Defence Funding

"Lapsed" Funding

  • Strong, Secure, Engaged fundamentally changed the way National Defence manages its budget.
  • National Defence only requests the resources we need to manage our budget each year.
  • These transactions are reviewed by Parliamentarians through the estimates process, and capital resources that we do not request are available to the department in future years.
  • This allows us to effectively manage resources when delivering procurements over multiple years, and ensures requirements are as accurate as possible before requesting additional funds.  
  • It also allows the flexibility to re-allocate Capital funding between existing projects or move funds forward to support needs in future years.
  • Finally, we "carry forward" as many unused operating funds as possible as a planned lapse.
  • For instance, in 2019-20, National Defence was unable to spend $930.9 million, of which $835.7 million is expected to be made available for use in future years.
  • While the COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges, we will continue to ensure that funds requested by National Defence have a meaningful impact on defence priorities.

Key Facts

  • National Defence public account lapse (difference between funding requested and expenditures):
    • $930.9M was lapsed in 2019-20, of which $835.7M is expected to be made available for future years.
    • $473.4M was lapsed in 2018-2019, of which $390.9M was available for future years.
    • $677M was lapsed in 2017-2018, of which $652.9M was available for future years.
  • This flexible funding model allows National Defence to manage changes in project developments such as:
    • lower contract amounts;
    • changes in required capabilities to meet new threats;
    • additional time needed to analyse options; and,
    • delays in the delivery of goods and/or services by industry.


  • Despite sound long-term planning, most defence procurement projects do not advance exactly as planned—some progress faster, others slower, for a variety of operational, logistical, and program reasons.
  • To mitigate lapses in funding authorized by Parliament, National Defence is taking the following actions:
    • Improving its capital funding forecast to ensure that the Department does not request more funding authorities from Parliament than required;
    • Funding new projects from surplus in-year funding rather than requesting additional funding from Parliament;
  • Funding not requested is not lost. National Defence has the ability to re-profile funds into future years for major projects, and then access those funds when needed.

Back to top

Page details

Date modified: