VAdm Craig Baines becomes 37th Commander of the RCN

Navy News / January 12, 2021

Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Craig Baines assumed the duties of Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from VAdm Art McDonald on January 12, 2021 in a virtual change of command ceremony presided over by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

“As I assume Command from Vice-Admiral McDonald, I would like to recognize the significant leadership that my shipmate has provided to the RCN throughout his command,” said VAdm Baines. “It goes without saying what an honour and privilege it is to become the 37th Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. 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.”

VAdm Baines has served in a variety of command and staff roles throughout his career, most recently as Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

“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,” he said. “We remain committed to be Ready to Help, Ready to Lead, and Ready to Fight for Canadians.”

The outgoing Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, VAdm McDonald, will be promoted to the rank of Admiral and will succeed General Vance as the 20th Chief of the Defence Staff.

“It has been an honour and privilege to lead as the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy for the past 18 months,” said VAdm McDonald. “As One Navy Team, we have successfully accomplished our mission objectives and have followed through the progression of key projects and initiatives while continually remaining focussed on the priority that we in the RCN, on this watch, have placed on culture change.”

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

VAdm Baines, whose 33-year career in the RCN has been a combination of sea-going appointments and staff officer positions, commands a navy that is situated on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, is composed of 28 warships, submarines and coastal defence vessels, plus many more auxiliary and support vessels, and which consists of approximately 8,300 Regular Force and 3,600 Reserve sailors, supported by some 3,800 civilian employees.