International Security

Defence Spending (including contribution to NATO)

  • Canada is unwavering in its commitment to the NATO Alliance, to the defence of Euro-Atlantic security, and to the rules-based international order.
  • We understand the need to invest in defence to be agile and adaptable in the face of evolving threats.
  • That is why, in 2017, through Strong, Secure, Engaged, we committed to increasing defence spending by 70% over ten years.
  • Since 2017, we have taken the steps to procure the equipment needed to continue providing critical capabilities to the Alliance.
  • For example, we are procuring 88 new fighter jets, 15 Canadian Surface Combatants, and 6 Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.
  • Despite the economic impacts of COVID-19, Canada is committed to making the defence expenditure investments in the strategic areas identified in its defence policy.
  • We will continue to deliver on the commitments in our defence policy.

If pressed on defence spending as a share of GDP (NATO 2%):

  • In Fiscal Year 2021-22, Canada is forecasted to spend 1.36% of its GDP on defence, and is forecasted to spend 1.43% by fiscal year 2024-25.
  • This spending will enable Canada to continue making important contributions to global peace and stability alongside our NATO Allies, as we are doing in Latvia, Ukraine, and the Middle East.

Key Facts

Strong, Secure, Engaged:

  • Since 2017, 75% of the projects identified under Strong, Secure, Engaged are in the implementation phase, near completion, or completed.

Defence Spending:

  • Canada is forecasted to spend 1.36% of GDP on defence in Fiscal Year 2021-22.
  • Canada’s forecasted defence spending will increase to 1.43% by 2024. The recent fluctuations are almost exclusively the result of the economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • Canada is the 6th largest contributor to NATO’s commonly funded budget, in comparison to other NATO members.
  • Canada is forecasted to spend 17.7% of defence spending on major equipment in 2021-2022, and to surpass the 20% NATO threshold in 2023-2024.
  • Canada is forecasted to spend approximately 32% of its defence expenditures on major equipment in 2024, far exceeding the 20% NATO guideline.

Contribution to NATO – Readiness Initiative (Funding – Budget 2021)

  • Canada’s commitment to its NATO Allies and partners is unwavering, especially in the face of Russian aggression.
  • Not only has this Government raised defence spending, but every day, members of the Canadian Armed Forces are deeply engaged in NATO operations, promoting peace and stability.
  • To support these efforts, National Defence requested $103.0 million in these Estimates to support Canada’s increased commitments to NATO under the NATO Readiness Initiative.
  • As announced in Budget 2021, this funding will support activities related to the operational readiness of one additional Royal Canadian Navy frigate and six additional Royal Canadian Air Force fighter jets that support NATO missions. 
  • This funding will be used to service the fleets, perform maintenance, perform testing and evaluation, and train personnel.

Key Facts

  • NATO Readiness Initiative: An Alliance commitment to enhance the pool of high-readiness forces and capabilities available for collective defence and crisis response.
    • It is distinct and separate from other designated NATO activities and on-going operations.
  • One additional frigate: $103.0M allocated annually, over five years, starting in Fiscal Year 2021-2022.
    •  Funding will support the following activities:
      • $58M to support the necessary work for three docking work periods;
      • $19.8M to support maintenance work for ship systems;
      • $14.1M to support fighting capabilities; and,
      • $11.1M in National Inventory Control Point spare parts.
  • Six additional fighter jets: $26.2M total allocation, beginning in Fiscal Year 2023-2024.
    • Funding will support the following activities:
      • $5.8M for the procurement of Pack-Up Kits equipment in Fiscal Year 2023-2024; and,
      • $20.4M to increase fleet sustainment activities as a result of the additional yearly flying hours in Fiscal Year 2024-2025 and 2025-2026.
  • Defence Spending:
    • Canada is forecasted to spend 1.36% of GDP on defence in Fiscal Year 2021-22.
    • Canada’s forecasted defence spending will increase to 1.43% by 2024. The recent fluctuations are almost exclusively the result of the economic impacts of COVID-19.
    • Canada is the 6th largest contributor to NATO’s commonly funded budget, in comparison to other NATO members.
    • Canada is forecasted to spend 17.7% of defence spending on major equipment in 2021-2022, and to surpass the 20% NATO threshold in 2023-2024.

Operation UNIFIER (Funding)

  • Canada is steadfast in its commitment to support Ukraine’s sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity.
  • That is why we have approved the extension and enhancement of Operation UNIFIER to March 2025.
  • In these Estimates, National Defence is seeking $27.4 million to sustain Operation UNIFIER and continue our efforts to support Ukraine.
  • Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission to support Ukraine’s security forces through military training and capacity building assistance.
  • Through Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces conducted more than 700 course serials, and trained over 33,000 Ukrainian personnel from 2015 to January 2022.
  • Although Operation UNIFIER and training is paused for the moment, National Defence and its international partners are assessing options to continue providing defence support.
  • We remain committed to the people of Ukraine and our mission to increase the capacity and capability of Ukraine’s Security Forces.

If pressed on aid delivery timelines:

  • We are continuously working with our Allies and partners to provide aid to Ukraine.
  • Given operational security concerns, we cannot discuss further specifics at this time.

If pressed on military aid falling into the wrong hands:

  • We continue to provide much needed and valuable aid that has been requested by Ukraine.
  • National Defence has signed a declaration with Ukraine's armed forces that all weapons provided will not be transferred to any other entity.

If pressed on CAF members fighting in Ukraine:

  • We do not encourage Canadians to go to Ukraine to fight given the very dire security situation.

If pressed on a no-fly zone over Ukraine:

  • Canada and our NATO Allies have a responsibility to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine, which would be even more dangerous and devastating.
  • The establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone could risk triggering a larger international conflict with Russia.
  • We will continue working with our Allies to support Ukraine through other contributions.

If pressed on future military defensive aid:

  • Canada is working with our Allies to provide Ukraine with the support they need.
  • We continue to assess options to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and security.

Key Facts

Operation UNIFIER:

  • Personnel: Deployed every six months.
  • Jan 26, 2022: Canada committed to deploy an additional 60 personnel to join the approximately 200 deployed at that time.
    • Personnel cap increased to 400 personnel
  • Total spent since 2015: approximately $138 million


  • Military Aid Funding
    • Total committed since February 2022: approximately $110 million
  • Most Recent Announcement
    • March 9: Another $50 million in military aid in specialized equipment.
  • Military Aid Provided since February 2022
    • $75 million dollars in new funds to source military equipment requested by Ukraine, including body armour, gas masks, helmets, and other highly specialized pieces of military equipment
    • Anti-armour weapons systems and rocket launchers
    • Almost 400,000 individual meal packs
    • Small arms and ammunition
    • $1 million for the purchase of commercial imagery through an allied program
  • Military Equipment Provided From 2015 to January 2022
    • Body armour
    • Mobile field hospital
    • Communications gear
    • Explosive disposal equipment

Operation REASSURANCE (Funding)

  • Canada remains strongly committed to its partnership with NATO Allies and reinforcing our support for NATO’s Eastern Flank.
  • That is why we are renewing Canada’s multi-year commitment to Operation REASSURANCE.
  • In these Estimates, National Defence is seeking $65.5 million to sustain assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe through Operation REASSURANCE.
  • Operation REASSURANCE is Canada’s largest international military commitment, involving the deployment of land, sea, and air elements to Central and Eastern Europe in support of our Allies.
  • The requested funds will be used to support Canadian Armed Forces members deployed on Operation REASSURANCE while they conduct training, exercises, and tasks in support of NATO collective defence efforts.
  • National Defence will continue to work with our NATO Allies to enhance our collective security and promote peace and stability around the world.

If pressed on a no-fly zone over Ukraine:

  • Canada and our NATO Allies have a responsibility to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine, which would be even more dangerous and devastating.
  • The establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone could risk triggering a larger international conflict with Russia.
  • We will continue working with our Allies to support Ukraine through other contributions.

If pressed on additional NATO support:

  • We have placed approximately 3,400 personnel at a higher state of readiness to deploy to the NATO Response Force should these forces be required.

Key Facts

  • March 8, 2022: The Prime Minister announced that Canada will renew its multi-year commitment to Operation REASSURANCE.
  • Approximately 1,300 Canadian Armed Forces members employed on Operation REASSURANCE:
    • Members currently deployed: approximately 800
    • Battle Group Latvia: Canada is the lead nation for the multinational NATO Battle Group in Latvia comprised of approximately 1,500 soldiers from 10 Allied nations;
    • A battery of M777 artillery guns with forward observers and an electronic warfare troop to bolster the Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia;
    • Standing Naval Forces: HMCS Montreal, with its helicopter attachment, is currently sailing with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean;
    • A second frigate, HMCS Halifax, with an embarked maritime helicopter, re-tasked to participate in NATO’s Standing Naval Forces;
    • Air Task Force: September to December 2021, 6 Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 Hornets and approximately 140 members supported NATO Air Policing in Romania.
      • Most recent deployment: September to December 2021; and,
      • Next rotation scheduled for July 2022.
    • Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft and up to 50 personnel to support aid delivery to Ukraine and assist NATO’s efforts in the region; and,
    • A CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft previously assigned to operations in and around Iceland, which will now operate in the Euro-Atlantic Area under NATO command and control.
    • In addition, Canada has almost 400 CAF personnel in NATO headquarters in Europe and North America making important contributions to Alliance security.

Operation IMPACT (Funding – Budget 2021)

  • Operation IMPACT has been essential to countering Da’esh, and is part of a whole-of-government effort to foster security and stability in the Middle East.
  • Under Operation IMPACT, Canada works with our allies to contribute to the Global Coalition Against Da’esh, and NATO Mission Iraq, supporting Iraqi Security Forces.
  • We also provide bilateral training assistance to the Jordanian and Lebanese Armed Forces.
  • To support these efforts, National Defence is requesting $129.5 million to continue providing development, humanitarian, and military support to advance peace and stability in the region.

Key Facts

  • Operation IMPACT: The Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to Canada’s whole-of-government approach to the Middle East, which includes:
    • Training, advising, assisting Iraqi security forces to prevent the return of Da’esh;
    • Capacity building with partners, such as Lebanon and Jordan to increase regional stability;
    • Promoting institutional reforms of the Iraqi defence community through NATO Mission Iraq;
    • Providing leadership, expertise, and support to Coalition Headquarters;
    • Ensuring the safe movement of cargo and personnel in the area of operations through tactical airlift; and,
    • 14 health services personnel in support of CAF members.
  • Mandate: In March 2021, Canada extended Operation IMPACT’s mandate to March 31, 2022.
  • CAF members deployed: ~ 450 (mission cap: 850)
  • Training provided to: Over 4,500 Iraqi Security Force members, over 3,400 members of the Lebanese Armed Forces, and 2,400 members of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
  • Budget 2021 earmarked $200 million for National Defence to extend Canada’s Middle East Strategy until March 2022.
    • These funds will be used to continue Canada’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh, NATO Mission Iraq, and bilateral capacity building activities in Jordan and Lebanon.
  • GBA+
    • One Gender Advisor is embedded with NATO Mission Iraq to provide advice to Commander NATO Mission Iraq and assist the Women, Peace, and Security Directorate in training the Iraqi military.
    • As part of pre-deployment training, members deployed on Op IMPACT take the GBA+ training and a NATO course on integrating gender perspectives on operations.

Peace Support Operations (Funding)

  • The Canadian Armed Forces has a proud, longstanding history of participating in peacekeeping missions to support peace and stability around the world.
  • Today, we provide expertise and advanced capabilities to United Nations peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world.
  • To support these efforts, National Defence is requesting $5.6 million in these Estimates to extend peace support operations in Africa.
  • This funding will be used to support the provision of episodic tactical airlift support to UN operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
  • It will also support staff deployed to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, as well as the operational support hub in Dakar, Senegal.

Key Facts

  • Tactical Airlift Detachment (Uganda):
    • Consists of a CC-130J Hercules aircraft and approximately 30 CAF personnel (crew and support staff).
    • In 2021, due to the impacts of COVID, the CAF conducted two serials, transporting 571 personnel and more than 640,000 lbs of cargo with close to 100 hours of flight time.
    • In 2022, the CAF has conducted one serial so far, transporting 846 personnel and more than 390,500 lbs of cargo with 60 hours of flight time.
  • UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA): 5 CAF members continue to work as staff officers at the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, Mali to support the mission.
  • The operational support hub Senegal:
    • Approximately 9 personnel on a continual basis.
    • Allows the Canadian Armed Forces to project and sustain its military forces rapidly and flexibly.
    • Provides operational support assistance for Canadian Armed Forces operations or engagements throughout Africa.
    • Provides operational-level liaison with host nation officials, in coordination with Canadian Embassy.

CAF Operations in Indo-Pacific

  • Recognizing the critical importance of the Indo-Pacific to Canada’s interests, National Defence is committed to continuing our increased and persistent presence in the region.
  • Under Op PROJECTION, Royal Canadian Navy ships conduct combined activities and port visits with allies and partners to demonstrate Canada’s presence and promote regional security.
  • Canada also routinely deploys ships and aircraft to the region under Operation NEON, as part of a multinational effort to monitor UN sanctions against North Korea.
  • In fact, the Canadian Armed Forces is planning to deploy two frigates from June to November 2022 to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), followed by Op PROJECTION and Op NEON in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Defence Team is also actively supporting the development of the Global Affairs-led Indo-Pacific Strategy.
  • We are prepared to increase, diversify and sustain our defence footprint in the region in support of this Strategy and the Government’s broader strategic commitment to this region.

If pressed on AUKUS partnership:

  • Canada maintains strong military relations and intelligence sharing agreements with AUKUS countries, regardless of the new trilateral partnership.
  • As a Pacific nation, Canada will continue to play an active role in the region, and maintain a persistent presence to support peace, security, and Canadian interests in the region.

If pressed on North Korean ballistic missile testing:

  • Canada continues to help monitor sanctions against North Korea through Operation NEON.
  • We are also working with our allies and partners to better understand and address a range of threats in the region.

Key Facts

  • Operation NEON: HMCS Winnipeg and an Aurora maritime patrol aircraft undertook a rotation monitoring the UN sanctions against North Korea in late 2021.
    • In April 2021, Canada extended Operation NEON’s mandate into 2023.
    • Since the mission’s inception in 2019, Canadian Armed Forces assets have identified 100 ship-to-ship transfers and 416 vessels of interest.
  • Operation PROJECTION: HMCS Winnipeg concluded a deployment in the Indo-Pacific region in December 2021, having conducted port visits and combined activities with allies and partners and participated in Operation NEON.
  • Since 2015:  Royal Canadian Navy ships have undertaken progressively more assertive and active deployments to the Indo-Pacific region, and have:
    • deployed 13 times to the Indo-Pacific region;
    • conducted five Taiwan Strait transits;
    • conducted two Spratly transits; and,
    • conducted numerous multilateral and bilateral level exercises and activities.
  • Defence Attachés: In 2020, Canada opened new Canadian Defence Attaché offices in Vietnam and Malaysia.
  • Military Training and Cooperation Program: The Military Training and Cooperation Program supports training activities with 13 countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • ASEAN: National Defence continues to seek membership in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting, as well as Observer Status in the Expert Working Groups to play a more active role in the region’s security architecture.
  • Exercise SEA DRAGON: The RCAF participated in Exercise SEA DRAGON in 2021 and 2022. This anti-submarine exercise brings together QUAD nations, plus Canada and some others.
  • The RCAF detachment won the Dragon Belt award for the top-performing crew two years in a row.

Operation AEGIS

  • Under Operation AEGIS, the Canadian Armed Forces worked tirelessly to help evacuate approximately 3,400 people from Kabul, the majority of whom were transported on 15 Canadian Armed Forces flights.
  • To assist with the evacuations of Canadians and Afghan nationals, National Defence provided strategic airlift capabilities including various types of aircraft, aircrew, and support staff.
  • We also supported our allies and partners in the coalition air bridge.
  • Under Operation ALLIED SOLACE, we provided three interpreters to NATO’s temporary accommodation facility in Kosovo, which houses NATO-affiliated Afghans awaiting transit to Allied countries.
  • National Defence also worked with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and partners to identify and resettle Afghans who were integral to Canada’s work in Afghanistan.
  • National Defence will continue to work with its whole-of-government partners to support Afghanistan and to meet the Government’s commitment to resettle Afghan refugees.

Key Facts

  • July 27, 2021: National Defence received approval to assist the evacuation of designated Afghan personnel and their families.
  • August 02, 2021: Canadian Armed Forces begins evacuation operations from Kabul.
  • August 27, 2021: Canadian Armed Forces ceases evacuation operations and the last Canadian Armed Forces personnel and assets leave Afghanistan.
  • September 2021 – March 2022: Three translators deployed to Operation ALLIED SOLACE in Kosovo. One translator returned on February 25, 2022 and the remaining two translators returned on March 2, 2022.

Departmental Staff Located at Missions Abroad (Transfer to Global Affairs Canada)

  • In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, Defence Team members, including Canadian Defence Attachés, are deployed to diplomatic and consular missions abroad to provide on-the-ground reporting, and also identify Canadian defence industry export opportunities.
  • In these Estimates, National Defence seeks to transfer $617,066 to Global Affairs Canada to provide support for the cost of National Defence staff located at these missions.
  • These funds will also be used to increase the number of National Defence members deployed, including four at Canada’s Delegation to NATO, one in Helsinki, Finland, and two in Kazakhstan.
  • Through our engagement abroad, National Defence continues to support Canadian values and international peace and security.

Key Facts

  • The Canadian Armed Forces contributes to the conduct of defence diplomacy through a range of activities, including the deployment of Canadian Defence Attachés.
  • Canadian Defence Attachés: National Defence has 110 staff deployed abroad in more than 45 countries but accredited into 140+ countries.

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