The future of the Canadian Navy will be shaped by events both inside and outside the country. Funding for vessels, bases and staff is often determined by the government of the day and political situations abroad.
Maintaining a military presence in Canada’s Arctic has become increasingly important. Recent challenges from the Russians and Americans over control of the North, especially the new trade routes that are opening with the melting sea ice, have led all three branches of the Canadian Forces to devote more resources to Canadian Arctic sovereignty.
Plans are in place to build a naval facility at an abandoned mining site in Nanisivik, Nunavut, on the northern coast of Baffin Island near the convergence of several Northwest Passage sea lanes. The Nanisivik Naval Facility will be a deepwater refuelling and resupply station. It will serve the handful of Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships scheduled for production, as well as other government ships. The Navy’s goal is for the facility to be operational by 2014, with a mix of naval, military and civilian staff.
The Canadian Forces are actively pursuing new recruits. All three branches need to fill positions opened through retirements and positions that historically have been difficult to fill, such as the trades.
Many members of the Forces are baby boomers born after the Second World War, who are nearing the mandatory retirement age of 60. This was recently changed from age 55 to allow for longer service and lessen the losses to the Forces.
Both the military and civilian sectors across Canada are experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople. The military faces the added challenge of not being able to match the salaries typically offered in the private sector.
This narrated piece describes Operation NANOOK 09, a Canadian Command sovereignty operation conducted last year, and is supported by full-colour video footage.