Plenary Speaker
General Rick Hillier

Former Chief of the Defense Staff (ret'd)

Born in Newfoundland and Labrador, General Rick Hillier joined the Canadian Forces in 1973 through the Regular Officer Training Plan program and graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland, where he is presently Chancellor. After completing his officer training, he joined his first regiment, the 8th Hussars in Petawawa, Ontario. Subsequently, he served with, and later commanded, the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Germany and Canada.
 
Throughout his career, General Hillier has had the privilege of commanding troops from the platoon to multi-national formation level within Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1998 Hillier was appointed as the first Canadian Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, US Army in Fort Hood, Texas and in 2000 took command of NATO's Stabilization Force's (SFOR) Multinational Division (Southwest) in Bosnia.
 
In May 2003 Hillier was appointed as Commander of the Army and subsequently, in October 2003, he was selected as the Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Hillier was promoted to General and assumed duties as the Chief of the Defence Staff on 4 February 2005 and retired from the Canadian Forces 2 July 2008.  He now focuses on leadership and charitable endeavours in a variety of venues.
 
Rick and his wife Joyce have two sons, Chris and Steven, two daughters in law, Caroline (Chris) and Amanda (Steven) and two grandsons, Jack and Matthew (Chris and Caroline). Rick and Joyce reside in Ottawa and often in Newfoundland.