Minister Blair, Minister Vandal and Michael McLeod break ground on new defence facility in Yellowknife and highlight federal effort to unlock housing on public lands


April 24, 2024 – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable R.J. Simpson, Premier of the Northwest Territories, and Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories broke ground on the new National Defence Multipurpose Facility in Yellowknife. Once completed, this facility will enhance the mobility, reach, and footprint of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in the North and improve our ability to deploy to the region for operations and exercises.

Backed by an investment of approximately $136 million, the project will see the construction of a new, 9,200-m2 headquarters building for the 1st Canadian Rangers Patrol Group (1 CRPG) as well as elements of Joint Task Force (North), in Yellowknife. The new facility will include offices and classroom space for administrative and training purposes, an assembly space which will double as a drill hall, and space for vehicle maintenance and warehouse storage. 

Currently, some components of Joint Task Force (North) and 1 CRPG are distributed amongst several disconnected temporary sites in Yellowknife. This project will consolidate these units in one secure compound, providing the necessary space to support their current and future operations and enhance collaboration more efficiently. The construction of the facility will sustain roughly 520 jobs and is expected to be completed in winter 2026-27.

The construction of this new multipurpose building is a good example of well-used public land. During their visit to National Defence lands in Yellowknife, Minister Blair, Minister Vandal and Mr. McLeod also noted that through Budget 2024, the government will transform its approach to public land and lead a national effort to unlock public lands for housing. In particular, the Government is conducting a rapid review of its entire federal lands portfolio to identify more lands for housing, in partnership with provinces, territories, and municipalities. Canada expects this review to identify additional public lands that are promising for housing, including some of the 622 National Defence sites across Canada – many of which are not fully utilized. As the results of this review come through, the Government will work with the housing sector to build homes wherever possible.

In addition, thanks to the investments in Budget 2024 and Our North, Strong and Free, the Government of Canada will invest to build and renovate housing for Canadian Armed Forces personnel on bases across Canada – including building up to 1,400 new homes and renovating an additional 2,500 existing units for military personnel.

Investing in the Yellowknife multipurpose facility is just one way that Canada boosting the Canadian Armed Forces’ presence in the Arctic and northern regions in response to new and emerging threats. Through Our North, Strong and Free, the Government of Canada is also investing:

  • $218 million over 20 years for Northern Operational Support Hubs to better ensure Canadian sovereignty by establishing a greater year-round presence across the Arctic and the North, and invest in multi-use infrastructure that also meets the needs of territories, Indigenous Peoples, and Northern communities.
  • $18.4 billion over 20 years to acquire a more modern, mobile, and effective tactical helicopter capability. This will provide the CAF with the speed and airlift capacity to assert Canada’s sovereignty and respond to natural disasters and emergencies throughout the country.
  • $307 million over 20 years for airborne early warning aircraft that will vastly improve Canada’s ability to detect, track, and prioritize airborne threats sooner, ensuring a faster, better coordinated response with the United States when required.
  • $1.4 billion over 20 years to acquire specialized maritime sensors to conduct ocean surveillance. They will be used to monitor Canada’s maritime approaches, including in the Arctic and North, and will be a critical component of the CAFs’ ability to defend Canada from a growing range and sophistication of underwater threats, including vessel-launched missiles, underwater systems, ships, and submarines, on all three coasts.

As the Arctic warms at four times the global average and becomes more accessible, and as we deal with increased Russian and Chinese military capabilities in the region, the investments in Our North, Strong and Free will protect Canadian sovereignty and enable a more persistent military presence in the Arctic. 



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