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Canada plans to hit NATO’s 2% defence spending target by 2032

The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Bill Blair, issued the following statement:

“Seventy-five years ago, Canada helped to establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an Alliance based on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. NATO ensures the security of over one billion citizens, including Canadians, by providing a security guarantee that an attack on one Ally is an attack on all. NATO is more vital than ever to the defence of Canada – and Canada’s commitment to the Alliance is ironclad, including its principles of collective defence and burden-sharing.

“At the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Allies agreed to invest at least 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually on defence. Canada is committed to meeting its pledges — and to doing its fair share. 

“The Prime Minister and I announced that Canada expects to spend two percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence by 2032. I believe that this represents a credible, responsible, and achievable target date, which will allow Canada to ramp up its spending and procurement capacity on a realistic timeline, in line with commitments by several allies who have made comparable pledges. 

“The announcement reflects the statements that the Prime Minister and I have made over the past year: Canada must do more on defence – and we will. The coming decades will be more competitive and challenging than those that came before – and our country must be prepared.

“Since a previous government cut defence spending to less than 1% of GDP, our government has made historic investments in our military. In 2017, Canada released Strong, Secure, Engaged which laid out Canada’s plans to boost defence spending by over seventy percent – but as the security situation deteriorated, it became clear that more investment was necessary. In 2022, we went even further – announcing Canada’s NORAD Modernization Plan – a $38 billion investment to deliver Canada’s largest upgrades to NORAD in a generation. 

“Most recently, in April 2024, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and I released Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defencewhich focuses on the security of the Canadian Arctic and North, and makes historic investments to deliver new capabilities and to strengthen the foundations of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. 

“With the funded initiatives in these plans, Canada is on track to almost triple its defence spending between 2014-15 and 2029-30 – and we will not stop there.

“Our North, Strong and Free also identified ten capabilities for which Canada will explore options, including:

  • renewing and expanding our submarine fleet
  • acquiring new vehicles adapted to ice, snow and tundra
  • enabling our Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels to embark and operate our maritime helicopters at sea
  • making further contributions to the integrated air and missile defence of Canada and North America
  • acquiring ground-based air defences to defend critical infrastructure
  • acquiring long-range air- and sea-launched missiles
  • modernizing our artillery capabilities
  • upgrading or replacing our tank and light armoured vehicle fleets
  • establishing a light armoured vehicle production program
  • acquiring a suite of surveillance and strike drones and counter-drone capabilities

“To reach the 2% target by 2032, Canada will invest in the right mix of these additional capabilities outlined in Our North, Strong and Free on the right timeline, implementing the vision outlined in this policy.

“This investment will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the tools, training, and personnel required to protect Canada’s sovereignty from emerging security challenges. It is a significant investment – but a necessary one to ensure Canada’s security and prosperity in a changing world, in which our country must forge even closer ties with our NATO Allies.

“Canada must and will do its part.”

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