Mr. Speaker, retention is a top priority for National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. As articulated in Canada’s defence policy, “Strong, Secured, Engaged”, people are the most valuable resource in the CAF. It is not simply enough to attract the best and brightest; it is essential to provide the support necessary to ensure a full and fulfilling career and to retain our members and their valuable experience.
The CAF retention strategy presents a renewed approach to managing retention through both broad and targeted activities to improve the experience of all CAF members and empower them to continue a challenging but extremely rewarding career in uniform.
While the strategy will initiate operational and procedural changes, it is also designed to align and work in collaboration with our other efforts to support broader culture change. This includes engaging in measures to ensure that the concerns of all our members are heard and addressed. Additionally, the strategy is designed to grow and evolve as necessary, instituting an evergreen effort to respond to the changing environment around us, the operational needs of the CAF and the needs of our members and their families now and in the future.
In response to parts (a), (c) and (d) of the question, the number of employees across National Defence and the CAF assigned to work on the retention strategy is not centrally tracked. However, a number of working-level civilian and military personnel worked on the retention strategy at various points of its development.
For example, within chief military personnel, CMP, the organization charged with developing the strategy, approximately 10 staff worked on developing the initial draft in 2019. As the strategy progressed over the years leading to publication, the team ranged in size between three and six full-time personnel. During this time, CMP consulted with relevant internal stakeholders, including the vice-chief of the defence staff, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command, Canadian Joint Operations Command, the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the assistant deputy minister of public affairs.
With respect to part (b) of the question, work commenced on the first draft of the strategy in spring 2019. It was released on October 6, 2022.
In response to parts (c) and (d), the only costs associated with the development of the retention strategy were the salaries of the military and civilian personnel supporting the development process. There were no contracts associated with its development.