Defence Policy

Strong, Secure, Engaged Progress

  • In 2017, National Defence published a fully-costed defence policy which provides clear direction on Canadian defence priorities over a 20 year horizon.
  • I am pleased to inform this committee, that in under three years, we have made significant progress in advancing this policy.
  • Canadian Armed Forces members and their families are at the heart of everything we do.
  • Through this policy we have already:
    • launched the Total Health and Wellness Strategy, which includes enhanced Mental Health support and a Suicide Prevention Strategy; and
    • provided tax relief to members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed on international high and moderate risk operations.
  • We are also providing the equipment the Canadian Armed Forces members need to succeed in their missions at home and abroad.
  • For example, we have:
    • advanced the procurement of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, the first of which is already undergoing sea trials;
    • received the final delivery of 500 Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles and upgrades to 550 Light Armoured Vehicles for the Canadian Army; and
    • made significant progress on the procurement of 16 new Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
    • Two thirds of the policy’s projects are in the implementation phase, near completion, or completed.

Key Facts


  • In fiscal year 2018-2019, 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces.
    • 4,819 joined the Regular Force for a net growth of 451;
    • 5,299 joined the Reserve Force for a net growth of 2,540;
  • Defence has appointed Diversity Champions to oversee the implementation of the Diversity Strategy and Action Plan.


  • Received 4 out of 18 fighter aircraft from Australia.
  • Launched an open and transparent competition to acquire 88 new advanced aircraft.
  • Procured 10 Medium Range Radar Systems for the Canadian Army.  
  • Procured 1587 Medium Support Vehicles for the Canadian Army with the production of the final vehicle ending February 13, 2020.
  • Awarded a contract for the design of the 15 new Canadian Surface Combatants.

Transparency, Results, and Accountability

  • As committed to in SSE, 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 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.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 - Source: Committee of the Whole Note, 2019-12-07

Back to top

Canada and China

  • Canada recognizes the need to cooperate with emerging powers in areas of mutual interest, including peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army maintain a professional working relationship.
  • Canada is committed to maintaining the rules based international order, and will work with our allies and partners to that end.
  • We will continue to develop a strong relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

If pressed on the CAF senior leadership position on Huawei 5G:

  • 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 and smart cities.
  • While I cannot comment on specific companies, the Government of Canada is currently reviewing its approach to emerging 5G technology.
  • Public Safety is leading this important review, in collaboration with its partners including the Communications Security Establishment and National Defence.
  • The Government of Canada remains committed to the security of Canadian networks and will take the appropriate decision in due course.

If pressed on the Canadian Armed Forces Sport Delegation to 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.

Key Facts

  • National Defence is currently examining engagements with China on a case-by-case basis.
  • National Defence sent a Canadian delegation of 114 athletes to the 2019 World Military Games held in China.


Special Committee on Canada-China Relations

  • The Special Committee on Canada-China Relations (CACN) was established through a Conservative Opposition motion in 2020 to conduct hearings to examine and review all aspects of the Canada-China relationship, including consular, economic, legal, security, and diplomatic relations.
  • To date, the Committee has demonstrated interest in issues such as the Government’s strategy on China, Canada’s participation in the 2019 World Military Games, China’s trade relationship with Canada and others such as the U.S., Government efforts to release Michael Spavor and Michael Korvrig, Ms. Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case, and the Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.


  • As part of its cyber security mandate, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) works with telecommunications service providers representing over 99% of Canadian subscribers. In this role, CSE provides advice and guidance to mitigate supply chain risks in telecommunications infrastructures upon which Canadians rely, including a program that has been in place since 2013 to test and evaluate designated equipment and services considered for use on Canadian 3G and 4G/LTE networks, including Huawei.
  • While non-disclosure agreements limit the degree to which the CSE can comment on specific details, the Government of Canada is working to ensure that robust protections are in place to safeguard the communications systems that Canadians rely on.
  • Recent media reports allege that senior military leaders, including the Chief of Defence Staff, told the Government they believe Huawei would threaten national security. In a response to further questioning from the media, the Department of National Defence indicated that it will not comment on news articles based on allegations made by unauthorized sources.

CAF Delegation to the World Military Games in China:

  • The Military World Games take place every four years with the 2019 Games held in Wuhan, China. The Games hosted 9,308 military athletes from 109 countries. Out of the 29 NATO members, 25 participated in the games.
  • Canadian Armed Forces members competed in 11 events (basketball, fencing, golf, running, sailing, shooting, soccer, swimming, taekwondo, triathlon, and volleyball) taking home 6 medals (2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze). 

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: QP Note, 2020-01-30

Back to top

Ballistic Missile Defence

  • Canada is committed to strengthening continental defence to meet current and future threats to North America across all domains.
  • As laid out in my mandate letter, this means working with the United States towards the modernization of NORAD and the renewal of the North Warning System.
  • This means developing better surveillance, defence, and rapid-response capabilities in the North and in the maritime and air approaches to Canada.
  • We remain committed to defending Canada’s sovereignty and protecting North America against increasingly complex threats.
  • In the meantime, Canada’s position with respect to participating in ballistic missile defence has not changed.

Key Facts

  • In 2005 Canada decided not to participate in the United States ballistic missile defence system.
  • Canada has maintained this position.
  • The 2019 Mandate letter called for the modernization of NORAD and the renewal of the North Warning System.


  • 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. However, National Defence is working with the United States to look broadly at emerging threats and perils to North America, across all domains.
  • The Commander of NORAD (U.S. General O’Shaughnessy) has recently emphasized to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services the increasing complexity of the aerospace threat to North America, including from long-distance cruise missiles and next-generation hypersonic missiles.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source: QP Note 2020-01-30

Back to top

Page details

Date modified: