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Minister Blair announces defence investments in Halifax at 15th Halifax International Security Forum

Published: November 17, 2023

November 17, 2023 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, officially opened the 15th annual Halifax International Security Forum. Minister Blair reaffirmed that Halifax is key to the defence of Canada, and announced multi-million-dollar investments in Halifax that will bolster the security of Canada and its NATO Allies, support good jobs for Haligonians, and grow the Halifax economy.

Minister Blair announced that Canada is contributing an initial investment of $26.6 million over six years in support of establishing the North American Regional office for NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) in Halifax by summer 2024. DIANA seeks to unite the best and brightest innovators across the Alliance – and provides deep tech and dual-use innovators with access to NATO resources including grant funding, acceleration services, and pathways to adapt their solutions for defence and security needs.

Halifax is home to an impressive defence innovation network, including Defence Research and Development Canada’s Atlantic Research Centre, and marine technology innovation centres like COVE. The federal government will continue to make meaningful investments to ensure that Halifax remains a hub of defence innovation.

Minister Blair also announced that Canada is moving forward with a new training facility at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax, Canada’s largest military base. The total estimated investment for this facility is $188 million, including design, demolition, construction, personnel, and market costs. The EllisDon Corporation of Halifax has been awarded a $7.85 million contract to design the new Combatant Training and Integration Center – Atlantic (CTIC-A), which will house cutting-edge training systems to train Canadian sailors for the incoming fleet of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) warships.

We expect the CTIC-A project to sustain almost 650 jobs in the Halifax region during construction. The cutting-edge simulators at the Centre will provide Canadian Armed Forces members with expertise in above-water, underwater and maritime air warfighting, so that they are ready to sail on our incoming Canadian Surface Combatant fleet. Earlier today, Minister Blair visited Irving Shipbuilding Industries, where Halifax shipbuilders will build these 15 new warships. An estimated 10,000 jobs will be created or maintained throughout the 25-year construction period of the ships.

In his keynote address, Minister Blair outlined Canada’s contributions to current security challenges in the Middle East, Europe, and the Indo-Pacific. Minister Blair highlighted Canada’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific, and announced that Lieutenant-General Derek Macaulay has been named as the next Deputy Commander of United Nations (UN) Command—Korea, which enforces the armistice of 1953 on the Korean Peninsula. He will officially begin his duties in Korea in the coming weeks. This is the second time that a Canadian officer has held this position.

Canada will continue to make meaningful investments to strengthen our defence capabilities – including by investing right here in Halifax.


“I welcome our Allies and partners from around the world to the 15th Halifax International Security Forum. From Ukraine to the Middle East, to the Indo-Pacific, our world is facing serious security challenges – and in response, we must uphold the international rules that keep us all safe. By investing in the Canadian Armed Forces – including right here in Halifax – Canada is stepping up to address today’s challenges and be ready for those of tomorrow.”

– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“Halifax, with our thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurial science and technology start-ups, universities and research centres, and Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet, is the perfect home for the DIANA. This is a major deal for region—it means investment and jobs in our local economy, all while supporting the NATO alliance from right here on Canada’s Atlantic coast.”

– Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax

“I warmly welcome the investments announced today by the Minister of National Defence, Bill Blair. Halifax is a hub of defence research and innovation, and CFB Halifax is essential to Canada’s naval power. By investing in Halifax, the federal government is reinforcing the security of Canada and our Allies, all while spurring economic growth in our city.”
– Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax

Quick facts

  • It is no coincidence that the Halifax International Security Forum brings hundreds of international representatives and military officers to Halifax. Halifax is the home of Canada’s largest military base, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax.
  • CFB Halifax supports approximately 10,000 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and civilian Department of National Defence (DND) employees – most of whom work and live in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are one of the largest employers in Halifax. Other major military installations in the province include 12 Wing Shearwater in Halifax Regional Municipality and CFB Greenwood in the Annapolis Valley.
  • Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships are routinely deployed from CFB Halifax to international operations. On November 5, HMCS Summerside and HMCS Shawinigan returned to their homeport in Halifax after several months of deployment with NATO.
  • One year ago, Canada proposed Halifax as the site for the North American Regional Office of NATO DIANA. NATO has accepted that proposal.
  • Earlier this year, NATO DIANA issued its first-ever challenges to innovators. Canadian companies submitted the second-highest number of submissions, indicating the high interest among Canadian researchers and innovators in DIANA.
  • Canada is making meaningful investments to increase its defence capabilities. DND’s annual budget is expected to more than double over ten years, from $18.6 billion in 2016-17 to $39.7 billion in 2026-27 on a cash basis.
  • Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. Under Operation UNIFIER, Canada has trained more than 39,000 Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) members since 2015.
  • The Government of Canada is procuring 15 new Canadian Surface Combatant warships, built by Halifax shipbuilders at Irving Shipbuilding Industries. To help train sailors to operate these ships, National Defence will build two Combatant Training and Integration Centres – one at CFB Halifax and one at CFB Esquimalt.
  • The Halifax International Security Forum brings together experts from like-minded nations across the world, including senior government and military officials, policymakers, opinion leaders, academics, and members of the business community, to discuss international security and defence challenges.