Activities – International
- Canada's contribution to Operation IMPACT has been essential to countering Daesh and fostering stability in the Middle East.
- Due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Government of Iraq has temporarily paused Coalition and NATO tactical schoolhouse training activities.
- Despite this temporary pause, the mentoring that NATO Mission Iraq delivers to the Iraqi Armed Forces' institutional framework and senior leadership continues.
- Approximately 200 military members are deployed to the mission in Iraq, including some Special Operations Forces personnel.
- In the immediate term, our priority remains the safety and security of our women and men in uniform.
If pressed on the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command's mission in Iraq:
- Canada's Special Operations Forces train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against Daesh in Northern Iraq.
- Our Special Operations Forces provide:
- Training in fundamental and specialized military skills;
- Advice on the planning of operations; and,
- Assistance and guidance while partner forces conduct operations.
- These activities help partner forces apply new military skills on operations and deliver tangible impact on the ground.
- Mission critical activities are ongoing, such as air sustainment operations to support the movement of personnel and cargo.
- Capacity building efforts in Jordan and Lebanon have resumed and we are monitoring the potential spread of COVID-19.
- In April 2019, Canada renewed Operation IMPACT until 31 March 2021, investing an additional $1.39 billion.
Operation IMPACT Overview
- Canada works with partners in the region to set the conditions for stability and security in Iraq. Under Operation IMPACT's three areas of focus, the CAF: supports (1) the Global Coalition to degrade and defeat Daesh, (2) contributes to NMI, and (3) conducts bilateral training and capacity building with Jordan and Lebanon.
- In support of these activities, up to 850 CAF members could be deployed at one time in numerous command, support, training, advisory, and assistance roles.
Canada's Support to the Global Coalition
- The Global Coalition was formed in September 2014 to degrade and defeat Daesh through military involvement and other actions such as tackling Daesh's financing and economic infrastructure.
- The CAF in Iraq contributes to US-led Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) through embedded personnel in the headquarters, support to Coalition air operations, including deployment of tactical airlift (Hercules), and tactical training to the ISF. Infantry teams and combat engineers provide training to the ISF in training facilities and ranges. We have stopped tactical training since March due to COVID-19.
- Additionally, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command personnel train, advise, and assist the ISF in their mission to defeat Daesh.
NATO Training Mission in Iraq
- The purpose of the NMI is to help strengthen ISF and Iraqi military education institutions so that Iraqi forces can prevent the return of Daesh. Canada contributes the command team, a force protection company, advisors and trainers, mission headquarters staff, and a helicopter detachment to NMI.
- On June 26, 2019, Canada announced the extension of its command of NMI until November 24, 2020. Canada will be transferring Command of the mission to Denmark on 24 November 2020.
Bilateral Military Activities
- Canada continues to deploy Training and Assistance Teams to Jordan and Lebanon to build the capacity of our regional partners through training, infrastructure, and equipment.
- Under Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces provide the Security Forces of Ukraine with specialized military capacity building to help them maintain sovereignty, stability, and security.
- Since 2015, when Canada launched its military training mission in Ukraine, approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces members have been deployed on a rotational basis.
- Training provided by the Canadian Armed Forces includes combat arms training, military engineering, military police training, combat medical training, and maritime capacity building.
- We are proud to report that the Canadian Armed Forces have trained 21,899 Ukrainian Security Forces to date.
- The majority of training activities have resumed after a three month operational pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canada will continue to provide this valuable training to foster peace and security in Ukraine, thereby strengthening global stability.
If pressed on the safety of Canadian Armed Forces members in response to COVID-19:
- The health and safety of our women and men in uniform remains a top priority.
- That is why we are taking a number of measures to protect the health and well-being of our members, and preserve our ability to conduct mission-essential military operations.
- These measures include limiting Canadian Armed Forces movements in theatre to a strict minimum and not operating in locations where conditions for a secure environment are not met.
If pressed on the provision of lethal aid:
- From 2014 to 2019, Canada supplied Ukraine with important non-lethal military gear.
- This included vital equipment such as communications systems for field operations, explosive disposal equipment, medical kits for military field operations, and night vision goggles.
- Under the current mandate there is no provision for the donation of non-lethal aid.
- In September 2020, Canadian Special Operations Forces personnel joined Joint Task Force Ukraine in support of existing training development and capacity building efforts.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Sarah Heer, the first female commander of Operation UNIFIER, assumed command on October 6, 2020.
- On March 18, 2019, Canada announced the renewal of Operation UNIFIER until March 31, 2022.
- In 2015, Canada launched Operation UNIFIER in response to requests from the Government of Ukraine. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) provide Ukrainian security forces with specialized training to help improve their capability and capacity.
- Through Joint Task Force Ukraine, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command is supporting the Security Forces of Ukraine with episodic training development and capacity building activities.
- The CAF continues to work alongside the United States, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, to coordinate training, equipping, and capacity building efforts.
- National Defence also provides institutional level support to assist in the advancement of Ukraine's defence reform process. Current support is focussed on:
- defence governance, including command and control;
- senior level military professional development;
- Professional Military Education reform;
- defence procurement; and,
- defence policy.
Standing Committee on National Defence (NDDN) Reports
- During the 42nd Parliament, NDDN tabled two reports related to Ukraine.
- Canada's Support to Ukraine in Crisis and Armed Conflict: In December 2017, after a visit to Ukraine, NDDN tabled its study on Ukraine, in which the Committee advocated for a UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. The Government Response to the report noted that many of the Committee's recommendations are consistent with Canada's current approach to supporting Ukraine.
- Responding to Russian Aggression against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the Black Sea Region: In December 2018, NDDN tabled its study on Russian aggression. While the majority of recommendations relate to Global Affairs Canada, NDDN recommended expanding the type of training provided through Operation UNIFIER. The Government Response was tabled on April 9, 2019. It underlines Canada's commitment to continue working with Ukraine to best support the training needs of the Ukrainian security forces.
Operation REASSURANCE (Latvia and Europe)
- Canada recognizes the important link between European and North American security.
- On the ground, at sea, and over the skies of Central and Eastern Europe, Canada is working alongside our Allies to increase security and stability.
- We are proudly:
- Leading a multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia;
- Contributing to a Standing NATO Maritime Group in European waters; and
- Deploying an Air Task Force on a rotational basis in support of NATO's enhanced Air Policing activities.
- Canada will continue to work with our NATO Allies to enhance our collective security and promote peace and stability around the world.
If pressed on the impacts of COVID-19:
- The health and safety of our women and men in uniform remains a top priority.
- That is why a number of measures are being undertaken to protect the health and well-being of our members, and preserve our ability to conduct mission-essential military operations.
- For example, some measures include pre-deployment quarantine, medical screening, and COVID-19 testing, as well as restricted movements off-base, immediate isolation of symptomatic individuals.
- Canada remains committed to continue working with our NATO Allies, and supporting NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia.
- Operation REASSURANCE is Canada's largest current international military operation.
- Number of currently deployed personnel across land, air, and sea components: approximately 800.
- Canada leads a multinational Battle Group of 8 other Allied contributing nations in Latvia.
- This is the largest and most multinational of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups and Canada has drawn praise for its successful leadership of this diverse team.
- HMCS Toronto is currently deployed in Northern European waters with Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) to provide military capabilities for training, exercises, and assigned NATO tasks.
- Canada will assume command of SNMG1 (Commodore Brad Peats) from January to December, 2021.
- Canada deploys an Air Task Force to participate in NATO enhanced Air Policing each year.
- Currently, approximately 140 Canadian Armed Forces personnel and 6 CF-188 Hornet aircraft are deployed with Air Task Force – Romania, with a scheduled return date of January 2021.
- The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) supports assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe through Operation REASSURANCE by contributing to NATO land, maritime, and air measures.
Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia
- Canada leads a NATO Battle Group in Latvia of approximately 1500 soldiers with military members from eight other nations, including: Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
- Approximately 540 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed as part of this Battle Group, including headquarters staff, an infantry company with light armoured vehicles, military police, a reconnaissance troop, and logistical and communications support.
- The Battle Group serves to deter and, if necessary, defend against Russian aggression in Latvia. To this end, it conducts collective training and exercises that also foster interoperability among NATO Allies.
- In July 2018, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would extend its NATO commitment in Latvia by another four years to March 2023 and would boost the number of troops in the country to the current level of 540 (from 455) in a show of ongoing solidarity with the Alliance.
Maritime Task Force (SNMG)
- Canada contributes one frigate to the Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMGs), conducting assurance measures and surveillance in European waters, alternating occasionally between SNMG 1 – which operates in the Baltic and Northern Seas and Eastern Atlantic – and SNMG 2 – which operates in the Mediterranean.
- Under the command of Commodore Josée Kurtz, Canada let the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two in the Mediterranean from June to December 2019. On January 24, 2020, HMCS Halifax returned from a six month deployment as the flag ship for Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.
- HMCS Fredericton supported Standing NATO Maritime Group Two until May 2020 in the Eastern Mediterranean. HMCS Fredericton then supported Standing NATO Maritime Group One, and participated in Western Mediterranean and Atlantic exercises until being relieved by HMCS Toronto in July 2020.
- On July 25, 2020, HMCS Toronto set sail for a 6-month deployment as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One. The ship is conducting exercise and maritime security operations with Allies' Navies and Air Elements.
Air Task Force
- Canada contributes to a peacetime collective air policing mission to safeguard the integrity of NATO airspace.
- On September 5, 2020, Air Task Force Romania began an enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania, scheduled to end in December 2020.
- Canada's Air Task Force consists of 6 CF-188 Hornet aircraft and 150 Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
- In November 2017, Canada committed to supporting UN peacekeeping, including several "Smart Pledges" and specialized military capabilities to UN peace support operations.
- In 2018-2019, Canada delivered its first "Smart Pledge" by providing aeromedical evacuations and air transport in support of UN forces in Mali.
- Canada is currently delivering on another commitment by operating a CC-130J Hercules out of Entebbe, Uganda to transport cargo and personnel in support of UN operations.
- As part of the Elsie initiative, the Canadian Armed Forces will also provide the Ghanaian military with training and support to increase the participation of women in UN peace support operations.
- We are awaiting the completion of the final report of the barrier assessment to identify and develop evidence-based military options for training of the Ghanaian Armed Forces.
- Canada also engages in peace operations with other multilateral and bilateral partners such as the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the African Union, and NATO.
- We have also deployed Canadian Armed Forces members to the non-UN peacekeeping mission in the Sinai since the 1980s.
If pressed on number of peacekeepers deployed:
- Our commitment as a peacekeeping nation is unwavering and manifests itself through the various leadership roles we have taken at the UN.
- Canada continues to provide high value equipment and expertise to fill capability gaps that that are critical to sustaining UN peacekeeping operations.
If pressed on the 2019 GAC briefing note to the Defence Committee with inaccurate information on Canada's peacekeeping pledges:
- Unfortunately, this note contained an error regarding Canada's commitment to deploy a Quick Reaction Force in support of UN peacekeeping.
- The Quick Reaction Force has never been entered in the UN capability registry, as opportunities for a Canadian contribution have yet to be determined.
- Since July 2019, information shared publicly has consistently indicated that a Quick Reaction Force has not been entered into the UN registry.
- Global Affairs Canada has apologized to the Standing Committee on National Defence for this error.
- Canada currently has 24 military peacekeepers deployed in 5 UN operations (6/24 are women – 25%). Deployed peacekeepers will increase to 30 personnel by the end of November.
- COVID-19: The rotation of peacekeepers has returned to normal.
- Since August 2019, Canada's CC-130J aircraft in Entebbe, Uganda, has transported approximately 700 personnel and 680,000 pounds of cargo with almost 200 hours of flight combined.
- In July 2020, Canada extended its Uganda-based air movement support to UN Peacekeeping operations for a second year.
- Supplementary Estimates (A) 2020-21 request: $4.67M for Peace Support Operations in Africa.
- Main Estimates 2020-21 request: $225,000 for the Vancouver Principles Contribution Program.
- In November 2017, Canada launched the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Retention and Use of Child Soldiers at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver.
- To date, 97 countries from around the world have endorsed this set of political commitments focused on child protection in peacekeeping and preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers by armed forces and armed groups.
- On June 25, 2019, Canada launched the Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles online and in print. Canada led the development of this pragmatic guidance together with Member States, the UN, and civil society experts – including the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.
Peacekeeping and Smart Pledges
- From November 14-15, 2017, Canada hosted the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, where Canada committed to deliver a number of "Smart Pledges" and specialized military capabilities to UN peace support operations. These include:
- an Aviation Task Force of medium utility and armed helicopters;
- tactical airlift support to transport troops, equipment, and supplies to UN missions; and
- a Quick Reaction Force, comprised of a reinforced company with corresponding equipment.
- A Quick Reaction Force has not yet been deployed as opportunities for a Canadian contribution have yet to be determined.
- From August 2018 to August 2019, Canada delivered its first "Smart Pledge" by providing two Chinook and four Griffon helicopters, as well as 250 personnel, to conduct aeromedical evacuations and tactical airlift in support of UN forces in Mali.
- Canada assisted Romania in the takeover of this mission in August 2019, by providing intra-theatre airlift to deploy its personnel into theatre and a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) transition team to assist them in their operational preparations.
- The CAF is delivering on another pledge by providing a CC-130J Hercules aircraft conducting tactical airlifts out of Entebbe, Uganda as a part of Operation PRESENCE (Uganda). The airlifts help sustain UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. This is an episodic mission of up to 30 hours per month. Due to the ongoing restrictions as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response measures, operations for Operation PRESENCE (Uganda) were temporarily suspended in April 2020, but have since resumed effective June 2020.
- At the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver in November 2017, Canada launched the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations to help achieve targets set in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2242, by increasing women's meaningful participation in UN peace support operations in uniformed military and police roles.
- The Elsie Initiative's framework is comprised of a number of components, including bilateral partnerships, a global fund, political advocacy, as well as research, monitoring and evaluation.
- A barrier assessment is currently being conducted in conjunction with the Ghana Armed Forces and Zambia Police Service. This assessment will identify specific gaps to women's participation in peace support operations in Ghana. The findings will inform the Canadian Armed Forces' technical assistance to ensure the right conditions are in place to best support their efforts to address impediments to women's participation in peace support operations.
Canadian Armed Forces Activities in the Asia Pacific Region
- Canada is a Pacific nation, and remains a committed, engaged, and reliable ally and partner in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The Canadian Armed Forces plays an active role in the region, including through military training with allies and partners, and contributions to UN sanctions monitoring.
If pressed on Operation NEON:
- Canada supports the coordinated multinational effort to monitor UN Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea.
- In support, the Canadian Armed Forces regularly deploys ships and aircraft to conduct surveillance operations in support of this effort, under Op NEON.
- HMCS Winnipeg, with Cyclone helicopters, is currently deployed on Op NEON, and is assisting in identifying maritime sanctions evasion activities.
- Despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces is maintaining its contributions to security and stability in the region in safe manner.
If pressed on Operation PROJECTION:
- Royal Canadian Navy deployments and presence in the Asia-Pacific provide a clear demonstration of Canada's interest in the collective peace of the region and our commitment to the rules-based international order.
If pressed on the HMCS Winnipeg Transit:
- HMCS Winnipeg recently transited through the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait while on route to Op NEON.
- Throughout its deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, HMCS Winnipeg will operate in a manner consistent with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
If pressed on Canada-China relations:
- Canada remains deeply concerned by China's actions, including the arbitrary detention and sentencing of Canadian citizens.
- The Canadian Armed Forces participates in bilateral and multilateral engagements with allies and partners in the region.
- This includes defence engagements, training, joint exercises, regular staff level talks, and staff exchanges.
- The Military Training and Cooperation Program supports activities with 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Canada's Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, calls for a tailored approach to global partnerships, including engaging growing actors in the Asia-Pacific region. To that end, Canada is committed to increasing defence engagement in the Asia-Pacific region via a strong and persistent presence.
- Canada continues to maintain its defence relationships with long-standing partners (such as Five Eyes members Australia and New Zealand), and is strengthening its bilateral ties with other regional partners (such as Japan and the Republic of Korea). The CAF participates in a wide range of defence engagement activities with these countries and other partners in the region.
- Part of the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) engagement activities are coordinated through the Military Training and Cooperation Program, which aims to enhance interoperability between partners in relation to peace support operations, to foster defence relations and promote democratic principles, the rule of law, international stability and the protection of human rights.
- Through Op PROJECTION, the CAF conducts training, exercises, and engagements with foreign navies and other international security partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Op NEON is Canada's contribution to the multinational effort to support the implementation of the United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea. These UNSC sanctions aim to pressure North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs and respond to North Korean nuclear weapon tests and missile launches.
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