DND News

RCN welcomes VAdm Baines as new Commander

Vice-Admiral Craig Baines assumed the duties of Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from Vice-Admiral Art McDonald this afternoon in a virtual change of command ceremony presided over by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

“Change of command ceremonies represent both continuity and change,” noted General Vance. “Under Vice-Admiral McDonald’s leadership, we have seen the RCN maintain an impressive operational tempo at home and abroad. His focus on people and innovation have positioned the Navy for success as it transitions to the future fleet.” He then highlighted the incoming Commander's experience, saying “Through his 33 years of service, Vice-Admiral Baines has a proven operational and institutional track record from which to draw upon as he continues to put Canada’s sailors first in all that he does. I am delighted to appoint Vice-Admiral Baines to command the Royal Canadian Navy and I know that he will lead by example, put our ethos into practice, and continue to steer the Navy towards the objectives of the future fleet.” 

The outgoing Commander, Vice-Admiral McDonald, had been in the position for only 18 months. He will soon be promoted to the rank of Admiral and will succeed General Vance as the 20th CDS (that date has not been officially released yet, but McDonald did hint that we'll be seeing him twice this week).

12 Jan 2021 – Vice-Admiral Art McDonald welcomes the new Commander Royal Canadian Navy.

“The RCN is equally known for who we are and how we conduct ourselves as much as for the amazing things we do. I am confident that the RCN will continue to sail smoothly under the watch of Vice-Admiral Baines,” said VAdm McDonald.

VAdm Baines is the 37th Commander of the R​CN. He has served in a variety of command and staff roles throughout his career, most recently serving as Deputy VCDS (Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff).

Vice-Admiral Baines steps up with a passionate message promoting ethics, respect, and optimism.

Speaking prior to “Accepting the Watch,” VAdm Baines stressed the value of service to Canada. “Without question, the biggest part of this honour, is continuing to serve with a group of outstanding Canadians who wear a uniform on behalf of their country, often serving in a complex environment far from home. We will continue to prioritize support to our Sailors, Defence Team members and their Families while managing ongoing cultural change, domestic and international operations, fleet recapitalization, training and readiness, all while innovating throughout our organization to make us the most inclusive, respect- driven Navy we can be. We remain committed to be READY to help, READY to lead, and READY to fight for Canadians.” He went on to state his priorities as Commander.

In a press release, the Minister of National Defence welcomes the new RCN Commander's leadership during “these challenging times and into the future,” saying “The women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy are indeed in good hands with Vice-Admiral Baines in command.”

Vice-Admiral Baines’ career in the Royal Canadian Navy has been a combination of sea-going appointments and staff officer positions throughout his 33 years of service. He started his career as bridge watch-keeping officer in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saguenay, specializing in navigation and naval warfare en route to an appointment as Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg in 2007. He held the appointment of Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt between July 2010 and July 2012. After serving as the Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic between 2014 and 2017, he was appointed Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic until he assumed the position of Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in July 2020.

The Royal Canadian Navy is comprised of approximately 8,300 Regular Force and 3,600 Reserve sailors, supported by approximately 3,800 civilian employees. Its mission is to generate combat-capable, multipurpose maritime forces that support Canada’s efforts to participate in security operations anywhere in the world, as part of an integrated Canadian Armed Forces.

The Royal Canadian Navy fleet, divided between the Atlantic (Halifax, NS) and Pacific (Esquimalt, BC) coasts, is composed of 28 warships, submarines, and coastal defence vessels, plus many more auxiliary and support vessels.

True to the RCN motto “Ready, Aye, Ready”, the sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy stand always ready to defend Canada and proudly safeguard its interests and values whether at home or abroad.