Key Investments in Munitions Production and AI Strategy Highlight Canada’s Commitment to Defence and International Security

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Canada Bolsters National Defence and Supports Global Stability, Minister Blair Announces

OTTAWA – At the 92nd annual Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence, Minister of National Defence Bill Blair outlined Canada’s defence priorities, emphasizing the strengthening of the Canadian Armed Forces, the modernization of NORAD, support for NATO allies, and a steadfast commitment to Ukraine. Minister Blair’s speech highlighted significant investments in defence infrastructure and innovation, underscoring Canada’s proactive stance on global peace and security.

Canada’s Strategic Defence Vision

Minister Blair emphasized the importance of adapting to evolving global challenges, stating, “The international rules that keep us all safe are being increasingly threatened – and in this environment, we must step up our investments in national defence. Our government is more than doubling DND’s budget – and through the upcoming Defence Policy Update, we will be taking further measures to strengthen Canada’s defence. Production is deterrence – and alongside our Allies and partners, we are making substantial investments to provide our Armed Forces with the tools that they require to keep our citizens safe.”

Enhanced Munitions Production for National and Allied Defence

In a move to support these priorities, Minister Blair announced a strategic investment aimed at boosting domestic production of 155 mm ammunition, a critical component for NATO forces and urgently needed in Ukraine. This initiative, part of the Department of National Defence’s (DND) Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, allocates approximately $4.4 million to three Canadian manufacturers:

  • IMT Defence in Ingersoll, Ontario,
  • General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems-Canada Legardeur in Repentigny, Quebec, and
  • General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems-Canada Valleyfield in Valleyfield, Quebec.

These funds are earmarked for research to enhance the design and manufacturing processes of NATO standard 155 mm munitions, facilitating increased production to meet both national and NATO demands.

Solidarity with Ukraine and Advances in Demining Technologies

Reaffirming Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine, Minister Blair also announced government funding to incentivize Canadian innovators to develop technologies for navigating and clearing minefields. This effort, also supported by the IDEaS program, offers up to $1 million to successful applicants to create life-saving solutions for Ukrainian forces, highlighting Canada’s role in fostering innovative defence technologies on the international stage.

Launching the AI Strategy for Future-Ready Defence

Addressing the future of Canada’s defence capabilities, Minister Blair introduced the DND/CAF Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy. This strategic initiative aims to ensure the ethical, safe, and trusted use of AI across Canadian defence institutions, marking a significant step towards digital transformation and modernization within DND/CAF. The strategy positions Canada to leverage AI effectively by 2030, enhancing operational efficiency and interoperability with international partners.

A Decade of Increased Defence Funding

Highlighting the government’s financial commitment to national defence, Minister Blair noted the planned increase in DND’s budget from $18.6 billion in 2016-17 to approximately $40 billion by 2026-27. This increase, rooted in the 2017 defence policy “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” and subsequent investments, including the NORAD Modernization Plan, reflects Canada’s dedication to providing its Armed Forces with the necessary resources to maintain national and global security.

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