The federal government needs to implement a made in Canada approach in its defence policy review procurement programs for the armed forces, according to an organization representing local businesses supplying materiel for the military.

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), which represents some 800 defence and security industry companies across the country, told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance it wants Ottawa to set goals and priorities for defence sector growth.

“A made in Canada defence industrial policy would be tailored to Canada’s unique security challenges and industrial base capabilities and would be achieved by working with existing funds and programming,” Christyne Cianfarani, CADSI president said during the pre-budget consultation meeting at the House of Commons earlier this week.” Most of our allies have already implemented similar policies in their countries.

The Canadian Armed Forces are in the midst of what is being considered the largest re-equipment of the military in decades.

In July this year, the Department of National Defence concluded public consultation to support the development of a new defence policy for the country. It is the largest such effort in 20 years.

DND received approximately 20,200 submissions to the Defence Policy Review online consultation portal and over 4,700 participants have contributed comments and votes using the online discussion forum.

DND engaged Canadians and key stakeholders to discuss three fundamental areas:

  • The main challenges to Canada’s security
  • The role of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in addressing current threats and challenges
  • The resources and capabilities needed to carry out the CAF mandate

The Canadian Armed Forces are in the midst of what is being considered the largest re-equipment of the military in decades. CADSI said this is “rare window of opportunity to leverage these multi-billion dollar investments” to boost innovation and growth in the country.

Some of the procurement programs currently in the works include:

CADSI said it is seeking better coordination of existing policies, programs, and instruments scattered across the federal government to achieve those goals. The organization also said “stronger alignment and coherence along the R&D, technological development, commercialization, and procurement phases,” are needed.

“The potential to leverage defence procurement to realize innovation and growth in every region of Canada are real and achievable,” said Cianfarani. “This is an important and rare opportunity given the planned defence acquisitions, from warships to fighter jets to drones, the value of which is large by historical standards.”