Defence Co-operation

Relations in the field of defence started to develop in 1994, primarily through training programmes the Canadian side offered for Estonian soldiers and officials. A formal basis for defence-related co-operation was laid with the conclusion of the memorandum of mutual understanding in 1997. The Government of Canada was the first NATO member state to ratify Estonia’s NATO accession protocol. Estonia and Canada participated together in the NATO ISAF mission in the difficult region of southern Afghanistan. In 2014 Canada contributed in Baltic Air Policying mission with 4 fighters. Furthermore, a Canadian infantry battalion participated in Saber Strike, which was a training taking place in the Baltics in 2014. Canada also has its representatives of the armed forces working in the NATO Force Integration Unit in Estonia, which was established based on the decision made during Wales Summit 2014. As of 2017 is Canada the Framework Nation of NATO multinational battlegroup deployed in Latvia.

Over the years Canada has supported the activities of the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) with both instructors and students. Since 2017 the Chief of Staff of BALTEFCOL is colonel of Canadian Armed Forces. BALTDEFCOL has close co-operation with the Canadian Forces College (CFC). The Canadian instructors that came to the college were held in high esteem.

Looking to the future, Estonia hopes that Canada will join the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn and contribute to a rotation of Baltic air policing.

Canada invites Estonian security policy experts to participate in the internationally respected annual security policy conference held in Halifax. Most recently Jüri Luik, the Minister of Defence participated in 2017 at the conference.