Defence Policy

Strong, Secure, Engaged Progress

  • Since 2017, National Defence has made significant progress in advancing initiatives in Strong, Secure, Engaged.
  • 71% of the policy's projects are in the implementation phase, near completion, or completed.
  • For example, we are delivering on a number of major procurement projects, including:
    • Six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, the first of which has been delivered;
    • 1587 Standard Military Pattern trucks, which were recently delivered to the Canadian Army and are now operational;
    • Acceptance of the first of 16 new Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft, and;
    • Awarding a contract to Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards for the full construction of two Joint Support Ships.
  • As outlined in this policy, we are also working to expand the Defence Team to meet 21st century defence challenges.
  • As part of this effort, in the last year, we grew the Reserve Force by 1743 members and the Regular Force by 411 members.
  • As we grow, we remain committed to ensuring that Canadian Armed Forces members and their families are well-supported through initiatives such as:
    • the Total Health and Wellness Strategy, which includes mental health support and a Suicide Prevention Strategy;
    • Diversity Champions appointed to oversee the implementation of the Diversity Strategy and Action Plan; and,
    • Bill C-77, which, once in force, will enshrine important rights for victims in the military justice system.
  • Taken together, progress on SSE represents an important investment in the Canadian economy and the creation of jobs for Canadians from cross to coast to coast.
  • Looking ahead, we will continue to move forward with the full range of initiatives outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged.

If pressed on Strong, Secure, Engaged implementation audit:

  • Audits and evaluations help determine where adjustments and improvements can be made to ensure the continued efficient progress and oversight of Strong, Secure, Engaged.
  • All of the audit's recommendations have been addressed and the action plans have been fully implemented.
  • We welcome engagements of this nature as we implement our defence policy.

Key Facts

Defence Spending:

  • Through Strong, Secure, Engaged, National Defence committed to increasing defence spending by 70% over ten years.
  • Canada's defence spending for 2018-19 was 1.31% of GDP.
  • National Defence forecasts that total defence spending as a percentage of GDP will increase to 1.57% by 2024-25.
    • This 2024-25 estimate was previously forecasted at 1.48%. The rise is entirely the result of decreased GDP forecasts, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • In fiscal year 2019-2020, 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • 5,172 joined the Regular Force for a net growth of 138
  • 4,946 joined the Reserve Force for a net growth of 1,705
  • Out of 10,118  individuals to join the military in 2019-2020:
  • 1,775 (17.5%) were women
  • 1,028 (10.2%) were visible minorities
  • 223 (2.2%) were Indigenous peoples


  • AOPS delivery dates:
    • 1st ship delivered: July 31, 2020
    • Anticipated delivery date of 6th ship: 2024
  • Received 7 out of 18 fighter aircraft from Australia.
  • Launched an open and transparent competition to acquire 88 new advanced aircraft.
    • Expected award date: 2022
  • Procured 10 Medium Range Radar Systems for the Canadian Army. 
  • Awarded a contract for the design of the 15 new Canadian Surface Combatants.

Transparency, Results, and Accountability:

  • National Defence published the Defence Investment Plan 2018.
  • National Defence also published the 2019 annual update.


  • On June 7, 2017, the Government unveiled Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada's Defence Policy, which presented a new vision and approach to defence.
  • This policy was informed by an open and transparent review process and places Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members at its core by ensuring that they have the equipment and 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. It sets out 111 initiatives, laid-out in 6 major areas of Defence:
    • Vision for Defence: Provide Canada with an agile, multi-purpose combat-ready military, operated by highly trained, well-equipped women and men, secure in the knowledge that they have the full support of their government and their fellow Canadians.
    • Well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families: Support our people by improving the assistance, services, and care we provide Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.
    • Investments to enhance capability and capacity: Targeted and strategic investment in capabilities and equipment that can be used on domestic and international military operations.
    • Defence innovation: Compete for the best ideas to take advantage of the most creative concepts and unique approaches that academics, universities, and the private sector can generate.
    • Modernizing the business of Defence: Streamline defence procurement, improve the timely acquisition of much needed military capabilities, and increase economic benefits and create jobs for Canadians.
    • Stable, predictable, realistic funding: Improve the financial transparency of the defence budget, clarifying how funds are managed and spent.

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