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Canadian Leaders at Sea Program


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Questions can be directed by phone to the Maritime Forces Pacific Visits and Protocol office at 250-363-2708, and by email at

Canada: A Maritime Nation Canada is one of the world’s foremost coastal states – a maritime nation within a maritime continent. Bounded by three of the world’s great oceans, Canada has the longest coastline of any nation. At just over seven million square kilometres, Canada’s maritime estate equals 70% of the nation’s landmass. Canada has full sovereign authority over and responsibility for the ocean and internal waterway approaches in three oceans and the Great Lakes. The requirement to defend Canada extends well beyond our own maritime approaches. The high quality and sheer variety of goods available in Canada relies on a just-intime global supply chain that is dependant upon the free and unimpeded use of the seas, and on an ocean regime that safeguards the right to innocent passage of all lawful commerce. Ninety percent of all goods and raw materials produced in the global economy travel by sea. Most of Canada’s sea-borne trade travels through a handful of oceanic choke points. The potential to disrupt those sea lanes makes the global economy highly vulnerable to effects and consequences that often resonate globally. By ensuring the safety and security of the world’s oceans, the Navy plays a vital role in maintaining Canadians’ way of life.

The Navy Role and Mission The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has been Canada’s first response to international crisis for over 100 years. Navy ships can deploy as a unique Canadian response to a domestic or international need, or as part of a larger multinational effort. Closer to home, the Navy tracks roughly 2,000 ships every day in the maritime approaches to continental North America. The vast majority of the vessel traffic is going about its lawful business. Identifying those who aren’t is a complicated business that is coordinated through the Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs) in Halifax, Victoria and in the Niagara region, through the RCMP.

Operations At sea, your Royal Canadian Navy is keeping watch, whether maintaining skills while on exercise or engaged in formal operations. Canadian Fleet Pacific represents Canada throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is called upon to provide ships to participate in domestic and international operations. Warships can be dispatched quickly to anywhere in the world to undertake any mission from disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, surveillance and security or in the extreme to full combat operations both at sea and in support of forces ashore.

Some recent operations include: Operation CARIBBE: Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s contribution to an ongoing, multinational effort to stop drug trafficking in the waters of the Caribbean Basin and Eastern Pacific. Since its inception, Operation CARIBBE units have stopped over 1,075 metric tones of drugs from entering Canada, the US and other nations. Operation MOBILE: The Canadian Forces’ participation in the NATO-led international response to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas in Libya. The combat phase of the operation ended Oct. 31, 2012. Operation SAIPH: Canada’s contribution to multinational counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and counter piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. Irregular Maritime Migration: Canadian Ships have played a major role in the interception of criminally-led migrant ships in Canadian waters, as well as abroad.

Success in Operations Tomorrow: Navies take a long time to build but provide a return on investment for decades. Building the future fleet is not just about your navy, it’s also an investment in the nation. The level to which Canadians are willing to invest in their navy is linked not only to our ongoing success in operations today and the public good that these operations are perceived to create, but also in our ability to manage our resources competently and to deliver the future navy successfully. In our democratic system, failure in any of these areas will impact not only the navy, but all of Canada as well.

The Canadian Leaders at Sea (CLAS) Program Businesses and community leaders are an important stakeholder group for the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Navy. Many civilian enterprises employ members of the navy, army and air force reserve. The support of the civilian workforce is extremely important to the Canadian Forces to be able to meet its mandate both at home and abroad. The CLAS program invites leaders from corporate, education and service sectors to join a Canadian warship at sea and gain a greater understanding of the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) capabilities and purpose. It provides a rare opportunity to gain valuable insight into the diverse group of men and women who work as an effective, cohesive, and fully-integrated combat team.

The CLAS Program CLAS participants spend 1-2 days engaged in all aspects of life at sea with the ship’s company. They live alongside the men and women who serve on board the ships of the RCN and fly the helicopters of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Participants engage in all aspects of life at sea. The ‘at sea’ program typically includes traveling by ship’s boat and by Sea King Helicopter, as well as firing small arms and the ship’s .50 calibre machine guns. Other activities include damage control and fire fighting drills, and casualty clearance exercises. They observe the ship’s boarding party demonstrating Maritime Interdiction Operation training. Weather and sea conditions permitting, participants are also given the opportunity to do a jackstay transfer between moving ships at sea - an experience former guests have described as thrilling! Participants are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation ashore (if required) at the embarkation point. While on board ship, accommodation and food is provided.

My time at sea was truly a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. Activities during the trip included firing the weapons systems, steering ships, going under the sea aboard the HMCS Corner Brook submarine and riding in a Sea King helicopter. By far, my favourite part was having the opportunity to meet so many of our sailors and listen to them explain their role in the Canadian Navy.

Blake Goldring, CEO AGF Management Ltd. Founder and chairman of Canada Company

The Canadian Leaders At Sea Program is typically run onboard ships engaged in the following exercises:

Exercise TRIDENT FURY: A coalition based exercise out of Victoria, B.C., that usually attracts United States Navy ships and aircraft to the Canadian Pacific operating areas.

Task Group Exercise (TGEX): These are part of a continuing series of fleet training exercises, the aim of which is to develop unit-level and multiunit proficiency in all areas of maritime warfare. TGEX can be held in waters around Vancouver Island or in the waters off Southern California.

Exercise RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific): RIMPAC is a biennial multinational exercise conducted in the Hawaiian Operating Areas and is the world’s largest maritime exercise. The exercise includes participants from more than 20 nations and is designed to prepare forces to be interoperable and ready for a wide range of potential operations, from combined or joint operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster response assignments.

The Fleet at a Glance Canada’s 33 warships, submarines, and coastal defence ships are divided almost evenly between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The home ports of the fleet are Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) in Esquimalt, British Columbia. These formations manage all aspects of fleet maintenance, training and manning. Ships may be deployed from either coast on short notice as directed by the Government of Canada.

Canadian Fleet Pacific Canadian Fleet Pacific (CANFLTPAC) is the seagoing operational component of Canada’s Maritime Forces in the Pacific Ocean, and whose mission is to generate and operate balanced, multi-purpose maritime forces for domestic operations and internationally in support of Canadian security and defence overseas. The Pacific Fleet’s 13 ships and one submarine are stationed at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt and supported by Her Majesty’s Canadian (HMC) Dockyard, which provides all the facilities required to maintain the ships, divers, harbour defence teams, fuel, supply, and ammunition depots.

HMCS Algonquin DDG 283 Iroquois Class Destroyer

HMCS Algonquin is one of three area air defence destroyers in the RCN. Its advanced communications capability and extra accommodations make it an ideal command and control platform. In peacetime, Algonquin can employ its high-tech systems for a variety of important missions, from search and rescue to fisheries and sovereignty patrols.

Canadian Patrol Frigate Halifax Class

At the leading edge of multi-role frigate capability in the world, Halifax-class ships carry a sophisticated array of weapon and sensor systems, including Harpoon long-range anti-ship missiles, Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, a 57mm rapid-fire gun, a 20mm close-in defence gun, torpedoes, navigational and weapon-control radars, sonar and electronic warfare systems.

HMCS Vancouver HMCS Regina HMCS Calgary HMCS Winnipeg HMCS Ottawa

FFH 331 FFH 334 FFH 335 FFH 338 FFH 341

HMCS Protecteur AOR 509 Protecteur Class Supply Ship

HMCS Protecteur was built to replenish the fleet at sea with petroleum products, ammunition, service helicopters, and provide stores and accompanying maintenance personnel. Protecteur has an extensive helicopter repair and maintenance capability. Medical support for the fleet is provided by a well-equipped hospital and dental clinic.

HMCS Victoria SSK 876 Victoria Class Long Range Patrol Submarine

Victoria Class submarines contribute directly to our domestic security capability and are critical to the Navy’s international mission. They are capable of conducting independent or coordinated patrols in foreign waters to monitor or intercept suspicious maritime traffic or protect Canadian and coalition warships in a dangerous environment.

Submarines are like hidden cameras under the ocean and a single submarine can keep watch of over 125,000 square kilometres. Because it is nearly impossible to know whether or not a submarine is present, adversaries must always be concerned that their activities are being monitored.

Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs) Kingston Class

The primary role of the Kingston class ships is coastal surveillance and patrol. This involves general naval operations and exercises, search and rescue, and support to other government departments including fisheries patrols, law enforcement and customs. The ships can be equipped with side-scan sonar to map the ocean floor and with a submersible rover for bottom inspection.

HMCS Nanaimo 702 HMCS Edmonton 703 HMCS Whitehorse 705

HMCS Yellowknife 706 HMCS Saskatoon 709 HMCS Brandon 710

Patrol Craft Training [PCT] ORCA Class

The first of eight new Patrol Craft Training (PCT) Vessels was formally accepted into the Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet on November 17, 2006. The vessels replace the Yard Auxiliary Gate (YAG) 300 Class wooden-hulled tenders that have served the Canadian Navy in a training role for over 50 years. With accommodation for 20 personnel and excellent onboard facilities, the ORCA-Class vessels are well-equipped for their primary training role.


PCT 55 PCT 56 PCT 57 PCT 58


PCT 59 PCT 60 PCT 61 PCT 62

CLAS: Canadian Leaders at Sea