Transfer or sale of Defence properties

Modernizing Defence infrastructure

The Department of National Defence (DND) manages the largest infrastructure portfolio in the federal government, worth roughly $26 billion. We manage approximately 20,000 buildings (including 11,700 military housing units), 18,000 works (such as jetties, runways, training areas and roads), and over 2.1 million hectares of land.

Managing and maintaining this portfolio accounts for roughly one-tenth of defence spending each year. This is an important investment, because military infrastructure is critical to operational success – these are the places where our women and men in uniform live, work, train, and operate in defence of Canada. But older buildings are more difficult to maintain; they cost time and money that would be spent more effectively to improve the infrastructure portfolio.

This is why we are committed to ensuring our infrastructure portfolio is efficient, operationally effective, affordable, and environmentally sustainable. As directed by the Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy, we will focus our investments on properties that meet the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) operational needs, consolidate assets with similar functions, and make effective use of space and land. In some cases, we will transfer or sell underused properties or demolish obsolete buildings that are beyond economic repair. The money we save will be reinvested in the infrastructure portfolio to provide the CAF with the facilities needed to support operations, activities and equipment. These upgrades will increase the energy efficiency of defence facilities, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and provide modern, green workspaces for our women and men in uniform.

Evaluating properties for potential transfer or sale

DND takes a responsible and responsive approach when considering the transfer or sale of real property. This includes multiple site assessments (heritage, security, environmental, and market-value reviews), as well as consultations with local communities, other levels of government, and Indigenous groups. We recognize that many of these properties are an integral part of the communities in which they are located, and we are committed to maintaining an open dialogue to ensure we consider and respect their interests.

Because these discussions are so broad, and the analysis so intensive, these projects take an average of 3 to 5 years to complete, depending on the work required to prepare a property for transfer or sale and the level of interest from Indigenous groups and stakeholders. We take this deliberate, considered approach to ensure we consider the full value of these properties and make an informed decision. Before making a final decision on whether to retain, transfer, or sell a property, we consider:

  • use of the property in support of CAF operations and readiness
  • non-operational value to serving military members and their family (i.e., morale and welfare support)
  • use of the property by the local community
  • potential future use by Indigenous groups, various levels of government, local communities, and the private sector.

All of these site assessments and stakeholder considerations are factored into our final decision on whether to transfer or sell a property.

We take this same considered approach for older buildings that are beyond economic repair and identified for demolition. In such cases, demolition would be our last option, and only if there was no interest from Indigenous groups or stakeholders following our consultations. 

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