Domestic and continental security

CAF's Response to COVID-19

  • The Canadian Armed Forces has played a key role in the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Through Operation LASER, the Canadian Armed Forces conducted 81 missions, deploying approximately 2,500 troops, in response to requests from provinces and territories.
  • This includes the deployments of medical teams to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Québec, as well as general duty support and humanitarian assistance to Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and Northwest Territories. 
  • The Canadian Armed Forces, including Canadian Rangers, have also deployed to provide assistance to more than 100 Indigenous communities.
  • Through Operation VECTOR, we also deployed well-trained military personnel and equipment to bolster federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous COVID-19 responses and vaccine roll-out efforts, including most recently in Quebec.
  • We have also deployed well-trained military personnel and equipment to bolster federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous COVID-19 responses and vaccine roll-out efforts.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces is ready to support Canadians in their time of need and continues to closely monitor the evolving situation to ensure readiness to assist at any time.

Key Facts

Current Deployments:

  • Canadian Rangers are deployed to five Northern Ontario First Nations:
    • Attawapiskat;
    • Eabametoong;
    • Kasabonika;
    • Kashechewan; and,
    • Mishkeegogamang
      • Canadian Rangers are helping with transportation, distribution of food, water, firewood and care packages, and coordination activities.

Operation LENTUS

  • As highlighted in Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces is poised to be strong at home and ready to assist in times of natural disaster and other domestic emergencies.
  • Through Operation LENTUS, the Canadian Armed Forces provides support to provincial and territorial authorities to respond quickly to natural disasters and stabilize situations.
  • For example, National Defence deployed over 700 Canadian Armed Forces members and 10 aircraft to British Columbia in November 2021 to conduct relief tasks in response to the flood and to support residents in the affected areas. 
  • In 2021, the Canadian Armed Forces also deployed over 450 members to Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia to provide critical support in fighting wildfires.
  • National Defence will continue to stand ready to respond to requests for assistance from provinces, territories, and Indigenous governments to support Canadians.

Key Facts

2021 Deployments:

  • Nunavut: From October 13, 2021, to December 21, 2021, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed two Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units and 35 personnel to ensure clean water supply to the community.
    • On December 10, 2021, the Nunavut Chief Public Health Officer lifted the “Do not Consume” order on the water supply in Iqaluit.
  • Newfoundland: Canadian Armed Forces support in response to heavy rain and high winds in Newfoundland on November 25, 2021.
  • British Columbia: Over 700 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to support flood relief efforts in British Columbia, which began on November 17, 2021.
  • British Columbia fires: Over 300 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to assist British Columbia in fighting wildfires from July 5, 2021, to September 5, 2021.
  • Manitoba fires: Over 100 Canadian Armed Forces members assisted the Manitoba Wildlife Service from July 20, 2021 to August 24, 2021, by conducting Type-3 firefighting duties such as building fire lines and monitoring hotspots.
  • Northern Ontario fires: Canadian Armed Forces provided air transport and teams of Canadian Rangers from July 12, 2021, to September 12, 2021, to support evacuations resulting from fires in Northern Ontario.
  • Yukon flooding: Approximately 100 Canadian Armed Forces members assisted flood relief efforts in July 2021.

Arctic Surveillance and the North

  • Climate change, technological advancements, economic opportunities, geopolitical conflict, and international interest are making the Arctic more strategically important than ever before.
  • This is why National Defence is currently making major investments to enhance our Arctic capabilities.
  • For example, National Defence’s six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels are highly capable and versatile ships designed to operate in previously inaccessible northern waters.
  • We are also increasing our surveillance in the Arctic by improving our space capabilities, acquiring remotely piloted aircraft systems, and sustaining the North Warning System.
  • In addition, our work with the United States to modernize NORAD, and strengthen domestic and continental defence more broadly, will further augment our northern capabilities.
  • As we move forward, we will continue to engage and collaborate with our Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners to promote economic benefits and shared priorities for Northerners while advancing reconciliation.

Key Facts

  • Budget 2021: The Government announced an initial $252.2M over five years starting this year to support continental defence and NORAD modernization. This investment will:
    • Help build on existing science and technology (S&T) of cutting-edge technologies related to all-domain awareness and command, control and communications in our northern approaches.
    • Support sustainment of the joint Canada-United States North Warning System until new suitable solutions are in place. Science and technology continues to inform Over-the-Horizon Radar (OTHR) technology as one signature investment towards a system-of-systems solution.
    • Contribute to modernizing long-range communications capabilities critical to Canadian Armed Forces operations in remote regions of Canada, including in the Arctic.
  • North Warning System In-Service Support Contract:
    • January 31, 2022: Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of National Defence, awarded a contract to Nasittuq Corporation, an Inuit owned company, for the operation and maintenance of the North Warning System.
    • Contract value: The contract is for an initial period of seven years, and is valued at $592 million ($527 million before taxes).
  • Operation NANOOK: The Canadian Armed Forces continues to demonstrate its capabilities and project presence in the region through its signature northern Operation.
    • From February 14-28, 2022, more than 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel took part in Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT in Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik, Northwest Territories, working together with armed forces members from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to conduct activities including joint long range patrols, complex logistical support, and under-ice diving activities.
  • Canadian Rangers: There are roughly 5,000 Canadian Rangers in 194 remote and isolated communities, including in the Arctic:
    • The Canadian Armed Forces looks to the Canadian Rangers for their knowledge of how to operate in the Arctic, their support to our northern operations, and for their continuing vigilance and reporting of activity in the North.
  • Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships: As of September 12, 2021, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry Dewolf completed its first operational deployment, which included participation in Operation NANOOK 2021 and a full transit of the Northwest Passage. It was the first Royal Canadian Navy ship of its class to do so since 1954.

Continental Defence and NORAD Modernization

  • The rise of strategic competition, new threats, climate change, and the growing importance of Canada’s Arctic requires that we strengthen our domestic and continental defences. 
  • National Defence is already investing in personnel, equipment, infrastructure, and Research and Development in support of this effort.
  • This includes, procuring new fighter jets, Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, space capabilities, a strategic refueling and transport capability, arctic communications, mobile tactical control radars, and remotely piloted aircraft systems.
  • Canada and the United States are also working together to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and issued a joint statement identifying four shared priorities for NORAD modernization.
  • These priorities include strengthening situational awareness; modernizing command and control systems; enhancing defensive capabilities, including infrastructure; and advancing research.
  • The Arctic will be a key focus of our work, and we will continue to collaborate with our Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners to ensure that investments benefit Northern communities while advancing reconciliation.

Key Facts

  • Budget 2021: Provides an initial $252.2 million over five years to support continental defence and NORAD modernization initiatives, including:
    • Advancing research related to all-domain awareness;
    • Sustaining the North Warning System; and,
    • Modernizing long-range communications capabilities.
  • Indigenous, Provincial, and Territorial Engagement: Engagement with Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners is ongoing to determine potential areas for collaboration in the context of continental defence and NORAD modernization.
    • This also includes exploring opportunities for multi-purpose infrastructure in the North and Arctic. Engagement to date has focused on building relationships, fostering transparency and trust, sharing priorities, and advancing reconciliation.
  • Over 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces members support NORAD in fulfilling its missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for the defence of North America.
  • 1 Canadian Air Division (1 CAD): Canadian NORAD Region headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, provides operational command and control of assigned assets while the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS), located in North Bay, Ontario provides tactical command and control of assigned assets for the Canadian NORAD Region.
  • North Warning System In-Service Support Contract:
    • January 31, 2022: Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of National Defence, awarded a contract to Nasittuq Corporation, an Inuit owned company, for the operation and maintenance of the North Warning System.
    • Contract value: The contract is for an initial period of seven years, and is valued at $592 million ($527 million before taxes).
    • This process reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to renewing and strengthening its economic relationship with Inuit and ensuring that Inuit communities benefit from federal procurement.
  • Future Fighter: Canada launched an open and transparent competition to acquire 88 new advanced aircraft.
    • As early as late 2022: Awarding of a contract.
    • As early as 2025: Delivery of first aircraft.
  • Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS):
    • July 31, 2020: The first AOPS vessel was delivered. 
    • July 15, 2021: The second AOPS vessel was delivered.
    • Summer 2022: Production of the sixth and final ship for the RCN is expected to begin.
    • 2025: Delivery target for the final ship.

Impact of Climate Change on CAF Operations

  • Climate change is affecting the frequency, duration and intensity of CAF operations at home and abroad, placing unprecedented demand on force generation, readiness, training, and equipment.
  • As an example, deployments under Operation LENTUS, which support provincial and territorial responses to natural disasters, have increased exponentially since 2010.
  • Climate change also affects essential defence infrastructure and equipment across Canada, such as bases and training sites, which are at risk from flooding and forest fires.
  • To better understand climate challenges and impacts, we will complete the remaining assessments on Navy and Air Force activities and operations by 2023.
  • Domestically, we are supporting efforts to develop Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy, which will help alleviate operational pressures and raise awareness of the security implications of climate change.
  • Internationally, we are also working with Allies to establish a NATO Climate and Security Centre of Excellence in Canada, to ensure that our militaries are responsive and resilient to climate-related threats and emergencies.

Key Facts

Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE):

  • SSE recognized the security implications of climate change both at home and abroad including threats to the Arctic, an increasing demand for CAF assets to respond to natural disasters in Canada and abroad, and the role climate change plays in exacerbating the drivers of conflict in fragile states.


  • Operation LENTUS provides support to provincial and territorial authorities to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters in Canada.
  • Over the last decade, Requests for Assistance resulting in deployments under Operation LENTUS have increased by 280 percent.
  • Between 2010 and 2016, the Canadian Armed Forces provided provincial and territorial authorities assistance one to two times annually through Operation LENTUS, in contrast to seven deployments in 2021.
  • Operation RENAISSANCE provides support to international humanitarian and disaster response operations. Recent deployments have included a wide variety of tasks such as wildfire relief in Australia, earthquake relief in Nepal, and hurricane relief in the Bahamas.
  • Climate impacts are disruptive to military training schedules, as the training period is coinciding with increased deployments due to a more active natural disaster hazard season.


  • The increase in domestic operations in support of climate disasters has resulted in increased pressure on National Defence’s operating budget.
  • Deployments contribute to higher carbon emissions, which can drive up the cost for deployments due to costs required for carbon offset.
  • The Operational Funding Account (OFA) is projecting an average annual pressure on the OFA budget of approximately $5.4 M for the next two years, and likely to increase as climate disasters continue to drive the operational tempo.

Royal Military College Saint-Jean:

  • At Royal Military College Saint-Jean, a new Bachelor’s degree program in Geopolitics and Climate Science is being developed that will position Officer and Naval Cadets and the Canadian Armed Forces to address the key issues at the heart of climate change.

Cyber Capabilities

  • The Federal Government has been working to strengthen our national cyber resilience and help Canadians adopt cyber security best practices.
  • Every day, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) uses its sophisticated cyber and technical expertise to help identify, prepare for, and defend against threats to Canada’s information systems and networks.
  • CSE’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security provides Canadians with expert advice and guidance, and leads the Government’s response to cyber incidents.
  • As directed by Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces is also building its cyber expertise, hardening its defences, and working together with CSE to conduct cyber operations that support the Government’s objectives.
  • As always, cyber operations are conducted in accordance with the Charter, Canadian, and international law.

If pressed on cyber incidents from foreign actors:

  • There are systems and tools in place to monitor, detect, and respond to potential threats, and to take measures to address and neutralize them when they occur.
  • CSE’s cyber defence and incident response teams work 24/7 to identify compromises and alert potential victims within the Federal Government and Canadian critical infrastructure.
  • CSE’s Cyber Centre has alerted Canadian critical infrastructure operators to be aware of the risks, and has provided them with expert advice to mitigate against known Russian-backed cyber threat activity.
  • Now is the time for Canadian companies to take defensive action and be proactive in network monitoring and applying appropriate mitigations.
  • If Canadian companies have been impacted by cyber threats, I urge them to contact CSE’s Cyber Centre.

Key Facts

  • December 2021: Prime Minister issued Mandate Letters to Cabinet. Minister of National Defence’s letter included commitments to:
    • Oversee the Communications Security Establishment to ensure that they are in a position to lead Canada’s response to rapidly evolving cyber risks and threats, including through adequate resources and close cooperation with our allies;
    • Develop and implement a renewed National Cyber Security Strategy; and,
    • Continue to advance the National Cyber Security Action Plan.
  • June 2021: Canada committed cyber capabilities to NATO to advance NATO mission goals and objectives, and promote resilience.
  • The Communications Security Establishment Act (the CSE Act) came into force in 2019, and introduced important new authorities, such as the ability to conduct active and defensive cyber operations.
    • The CSE Act also authorizes CSE to provide operational assistance to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces in support of government-authorized missions.
  • The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) was formally stood up in 2018 and it:
    • Leads the Government of Canada’s response to cyber incidents; and,
    • Provides expert advice, guidance, services, and support on cyber security operational matters.
  • 2018: Government released the National Cyber Security Strategy to bolster Canada’s cyber security posture by focusing on three key themes:
    • Security and resilience;
    • Cyber innovation; and,
    • Leadership and collaboration.
  • January 2022: the Government of Canada extended and expanded Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military mission to support the security of Ukraine. Related to cyber:
    • The Canadian Armed Forces will work with the Communications Security Establishment on measures to support enhanced cyber security and cyber operations. 

Polar Continental Shelf Program (Transfer to Department of Natural Resources)

  • Natural Resources Canada’s Polar Continental Shelf Program provides logistics planning and coordination for federal government partners conducting field work in Canada’s North.
  • The Program’s facility in Resolute, Nunavut, also houses the Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Training Centre.
  • In these Estimates, National Defence is transferring $2.9 million to Natural Resources Canada to cover our share of the annual operating and maintenance costs of the facility in Resolute.
  • These funds will also support the Program’s joint activities with the Training Centre, including training for Canadian Rangers, search and rescue, and an Arctic Operations Advisor Course.
  • We will continue to work closely with our federal, provincial, and territorial partners, as well as local and Indigenous communities, to further develop our ability to operate in the Arctic.

Key Facts

  • The Polar Continental Shelf Program: Provides cost-effective logistics planning, coordination, and advice for:
    • Canadian government researchers;
    • Universities; and,
    • Independent and international researchers conducting scientific work in Canada’s North.

Supplementary Estimates (C), 21-22 Funding Details:

  • Total funding to be transferred: $2,854,464
  • Of the funds to be transferred:
    • $1.0M will be used to support the facility’s annual operating costs, including the land lease, cleaning and repairs.
    • $1.1M will be provided to the Polar Continental Shelf Program to support coordinating and logistics planning with the Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Training Centre.
    • $716,755 will be used for off-season costs such as the payment of incremental salaries, travel, heating, electricity, and janitorial services.
  • Canadian Armed Forces Arctic Training Centre:
    • Provides a support base that enables whole-of-government emergency operations throughout the year.
    • A permanent location that allows for staging and force projection across the high Arctic.

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