General Rick Hillier

Chair of the Ukrainian World Congress Strategic Advisory Council, and Former Chief of the Defence Staff

General Rick Hillier

Unstoppable. Immensely persuasive. Steeped in Newfoundlander charm. Magnetic leader. More impressive than any politician in Ottawa. Ask about a soldier named Rick Hillier and the superlatives never cease.

Lawrence Martin, The Globe and Mail

General Rick Hillier is a Canadian army officer who served as the Chief of the Defence Staff, the top-ranking officer in the Canadian military, from 2005 to 2008. Throughout his career, General Hillier has had the privilege and pleasure of commanding troops from the platoon to multi-national formation level within Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. He has worked as a staff officer in several headquarters, first at the Army level in Montreal and later at the strategic level in Ottawa.

Hillier was recently appointed as Chair of the Strategic Advisory Council by the Ukrainian World Congress where he offers support and advocacy for Ukraine’s defence militia and is an advisor to the military side. As part of this role, General Hillier is championing the #UniteWithUkraine campaign, which has been helping procure non-lethal protective equipment for Ukrainians since shortly after the war began. Hillier’s skills and experience in international diplomacy, defence, procurement, intelligence, logistics, communications, law and fundraising will support the civilian defenders in Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Force.

In late November 2021, Premier Doug Ford announced that General Hillier would chair the province’s task force coordinating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from their arrival through delivery to health units to distribution to Ontario residents. Hillier implemented the COVID-19 immunization program using his logistical expertise and insight to help develop a vaccine distribution plan and navigate the many challenges of getting infrastructure in place to ensure the success of Ontario’s vaccination program.

In 1998 General Hillier was appointed as the first Canadian Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, US Army in Fort Hood, Texas. In 2000 he took command of NATO’s Stabilization Force’s (SFOR) Multinational Division in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In May 2003 General 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 Kabul, Afghanistan. General Hillier was promoted to his present rank and assumed duties as the Chief of the Defence Staff in February 2005.

He retired from the Canadian Forces in July 2008. In 2009, Hillier co-founded Project Hero, a scholarship program for the children of Canadian Forces personnel killed while on active military duty.

Books by General Rick Hillier

Articles by General Rick Hillier

  • Leadership in Tough Times

    General Rick Hillier

    I think Yogi Berra was talking about leadership when he spoke of the difference between theory and practice. “In theory”, he said, “theory and practice are the same but in practice they are different”. That’s because in practice you add people.


Have you seen General Rick Hillier speak? What did you think?