Sustainable Bases, Information Technology Systems and Infrastructure


Develop and manage modern, operational and sustainable bases and infrastructure. Contribute to the achievement of federal environmental targets.


The Defence Team continued to effectively manage the largest infrastructure portfolio in the federal government. Maintaining modern and sustainable infrastructure that supports military requirements, improves efficiency, and reduces our energy and environmental footprint is critical to the military’s operational success. Providing our military personnel with the facilities and tools they need to perform their work is one of our foremost priorities — we must deliver. During FY 2020–21, the department:

  • Effectively maintained essential infrastructure throughout the year while facing the challenges of COVID-19; this included taking steps to ensure that our personnel were safe at work, such as enhanced cleaning measures and modified work spaces; these steps helped the Defence Team continue to conduct and support operations in a continually changing environment;
  • Invested more than $287M in lighting, heating systems and other energy efficiency upgrades across the country; the Canadian Forces Housing Agency invested in whole-house renovations and the construction of energy-efficient housing; these initiatives reduced the Department of National Defence (DND)’s carbon footprint and support the low-carbon government targets outlined in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the 2020–2023 Defence Energy and Environment StrategyEndnote 155;
  • Awarded a new $86.8M energy performance contract at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston, Ontario, which will reduce energy costs by approximately $5.6M annually or 33 percent, and lower greenhouse gas emissions by over 5 800 tonnes per year or 36 percent; and
  • Advanced 20 of the 41 divestment projects; by divesting and demolishing older, non-energy efficient properties and replacing facilities with new EnerGuide and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) approved properties, DND continues to improve its portfolio, in support of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Defence IT specialists in partnership with Shared Services Canada (SSC) expanded DND and the CAF's ability to work remotelyEndnote 156. First, SSC and DND collaborated to expand DND's Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections by 300 percent, increasing from 16 000 to 48 000 connections. Second, DND IT Specialists quickly manoeuvered to provide the Defence Team with Defence 365, which is the DND version of Microsoft Office 365, establishing accounts for the entire workforce to use, including MS Teams and One Drive. This allowed the Defence Team to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DND continued to deliver enterprise-level information technology (IT) systems and infrastructure to address emerging cyber security challenges, including:

  • An upgrade for all of DND users to a high assurance identity and authentication service on the department’s IT unclassified networks and compatible with Government of Canada identify and authentication services;
  • A pilot project to introduce an encrypted identity and authentication capability on SSC‑managed mobile devices;
  • A technical solution for identification and authentication to access classified networks;
  • Continued expansion of a tool to assess vulnerabilities in DND Command and Control (C2) deployed IT networks, allowing DND and the CAF to prioritize and plan remediation actions; and
  • The strengthening of cyber security characteristics of remote computing devices and the department’s IT systems access to a non-public cloud environment.

DND continued to support SSC in delivering Government of Canada IT infrastructure modernization, as it relates to supporting DND and the CAF’s unclassified IT infrastructure, by providing expert cyber security technical expertise and validation.

The department continued to work with SSC to improve the sustainability of IT systems that SSC manages for the Government of Canada, including core network infrastructure, telecommunications, networking and collaboration, mobile services and data centre reliability by:

  • Continuing to work closely with SSC to consistently improve SSC’s service delivery to DND and the CAF and by ensuring that DND’s demand for service from SSC is clearly prioritized;
  • Providing cyber security technical expertise and validation of DND unclassified systems for SSC projects; two such projects include the relocation of some of the department’s IT unclassified systems to enterprise data centres and the Government of Canada IT infrastructure modernization; and
  • Providing feedback on requests for changes to critical IT infrastructure components that relate to the design and implementation of SSC application hosting environments in order to migrate to modern hosting platforms; examples include:
    • Integrating and adapting changes to the migration from BlackBerry devices to modern Android/iOS devices and the implementation of the BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise to support protected chat;
    • Working with SSC to increase bandwidth capacity to support the increase in remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
    • Collaborating with SSC on their networking proposals related to the interoperability between the United States and Canada, and the core infrastructure between Government of Canada departments and the cloud.

DND delivered the following capabilities to support C2 networks:

  • Implemented an initial capability to support Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Open Source Intelligence;
  • Enhanced the remote connectivity to the core validation capability that supports the delivery of critical Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance solutions;
  • Enabled videoconferencing in support of operations in Latvia and Iraq;
  • Increased the ability for remote DND and CAF workers to collaborate (e.g. voice/video and chat, document sharing) in order for the Defence Team to continue business during the pandemic; and
  • Completed key video teleconferencing installations to support DND and the CAF C2 in Ottawa, Trenton and Washington.

DND and the CAF made IT infrastructure improvements that addressed the communications and information exchange capabilities within the Five Eyes environment by:

  • Enhancing the capability of the Canadian Defence Red Switched Network to maintain and improve interoperability with our partners; and
  • Upgrading the information exchange network that enables email, web, chat, voice and video communications between Five Eyes Nations.

United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In support of the government’s greening commitments, we launched the 2020–2023 Departmental Energy and Environment StrategyEndnote 157 (DEES). This plan will help DND meet its greening targets, improve energy efficiency, integrate climate change adaptation into our programs, maintain sustainable real property, and strengthen our green procurement processes. The DEES continues to build on environmental commitments in Strong, Secure Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy and is aligned with the goals of the Federal Sustainable Development StrategyEndnote 158 and the United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsEndnote 159.

Progress was made on the following notable targets:

  • Assessing and remediating contaminated sites with a goal to reduce DND's contaminated sites liability by an average of 10 percent per year by 2023;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 (infrastructure and commercial light-duty fleet) and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 (includes emissions from all platforms—air bodies, ships and land-based military pattern vehicles);
  • Ensuring that, when possible, all of DND’s commercial light-duty vehicle fleet purchases are zero‑emission vehicles or hybrid, with a zero-emission vehicle procurement target of 50 percent by 2023;
  • Developing a climate change risk assessment framework and studying the impacts of climate change on CAF activities by 2023; and
  • Updating the DND Green Building Directive to integrate Greening Government Strategy commitments related to net-zero emissions, climate change adaptation, and construction and demolition waste.


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 Sustainable Bases, Information Technology Systems and Infrastructure Core Responsibility. Two of the Key Corporate Risks are articulated below:

Physical Environment – There is a risk that changes to the physical environment of Canada and the world will impact the type, frequency and conduct of DND and CAF activities.

Infrastructure Procurement – There is a risk that DND and the CAF may have difficulty procuring/building infrastructure at the right level to support operations.

The risks above can affect the department’s ability to achieve the Departmental Results of the Sustainable Bases, Information Technology Systems and Infrastructure Core Responsibility.

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

Adopting climate-resilient building codes developed by National Research Council Canada by the end of 2021.

Departmental Result 6.1 – Naval, Army and Air Force Bases enable military operations and defence activities

CAF bases and wings delivered critical services to enable and support the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. A number of base locations established emergency facilities to prepare to accommodate hundreds of people in a pandemic setting—from evacuating a community during a forest fire to temporarily housing a large group of Canadians returning to the country. Base support services enabled essential personal protective equipment to be transported across Canada and, as a priority for enhancing Defence's public health measures, personnel were engaged in the production of non-medical masks.

New policies and procedures were implemented to protect base and wing personnel and the community, to maintain operational capabilities, and to limit the spread of COVID-19. Support services were adapted according to restrictions and limitations, and provincial requirements. With the implementation of protective and public health measures, some routine support services were reduced, such as transportation, food services and accommodations.

To continue to safely and effectively deliver food services, bases and wings adapted various measures, and the Canadian Forces Food Services Manual was updated to highlight pandemic safety measures. Several base and wing dining facilities were closed for periods of time, and takeout or premade meals were provided. While plans to promote the National Standardized Cycle Menu were placed on hold, bases and wings did continue to provide healthy and vegetarian menu choices.

The Canadian Army (CA) continued to provide general and specialized base support through its 21 bases to 55 000 Defence Team members. Almost a third of land base support was directed to non-CA organizations. For example, the relatively small base in Montreal supports elements from six other CAF commands. Support was adapted according to COVID-19 restrictions/limitations and provincial requirements. Some routine services, such as accommodations and transportation, were drastically reduced following the implementation of public health measures. Other support requirements that emerged during the year were also dependent on the locations and the services they provide, notably in support of Operation LASER in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Tailored and progressive implementation of protective measures occurred across all land bases.

For information, refer to the following webpages:

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results
6.1 Naval, Army and Air Force Bases enable military operations and defence activities % of single quarters accommodations that can be used 90% 31 March 2021 Results not available New indicator as of 2020-21 Results not available New indicator as of 2020-21 69%Note *
% deviation of average daily meal cost from the standard allowance Less than 15% 31 March 2021 Results not available New indicator as of 2020-21 Results not available New indicator as of 2020-21 12%

Departmental Result 6.2 – Defence infrastructure is well-managed throughout its lifecycle

The Defence Team continued to improve infrastructure management in FY 2020-21 and achieved the following targets:

  • Reduced the overall energy consumption of the housing portfolio and DND’s carbon footprint through housing renovations and construction of new efficient residential housing units;
  • Demolished over 70 obsolete buildings that were beyond economic repair on bases and DND establishments. The money previously used to maintain these buildings will be reinvested in the infrastructure portfolio to support military operations, activities and equipment;
  • Explored opportunities to improve service delivery practices via the National Real Property Service Management Strategy. Key pillars include performance-based service delivery, service standards and better leveraging private sector expertise, tools and technology;
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, DND continued to provide safe access to accommodations to CAF personnel and their families, ensuring that maintenance and repairs were carried out promptly and safely at all housing sites across Canada; and
  • Invested in 36 projects to recapitalize or retrofit the interiors or exteriors of residential housing at 17 CAF housing sites across Canada.

Major projects highlights from FY 2020-21 include:

For more information, consult the Investing in Infrastructure and Infrastructure ProjectsEndnote 172 webpage.

New apartment buildings at CFB Borden, Ontario

(Photo credit: Renokrew)

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results
6.2 Defence infrastructure is well-managed throughout its lifecycle % of infrastructure in suitable condition 60%–80% 31 March 2021 66% 64% 64.49%
% of maintenance and repair investment in relation to the infrastructure portfolio value At least 1.4%Note * 31 March 2021 1.05% 1.01% 0.71%Note **
% of the total real property value that is identified as surplus Between 1% and 2% 31 March 2021 0.82% 2.59% 1.78%

Departmental Result 6.3 – Defence activities are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible manner

The Defence Team continued to make significant progress in improving the energy efficiency of our operations. Ongoing investments in green technologies and innovative approaches to business management are helping us meet our sustainability commitments. In FY 2020-21, the department achieved the following:

  • Published our renewed Defence Energy and Environment StrategyEndnote 174 (DEES 2020–2023), which outlines our energy and environmental commitments—reducing our energy waste and environmental footprint, using cleaner energy sources, and better managing our energy and environmental performance;
  • Supported Public Services Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) efforts to secure green power purchase agreements, which will help provide clean power for infrastructure at bases and wings; and
  • Achieved LEED Silver certification for all new construction and major recapitalization projects.

Major performance highlights from FY 2020-21 include:

  • Thirty-eight percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for our infrastructure and commercial light-duty fleet since 2005;
  • Thirty-four percent of our light-duty vehicle fleet now runs on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and/or electric technology; and
  • ATen percent of reduction in contaminated sites liability, exceeding the target of seven percent annually.

For more information, refer to the Greening DefenceEndnote 175 webpage.

DND is bound by the Federal Sustainable Development Act and was required to develop a 2020 to 2023 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy. DND has developed its corresponding FY 2020-21 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy Report, including applicable reporting on green procurement activities. This report can be found on DND’s website.

Results achieved

Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results 2020–21 Actual results
6.3 Defence activities are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible manner % of Defence Energy and Environment Strategy commitments that are met or exceeded At least 80% 31 March 2021 67% 82% 100%
% of greenhouse gas emissions reduction relative to a 2005 baseline At least 40% 31 March 2030 32% 31.3% 38%Note *
% of light-duty vehicle fleet that is hybrid, plug-in hybrid and/or electric At least 30% 31 March 2021 27% 33% 34%
% of reduction in contaminated sites liability based on the closing liability of the previous year At least 7% 31 March 2021 19.8% 16.5% 10%

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)
3,665,573,962 3,680,697,534 4,165,436,326 4,185,750,629 505,053,095

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)
14,843 15,944 1,101

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 177.

Page details

Date modified: