92nd Ottawa Conference | March 7th-8th 2024

Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence
March 7-8, 2024

In person at the Ottawa Fairmont Château Laurier or Virtually Around the Globe

The Ottawa Conference on Security & Defence is the largest and longest-standing event of its kind in Canada. 

Among its 2,000 registered guests, people in the room include Senators, Members of Parliament, senior public servants from 20 different government departments and agencies, foreign dignitaries, a large and senior delegation from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, as well as industry and academia. 

Founded in 1932, the Conference of Defence Associations is a umbrella organization for 45 member associations who represent over 400,000 active and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Why Attend

  • Meet the decision-makers. Engage with a community of thought leaders in defence & security.
  • Gain geostrategic insight for better informed future business decisions.
  • Gather the timeliest expert threat analysis and understanding of technological developments.
  • Showcase your products and solutions by purchasing an exhibitor table. 
  • Military personnel and dignitaries from around the world will be present to meet and engage with.

Discussion Topics

Transatlantic Security Cooperation | Indo-Pacific | Readiness | Recruitment & Retention | Policing | Arctic Security & NORAD | Artificial Intelligence | NATO | Technological Innovation | Foreign Interference | Global Realignment | Climate & Domestic Emergency Response

National Security in Times of Great Peril

What would it take? A majority of Canadians do not support greater investment in the military and the broader security sector, despite a clear deterioration in the state of global peace and security, with the first war of conquest breaking out in Europe since 1939, foreign assassinations on Canadian soil, wars raging in Gaza and the Sahel, and the impacts of climate change calling our forces to action more often domestically than ever before. Deliveries of equipment are late to need. Our allies are concerned about our commitment. We are left on the sidelines of global decision-making. It is hard to imagine a greater gap between the reality of threats and our general consciousness of and reaction to them.


Building on one another, they include the weaponization of artificial intelligence; a personnel shortage in public safety and military roles; a lost ability to forge political consensus around security & defence; the rise and execution of powerful global revisionism; burden sharing woes shaking the NATO alliance; and a wavering of support to Ukraine, intertwined with foreign disinformation campaigns sowing disunity and undermining our will to uphold justice and human rights.


The question cannot be simply what needs to be done but, more urgently, what can be done with the capacity we have now rather than an ideal future capacity we might never get. Given the gap between what Canada can do and what it will be called upon to do, our nation will necessarily find itself facing heart-wrenching trade-offs with life and death consequences.


Our moderators will propose conversations on how together we can flip the tide by leveraging the very forces we are up against in offsetting the risks they present. Can the pain of burden sharing among allies be offset with greater specialization and can we build the trust and interoperability so that together we fill one another’s capability gaps? Knowing that climate action can serve as a powerful call to service, can we better engage younger generations into serving in the security sector workforce? How can we instrumentalize A.I. to reduce the costs of force projection? Is it better to choose the “best in class” or the “fit to purpose” when making materiel decisions? Should our future forces be maximized towards both expeditionary and domestic capabilities by design? 


The challenges ahead are novel and intimidating in their compounding effect. However, they are not insurmountable, insofar as we uncover and utilise the underlying leverage at our disposal and prioritize diligently. Most importantly though, is to shape and communicate a strong wake-up call for Canadians and their political leaders.

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Click on speaker name to access biography.

The Honourable Bill Blair, PC, COM, MP

Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, MP

Minister of Emergency Preparedness

General W.D. Eyre, CMM, MSC, CD

Chief of the Defence Staff

The Honourable Andris Sprūds​​

Minister for Defence, Republic of Latvia​

General Gwyn Jenkins

Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom

Admiral Pierre Vandier

Major-General of the Defence Staff, France

Lieutenant-General Frances Allen

Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff

Major-General Odd-Harald Hagen

Norwegian defense attaché to USA and Canada
Former Head of Department for Defense Policy and Long-term Planning in the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence

Angus Lapsley

Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, NATO

Dr. Uzi Arad

Former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel

Victoria Salinas

Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Administrator for Resilience, United States Federal Emergency Management Agency

Charles Fries

Deputy Secretary General for Peace, Security and Defence, European External Action Service

Fady Dagher

Service de police de la Ville de Montréal

Lieutenant-General M.H.L. (Lise) Bourgon, CMM, MSC, CD

Acting Commander, Military Personnel Command
Canadian Armed Forces

Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan, CMM, MSM, CD

Chief Professional Conduct and Culture
Canadian Armed Forces

Lieutenant-General Blaise F. Frawley

RCAF Deputy Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command

Professor Deeph Chana

Managing Director
NATO Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic

Philippe Hébert

Director General of R&D Innovation
Defence Research and Development Canada

Nataliya Bugayova

Non-Resident Russia Fellow
Institute for the Study of War

Vincent Rigby

Professor, Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University Former National Security and Intelligence Adviser to Prime Minister of Canada

Trevor Bhupsingh

Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch Public Safety Canada

Heidi Hulan

Heidi Hulan Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security (Political Director), Global Affairs Canada

Dr. Branka Marijan

Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares Lecturer, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Dr. Andrew Forde

Partner, Technology Strategy & Digital Transformation, KPMG Canada Adjunct Professor, Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto.

BGen (ret’d) Patrice Sabourin

Senior Associate, Cyber & IM/IT, Samuel Associates Former Director General Information Capabilities Force Development, Canadian Armed Forces

Dr. Alex Jaimes

Chief Scientist & Senior Vice Pesident of AI at Datamin Visiting Professor, Cornell Tech

The Honourable David Pratt

Principal of David Pratt & Associates, Former Minister of National Defence

Dr. Michel Doré

Associate Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, National Emergency Management Advisor, Saint John Ambulance

Mercedes Stephenson

Ottawa Bureau Chief and Host of The West Block, Global News

Kerry Buck

Former Canadian Ambassador to NATO
Board Member of the CDA Institute

VAdm (ret’d) Darren Hawco

Former Chief of Force Development, Canadian Armed Forces Board Member of the CDA Institute

Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky

Canada Research Chair in Gender, Security, and the Armed Forces Fellow, Centre for International and Defence Policy
Full Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University

Gordon Venner

Vice-Chair of the Board for the CDA Institute
Former Associate Deputy Minister, Department of National Defence, Canadian Diplomat and Ambassador

Lieutenant-General Guy R. Thibault, CMM, MSC, CD (Ret'd)

Chair of the Board of Directors for the Conference of Defence Associations and the CDA Institute
Former Vice Chief Of The Defence Staff

Dr. Youri Cormier

Executive Director of the Conference of Defence Associations and the CDA Institute
Adjunct Professor at the Royal Canadian Military College

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