What was the National Defence Act (1922)?


The National Defence Act (NDA; French: Loi sur la défense nationale; LDN) is the primary enabling legislation for organising and funding Canada’s military.

Passed in 1922, and in force as of 01 January 1923, it created the Department of National Defence by merging the Department of Militia and Defence with the Department of the Naval Service and the Air Board.


On 04 November 1966, Bill C-243, The Canadian Forces Reorganisation Act, was introduced to amend the National Defence Act. The aim of the bill was to reorganise the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force, previously separate and independent services, under one umbrella. Following the debate in the House of Commons and further examination by the Defence Committee, the Bill was given a third and final reading in April 1967, clearing the way for unification. The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act came into effect on 01 February 1968, creating one organisation responsible for the defence of Canada, the Canadian Forces, and amending the National Defence Act.

The Queen’s Regulations and Orders are enabled by the National Defence Act to govern the Canadian Forces. The National Defence Act establishes Non-Public Property (NPP) as a special class of Crown property to be used for the benefit of serving and former members of the Canadian Forces and their families. Most western nations have created similar regimes to support the morale and welfare needs of their militaries. On behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the Director General Personnel and Family Support Services (DGPFSS) acts as the Managing Director for Non-Public Property and establishes the policies and provides functional oversight for the many NPP programmes and activities delivered locally at Bases and Messes. Personnel and Family Support Services (PFSS) is responsible for administering NPP as well as for delivering selected public Morale and Welfare programmes, services, and activities on behalf of the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP). The workforce delivering Non-Public Property programmes and activities primarily consists of the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces and members of the Canadian Forces. The Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces is a Separate Agency listed under Schedule 5 of the Financial Administration Act.


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