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MND Message: Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defence

Members of the Royal Canadian Navy and 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group observe the Aurora Borealis during a Naval Reserve Regional dive exercise in Churchill, Manitoba on 23 September 2022. (Sailor 1st Class Valerie LeClair/MARPAC Imaging Services, Canadian Armed Forces photo)


Today, the Prime Minister and I released a new defence policy for Canada – Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defence.

The world has changed drastically since Strong, Secure, Engaged was released in 2017. Canada is facing new and evolving security threats, including climate change and its impacts on our Arctic; threats from Russia, China, and others to the international rules that keep us all safe; and accelerating changes to the character of conflict.

The most urgent and important task we face is protecting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic and northern regions, where the changing physical and geopolitical landscapes have created new threats to Canada and Canadians. This includes the need to upgrade our continental defences to deter threats or defeat them when necessary.

These challenges mean that your jobs are more important than ever – from securing our continent with the United States and providing life-saving assistance to Canadians affected by natural disasters, to strengthening NATO’s collective defence, providing military training to help Ukraine defend itself, and increasing our presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

To meet these challenges, we need to invest more in defence – and we will. Today, we announced additional defence investments of $8.1 billion over five years and $73 billion over 20 years. These investments are expected to bring Canada’s defence spending to GDP ratio to 1.76 per cent by 2029-30, a significant step forward in our efforts to reach our NATO commitment of 2 per cent.

This defence policy update will provide us with new tools we need to defend Canada, protect North America, and support the international rules and institutions that keep Canadians safe. New investments in the policy include:

  • A more modern, mobile and effective tactical helicopter capability;
  • Significantly scaling up the production of artillery ammunition here in Canada;
  • Acquiring long-range missile capabilities;
  • Purchasing a new fleet of airborne early warning aircraft;
  • Building Northern Operational Support Hubs to establish a greater year-round military presence in the Arctic and North;
  • Enhancements to Canada’s intelligence and cyber operations;
  • A worldwide satellite communications capability and satellite ground station in the Arctic;
  • Maritime sensors that can be rapidly deployed on our Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels; and
  • Extending the life of our Halifax-class frigates.

We will also explore options for a number of additional capabilities, including:

  • Upgrading or replacing our tank and light armoured vehicle fleets;
  • Renewing and expanding our submarine fleet;
  • Acquiring new vehicles adapted to ice, snow, and tundra;
  • Acquiring ground-based air defences to defend critical infrastructure;
  • Acquiring a suite of surveillance and strike drones, and counter-drone capabilities;
  • Modernizing our artillery capabilities; and
  • Acquiring long-range air and sea-launched missiles.

Investing in capabilities is important – but none of our work to ensure the security of Canada is possible without you. Through this policy, we are making new investments to support all members of our institution and reaffirming our commitment to building a more inclusive and supportive culture. These commitments include:

  • Building new housing for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families, rehabilitating existing housing, and establishing a CAF Housing Strategy;
  • Improving childcare access for CAF personnel;
  • Accelerating the development of an electronic health record platform; and
  • Increasing the number of civilian specialists in priority areas to accelerate and improve procurement, recruitment, and infrastructure upgrades.

We are also taking new measures to fill the gap between our actual force size and authorized force size, including through a new probationary period, reviews of medical requirements and security clearance processes, and more.

Ultimately, this Defence Policy Update is an investment in you, so that you have the tools to do your jobs in a healthy, safe, and supportive environment. And, it will help Canada preserve our values of democracy, freedom, peace, and fairness for the next generation of Canadians, so they can enjoy the same security and prosperity that was given to us by our parents.

I encourage everyone to learn more about Our North, Strong and Free. With this plan and the outstanding work already underway at DND/CAF, I am more confident than ever in the future of our organization and its ability to carry out its vital mission.

Thank you all for your ongoing dedication to protecting Canada.


Hon. Bill Blair, PC, COM, MP
Minister of National Defence

Courtesy of The Maple Leaf