Admiral McDonald replaces a distinguished General Vance who is retiring after 39 years of service.
Early Thursday morning, Admiral Art McDonald was appointed Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff during a change of command ceremony held virtually today in Ottawa.
The event was presided over by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, and marked the official transfer of command of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from General Jonathan Vance to Admiral Art McDonald.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence were also in attendance virtually.
General Jonathan Vance is retiring after 39 years of distinguished service in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). He joined the CAF in 1982 and, in 1986, upon graduation from Royal Roads Military College, was commissioned as an infantry officer into The Royal Canadian Regiment. He commanded at all levels within the field force as well as 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton before deploying as Commander of Joint Task Forces Afghanistan and Kandahar in 2009, and again in 2010.
“For 39 years, the extraordinary members of the Canadian Armed Forces have inspired my life’s work. And for 39 years, I have been proud to be counted among their ranks. Thank you! It has been an honour to serve Canadians as your 19th Chief of the Defence Staff. I offer my sincere congratulations to Admiral McDonald. As he takes command, I know he will continue to care for our people and keep the force strong, now and into the future.” General Jonathan Vance, Outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff
Admiral McDonald takes over as Chief of the Defence Staff at a critical time for Canada. His work will be vital in supporting our efforts to help Canadians through the current pandemic while maintaining our commitments to our partners and allies around the world. He will continue the important work and transformation of the Canadian Armed Forces, ensuring that it better represents the Canadians it serves.” The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) implements government decisions that involve the CAF, by issuing orders and instructions. Whenever required, the CDS also advises the Prime Minister and Cabinet directly on major military developments and issues. The CDS is the senior serving military advisor to the Government of Canada.
This change of command comes at a time when the Canadian Armed Forces are part of a whole-of-government approach to national COVID-19 response efforts.