Is Canada’s military spending below its NATO commitment?

By ·June 19, 2024


The NATO baseline for defense spending is 2% of GDP. Canadian spending on its military was 1.01% of GDP in 2014, 1.44% in 2017, and estimated to be 1.38% in 2023. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2024 promised increased military spending that would result in a defense expenditure of 1.76% of GDP in 2030.

To put these numbers in context, of the 30 NATO countries, defense spending as a percent of GDP in 2023 was estimated to be:

  • Below the 2% baseline for 19 countries.
  • Less than Canada’s for 5 countries: Slovenia (1.35%), Türkiye (1.31%), Spain (1.26%), Belgium (1.13%), and Luxembourg (0.72%).
  • 3.49% for the United States, which had the largest absolute defense expenditure of NATO members, $743 billion in 2015 dollars. The spending of all other NATO countries combined was about $357 billion in 2015 dollars. 

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NATO Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2014-2023)

Reuters Canada pledges to spend more on defense; US applauds move

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