Defence Minister Sajjan hosts fourth North American Defence Ministerial 

News release

May 19, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces

Canada is committed to working with partners in North America to build resilience, increase capabilities, and strengthen operational capacity to counter transregional threats.

Today, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan hosted the fourth North American Defence Ministerial with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA) General Luis Cresencio Sandoval González, and Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR) Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán. This year, to accommodate for COVID-19 measures, the meeting was held virtually.

During the meeting, the defence Ministers discussed common defence and security challenges, and the importance of continued cooperation and engagement on developing effective and coordinated approaches to address them.

This meeting provided an opportunity to build upon discussions from the previous meetings, while also expanding to new areas of trilateral defence cooperation.  The discussion centred on issues such as COVID-19, a Continental Threat Assessment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, Central American and Caribbean defence engagement, cyber defence, hemispheric defence fora, and peacekeeping. The Minister and Secretaries agreed to concrete measures to advance trilateral defence cooperation.

Minister Sajjan also reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to continued trilateral engagement in support of the defence of North America.

This forum serves to reinforce and advance the important trilateral partnership between Canada, U.S., and Mexican defence institutions within North America and the broader region. Cooperation and regular engagement with our continental defence partners is critical to addressing our shared security and defence challenges.


“Today’s discussions emphasized the successful progress made since the last trilateral meeting in Washington, in 2017. I am pleased to see that the actions we have collectively taken have resulted in a stronger and more cooperative defence relationship. Our nations face similar challenges – challenges that have become more complex and know no borders as we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why it’s more important than ever before to continue building on our close military relationship.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • The first North American Defence Ministerial was officially launched by the Department of National Defence and was held in Ottawa in March 2012. 

  • In April 2014, the second trilateral meeting was held in Mexico City, which was another important step in addressing North American security.

  • The third trilateral meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in May 2017.

  • The fourth meeting, originally planned for May 2020, was postponed due to COVID-19 and was held virtually on May 19, 2021. 

  • The fifth meeting is due to be held in Mexico in 2023 and hosted by the Mexican Secretary of the Navy.


Daniel Minden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

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