Defence Minister Sajjan attends NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting

News release

June 29, 2019 – Brussels, Belgium – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Canada recognizes the important links between European and North American security. We remain steadfast in our support to NATO and our Alliance partners, as has been demonstrated through our deployment of military expertise and assets when and where needed since the Alliance was founded nearly 70 years ago.

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan concluded a successful trip to the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels, where he participated in discussions on a number of issues including burden sharing, the NATO Space Policy, and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

During the two day meeting, Minister Sajjan reiterated Canada’s contributions to NATO, including Canada’s agreement to extend its command of NATO Mission Iraq for a second year; Canada’s new role in command of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two; and the deployment of an Air Task Force for another four months with NATO’s enhanced Air Policing in Romania in the Fall of 2019. He also highlighted the partnership between the Department of National Defence’s MINDS program and the NATO Defense College (NDC), to offer an annual five-month fellowship to expert members of Canada’s defence and security community over the next five years.

While in Brussels, Minister Sajjan met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss ongoing work at NATO to strengthen burden sharing and to improve readiness. The Minister also met with Latvian Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks and presented him with a Lee Enfield rifle, as part of a donation of 120 deactivated rifles to the Latvian Defence Forces, for use in Latvian military ceremonies. 


“Canada will always seek to uphold peace, security and the rules-based international order alongside our NATO Allies and trusted partners in Europe, and around the world. I’m proud of the contributions of our women and men in uniform, which are a testament to our unwavering commitment to the Alliance.”

—   The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • Commodore Josée Kurtz of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officially assumed command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), on behalf of Canada, during a change of command ceremony held in Souda Bay on the Northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete on June 15, 2019. 

  • SNMG2 is one of four multinational, high readiness maritime forces composed of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. 

  • On June 26, 2019, Canada announced that it will command NATO Mission Iraq for a second consecutive year, until November 2020, maintaining a leading role in helping Iraq advance security and stability. Major-General Dany Fortin of the Canadian Armed Forces, who took command of the mission in November 2018, will transfer command to Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan in the Fall of 2019, who will be promoted to the rank of Major-General.   

  • Operation REASSURANCE is the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. As part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada has established its largest sustained military presence in Europe in over a decade by leading a multinational NATO battlegroup in Latvia.

  • An Air Task Force comprised of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel and CF-18 Hornets will return to Romania from September to December 2019. It will be the RCAF’s fourth deployment to Romania since 2014, demonstrating Canada's ongoing commitment to NATO and a close Ally. 

  • NATO’s enhanced Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission, which safeguards the integrity of the Alliance’s airspace. It is part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures introduced in 2014. 

  • NATO membership affords Canada an effective political-military instrument that helps it meet its strategic defence and security objectives at home, in North America and abroad. It also provides an important international forum in which to engage other nations on defence and security issues through NATO’s partnership programs.

  • Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has contributed to international security by conducting military missions and operations, including in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. It has contributed to international efforts to confront the growing threat posed by emerging security challenges such as terrorism and cyber-attacks.  

Associated links


Todd Lane
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353

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