Holiday Message from the CFB Halifax Base Commander

Holiday Message from the CFB Halifax Base Commander, Capt(N) Andy MacKenzie 

Local Defence Team,

As we approach the end of another calendar year, I express my sincere gratitude and admiration for the exceptional dedication, professionalism, and success demonstrated by our CFB Halifax team throughout 2023.

The collective achievements of our members have been wide-ranging, from the Base Information Services team’s implementation of free, public WiFi at Tribute Tower and Juno Tower to the Base Administration team’s skillful management of base accommodations and personnel when faced with several infrastructure-related challenges. These accomplishments, of which there are simply too many to highlight in one message, underscore our members’ commitment to excellence and dedication to serving our Defence community and our country. Fortunately, you can look forward to a more detailed overview of our team’s achievements in 2023 through our CFB Halifax Year-in-Review series to be posted on our Facebook, Twitter (X), and Instagram accounts between December 20 and the New Year.

In the past year our Base team – with support from integral and lodger units – has demonstrated exceptional adaptability and a strong commitment to community engagement through participation in various events and public outreach activities. We were fortunate to be involved in a variety of new (to us) events including the North American Indigenous Games, a national Emancipation Day event, and the SkyHawks parachute team performance in Shearwater while remaining involved in familiar initiatives like military appreciation sporting events, community parades, the National Defence Workplace Charitable Campaign, commemorative ceremonies, and student programs such as Take Our Kids to Work Day. Internally, the return of DND Family Days and the PSP Health Promotion Services Health Fair were significant achievements, both events contributing to the well-being and morale of our Defence Team members and families. 

Our commitment to student hiring in 2023 was significant, with 24 students employed in the spring term, 56 during the summer term, and 27 in the fall term. I extend my heartfelt recognition to all students who contributed their skills and enthusiasm to CFB Halifax in 2023. Additionally, a special note of appreciation goes to our dedicated student supervisors and Student Services Coordinator for fostering a positive and enriching experience for our student employees across the Base.

Each year, our core Base team collaborates with and relies upon the numerous lodger units who call CFB Halifax home, from Real Property Operations Section (Halifax) to Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Atlantic) and Naval Fleet School (Atlantic) to Transition Centre Halifax.  I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to these units for their support. Your teams contribute significantly to the success of our people and operations, and we are truly grateful for the strong partnerships we have established. 

Importantly, I want to express my sincere thanks to our extraordinary Defence families, as your unwavering support enables what we do each and every day. The sacrifices you make and the resilience you show are not just noticed, they are the foundation upon which our institution stands. We appreciate the strength and passion you bring to our community and acknowledge and respect the enormous role you play in our success through each passing year.

You are not alone. 

Despite the successes we’ve experienced 2023, it has been a challenging year for our members and neighbors across the region. Fires and floods have impacted many, including our own colleagues, while others have struggled to meet their most basic needs. Through these challenges, however, our Defence community has shown compassion, community spirit, and a genuine willingness to help. From our DND Fire Services members who delivered exceptional firefighting capabilities during the Tantallon wildfires to the units that supported Operation LENTUS activities, our members were ready to help when called upon. Meanwhile, many Defence Team members checked in with their friends, neighbours and coworkers to offer a warm meal, a listening ear or other means of assistance while stepping up to support our annual charitable giving campaign.  

For those who may be struggling, please know that there are a variety of mental health services available to Defence Team members and their families 24/7, 365 days a year. If you’re a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member, reach out to the Member Assistance Program (1-800-268-7708) and the Family Information Line (1-800-866-4546) anytime. Connect with a local Chaplain on weekdays at 902-721-8660 and during evenings and weekends at 902-427-7788. Appointments with the mental health unit at the Base clinic can be arranged by calling 902-721-8607. For Department of National Defence (DND) members, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 at 1-800-663-1142, or 1-888-384-1152 for people with hearing impairments. Contact our local EAP Office at 902-240-8251 or call/ text the newly established, Canada-wide, three-digit Suicide Crisis Helpline (9-8-8). Remember, support is always available.

Looking ahead. 

Looking ahead to 2024, local Defence Team members can anticipate a busy year filled with exciting events, infrastructure projects, and continued delivery of core Base services. To start the year right, mark your calendars for the NDWCC Travel-Suitcase Party on January 18 and the Halifax Mooseheads DND Appreciation Night on January 20!

In 2024, construction of the Canadian Surface Combatant Land-Based Testing Facility will commence at Hartlen Point, our new Stadacona Sports & Fitness Centre will open for business, and our Base Administration team will enter year two of its five-year lifecycle plan to provide more modern and welcoming accommodations across the Base. Stay tuned for additional information on these (and more) infrastructure projects! 

In terms of Base services, we will continue to deliver a comprehensive program of administrative, logistics, information technology, port operations, environmental and emergency services to personnel and units within Maritime Forces Atlantic and across our many lodger units. Through these vital services, we can continue to support our people while enabling the execution of Canadian Armed Forces operations at home and abroad.

As we reflect on the successes of 2023 and eagerly anticipate the opportunities and challenges that 2024 will bring, I wish you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season. Take care of yourselves and one another during this special time.