Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today issued the following statement on the 2016 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada.
“On behalf of my department and the Canadian Armed Forces, I wish to thank the Auditor General for the work undertaken by his office in completing these reports.
“We welcome his findings and agree with his recommendations.
“Recruiting, retention and equipment were among the many issues Canadians discussed throughout our Defence Policy Review consultation process and our Government is committed to addressing these issues with a renewed Defence Policy for Canada.
“With respect to our personnel, we must do more to improve how we attract, select, and retain our recruits. That is the best way to ensure that we meet our future personnel needs.
“We have taken steps to increase the number of women who apply to join our Armed Forces and attend our military colleges. However, we must do more to improve their representation within our ranks. We must also recruit from the many cultures and regions that make up this country; and make our Armed Forces a desirable career choice for all Canadians.
“With respect to how we maintain and service our equipment, we accept the recommendations on making support programs more cost-effective in the spirit that we must continue to improve.
“Canadians expect the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to have equipment that is available and reliable to meet operational and training needs. That means ensuring that our fleets of ships, submarines, airplanes, helicopters and land vehicles are serviced and otherwise supported to ensure optimal readiness.
“We must also be good stewards of the public purse. That is why we have launched a number of initiatives to ensure both equipment readiness – the critical factor for in-service support -- and value for money – ensuring we get the best bang for the buck.
“Through collaboration with our government partners and Industry, we are developing equipment support programs that are efficient, adaptable, and contribute to Canada’s economy.
“Report 5 focussed on CAF Recruitment and Retention during the period between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2016 and reached back over longer periods as required. Report 7 examined Operating and Maintenance Support for Military Equipment between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2016.
“We are taking steps to address each one of the recommendations of the Auditor General, steps that will improve our planning processes, our information management systems and our oversight and other governance procedures and policies.
“But, I want to make it clear that through all of this we will continue to meet our primary objective of maintaining operational readiness to defend Canada and Canadians. That is our no-fail mission.”