Canada-United Kingdom Defence Relations

Backgrounder / February 22, 2013 / Project number: BG - 12.060

Canada and the United Kingdom share a long history of defence cooperation. The bond between our countries has been forged, in peace and war, through two World Wars, and in almost every major conflict for more than a century, including Afghanistan and Libya.

Our common history, our tradition of parliamentary democracy, our shared values, and our partnership on global issues are what bind us together. We have contributed to our mutual development as prosperous and democratic nations, and we stand together as countries who are members of NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the G8, the G20 and the Commonwealth.

Today, our two countries jointly face many common security challenges including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the stabilization of fragile and failing states. These challenges exist in a time of economic uncertainty that requires our militaries and defence establishments to transform into even more agile and streamlined establishments.

As we move forward in addressing these and other challenges, both countries have committed to renewing our bilateral defence relationship.

Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration: A Stronger Partnership for the 21st Century

On September 22, 2011, the Prime Ministers of Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland renewed our strategic partnership by endorsing the second Canada-United Kingdom joint declaration.

This declaration provides an opportunity for our defence establishments to strengthen our joint partnership and meet the international security challenges of the future together.

To achieve this, our countries will consider how we can partner in a more collaborative manner, while focusing on three strategic objectives:

  • Protecting our citizens at home and abroad;
  • Supporting the creation of stable societies underpinned by freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law; and
  • Safeguarding our mutual prosperity.

Canada-United Kingdom Declaration of Intent

On February 22, 2013, in the margins of the NATO Defence Ministerial meeting ongoing in Brussels, Minister MacKay and the British Secretary of State for Defence Phillip Hammond signed a Declaration of Intent, which reaffirmed Canada and the United Kingdom’s commitment to strengthening their military relationship, in-line with the Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration.

This Declaration of Intent seeks to increase coherence between our Defence Departments and Armed Forces at the strategic level through the establishment of a governance framework.  Moreover, this Declaration of Intent outlines specific areas for regular interaction between our Defence Departments and Armed Forces to further enhance our bilateral relationship, including:

  • Establishing and refreshing the common strategic vision and intent for future Canada-United Kingdom defence cooperation;
  • Taking stock, shaping, focusing, and setting priorities on the course of the relationship;
  • Exchanging perspectives on managing the defence portfolio and insights on defence reform, transformation and business planning;
  • Ensuring continuity and close cooperation in a continually changing global security environment;
  • Providing input to a Canada-United Kingdom annual progress report on our bilateral relationship;
  • Seeking economies of scale of mutual benefit; and,
  • Working together to shape the future of NATO by delivering on NATO Forces 2020.

The 2013 Canada-United Kingdom Declaration of Intent further strengthens our close cooperation as an essential contribution to our mutual security and in support of our contribution to NATO.


For more information about the “Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration: A Stronger Partnership for the 21st Century”, please visit the following link:

For more information NATO Forces 2020, please visit:

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