1709479299 Defense spending under the microscope

Defense spending under the microscope

In the eyes of NATO, Canada is not investing enough to defend itself. Nevertheless, billions are pouring into defense. Some numbers to understand the extent of the costs involved.

Posted at 5:00 am.


41.5 billion

Canada's estimated total defense spending in 2023-2024. For this financial year, this level of spending would be 1.46% of gross domestic product (GDP), up from 1.38% of GDP in 2022-23. Ottawa has allocated $26.5 billion to the Department of Defense budget for 2023-2024, but other spending (particularly that for veterans and the Coast Guard) is included in NATO's calculation.

Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer

15.5 billion

This is the estimated shortfall for fiscal year 2023-2024 for Canada's defense spending to reach 2% of its nominal GDP.

Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer

Defense spending under the microscope


Defense spending under the microscope


Personnel make up about 40% of defense spending.

According to NATO, this is the total strength of Canada's defense in 2023, for a population of about 40 million people, or 1.9 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants. For comparison: Romania could count on a workforce of 81,300 people last year (4 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants), France with 207,300 people (3 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants) and the United States with 1,346,400 (4 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants).

Source: NATO

+ 67%

From 2014 to 2021, Canada's defense spending increased by 67%, from around $20 billion to over $35 billion. However, due to the growth of the Canadian economy over the same period, the amounts paid out by Canada as a percentage of GDP increased by approximately 40%, from 1.0% of GDP in 2014 to 1.4% of GDP in 2021.

Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer

74 billion

1709479292 594 Defense spending under the microscope


The Canadian Air Force's 88 F-35 aircraft will cost $74 billion.

Costs for the fleet of 88 F-35 aircraft over 45 years, including equipment and related materials, maintenance services and the establishment of a training program. This acquisition represents an average expense of 1.64 billion per year.

Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer

77 billion

1709479294 597 Defense spending under the microscope


HMCS Calgary, a Royal Canadian Navy frigate

Bill for the Royal Canadian Navy's 15 future frigates. The first ship will not arrive until 2030. In 2008, the original budget was set at 26.2 billion unindexed dollars.

Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer

60 billionS

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Royal Canadian Navy is putting pressure on the government to acquire 12 new submarines.