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A key ally to the Canadian Military: An Ottawa success story

Diversification of Calian’s Service Offerings Key to Strategic Relationship with Canada’s Military


Aligning the diversification of its service offerings with the needs of its evolving customer base has long been the backbone of Calian Group Ltd.’s success. The success of this model is most evident in the company’s long-standing relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Over the past 20 years, Calian has worked with the Department of National Defence (DND) on a staggering array of projects. Calian understands the Canadian Armed Forces and has the know-how and flexibility to augment or scale just about any program.

On April 1st, Calian Technologies Ltd. became Calian Group Ltd. to more accurately represent its current operations and diverse service offerings. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the services that they provide to DND.



Calian proved itself to the Canadian Armed Forces in the mid 1990s, delivering constructive simulation training. 

Putting command personnel fresh from the classroom through their paces to ensure they can apply what they have learned in practice takes time and money. The Canadian Army wanted to carry out this command and staff training without having to stage large exercises that involve putting thousands of people in the field for war games.

Constructive simulation training achieves the same result by simulating troops, tanks and other equipment within a digital battlefield. Dozens of people can be tested and trained at a time without having to put an actual army in the field.

Providing this kind of training took on a whole new meaning when Canada deployed to Afghanistan. From 2005 – 2011, DND relied on Calian to help prepare Canadian military task force headquarters personnel to deploy into high-intensity combat operations within Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. 

“The training Calian provided turned into mission rehearsal and operational readiness training,” said Jerry Johnston, Calian’s VP of Training and Engineering Services. “We were suddenly getting people ready for combat operations, where the training that we did could actually save lives.”


It was this kind of trusted expertise that led to Calian’s involvement into a number of diverse contract opportunities with DND, with some examples including:

– Operating a radio station in Kingston for broadcast in Afghanistan

– Aircraft maintenance and repair training

– Training for communications systems, network management, electronics, and cryptographic communications equipment at Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics 

– Research assistants for Royal Military College in Kingston, ON

– Various vehicle maintenance contracts across Canada for everything from trucks to Leopard tanks to light armoured vehicles

– Provision of project management and support on such programs as the Maritime Helicopter program and Royal Canadian Air Force’s Airworthiness group

– Design and delivery of key components or subsystems to Canada’s Prime Defense Contractors.

Calian’s expertise extends into the emergency response planning and security domain in support of the broader public sector. For example, Calian’s 2010 Olympics Exercise Design received the Privy Council Office Exceptional Achievement Award, an honour that no other civilian company has ever achieved.


In 2004, Calian realized that its experience and expertise in program development and delivery, as well as its understanding of DND’s requirements and working environment, made it well-suited to become DND’s Health Services Provider. 

“DND’s health services contract was about delivering quality, complex health services to support DND in even the hardest-to-service parts of the country,” said Scott Murray, Calian’s VP of Health Services. “Together with over 500 Calian medical and allied health care professionals, we take our role of supporting the health care needs of our serving members very seriously.”

Since winning the contract in 2005, Calian has consistently earned a “Superior” performance satisfaction rating from DND. Calian now manages a national network of over 1,500 health care professionals in 60 different categories. 

“We have built a national network that is really second-to-none,” Murray added. “With this broad healthcare capability, we have been able to branch out and deliver value-added health care services to a wide selection of other public and private organizations with national health care needs.”

Calian Health Services clients now include such organizations as Shell Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and Correctional Services Canada.


Calian’s close working relationship with the Canadian military means the organization is uniquely positioned to understand the particular needs of this community. As a result, significant effort has been put into supporting military families and veterans, particularly in the areas of health and employment opportunities. 

Making a difference for military families

DND-funded health services are available only to active military personnel, not to their families. A 2013 DND ombudsman’s report detailed the many difficulties military families experience as a result of their service, including accessing and maintaining a family physician.

When this issue was brought to Calian’s attention, it realized it was in a unique position to help. In January 2016, Calian, in partnership with Military Family Services and local Military Family Resource Centres, launched the Calian Military Family Doctor Network. This program helps match military families in need of a family doctor with physicians practicing at Calian’s own Primacy clinics located all across Canada. 

“We realized this was a great opportunity for Calian to give back to the Canadian Armed Forces and a community we have been so proud to support and work with for so many years,” Murray said. 

Employing Canada’s veterans and military spouses

Through its extensive work with the Canadian Armed Forces, Calian has become a destination employer for both transitioning veterans when they leave the military and seek new civilian careers, and for military spouses who are faced with frequent relocation.

Calian was recently recognized with the first ever Military-Friendly Employer Partner Award from Canada Company. Canada Company is a charitable and non-partisan organization that helps build bridges between community and business leaders and the Canadian military, to help veterans transition to civilian life.

Calian is also active with Canada Company’s MET Spouse program, which helps spouses of serving military personnel find employment. Many such opportunities have included health care professionals who are employed on Calian’s DND health services contract.

Calian support also extends to veterans through a variety of other efforts, such as the The Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle, funding for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, and serving as a Gold Sponsor for the Canadian Tire Centre’s Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Nights. 


A significant element of Calian’s makeup lies in its enduring partnership with DND, and its dedication to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. While part of Calian’s strength lies in its ability to recognize and capitalize on new market opportunities, in the 34 years since its founding, the dollars and cents of good business have always been tempered with a focus on what’s best for its customers, its employees and its shareholders. 

“We see our relationship with DND as a true partnership and Calian is honored to support the Canadian military in achieving its objectives in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible,” said Johnston. 

To learn more about Calian’s services visit: