Results at a glance and operating context

Operating Context

National Defence policies and activities are informed by the evolving security context in which the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operates. Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (SSE), identifies three broad trends that continue to shape the modern security environment:

  1. The evolving balance of power;
  2. The changing nature of conflict; and
  3. The rapid evolution of technology.

These trends therefore continue to shape the context in which the Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF must operate. A common realization from these trends is that many of the modern threats faced by Canada are diffuse and transcend national borders undermining the security once provided by Canada’s geography. This requires Canada’s engagement to help promote security and stability abroad.

Against the backdrop of this ever-evolving operating context, DND and the CAF are squarely focused on implementing SSE. The effective implementation of this comprehensive, 20-year plan is essential to ensuring that the CAF is well prepared to execute its mandate and meet Canada’s defence needs. It will also lead to concrete improvements in the care and services we provide to our people and is consistent with SSE’s people first focus. Taken together, these efforts will ensure that Canada can continue to field an agile, multipurpose and combat-ready military that can conduct the full spectrum of military operations simultaneously across multiple theaters of operations.

For more information regarding the Operating Context, please see Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (SSE) – Chapter 4 – Global Context.

Results at a glance

Canada’s vision for Defence – Strong at home, Secure in North America, Engaged in the world

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20, we delivered results for Canadians and made substantial progress on broader departmental and Government of Canada priorities. The department continues to anticipate emerging threats and challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and act effectively in cooperation with our allies and partners.

We took on leadership roles, both abroad and at home, and promoted Canadian values of peace, human rights and democracy. Progress was made on numerous fronts and a wide range of projects have been delivered to better ensure that we are prepared.

Below are some highlights of the Defence Team’s achievements over the past FY. For more information on the department’s plans, priorities, and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Total actual full-time equivalents (FTE)’s (Military/Regular Force and civilians): 93 252

Total actual spending: $22,839,438,337


The CAF conducts Military operations on behalf of the Government of Canada. To this end, the CAF endeavours to detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada and North America and provides supports to global peace and stability. Further, the CAF’s operations can also include emergency response, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and support to law enforcement.

Search and Rescue

The CAF Search and Rescue (SAR) work with other government partners and search and rescue volunteers to respond to incidents within Canada. In FY 2019-20:

  • CAF coordinated responses to 8 611 SAR incidents across the country;
  • CAF assets were tasked to conduct 568 SAR operations across Canada; and
  • The 418 Squadron was re-established as a search and rescue operational training unit.

Canada’s North

Canada has renewed its focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly its Arctic regions. The CAF maintains a year-round presence in Canada’s North. In addition, several exercises and sovereignty operations are held in the Arctic.

Operation NANOOK occurs every year across Canada’s Northern most regions.

In FY 2019-20, Operation NANOOK focused on the following activities:

  • Training for High Arctic winter operations which included ground and underwater activities, providing complex logistical support, improving our readiness and demonstrating our ability to sustain forces and operate in the region;
  • Wildfire evacuation training; and
  • Naval presence along and monitoring of the Northwest Passage.

More information on Operation NANOOK can be found in Departmental Result 1.3 of this report.

Canada and North America

Operation LIMPID is the CAF year round surveillance and presence operations of Canada’s territories and approaches in order to achieve all-domain situational awareness of the maritime, air, terrestrial, space, and cyber domains. This operations allows the CAF to better predict, monitor and respond to crisis in addition to contributing to the assertion of sovereignty on behalf of the Government of Canada.

  • In FY 2019-20, approximately 470 CAF personnel supported 39 missions, which included CP-140 surveillance, presence and control.

Operation LENTUS is the CAF’s contingency plan to support humanitarian assistance and the disaster response of provincial and territorial authorities in the case of a major natural disaster. There were five separate Operation LENTUS responses during FY 2019-20.

More information on Operation LIMPID and LENTUS can be found in Departmental Result 1.1 of this report.

NORAD: Provided continuous aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control capabilities to protect and respond against threats to Canada and the United States, through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) Agreement.

More information on NORAD can be found in Departmental Result 1.4 of this report.

Central and South America

Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s contribution to a multinational campaign against transnational criminal organizations in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to help stop trafficking by organized crime:

  • In FY 2019-20, Canada’s involvement made a direct contribution to the interdiction of 3 817 kilograms (approximately 8 400 pounds) of cocaine and 25 kilograms (approximately 55 pounds) of illicit drugs , valued at approximately $95.5 million United States dollars.

More information on Operation CARIBBE can be found in Departmental Result 1.5 of this report.


Operation REASSURANCE is part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These measures aim to reinforce NATO’s collective defence. It also shows the strength of allied solidarity. Highlights from FY 2019-20 include:

  • Canada’s continued contribution to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP);
  • Five CF-188 Hornets, with approximately 135 CAF members, participated in NATO enhanced Air Policing from September to December, operating from Romania. This peacetime collective defence mission aims to safeguard the integrity of NATO airspace; and
  • Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton set sail for a six month deployment in January 2020, however all non-operational port visits and ceremonies were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Operation UNIFIER is the CAF’s multinational joint support military training mission to help the Security Forces of Ukraine improve and build the capability and capacity to conduct military operations across the full spectrum of conflict. In FY 2019-20:

  • The CAF provided training to 6 962 Security Forces of Ukraine through 163 course serials. The focus was primarily Battalion Tactical Group and Brigade collective training, combat first aid, combat engineer training, as well as non-commissioned officer and junior officer personnel development (leadership courses); and
  • The Government of Canada extended this mission until 31 March 2022.

More information on Operation REASSURANCE and UNIFER, and other operations in Europe, can be found in Departmental Result 1.5 of this report.

Middle East

Operation ARTEMIS is the CAF’s contribution to maritime security and counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in Middle Eastern and East African waters. The CAF works with its allies and partners to help stop crime in this region.

  • In FY 2019-20, HMCS Regina seized and destroyed 9 000 kilograms (approximately 20 000 pounds) of illegal narcotics, worth just over $4.7 million United States dollars regional wholesale value.

Operation IMPACT is the CAF’s effort to provide training, advice, and assistance to the Iraqi security forces, and support the Global Coalition against Daesh. The CAF contributes personnel to NATO Mission Iraq. Highlights for FY 2019-20 include:

  • In June 2019, the Minister of National Defence extended command of NATO Mission Iraq until November 2020 to complement our existing efforts in the Global Coalition against Daesh and to strengthen Iraqi security forces and Iraqi military education institutions so Iraqi forces can prevent the return of Daesh;
  • In April 2019, a ground-breaking ceremony took place to mark the start of the Jordan Border Road Rehabilitation project; and
  • CAF regular training activities were temporarily paused, although some mission critical activities such as air sustainment operations re-commenced. Despite this temporary pause, building partner capacity efforts in Jordan and Lebanon continued.

Operation PROTEUS is Canada’s contribution to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC).

  • CAF members serve with the USSC team as part of Canada’s military task force in Jerusalem. Task Force Jerusalem’s aim within the team is to help the Palestinian Authority Security Forces build their capacity. The CAF members on Operation PROTEUS fill key USSC positions and are an integrated as part of the team.

More information on operations in the Middle East can be found in Departmental Result 1.5 of this report.


Operation PRESENCE - Mali. The CAF operation that provided aeromedical evacuation assistance to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was successfully completed on 31 August 2019, as planned. The CAF continues to provide 5 staff officers assigned to the MINUSMA HQ in Bamako. The operation was also part of the Government of Canada’s overall efforts to help set conditions for durable peace, development, and prosperity in Mali.

Operation PRESENCE - Uganda. In August 2019, the deployment of a Tactical Airlift Detachment to Uganda in support of United Nations peace operations was announced. Since then, the CAF has provided the United Nations with episodic tactical airlift support out of Entebbe, Uganda. This commitment has been extended until July 2021. 

More information on operations in Africa can be found in Departmental Result 1.5 of this report.

Around the globe

Operation PROJECTION and Operation NEON see our ships contribute to global security and stability. In FY 2019-20, the CAF:

  • Logged 180 flight hours, deployed two maritime patrol aircraft, six ships, and approximately 800 personnel to support these efforts.

More information on current Operations can be found in Departmental Result 1.5 of this report and here: Current military operations.

Well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families

We made significant improvements in taking care of our people. We placed an unprecedented focus on building a Defence Team that is well-supported, diverse, and resilient. Highlights from FY 2019-20 include:

  • Increased the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Regular Force by 389, the Primary Reserve by 1 314 (average paid strength), and hired an additional 705 civilian staff. This increase in capacity enables us to meet demands and progress initiatives identified in SSE;
  • Marked the first anniversary of the CAF Transition Group;
  • Improved the Reserve Force pay structure;
  • Hosted the third Seamless Canada roundtable with provinces and territories;
  • Announced the new Physical Performance Strategy;
  • Continued improving the relocation experience for CAF members. This included working with the contracted service provider to improve the process for settling claims, and ongoing work with the Treasury Board Secretariat to update the policies which govern relocation;
  • Continued the work necessary to update Universality of Service with the completion of the Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) assessment and task testing;
  • Stood up, 18 months ahead of schedule, the new Administrative Response Centre to answer CAF members’ queries on Chief Military Personnel policies;
  • Reviewed existing CAF policies and procedures for handling incidents of hateful conduct and the other forms of targeted discrimination prohibited by the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  • Completed 85% of the recommendations of the Royal Military College of Canada Special Staff Assistance Visit Report with thirteen recommendations in progress; and
  • Launched phase three of the Veteran’s Service Card.

In response to COVID-19, the department took unprecedented measures to safeguard the Defence Team, prevent the spread of the disease, and preserve our ability to conduct mission-essential military operations. The department undertook the following to protect the health and well-being of the Defence Team:

Operation HONOUR and Addressing Sexual Misconduct

DND/CAF strives to establish and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. The CAF initiated Operation HONOUR in 2015 to prevent and address sexual misconduct in the CAF.

Through Operation HONOUR, essential work was completed in the areas of policy, procedures and, most importantly, support for those affected. With this solid foundation in place, the CAF shifted the focus of Operation HONOUR from responding to incidents, to a long-term institutional approach aimed at preventing incidents from occurring.

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) leads all aspects of support for persons affected by sexual misconduct. It is independent from the CAF chain of command. The SMRC also provides the CAF with independent, expert guidance and recommendations to shape and evaluate policies and programs to eliminate sexual misconduct, and monitors CAF progress on this important issue.

More information about Operation HONOUR and SMRC initiatives can be found in Departmental Result 3.3 of this report.

In accordance with the 2018 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada – Report 5 – Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour – Canadian Armed Forces, we continued to strengthen our efforts to address sexual misconduct in three key areas: support for persons directly affected by sexual misconduct, provide education and training, and use of independent expert advice and guidance.

Specifically, in FY 2019-20, DND/CAF undertook the following key activities:

  • Improved the processes around reporting, responding to and investigating incidents of inappropriate sexual behaviour by clarifying definitions, direction and processes; provided guidance for those responding to incidents; and enhanced incident data collection;
  • Developed an expertly informed, long-term culture change strategy to prevent and address sexual misconduct in the CAF, and improved support for affected persons;
  • Expanded the role and mandate of the SMRC to include: providing expertise, recommendations and monitoring to guide the CAF’s efforts to address sexual misconduct, and contributing to training curriculum and oversight of delivery;
  • Launched a Response and Support Coordination Program for CAF members who are affected by sexual misconduct and initiated work to develop a national plan for survivor support; and
  • Established a performance measurement framework for evaluating CAF efforts to address sexual misconduct, and to ensure a cycle of continuous learning and improvement.

More information about Operation HONOUR and SMRC initiatives can be found in Departmental Result 3.3 in this report.

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

GBA+ is a Government of Canada tool that supports the Defence Team to understand how diverse groups of women, men, and non-binary people, may experience policies, directives, programs, and operations differently. GBA+ considers identity factors such as indigeneity, sexual orientation, sex, gender, age, race, ethnicity, ability, and religion as well as the impacts of the intersectionality of identity factors. During FY 2019-20, DND/CAF:

  • Continued to embed GBA+ requirements and accountabilities into our systems and processes, and to conduct GBA+ to inform the development of effective and equitable policies, directives, programs, and operations; and
  • Continued to implement Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, to meet Canada’s commitments to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and related resolutions.

Investments to enhance capability and capacity

The CAF need modern capabilities to succeed in a complex and constantly evolving world. The CAF must be ready and able to deliver across a spectrum of simultaneous operations – from domestic humanitarian assistance and disaster response to counter-terrorism and high intensity combat operations to peace support operations. In FY 2019-20, DND/CAF:

  • Increased contracting authorities for competitive services contracts from $1 million to $5 million, further streamlining our procurement process. This increase allows DND/CAF to handle over 80% of contracts in-house; and
  • Grew the civilian procurement workforce by 4.6%, to strengthen the capacity to manage sustainment and acquisition. The overall military and civilian procurement workforce grew by 1.5% due to challenges filling military positions.

Major equipment projects highlights from FY 2019-20 include:

For more information on major equipment projects, please see Departmental Result 5.2 or visit the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ Current Projects webpage.

In terms of new capabilities to anticipate and adapt to new threats and challenges, the CAF has prioritized cyber security, joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. These capabilities give decision makers a comprehensive picture of the operating environment. In FY 2019-20, DND/CAF:

Defence Infrastructure and Environment

The Defence Team manages the largest infrastructure portfolio in the federal government. During FY 2019-20, the department:

  • Announced the construction of a new infrastructure project at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville. This project includes the construction of a 13 000-m² modern and green multi-purpose facility and the development of a 23 800-m² area to be used for deployment preparation, as well as equipment storage and maintenance;
  • Announced the Energy Efficiency Project at 3 Wing Bagotville. This project will see 60 buildings upgraded with energy efficiency measures to provide our military personnel with sustainable and efficient facilities in which to work and train. These upgrades will lower annual energy costs by about 19 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 500 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking more than 500 cars off the road;
  • Invested $9.1 million in energy efficiency projects at armouries across the country. These upgrades will lower annual energy costs and support the government’s low-carbon goal by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings;
  • Completed construction on the new Jetty NJ at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax;
  • Started construction on a new sports facility at the Saint-Jean Garrison: This project will better support the physical fitness needs of an increasing number of CAF recruits and Garrison personnel; and
  • Completed short term runway repairs at 5 Wing Goose Bay; additional repairs were also announced.

For more information on Defence infrastructure projects, please visit the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ Infrastructure Projects webpage.

Defence Innovation

Innovative technology, knowledge, and problem solving are critical for Canada and its allies to mitigate new threats, and meet evolving defence and security needs. In this environment, our new approach to innovation has allowed us to better tap into the talent and ingenuity within our country. In FY 2019-20, the department:

  • Adopted a Sandbox challenge. Selected innovators were invited to test and demonstrate technologies created to detect and defeat Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly called “drones”;
  • Launched the first contest for a Pop-up City, as part of the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program;
  • Funded work related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) by:
  • Supporting partnerships with Canadian university-led research clusters (more commonly known as micro-nets), industry and government to stimulate collaboration and sharing ideas critical to innovation; and
  • Using AI as part of proposed solution models. These ranged from supporting recruitment to the detection and classification of objects of interest.
  • Advanced defensive and offensive cyber operations in the areas of cyber attribution techniques (ability to identify the source of a malicious cyber activity) and ways of classifying cyber intent. Some initial research and development work was done in assessing human factors related to cyber operators and the CAF organizations that employ them.

Renew relationships with Indigenous Peoples

The Defence Team is committed to renewing and strengthening our relationship with Indigenous Peoples across Canada in support of whole-of-government commitments. The Defence Team is aware of, and complies with, our obligations (e.g. Aboriginal and treaty rights, legal duty to consult, contracting) reflected in statutes, negotiated agreements and treaties, court decisions, and policies. In addition, we are contributing to a number of government-wide priorities related to Indigenous Peoples, including the review of our policies and operational practices to ensure alignment with reconciliation.

DND developed a framework for reconciliation to guide the Defence Team in our interactions with Indigenous Peoples. The framework includes pillars (recruitment/retention, awareness/engagement, procurement, and land) and enablers (departmental principles, governance, training, and resources) required to enhance DND/CAF relationships with Indigenous partners based on: creating opportunities for Indigenous communities through employment, youth leadership programming and procurement; being respectful of Indigenous obligations, culture and traditional knowledge; and building partnerships with Indigenous organizations to support the delivery of Defence programs.

Some highlights of the activities undertaken during FY 2019-20 include:

  • Continued consultations with Indigenous groups in areas where we are considering the future transfer or sale of surplus defence property, including the Royal Roads and Mary Hill lands in Colwood and Metchosin, British Columbia, and property in Sainte-Foy, Quebec;
  • Offered training opportunities to Indigenous communities and created several recruitment programs that aim to increase Indigenous representation in the military, including:
  • Indigenous summer training programs – Bold Eagle, Raven, Black Bear, Carcajou, Grey Wolf – that combine military lifestyle with cultural awareness;
  • Canadian Armed Forces Aboriginal Entry Program, a three-week course for Indigenous Peoples to get hands-on experience with military training, careers and lifestyle; and
  • Two additional Indigenous training programs: Carcajou (Valcartier, Quebec) and Grey Wolf (Meaford, Ontario) were added in addition to the existing Indigenous training programs.
  • Provided Indigenous businesses with opportunities to access government contracts. These mechanisms included regular contracts, set-asides under the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Businesses, Indigenous Benefit Plans/Aboriginal Participation Components, and contracts awarded under Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements; and
  • Launched a national recruitment campaign aimed at drawing qualified Indigenous applicants.

For more information on the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.

Page details

Date modified: