Ready Forces


Field combat ready forces able to succeed in an unpredictable and complex security environment in the conduct of concurrent operations associated with all mandated missions.


The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) participated in a number of major exercises that contributed to CAF readiness to meet the missions as set out in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (SSE).

In particular, Exercise Vigilant Shield 2021 - Defence of North America crisis planning exercise - was focused on SSE missions one and two:

  • Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada; and
  • Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on North America in partnership with the United States, including through North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Exercise Internal Look 2021 – a coalition exercise designed to inform operational headquarters warfighting processes in response to a crisis in the Middle East – was focused on SSE Mission 3:

  • Lead and/or contribute forces to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and coalition efforts to deter and defeat adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability.

NORAD regularly conducted exercises with a variety of scenarios, from airspace restriction violations to responses to unknown aircraft. These exercises provided the opportunity to develop an assortment of skills including ensuring interoperability among Canadian and American aircraft. To enhance NORAD's ability to operate in the Arctic, a number of CAF and United States Air Force aircraft conducted exercise flights over sparsely populated Arctic areas and operated from forward operating locations in Canada's Arctic.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Suffield Research Centre personnel have provided essential support to continued CAF operations throughout the pandemic, including Maritime Forces Pacific operations and Exercises MAPLE RESOLVE, AGILE RAM I/II, and others, by processing the majority of their COVID-19 tests.

To enable new and ongoing domestic and international CAF operations DRDC Suffield validated sample collection methods, which included processing approximately 2 500 sample tests, and then ramped up capacity to generate results in less than 24 hours to support command decisions. Within three months, DRDC Suffield implemented a rapid testing capability that allowed them to transition from processing 10 to 20 samples per day to 100s of samples per day.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA Plus)

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF have continued to make progress in the development and delivery of GBA Plus related training by increasing the number of experts available to support the internal organizations, develop tools, provide relevant data sources, and share examples of past related analysis. Progress was affected by COVID-19 as a result of the Public Health Measures limiting in-person learning and the Defence Team is now using virtual tools to deliver training and assistance. We are continuing to work with partners and allies to have them assist us in terms of capacity and expertise. In FY 2020–21:

  • The integration of GBA Plus and Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda content into courses and processes continues to improve the skillset of DND and CAF personnel in order to support both institutional requirements as well as deployed operations, both domestic and international;
  • The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) launched their Leadership, Respect, and Honour within sailor’s core trade qualifications, from initial RCN training through to Commanding Officer, which includes topics on Operation HONOUREndnote 86, Hateful Conduct, and the RCN Code of Conduct, promoting diversity and identifying cultural biases. These discussions help prepare sailors to become effective leaders, build a more inclusive workplace and fully support members who may experience incidents of hate, barriers, and harmful or inappropriate sexual behaviour within the RCN. Training at each level is designed for a sailor progressing from junior subordinate with bystander training, to supervisor, indicating how to appropriately manage incidents with Commanding Officers by fostering an inclusive and safe environment within their unit;
  • A complementary, but not exclusively GBA Plus driven, initiative was the launching of the Canadian Army’s (CA) new order regarding Hateful Conduct that clarifies key terms, the expectations of the Commander, and responses that leaders should take in response to incidents. The policy was introduced with a two-pronged approach: online training was combined with a cascading series of discussion forums;
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) released Air Force Order 5000-8 Hateful Conduct, acknowledging that there are biases built into our systems and policies. The RCAF’s goal is to ensure everyone on the RCAF team, civilian and military, have an opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential in a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment. To that end, the training authority within RCAF began development of a new Performance Objective 404 “Establish a positive unit culture” which will be added to the Qualification Standard for all RCAF professional development courses. Additionally, the RCAF drafted an Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan that directs subordinate units to employ a GBA Plus lens as standard practice and track the number of members who have completed mandated online GBA Plus courses; and
  • Extensive training was developed to raise awareness of responsibilities regarding the WPS agenda and gender equality. All deploying personnel complete GBA Plus online training. Additionally, Employment Equity courses, the prevention and response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and Conflict Related Sexual Violence training are undertaken when applicable to operational deployment.


The Canadian Joint Warfare Centre continued to serve as national lead and coordination office for the Joint Arctic Experimentation series, and the United States Joint Staff led Bold Quest series. The Canadian contribution to Bold Quest was conducted from Canadian Force Base (CFB) Cold Lake, Alberta, while connected over the Bold Quest Mission Network to our international partners. Two Responsive Limited Experiments (RLX) focused on a Joint Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (JISR) planning application, “Total Perception” from Larus Technologies. The first experiment was conducted in the Joint Battle Labs to assess the application on an experimental network, while the second was conducted remotely, due to COVID-19 restrictions, in order to determine the feasibility of the application to respond to a rapid JISR scenario.

Planning and coordination for RLX – SitaWare, an assessment of Systematic Inc.’s Common Operating Picture and Situational Awareness tool, was undertaken for execution in 2021. A DND/CAF team provided scientific leadership and advice to the RLX experimentations.

Additional Defence-related experimentation activities are outlined in this report under Core Responsibility 4 – Future Force Design.

Key Corporate Risk(s)

There are many risks associated with the Ready Forces Core Responsibility. Two of the Key Corporate Risks directly associated with operations are described below:

Military Competencies – There is a risk that DND and the CAF will not have the right military personnel, with the right competencies, at the right place and at the right time to support operations.

Materiel Maintenance – There is a risk that DND and the CAF may have difficulty maintaining its materiel capabilities at the right level to support operations.

The risks above can affect the department’s ability to achieve the Departmental Results for the Ready Forces Core Responsibility.

As the Defence Departmental Results Framework reflects a chain of delivery from the conceiving of the required armed forces, to developing them and then executing operations, the activities to mitigate the risks to the Ready Forces Core Responsibility can also be found in other Core Responsibilities that deliver building blocks that enable the results of Ready Forces.

Many of the preventative and mitigating controls for these risks are described as activities of each Departmental Result below.

Departmental Result 2.1 – Canadian Armed Forces are ready to conduct concurrent operations

The CAF generated and sustained high readiness naval, land, air, space, cyber and special operations forces and joint capabilities to meet Force Posture and Readiness levels directed by the Chief of the Defence Staff and the concurrent mission requirements of SSE. Throughout FY 2020–21, the CAF progressed a number of initiatives to improve readiness, including:

  • Operation NANOOKEndnote 87 : Exercises took place, ensuring a continued presence in the North and enhancing surveillance and control in the Arctic region, although reduced in scope to protect vulnerable isolated northern communities. Please see the operations section of this report for more information regarding Operation NANOOK;


Soldiers from the Second Royal Newfoundland Regiment board a CH-147F Chinook helicopter in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories during the field portion of Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT in March 2021.

(Photo credit: Corporal Tori Lake)

  • Exercise TRADEWINDS: Exercise TRADEWINDS 20, which aims to enhance the collective ability of defence forces and law enforcement to counter transnational criminal organization and conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. This exercise was cancelled by United States Southern Command due to COVID-19 travel restrictions;
  • Exercise JOINTEX: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, JOINTEX 20 and Joint Operations Symposium 21 were redesigned and re-scheduled to FY 2021-22, to deliver a virtual webinar series in coordination with the Canadian Forces College. The aim will be to deliver advanced and senior leadership events that focus on how the Canadian National Security Enterprise must adapt in addressing pan-domain challenges to national security. Specifically, discussions will be focused on the need to develop an integrated approach to defending Canada’s North by integrating military effects into a broader national effort to strengthen deterrence;
  • Exercise RIMPAC: Due to COVID-19, Commander United States Indo-Pacific Command and Commander US Third Fleet scaled back the scope of RIMPAC 20 to naval-specific activities. The usual multi-national shore-based Combined Task Force, Maritime Component Command, and Air Component Command staffs ashore, visiting air forces, and the traditional harbour phase did not occur. While the exercise was significantly re-scoped, notable effort was invested by the United States Navy and all partners to preserve both training and engagement value;
  • Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 21: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the exercise was changed. The Crisis Planning phase focused solely on defence of North America and the Command Post Exercise was cancelled. Nevertheless, the exercise provided another excellent opportunity to examine the Canadian Joint Operation Command’s ability and readiness to plan and command military operations as part of Tri-Command with US partners (NORAD and NORTHCOM).
  • Furthermore, the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre completed Arctic simulations under Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 21. These wargames were designed and developed over FY 2020–21, each customized to address key problem statements provided by the respective organization. The wargame designs moved away from the traditional table top using paper maps and customized counters to computer assisted programs;
  • Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 20: As the premier Canadian Army (CA) training event of the fiscal year, this exercise validates named and contingency readiness elements using live simulation in a force-on-force exercise. During the exercise, approximately 4 000 soldiers test their abilities to integrate with joint capabilities, including air power and 1 Canadian Division Headquarters, and allies. It is delivered within a whole-of-government approach that includes non-governmental organizations, while operating within a realistic, complex and challenging combat environment. The exercise, designed and developed by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, provides CA leaders, soldiers, other CAF personnel and allies with a unique opportunity to validate their combat readiness to support concurrent operations. In March 2020, due in part to uncertainty that was present at the start of the pandemic, conducting a major training event was deemed high-risk and a proactive decision was made to cancel this event. Instead, CA personnel required training objectives were met in other ways, such as through the use of computer-assisted simulation training, distributed training, and postponing some requirements to later dates; and
  • Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE 21: The largest CA computer-assisted simulation exercise validated the headquarters of multiple army organizations in a joint and combined environment as elements of Canada’s named and contingency readiness commitments. Through the use of simulation, a challenging computer‑assisted exercise tests planning and decision-making at multiple levels of CA leadership in a controlled, virtual environment. An enduring exercise, Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE, is internationally recognized and participation in this event is sought out by allies for both its quality and training value. The exercise, designed and developed by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, provides CAF personnel and allies an opportunity to enhance collective competence and interoperability across a spectrum of scenarios. In order to respect public safety requirements, this exercise was adapted in 2021 by, for example, increasing the use of remote work in order to reduce travel requirements and by changing the tempo of the exercise to further limit the number of support personnel. As a result of these measures, there were no positive cases of COVID-19 among exercise participants and no cases of transmission to their communities.

To ensure NORAD is prepared to execute its assigned missions (Aerospace Warning, Aerospace Control and Maritime Warning), NORAD plans, executes and assesses individual training, group training and exercises to achieve and validate mission readiness. The AMALGAM (ARROW, DART, DRAGON and INDIGO) exercise series is designed, built and executed to provide continuation training for NORAD personnel and assessor authorities for NORAD leadership.

Due to COVID-19, the CAF participation in planned joint and combined exercises was severely curtailed as follows:

  • SCHRIEVER WARGAMES 20: For the first time, the Schriever Wargames was led by the United States Space Force. As one of the eight nations represented at the Wargames, the CAF participated in the two-day space training event. The Wargames explores critical space issues to include investigating the use of new space systems, identifying solutions to common challenges in the space domain and advancing space support doctrine. Future coalition wargames, set five to 30 years in the future, intended to examine future architectures and identify responses to global events. This exercise was significantly reduced in scope due to COVID-19 but will resume in strength in the next iteration;
  • AMALGAM DART: Despite the challenges faced by COVID-19, NORAD continued to test responses, systems and equipment. Exercise AMALGAM DART is a week-long air defence exercise that includes a variety of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and United States Air Force aircraft operating from northern locations including Whitehorse, Yukon; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Iqaluit, Nunavut; Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador; and Thule, Greenland;
  • GLOBAL LIGHTNING 20: This United States Space Command-led exercise is designed with Five Eyes Partners and includes Director-General level international contact points. During this session, Director-General Space and US Space Force also conducted electromagnetic spectrum training opportunities with 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario;
  • THRACIAN VIPER 20: This recurring flying training deployment was conducted between the United States Air Force and the Bulgarian Air Force, and aims to develop and maintain interoperability with Bulgarian partner forces. CF-18 Hornet aircraft assets participated while deployed in support of Operation REASSURANCE; and
  • COALITION VIRTUAL FLAG: This annual, Headquarters United States Air Force sponsored and 705th Combat Training Squadron executed coalition exercise is designed to provide operational and tactical warfighter training in a synthetic theatre-level, major combat operations, contested, degraded and operationally limited environment. It was executed from six Canadian sites along with a small contingent deployed to the United States.

The CAF did not participate in the following planned joint and combined exercises due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions:

  • NORTHERN VIKING 20: A bi-lateral exercise between Iceland and the United States, along with 11 partner and allied countries, which aims to increase the readiness of the forces involved and their inter-operability. The exercise was planned for April 2020;
  • JOINT WARRIOR 20 (NATO): A United Kingdom-led multinational exercise in the Atlantic Ocean to address the full spectrum of maritime and joint warfare mission areas. The exercise scenarios focused on maritime security and included small boat attacks, boarding operations, air defense, and anti-submarine warfare tactics;
  • RED FLAG ALASKA: RED FLAG-Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for United States Forces and some allies, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment; and
  • GLOBAL THUNDER: This annual command and control exercise is designed to train the United States Strategic Command forces and assess joint operation readiness. The United States Strategic Command and participating allies’ mission is to deter, detect and prevent strategic attack against the United States and our allies. The CAF did not participate due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.

DND established a Joint Operations Fusion Laboratory within the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre in August 2020. The Joint Operations Fusion Lab aims to design, test and experiment with new and emerging technologies and data curation approaches in order to increase capabilities for Command, Control Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). The Lab will ensure interoperability of C4ISR networks with allies, working closely with their C4ISR projects to ensure data compatibility and network interoperability.

The North Warning System is essential to the aerospace defence of Canada and the United States; as such, the maintenance of its infrastructure is critical. All 50 Canadian North Warning System sites were remotely monitored at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario. Preventive and corrective maintenance was however conducted on site. With extensive knowledge and proficiency with working in the Arctic, several Inuit-owned companies supported the North Warning System maintenance efforts.

The department continued to assess continental defence opportunities for closer collaboration with Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) and NORAD in order to enhance preparedness and modified processes and employment models for adaptation to the evolving threat environment. In support of this, the CAF continuously monitored and assessed cyber threats to DND and the CAF’s IT systems in order to address areas of concern and inform key leadership of high-impact cyber events.

The department continued to work collaboratively with both Shared Services Canada and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to maintain cyber superiority across all operations including ongoing discussions on shared workspaces and exchanges to enhance collaboration.

The department actively engaged with partner training, especially with the national authority for cyber security, the Communications Security Establishment. Additionally, with part-time and full-time military members, DND participated in numerous allied cyber exercises to enhance technical skills and build and maintain strong relationships with allies. DND and the CAF actively engaged with the Communications Security Establishment in several CAF cyber training activities for the purpose of preparing to defend Canada, the continent and international interests from cyber threats.

DND and the CAF’s IT infrastructure is a key requirement to delivering efficient and effective Cyber Operator training and support to cyber training exercises. The Collaborative Security Test Environment / Interim Cyber Training Capability is currently in use as an interim solution for the CAF's cyber immersive training environment.

  • Cyber Flag 20: This exercise was held as a virtual cyber training exercise conducted in June 2020 in various locations around the National Capital Region and across Eastern Canada. DND and the CAF Training Objectives were to:
    • Conduct Defensive Cyber Operations with Cyber Operators and Cyber Reservists; and
    • Employ cyber talent from all levels and expertise to ensure cross training by resident experts for relative newcomers to cyber operations.
  • Cyber Coalition 20: The intent of this exercise is to enhance cooperation among NATO members, allied nations, and partners to strengthen the alliance’s ability to deter, defend against and counter threats in and through cyberspace. Coordination includes exercising collaboration and cyberspace operations in support of NATO’s core tasks and providing input to NATO transformation. Cyber Coalition 20 was conducted virtually, adhering to all DND and the CAF’s COVID-19 safeguards.
  • Multinational Integrated Cyber Fusion Project 2019-20: The aim of this project was to address the lack of cyber threat information sharing inside a multinational force. Allies and partners from the United States, Poland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Finland, and the European Union participated in the project.

Testing and fielding of the Canadian Space Operations interoperable C2 system was delayed due to resourcing issues as well as the impact of COVID-19.

  • Advanced the integration of our space-based capabilities. With the RADARSAT Constellation MissionEndnote 88 satellites becoming operational, the CAF will be able to share and leverage satellite imagery, as well as ship identification capabilities, with other government departments and Canada’s allies. The security of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission networks is of paramount importance and is continually fine-tuned by incorporating the latest protective measures. The CAF is striving towards automating processes that can highlight changes and differences between satellite images in order to reduce the work load for human analysts.

New ships mean improvements in quality of life at sea

The Northern lights grace the sky above Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Harry DeWolf during its recent ice trials off Labrador and Newfoundland.

The CA is a soldier-centric, professional and integrated force made up of our Regular Force personnel, Primary Reserve Force, Canadian Rangers and civilians. Throughout FY 2020–21, the CA generated combat-effective, multi-purpose land forces for deployment in multiple concurrent operations to achieve Canada’s defence objectives.

  • The CA Managed Readiness Plan was adapted in FY 2020–21 to be able to simultaneously conduct deployed operations, while keeping designated ready land forces in readiness to respond to NATO requirements, maintaining our commitment to respond to domestic requirements. CA isolation guidelines, strict remote work policy/posture, and reporting across all levels led to ongoing readiness.
  • To ensure that it remained poised to respond to domestic requests for assistance approved by the federal government to aid provincial and municipal governments, the CA also trained and prepared Immediate Reaction Units and Arctic Response Company Groups that are strategically located throughout Canada.

    FY 2020–21 saw the CA training a brigade group (approximately 5 000 personnel) to be ready to meet contingency requirements for NATO.

Operation LASER

Canadian Rangers deliver first aid kits prepared by the Guardian Angels of Gros-Mecatina (La Tabatiere and Mutton Bay) to those in need as part of Operation LASER.

(Photo credit: Ranger Corporal Karen Gallichon)

  • Group and Individual training has been adapted to respect all public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. An example of this was the successful training of a light infantry battalion group (600 soldiers) along with an American brigade in the United States.
  • Following a pause in spring 2020, a controlled and deliberate re-start of individual training was undertaken. The pause in CAF recruitment made it possible for CA training establishments to train soldiers who were held in waiting during the pause and to subsequently resume training. Training was prioritized to ensure that force generation and resource allocation requirements were met. A significant backlog of untrained personnel, especially Primary Reservists, still exists as training throughput was scaled back to respect public health measures. As public health measures often differed between and even within provinces, different approaches had to be taken at various CA training centres.
  • Through the CA Modernization Strategy, the CA will evolve to prepare for present and future threats and challenges in alignment with Canada’s defence policy. The publication of the strategy, a five-year horizon document, in early 2021 started a deliberate planning process to increase operational outputs. For example, closer integration of the Primary Reserve Force with the Regular Force will contribute to additional capability. The Modernization Strategy also provided guidance on how the CA will embrace digitization. As part of this, FY 2020–21 saw the creation of an analytics support centre and further alignment of data policies with the departmental strategy.
  • Force 2025 is the CA’s initiative to review all components of the CA and seek to optimize and modernize its structures to meet current and projected operational requirements as well as support SSE initiatives. One of the objectives of Force 2025 is to continue the integration of the Primary Reserve Force, Canadian Rangers, civilians and the Regular Force into a single, integrated team. Increased integration enhances command and control relationships and training opportunities, and clarifies assigned tasks and integration points, ensuring that the CA is prepared to carry out assigned tasks and support concurrent operations. This will be achieved, in part, through efforts to: refine attraction, recruiting, and retention initiatives; implement policies that enable the operational capability of Reserve Force personnel while ensuring that administration is streamlined; and continue developing and integrating Reserve Mission Tasks to build capacity and depth. During FY 2020-21, Force 2025 included analysis of the existing force structure and consultation with a broad range of stakeholders;
  • To further support CA readiness and defence policy objectives, the CA fine-tunes its ability to force generation of land power by improving cooperation and interoperability with allied nations. With restrictions on travel, in FY 2020–21, the CA leveraged technology to participate in the following events:
    • America, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (ABCANZ) Armies Programme: This conference was held virtually in 2020. The CA recognizes this program as the main effort for interoperability development, aimed at integrating the various partnered nation command and control capabilities;
    • Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference: This biennial multinational military conference was held virtually in 2020, providing a forum for regional Army Chiefs of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Theatre to exchange views, establish and enhance relationships, and foster security cooperation;
    • Association of the United States Army Land Forces Pacific Symposium: This conference was cancelled in 2020. This is an annual symposium designed to highlight the role of land forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Theatre, and enhance security dialogue and cooperation among senior Indo-Asia-Pacific military leaders and key security partners;
    • Conference of Commanders of American Armies: This biennial multinational military conference was held virtually in 2020. It provides a forum for the regional Army Chiefs and promotes security dialogue and cooperation among the senior Latin American Army Commanders and key regional security partners with vested interests in the region; and
    • Army staff talks led by the Deputy Commander of the CA and his counterparts in the United States Army, British Army, Australian Army, New Zealand Army and Chilean Army took place virtually. These staff talks facilitated dialogue, coordinated collective efforts, shared best practices and cultivated bilateral/multilateral training opportunities of key importance.
  • The CA's contributions to joint capabilities – the Joint Counter Explosive Threat Task Force, the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence, and Joint Targeting Training functions – were impacted by the global pandemic. With extremely technical skillsets that require frequent engagement with global partners, almost half of the training events for these capabilities were cancelled due to COVID-19. This included the cancellation of Exercise PRECISE RESPONSE 21, a live agent and interoperability training exercise conducted on behalf of NATO with DRDC at Canadian Forces Base Suffield, Alberta; as well as three serials of the Joint Targeting course and two serials of the Collateral Damage Estimation course. In FY 2020–21, efforts were focused on:
    • Renewal of equipment and training standards in order to maximize the efficiency of training; and
    • Development of a multi-year plan to increase training over the next two fiscal years in order to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Canada took delivery of HMCS Harry DeWolf in July 2020, the Royal Canadian Navy assumed Care and Custody of the ship as the final stages of systems’ installation progressed for the first ten weeks of the ship being berthed at HMC Dockyard. The ship sailed under RCN command for the first time in October 2020, executing a comprehensive test and trials program, developing crew proficiency in operating the First of Class and performing the core task of providing Maritime Situational Awareness in Canadian waters.

  • In February 2021, HMCS Harry DeWolf deployed to the Canadian Arctic to execute an Ice Breaking trial in first-year sea ice with a thickness of one metre, a trial aimed at confirming the ship’s capability and validating the design of the Class. This deployment saw a RCN ship sailing the furthest North in Canadian waters during winter months in more than fifty years.
  • Throughout the fiscal year, technical and procedural preparations were also performed to ensure the readiness of HMCS Harry DeWolf to interact with CH-148 Cyclone helicopter expected to commence in spring 2021.
  • The RCN also continued its preparation to accept the second ship of the Class, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke. These preparations included the assignment and training of personnel to crew the ship as well as enabling knowledge transfer to shore maintenance personnel so as to continue developing a cadre of technical experts to maintain the ships of the Class at peak performance for future years.

The Operational Training Unit (418 Squadron), within the Search and Rescue Training Centre, commenced operations, conducting the various stages of Initial training for both Aircrew and Maintenance personnel. Associated simulation and training devices such as full flight simulator, mission simulator and maintenance trainer have been accepted and put into service. Additionally, five CC-295 fixed wing search and rescue aircraft have been accepted, one has been delivered and used in Qualification activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) work environment and has affected the way many people interact and work together. As the RCAF adjusted and readjusted ─ ensuring that defence commitments continued to be met safely ─ the RCAF continued to pursue innovation initiatives while remaining focused on the overall well-being of all aviators. Operation TALENT, which aims to implement a comprehensive set of actions to address intake, training, absorption, and employment – including quality of life and quality of service – of RCAF personnel, remained a top priority in FY 2020-21 and success has been steady. Most notably, the RCAF has two new occupations: the Air Operations Officer and the RCAF Reserve Air Operations Support Technician, whose numbers continued to grow across Canada.

The Commander of the RCAF formally established the Directorate of Environment and Operational Sustainability in FY 2020–21 to develop its historically successful environmental programming to include a broader policy perspective, addressing sustainability and climate change issues associated with RCAF operational activities and wider government interests.

  • The RCAF also assembled an Aviation Fuels Working Group in 2020 to shape the Aviation Fuels strategy and oversee its execution in future years.
  • With respect to climate change adaptation, the RCAF commenced work on a phased review of climate change operational impacts.

The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command remained postured at a very high readiness level to disrupt or respond to emerging crisis situations or threats to Canadians and Canadian interests. Furthermore, the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command contributed to the CAF’s ability to anticipate threats through the generation of forces designed to conduct low-profile intelligence collection, surveillance and reconnaissance activities.

For more information, refer to the following websites:

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results
2.1 Canadian Armed Forces are ready to conduct concurrent operations % of operations that are capable of being conducted concurrently 100% 31 March 2025 100% 100% 100%
% of force elements that are ready for operations in accordance with established targets 100% 31 March 2025 79% 80.34% 71.7%note *

Departmental Result 2.2 – Military equipment is ready for training and operations

Although equipment is made available to support CAF training and operational requirements through the National Procurement Program, serviceability of equipment is ensured by the CAF undertaking minor repair activities within their formations as they use the equipment available to deliver Ready Forces. More information on the National Procurement Program is located in this report under Core Responsibility 5 – Procurement of Capabilities.

Due to persistent COVID-19 impacts, which forced the deliberate prioritization of maintenance resources through FY 2020–21, limited progress could be made towards the CA’s goal of an 80 percent serviceability rate by 2023. This goal continues to be evaluated in respect to operational requirements by the adoption of general and pandemic-specific lessons learned.

FY 2020–21 saw an overall drop in serviceability of aerospace fleets driven mainly by the lower serviceability of the Tutor and Hornet fleets. The Tutor fleet experienced a 3-month operational pause following a crash in Kamloops, British Columbia in July 2020. During that pause, the majority of the Tutor fleet was required to remain located in Kamloops, physically distant from their Main Operating Base (MOB). The few travelling maintenance personnel who accompany the Snowbirds do not provide the deep maintenance capability found at a MOB, especially for in-depth calendar-based cyclical inspections; the Tutor aircraft were not permitted to return to their MOB until each aircraft passed mandated inspections and was declared fit to fly. As a result, Tutor serviceability was very low between 10 July and 25 September 2020. By contrast, the Hornet fleet’s decline in serviceability was largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 workplace restrictions on maintenance crews. This was particularly an issue at 3 Wing Bagotville where the provincial health regulations significantly limited the numbers of technicians simultaneously permitted in the work place.

429 Transport Squadron forges a new path with mixed reality aircraft maintenance

Corporal Mikkie Goswell-Payne, 429 Transport Squadron technician based at 8 Wing Trenton, conducts repairs on a CC-177 Globemaster while using Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality system in February 2021.

(Photo credit: Corporal Zebulon Salmaniw)

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results
2.2 Military equipment is ready for training and operations % of maritime key fleets that are serviceable to meet training and readiness requirements At least 90% 31 March 2021 91.4% 98.2% 94.1%
% of land fleets that are serviceable to meet training and readiness requirements At least 70%note * 31 March 2021 72% 65.4% 62.7%note **
% of aerospace fleets that are serviceable to meet training and readiness requirements At least 85%* 31 March 2021 79.1% 60.8% 55%note ***

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2020–21 Main Estimates 2020–21 Planned spending 2020–21 Total authorities available for use 2020–21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020–21 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
9,716,036,927 9,760,714,328 11,722,566,619 11,719,160,120 1,958,445,792

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
46,489 45,431 (1,058)

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBaseEndnote 99.

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