out their duties at great personal sacrifice, I join Canadians in thanking youfor your dedicated service.

Recognizing the enduring service of our members, we renew our commitments in supporting them and their families. Our organization must embrace the culture change needed to ensure that we are providing a safe, inclusive, and fulfilling work environment for all our members; one in which Canadians can see themselves and their values reflected; wherediversity is welcomed and supported; and which supports the retention of our members throughout their careers in defence of the country. This change, championed by the Chief Professional Conduct and Culture and supported in the activities of efforts like the Retention Strategy, will provide our members with a work environment they can thrive in. Through the Retention Strategy, we will keep our valued members in uniform so that we can continue to deliver on our commitment to Canadians wherever, whenever asked.

We know that change is constant and accelerating and that the retention of our members is an outcome of many interactions of personal and work experiences. The Retention Strategy gives us the leverage needed to explore these interactions, to provide a new perspective on how to address them, and to elevate the voices of those who have been previously underrepresented in our approaches to address concerns in the CAF. The perspective of every CAF member can inform the steps we take to improve retention. By taking the extra, and necessary, steps to ensure that previously underrepresented voices are brought to the forefront, we can better address unique concerns, supporting a more inclusive approach to retention, and ultimately improve retention for the entirety of the CAF. With this Strategy, we have the direction and guidance on how to think and be aware of the multitude of interactions CAF members experience and better understand people’s needs across the CAF. While we cannot know the future, the Strategy will help us evolve with our changing environment, identifying and responding to needs as they arise in the future.

It brings me great pleasure to present the CAF Retention Strategy. Invested leadership, sustained support, and growing awareness of how to aid people at all levels in the CAF is key to responding to the needs of our members. I request your backing and leadership in advocating for the improvements needed to support our great soldiers, sailors, and aviators in uniform. Thank you for your enduring contributions to making the CAF work environment one which supports its people in a life-long career, and provides a rewarding experience for all who wish to serve.


Minister's signature

The Honourable
Anita Anand 
Minister of National Defence

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