A more challenging world is already having far-reaching impacts on the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

A rapidly changing climate, new challenges to global stability, and accelerating advances in technology are affecting the foundations of Canadian security and prosperity. Our North, Strong and Free responds to these trends with resolve and commitment.

Today more than ever, Canada needs a robust military that can defend Canada and protect Canadians at home, while defending our national interests abroad with allies and partners.

Our 2017 defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged identified the evolving balance of power, the changing nature of conflict, and the rapid evolution of technology as the main drivers of the future security environment. In response, the government set a new course for our military. We articulated eight core missions for the Canadian Armed Forces at home, on the continent and in the world, which remain necessary and unchanged. And we established a program of investment—in our people, growing the Canadian Armed Forces, and recapitalizing some core capabilities—that continues to be essential to Canada's defence.

The eight core missions of the Canadian Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada;
  • Detect, deter, and defend against threats to or the attack on North America in partnership with the United States, including through NORAD;
  • Lead and/or contribute forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability;
  • Lead and/or contribute to international peace operations and stabilization missions with the United Nations, NATO and other multilateral partners;
  • Engage in capacity building to support the security of other nations and their ability to contribute to security abroad;
  • Provide assistance to civil authorities and law enforcement, including counter-terrorism, in support of national security and the security of Canadians abroad;
  • Provide assistance to civil authorities and non-governmental partners in responding to international and domestic disasters or major emergencies; and
  • Conduct search and rescue operations.

This defence policy review focused on, among other things, the size and capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces, its roles and responsibilities, and ensuring our military has the resources needed to keep Canadians safe and contribute to global operations. We consulted the Canadian public, civil society, industry, parliamentarians, defence experts, and allies and partners to help inform the review.

The review concluded that the threats and challenges identified in 2017 are intensifying and evolving more quickly than anticipated, and that Canada needs to do more to keep pace. Today, we are confirming new investments to support a vision in which Canada is:

  • Strong at home, with a military asserting our sovereignty, particularly in the Arctic and northern regions, and ready to assist when Canadians are faced with natural disasters and other emergencies, or in need of search and rescue support;
  • Secure in North America, active in a renewed defence partnership with the United States that is focused on restoring continental defence and deterrence in all domains: sea, land, air, space and cyber, and through a modernized NORAD; and
  • Engaged in the world, with the Canadian Armed Forces making reliable and valuable contributions to our allies and partners, particularly in the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions, in support of a more stable, peaceful world.

Our North, Strong and Freeis laid out in four sections:

Section I assesses the current geopolitical context and the implications for Canadian interests.

Section II articulates an updated vision for our military, focused on ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces is ready, resilient and relevant in the new security environment—by investing in the foundations of the military and new capabilities to defend against new threats to Canada.

Sections III and IV outline our plan to deliver on this vision, focused on strengthening the foundations of our military, modernizing existing capabilities and acquiring new ones, improving our capacity to implement through building civilian capacity, reforming procurement, digitalizing the military, leveraging innovation, and developing a stronger relationship with Canada's defence industrial base.

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