Remarks from Minister Anand at CANSEC 2023


June 5, 2023


Good morning. I cannot believe it has been a year since our last CADSI conference. I want to take my hat off to Christyn Cianfarani. What a fantastic speech that was. Let’s hear it for her – oh my goodness.

And the whole CADSI team for putting on a fantastic conference year after year, 25 years in fact this conference has been going on, 900 people in this room. 13,000 delegates will go through these halls over the course of this conference. It’s a fantastic show from the defence community to come together like this and I thank you for organizing the state-of-the-art conference that you do. Thank you so much.

At the last conference I had been Defence Minister for about seven months and Russia had illegally invaded Ukraine three months into my tenure. Now we’re a year later and I’ve met with many of you. I’ve interacted, I’ve had the chance to see your work firsthand. I just want to say first and foremost it’s an absolute privilege to work with you, our industry partners.

Before we begin today, I’d like to say that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg peoples. And today and everyday, we reaffirm our commitment to meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples – our key partners in the defence of this country.

So, I know from experience that events like CANSEC enable you to share knowledge, promote innovation and develop creative solutions to our most pressing challenges.

What I want to talk about today with all of you is modernization, modernizing Canada’s military and building a Defence Team that is ready for tomorrow.

Times of change—as Christyn pointed out in her speech—times of change can be times of opportunity. And partnerships with industry will be crucial if we are:

  • Going to modernize our military;
  • If we’re going to streamline defence procurement;
  • If we’re going to build up our innovation ecosystem;
  • And if we’re going to ensure opportunities for Indigenous peoples.

Each and every single one of you in this room has a role to play in that collaborative process.

Today what I’d like to discuss with you is our work to modernize the Canadian Armed Forces and discuss how we can continue to be partners in this collaborative journey.

1. Cyber Certification Program Announcement

Friends, Putin’s war on Ukraine has reminded us that the cyber domain is crucial to our national security. 

  • Russia has used aggressive digital disinformation campaigns;
  • Russia has taken offensive cyber actions against Ukrainian and European Union assets;
  • And internet disruptions and malware have targeted Ukrainian infrastructure.

Canada is not immune. Cyber threats are growing here at home too where malicious cyber activities have targeted government and defence contractors and subcontractors across this country. 

I have spoken with many of you about this very serious problem. Because of the high degree of collaboration between our government and your companies, we must work together to protect our systems and prevent cyber threats.

Cybersecurity is a team effort.

That is why today I am thrilled to announce alongside my colleagues, Minister Jaczek and Minister Champagne, that Canada is establishing a cyber security certificate program to protect our defence supply chain.

This certification program will enhance Canada’s cybersecurity capabilities and keep our Defence Industrial Base resilient and protected from threats.

In the 2023 budget, our government committed $25 million over three years to develop this certification program.

We are designing this program in lockstep with the US Department of Defense forthcoming cyber security certification framework.

What this means is that defence contractors doing business in both countries will only need to be certified under a single entity.

It will ensure that Canadian companies can benefit from future procurement opportunities with our Allies, where cyber certification is required.

This is an important step to support Canada’s defence industry and it will help your companies compete and win.

It is also a big win for the modernization of our Canadian Armed Forces.

2. Modernizing the Supply Chain

My friends,

Modernizing the Canadian Armed Forces includes modernizing the supply chain.

Last June I announced Canada’s NORAD Modernization Plan, backed by an investment of almost $40 billion over twenty years.

During President Biden’s visit earlier this year, we released timelines for all nineteen projects proceeding under our NORAD modernization plan. That is in our website.

Importantly, we are accelerating progress on Arctic over the horizon radar which will expand critical domain awareness of our northern approaches.

Also, the modernization of NORAD is a historic step in the advancement of Arctic knowledge, continental defence and defence innovation,

As we modernize the Canadian Armed Forces we cannot leave anyone behind.

We must combine ingenuity with inclusivity which is why culture change in the Canadian Armed Forces, ensuring we have a Canadian Armed Forces where everyone is protected and respected and empowered when they put on a uniform to serve our country, is our top priority.

At the same time, modernization must enable Indigenous and Northern partners to be at the table, contribute to the economy and prosper.

We want to increase opportunities like these for economic benefits from our investments. That’s why we’re making sure that Indigenous and Northern partners have a seat at the table.

That is why where possible we will work with Indigenous and Northern governments to bring benefit from our investments.

Last year I was pleased to announce that Inuit owned Nasittuq Corporation will operate and maintain our North Warning System as we move to a modernized Northern surveillance system.

We recently awarded Nasittuq a maintenance contract for CFS Alert valued at $122 million.

Today, we’re taking another step forward.

I am thrilled to announce the launch of the new National Defence Indigenous Reconciliation Program that will help to build, bolster and broaden relationships with Indigenous peoples across Canada.

This program will provide up to $1.5 million a year for the next four years for projects that incorporate the expertise and traditional knowledge of Indigenous communities across Canada.

Funding will be made available to Indigenous partners in support of engagement, consultation and information sharing projects on subjects such as:

  • Canadian Armed Forces exercises and opportunities for Indigenous involvement and benefits;
  • Infrastructure projects;
  • Real property transactions;
  • Policy research including on subjects related to the security of Indigenous and Northern communities—a subject that Indigenous and northern communities have discussed with me at length over the past year especially as we see incursions into our Arctic and northern regions;
  • And general decision-making on all issues relating to the defence portfolio.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, Indigenous governments and self organizations including bands, tribal councils, Indigenous self-government entities, local regional national representative organizations are all eligible to apply for this funding.

From conferences to workshops, roundtables and community outreach events this is a full suite program. It will bolster the relationship between National Defence and Indigenous communities.

This program will help us better understand and integrate the many different Indigenous perspectives into our decision-making process.

Reconciliation is a long road, and it will take time.

But what I want to make sure is that we don’t divorce reconciliation from our thinking about the Defence supply chain. We actually incorporate Indigenous businesses into that supply chain. Indigenous peoples are our indispensable partners in defence and security and that is why we are working to elevate their voices and ensure they have a seat at the table.

3. Economic Impact of the Defence Industry

Keeping with the theme of modernization, let me now turn to the ongoing work we are doing together to modernize the Canadian Armed Forces.

As we modernize we are making investments and partnering with you to bolster domestic industry capacity.

Because investing in national security is a driver for economic prosperity. I think we all come to these tables and this room with that in mind, that this collaborative venture requires us all to be at the table.

Recognizing that we are all trying to make a contribution to the growth of GDP in this country and to economic growth writ large.

In fact, at last count our shared work contributed an average of $19 billion per year in GDP to our economy.

The industry sustains roughly 294,000 jobs per year across the defence sector and its supply chains.

And we expect these numbers to grow as we continue to make much needed investments in our Navy, Army, and Air Force.

Many of these investments are already captured in our recently updated Defence Capabilities Blueprint and that includes funding ranges and timelines for 178 projects.

I wanted to mention it here today because so many of you have asked me for the blueprint. Where’s the blueprint Anita?

I am making a special moment here just to tell you the blueprint is on our website. It is an important tool, I know, for you to develop your long-term business strategies so you can pitch to your head offices.

If you haven’t taken a look yet at DND’s Defence Capabilities Blueprint, I encourage you to do so to learn more about the opportunities available to you and we will continue to ensure we are updating that blueprint.

Let’s drill down now and look at some of the work we’re already doing together.

4. Navy Procurement Update

I want to take it step by step. 

Let’s start with the Navy.

Modernizing our capabilities at sea, working hand in hand with Canada’s world class defence industry, to deliver ships for Canada and the security of Canadians.

Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are investing 5.7 billion dollars in six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol ships for our navy to protect our sovereignty in the Arctic and in a changing world.

I will say every new AOPS that comes off the line is produced more efficiently and more effectively.

The Irving Shipyard is also constructing a new fleet of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants which will serve Canadians for decades to come.

Construction is due to start next year, and we should receive the first ship in the early 2030s.

Our investment in the new CSC fleet will create or sustain an estimated 12,500 jobs throughout design and construction. That’s what I mean when I say that when we are thinking about defence and defence procurement we are also thinking about the impact on the Canadian economy, the growth of jobs and the ongoing growth of GDP that is a result.

Together with you we are modernizing the Royal Canadian Navy and building our defence industrial base so that we can keep Canadians safe now and into the future.

I’d also like to take a moment, as former Minister of Public Services and Procurement and now Minister of National Defence, to congratulate Chantier Davie on becoming the third shipyard in the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Let’s take a moment also to recognize the impressive and tightly knit of other shipyards, VSY and smaller yards as well as subcontracted companies who together make a huge contribution to the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the industry as a whole.

5. Army Procurement Update

We are also working with you, our industry partners, to modernize the capabilities of the Canadian Army.

I am pleased to note that later this year our Army will receive the first of its planned 360 Armoured Combat Support Vehicles being built by GDLS-C.

We anticipate receiving initial operational capability next year and full operational capacity in 2026.

This is in addition to the 39 Armoured Combat Support Vehicles we delivered to Ukraine.

I want to take a moment to recognize the outstanding work of Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada, Yuliya Kovaliv, who is here with us this morning. We are with you and we are with your country.


Slava Ukraini.

We are also making progress on the Urgent Operational Requirements that I announced for our troops stationed in Latvia earlier this year.

This is an accelerated procurement mechanism we are putting into place. It is not a sole source mechanism. There will be competition but run on an urgent basis.

We will rapidly deliver the following equipment for our Canadian Armed Forces in Latvia:

  • Anti‑Tank Guided Missile systems;
  • A Counter Un-crewed Aerial System capability;
  • A short‑range Air Defence System.

We are committed to improving and implementing more of these UORs as part of an agile and accelerated procurement strategy.

You have told us we need to move faster and we are trying to do just that.

6. Air Force procurement update

Turning to our skies, we are modernizing the Royal Canadian Air Force in close collaboration with industry partners in Canada and beyond.

Earlier this year, we announced that the United States government, along with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, had been selected to manufacture our future fighter aircraft.

As I announced in January we are procuring a fleet of 88 F-35 fighter jets equipped with state of the art capabilities.

This means roughly 3000 jobs directly and indirectly in Canadian industry over a 25-year period.

I do not expect to be the Minister of National Defence in 25 years but I will be watching with great interest and commitment the growth of our domestic economy including as a result of these long term contracts.

In fact every F-35 jet produced for the global fleet contains Canadian parts and Canada’s investment in its own F-35 fleet could contribute over $425 million dollars per year to Canada’s GDP.

This project is a boost for our economy and proves that national security and economic prosperity go hand in hand.

I want to say that again.

It’s something I think about every day. National security and economic prosperity go hand in hand and we need to continue to remember as we walk this collaborative path that we are all playing a role in our overall national security.

This campaign also involves major infrastructure improvements at Cold Lake and Bagotville, which will remain the two primary operating bases for our fighter aircraft fleet.

Similarly, we are upgrading our Cormorant and Griffon helicopters to ensure they remain safe, useful and effective when deployed.

Look no further than our Cormorant modernization project as a sign of what we can do together.

Thanks to the investment of over one billion dollars, we’re working with Leonardo and IMP Aerospace in Nova Scotia.

We heard a bit about that earlier, to modernize our search and rescue helicopters. We’re building up Canada’s domestic industrial capabilities while doing so.

This is effective industry partnership in action.

This contract is going to create relationships and examples of future contracts for our workers, companies and defence innovation ecosystems for years to come.

Our investments in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force are crucial to our long-term success.

They depend on our relationship with defence industry partners like you.

We will continue to work together to strengthen and increase Canada’s defence capability and expertise.

7. Conclusion

My friends, it’s not often in a speech that I will quote a Greek philosopher but I will say something comes to mind here. The Greek philosopher Heraclites said, the only thing that is a constant is change itself.

The changes that we are seeing in this geopolitical environment, in this global strategic world where conflict is a reality in a way that it has not been since the end of the Second World War.

We must rise and we must meet this moment together.

That is why we are updating Canada’s defence policy and let me thank everyone in this room and beyond who has contributed to the defence policy update consultations.

We’ve received over 1,500 submissions on our website.

We have held stakeholder engagements with industry, the academy and beyond and we are taking into account these submissions in crafting this defence policy update.

Thank you for your work to help us do better.

Some of our global competitors think that governments alone have all the answers and that governments alone can innovate and solve tough problems.

But it’s not the Canadian way and as I hope you know, it is not my way either.

Here in Canada we do believe in working together with you, our industry partners.

By strengthening the security of our supply chains with the Cyber Certification Program, by elevating Indigenous voices through the Indigenous Reconciliation Program, and by building up Canada’s defence industrial base, we are building safer and more resilient supply chains and a safe and more resilient Canada.

  • Because modernizing the Canadian Armed Forces cannot happen without shipbuilders;
  • Without our Army Suppliers;
  • Without our aviation industry; 
  • Without meaningful investments in our Defence Industrial Base;
  • And cannot happen without Indigenous peoples having a seat at the table. 

We will always be seized with balancing the need to recapitalize the Canadian Armed Forces quickly while ensuring a strong Canadian industrial base.

In Canada we know that national security is a collaborative effort.

Let me thank each and every one of you for your collaboration and your dedication.

We’ve accomplished a lot together, my friends, and I know that in the years to come, we’ll do much more to ensure the security and protection of Canada and our allies.

Thank you for your leadership and your commitment to our national security.

Thank you so much for your leadership and your partnership as we walk the road towards a stronger Canadian economy and a more secure and protected country.

Thank you. Merci beaucoup.

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