Defence Policy

Implementation Of Canada’s Defence Policy

  • In 2017, this Government published a fully-costed defence policy, setting out a 20 year plan.
  • Through the implementation of Strong, Secure, Engaged, we are making significant investments in the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • For example:
    • We are increasing defence spending by 70% over 10 years;
    • We are investing in our people through the Total Health and Wellness Strategy; and
    • We are increasing diversity in the military and across the Defence team.
  • Just over two years into a 20 year program, more than two-thirds of the projects outlined in our defence policy are in implementation or complete.
  • We will continue to deliver on the commitments in our defence policy to ensure our members in uniform have the equipment and support they need.

Key Facts

  • People:
    • Launched the Suicide Prevention Strategy
    • Integrated GBA+ into all Defence activities
    • Expanded the Reserves by over 5,299 members in 20172018
  • Operations:
    • Realignment of the Canadian Air Defence Identification Zone
    • Stood up a new cyber operation
  • Procurement:
    • Awarded a contract for the design of the 15 new Canadian Surface Combatants
    • Confirmed the purchase of a sixth Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship

Strong, Secure, Engaged

Strong, Secure, Engaged is a long-term, fully funded plan built around people.


  • On June 7, 2017, the Government unveiled Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy, which presented a new vision and approach to defence.
  • The policy places the men and women in uniform at its core by ensuring that they have the equipment and the support they need to deliver what we ask of them.
  • The policy also provides clear direction on defence priorities over the next 20 years and matches that guidance with long-term investments.

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Canada/US Defence Relations

  • Canada and the United States enjoy an unparalleled defence relationship forged by shared geography, history, and common values.
  • This privileged relationship remains integral to continental security and the United States continues to be Canada’s most important military ally.
  • Every day, Canadian Armed Forces members work side-by-side with our American neighbours in the shared defence of North America.
  • For example, approximately 700 Canadian Armed Forces members are embedded across the United States.
  • Canada’s defence relationship with the United States will remain both strong and flexible, to deter evolving threats to the continent as they arise.

Key Facts

  • Key Canada-US cooperation: NATO, UN, Five-Eyes
  • Key bilateral defence mechanisms:
    • NORAD
    • Permanent Joint Board on Defence
    • Military Cooperation Committee
    • Tri-Command Framework
    • Partners in Defence dialogue
    • Service Level Staff Talks

Strong, Secure, Engaged

Strong, Secure, Engaged delivers on the Government of Canada’s enduring commitment to defend Canada, work with the United States in the shared defence of North America, and be a credible and engaged international actor.”

Details Canada-US Cooperation

  • Canada and the United States cooperate as members of the Five-Eyes network which serves as Canada’s most important intelligence and information-sharing partnership.
  • Most of Canada’s international operations are carried out alongside the US – either as part of NATO, under a United Nations mandate, or as part of an international coalition.

Bilateral Defence

  • Other principal bilateral mechanisms with the United States include:
    • NORAD: Single largest defence partnership between Canada and the United States and a unique bi-national military command.
    • Permanent Joint Board on Defence: A forum to discuss policy issues related to defence and security, including continental defence. Civilian-military membership from National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Privy Council Office, and their United States equivalents.
    • Military Cooperation Committee: Primary strategic link between Canadian and United States joint military staffs.
    • Tri-Command Framework: NORAD, United States Northern Command and Canadian Joint Operations Command.
    • The Canada-United States Combined Defence Plan: Synchronizes military efforts from both countries into one coherent bilateral military defence plan.
    • The Canada-United States Civil Assistance Plan: Provides a framework for the military forces of either country to support the other country’s military in the event of a natural disaster.
    • Intelligence sharing: Extensive defence intelligence partnership, which includes a number of agreements on the sharing of intelligence.

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Canada and China

  • This Government recognizes the need to engage with emerging powers, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, to maintain peace and security.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army are maintaining regular high-level dialogues on issues of mutual interest.
  • This reflects the importance of maintaining relations with China and the significant role China plays in the Asia-Pacific security environment.
  • This Government will continue to develop a strong relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including with China.

If pressed on Canadians detained in China

  • Canada remains deeply concerned by China’s actions, including the arbitrary detention and sentencing of Canadian citizens.

If pressed on the Canadian Armed Forces Sport Delegation to the World Military Games in China

  • Military sporting events provide an opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to represent Canada on the world stage.
  • Canada regularly participates in these events to foster cooperation and dialogue with allies, partners and other participating countries.
  • In consultation with Global Affairs Canada, National Defence sent a Canadian delegation of 114 athletes to the 2019 World Military Games.
  • Canadian military athletes earned 6 medals and helped to foster dialogue with representatives from military forces around the world.

If pressed on Huawei

  • The Government of Canada takes the security of our country’s critical infrastructure very seriously.
  • 5G networks will be a key driver of innovation and enable new technologies such as cleaner energy, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles.
  • While I cannot comment on specific companies, the Government of Canada is currently reviewing its approach to emerging 5G technology.
  • Public Safety and its partners, including the Communications Security Establishment are working together on this important issue.
  • We are committed to the security of Canadian networks and will take the appropriate decision in due course.

Key Facts

  • National Defence sent a Canadian delegation of 114 athletes to the 2019 World Military Games held in China.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“Given the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific to Canadian security and prosperity, Canada is committed to being a reliable player in the region, through consistent engagement and strong partnerships.”


  • Strong, Secure, Engaged identifies China as a rising economic power with an increasing ability to project influence globally. The policy identifies the need for all states in the Asia-Pacific region to peacefully manage and resolve disputes in accordance with international law and avoid coercion and other actions that could escalate tension, in light of China’s activities in the South China Sea.
  • The policy states that we will develop stronger relationships with other countries in the region, particularly China.

Canadian Armed Forces Sport Delegation to the World Military Games in China

  • The Military World Games organisation hosts over 20 sports competitions around the world every year. It hosts its official World Games every four years.
  • The 2019 Games were held in Wuhan, China. The Games hosted 9,308 military athletes from 109 countries. 25 out of 27 NATO countries participated in the games. Iceland and the United Kingdom did not participate.
  • Canadian Armed Forces members competed in the following events: basketball, fencing, golf, running, sailing, shooting, soccer, swimming, taekwondo, triathlon, and volleyball.
  • Canada won 6 medals:
    • 2 gold in triathlon
    • 1 silver in taekwondo
    • 1 silver in triathlon
    • 2 bronze in taekwondo


  • As part of its cyber security mandate, the Communications Security Establishment works with telecommunications service providers representing over 99% of Canadian subscribers. In this role, the Communications Security Establishment provides advice and guidance to mitigate supply chain risks in telecommunications infrastructures upon which Canadians rely, including, since 2013, a program that has been in place to test and evaluate designated equipment and services considered for use on Canadian 3G and 4G/LTE networks, including Huawei.
  • Third party labs accredited by the Communications Security Establishment perform this testing. The role of the Communications Security Establishment includes accrediting the third party labs that perform this assurance testing and defining the testing requirements. The Communications Security Establishment reviews the testing results and provides tailored advice and guidance to Canada’s telecommunications sector.
  • While non-disclosure agreements limit the degree to which the Communications Security Establishment can comment on specific details, Canadians can be assured that the Government of Canada is working to make sure that robust protections are in place to safeguard the communications systems that Canadian rely on.

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Continental Ballistic Missile Defence

  • As stated in our defence policy, Canada’s position with respect to participating in ballistic missile defence has not changed.
  • We are committed to working with the United States, including through NORAD, to meet current and emerging threats to North America.
  • This is a prudent, holistic approach that takes into account emerging threats and perils across all domains.
  • We will continue to work with the United States to defend North America

Key Facts

  • In 2005, following discussions with the United States, Canada decided not to participate in the United States ballistic missile defence system.
  • Canada maintained this position in Strong, Secure, Engaged.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“To ensure the continued security of North America, Defence will modernize NORAD to meet existing challenges and evolving threats to North America, taking into account the full range of threats.”


  • Through the Defence Policy Review process, leading to Strong, Secured, Engaged, the Government consulted Canadians and Parliamentarians on a wide range of defence-related issues, including Ballistic Missile Defence.
  • Canada’s policy with respect to non-participation in ballistic missile defence has not changed. However, National Defence is working with the United States to look broadly at emerging threats and perils to North America, across all domains.

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