Minister’s Message

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP

As Minister of National Defence, I am pleased to present the Departmental Performance Report for fiscal year 2015-16. The document provides an overview of the activities and expenditures for this reporting cycle, including work done by the Defence Team prior to my appointment. Given the Government’s focus on evidence-based decision making, accountability and results, this report reflects a new format that will be refined over time to more clearly show how National Defence is delivering on priorities.

The Government of Canada recognizes the critical role of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). My appointment in November 2015 came with a mandate letter 1 from the Prime Minister directing my overarching goals to ensure that the CAF are equipped and prepared, if called upon, to protect Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, provide disaster relief, conduct search and rescue, support United Nations peace operations, and contribute to the security of our allies and to allied and coalition operations abroad. It also emphasizes the importance of monitoring and clearly reporting how resources are being used to achieve results.

This commitment to demonstrating results was immediately evident when the government moved quickly in the new Parliament on the promise to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. The conflict in Syria has resulted in a humanitarian crisis of astonishing scope. I am tremendously proud of the part National Defence played in the whole-of-government resettlement effort, with approximately 290 military personnel deployed during Operation PROVISION to process applications, assist with medical screenings, provide logistical support, and airlift refugees to Canada. The resource and security challenges, as well as future risks related to mass human displacement caused by conflict, will be an ongoing focus for the government and our allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In the first months of the new Parliament, the government also delivered on its commitment to refocus and enhance Operation IMPACT, Canada’s contribution to the Global Coalition fighting Daeshi in Iraq and Syria. Since my appointment in the second half of the fiscal year, I have travelled twice to the region to consult with our allies, our partners, and our troops, to identify the most meaningful contributions for Canada. Canada has since tripled the number of CAF personnel to help train, advise and assist forces in Iraq and stepped up intelligence efforts, and is bolstering Iraq’s capacity to eliminate Daesh themselves.

Cooperative relationships with our partners are central to Canada’s approach to international security and stability. Our ongoing support to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe include the deployment of HMCS Fredericton and HMCS Winnipeg as part of Standing NATO Maritime Forces. In February 2016, approximately 220 Canadian soldiers were deployed to Poland to participate in exercises that focus on developing better interoperability with NATO allies. Canada also continued to support Ukraine by providing training to military personnel in various areas of expertise, such as explosive ordnance disposal.

The physical and mental health of CAF members is directly linked to operational readiness. Mental health services available to the CAF community were highlighted during Mental Illness Awareness Week. Through our work with Veterans Affairs Canada, we remain committed to meeting the needs of military personnel, to improving the process of transitioning our members from military to civilian life, and the care available to ill and injured members.

In August 2015, the Chief of the Defence Staff launched Operation HONOUR to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour within the CAF, with the goal of fundamentally changing aspects of the Forces’ culture that would have some members disregard the rights of others. I share this objective completely. The CAF advanced the implementation of the Deschamps report recommendations and released its first progress report. The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre was opened to provide professional and confidential support to CAF members.

My mandate letter also included direction from the Prime Minister to initiate a Defence Policy Review, to ensure that Canada’s military is positioned to overcome threats and challenges in the years ahead. National Defence developed a comprehensive process for this work, launching extensive consultations in April 2016 and releasing a public consultation document to help guide informed discussions. Throughout our engagement with Canadians, we received more than 20,000 online submissions. Defence experts and parliamentarians participated in roundtables across the country and Canada’s allies were consulted. Provincial and territorial officials were also invited to share their input. A ministerial advisory panel comprised of eminent Canadians with expertise in defence, security, foreign affairs, and legal matters added considerable value to the review process. The feedback gathered will help inform the development of Canada’s new defence policy to be launched in early 2017.

The Department also made progress on finding ways to work smarter and better towards achieving results. The centralization of defence real property is allowing commanders to concentrate on readiness and operations and National Defence to more effectively allocate resources. And, our scientists are working closely with allies and industry partners to build state-of-the art technology to support modern military campaigns.

I am proud of our achievements in fiscal year 2015-16. The breadth of work performed by National Defence is immense. Regardless of rank or level or role, the combined contributions of the civilian and military members who make up the Defence Team have an impact on Canada’s safety and security and help make a positive difference in the world. I am confident in the dedication, professionalism, and expertise they bring to bear to deliver results for Canadians.

i  Also referred to as the ‘so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’.

 

 

 

Original signed by:

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP

Minister of National Defence