Canadian Forces Health Services welcomes new Commander

News Release

July 5, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Brigadier-General Andrew Downes assumed Command of Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) from Brigadier-General Colin MacKay today during a ceremony at le Régiment de Hull in Gatineau. Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre, Commander of Military Personnel Command, presided over the ceremony.

Canadian Forces Health Services provides health services across Canada and overseas to Canadian military personnel and to any other populations as directed by the Minister of National Defence.

On July 17, 2017, Brigadier-General Colin MacKay will be retiring from the CAF after 34 years of loyal and dedicated military service.  Brigadier-General MacKay assumed his duties as the Surgeon General on June 10, 2015.  He started his military career as a Signals Officer, and later went on to become a medical doctor in the CAF.


“I want to thank Brigadier-General Colin MacKay for his years of loyal service and professionalism. He and his team have always shown a very strong commitment to the health and well-being of our women and men. Brigadier-General Andrew Downes brings a solid understanding of our health programs and services, especially in the realm of mental health. I am confident his experience will ensure our people continue to receive quality treatment and support so they can achieve high standards of excellence on operations.”

— General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

“I am honoured to take over as Commander of Canadian Forces Health Services and to continue to work with our dedicated team. People are our greatest resource and I will continue putting all our effort toward ensuring that we are an organization that focuses on the health and well-being of our members.” 

— Brigadier-General Downes, incoming Commander of Canadian Forces Health Services

“It has been a great honour and privilege for me to serve with and to lead the Canadian Forces Health Services’ delivery of our high quality health system, supporting the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces wherever they are called to serve. The compassionate care of our ill and inured has remained a central focus of our mission and motivation for our continual improvement. I will truly miss working with such a dedicated and professional team, but it is with confidence and optimism that I hand over to Brigadier-General Andrew Downes to lead the Canadian Forces Health Services into the future.”

— Brigadier-General Colin MacKay, outgoing Surgeon General and Commander Canadian Forces Health Services Group

Quick Facts

  • The Commander/Surgeon General is appointed by the CDS

  • The Commander/Surgeon General reports to the CDS on all health matters concerning CAF members

  • The Surgeon General makes policy recommendations on all health matters related to CAF members to ensure safe high quality health care

Associated Links


Media Relations
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Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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