May 5, 2020 – Appearance by the Minister of National Defence
Advice to the Minister – Canadian Armed Forces Support to the Whole-of-Government Response to COVID-19
Question: Why is the Canadian Armed Forces not doing more to help Canadians in response to COVID-19?
- The Canadian Armed Forces has been a key part of the Government’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19.
- In February, the military supported the repatriation of 653 Canadians by providing medical teams on flights and housing at CFB Trenton.
- In March, the Prime Minister announced the mobilization of up to 24,000 Regular and Reserve members to help Canadians at home.
- Currently, our women and men in uniform are answering the call to help Canadians. For example:
- The Canadian Rangers are providing support to First Nations communities and municipalities across the country;
- Military members are providing assistance to residents in long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario; and
- Personnel are making telephone calls in support to Health Ontario, alongside with Health Canada, to assist with contact tracing.
- Canadian Armed Forces planners and liaison officers are also embedded in federal and provincial organizations to help coordinate requests for assistance.
- National Defence will continue to work with all levels of government to provide the support Canadians need, when they need it.
Operation LASER preparations include:
- Reserve Force: Approximately 6,700 Reservists are being employed on a full-time basis to supplement the Regular Force.
- Canadian Rangers: Approximately 1,260 Canadian Rangers have been mobilized to support Northern, remote, and Indigenous communities as needed.
- Royal Canadian Navy: The Royal Canadian Navy have prepared two ships, to assist coastal communities on short-notice.
- Crews have been in isolation in Halifax, to ensure they are ready to assist as required.
Operation GLOBE activities have included:
- Canadian Armed Forces: A total of 270 personnel were deployed, working alongside The Public Health Agency of Canada, Global Affairs, and other Government partners.
- The Canadian Armed Forces assisted in the repatriation and quarantine of a total of 859 individuals at CFB Trenton, and the NAVCENTRE, Cornwall.
- Including an additional 42 Canadian Armed Forces members and other Government of Canada personnel.
Responsible Principals: Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) – May 05, 2020
Advice to the Minister – Canadian Armed Forces Assistance to Long Term Care Facilities
Question: Why is the Canadian Armed Forces not doing more to provide assistance in long term care facilities?
- The Canadian Armed Forces always stand ready to assist communities across Canada.
- The Quebec and Ontario governments have asked for assistance to help in long-term care facilities.
- The Canadian Armed Forces have answered the call.
- Military personnel are on the ground and making a real difference in thirteen long term care facilities in Quebec, and are preparing to deploy to additional facilities.
- Canadian Armed Forces members are also providing support in five long-term care facilities in Ontario.
- We will announce more information about these efforts as soon as possible.
Quebec: CAF personnel assisting in thirteen facilities in and around Montreal.
- 10 facilities on the island of Montreal (including Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue)
- 2 facilities in Saint-Lambert (south shore)
- 1 facility in Laval
Ontario: CAF personnel assisting in five facilities in and around Toronto.
- 1 facility in Scarborough
- 1 facility in Pickering
- 1 facility in Etobicoke
- 1 facility in North York
- 1 facility in Brampton
Responsible Principals: Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) – May 5, 2020
Advice to the Minister – HMCS Fredericton Helicopter Accident
Question: Can the Minister of National Defence provide an update on the circumstances of the helicopter accident which took place in the Mediterranean?
- The loss of any member of the Canadian Armed Forces is devastating to our military community.
- I offer my sincere condolences to the families, friends and crewmates of the six brave heroes who lost their lives.
- The Canadian Armed Forces has launched a flight safety investigation into the circumstances surrounding this accident.
- We will continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety of all military members and ensure that accidents like this do not happen again.
If pressed on Canada’s role in NATO’s Maritime Standing Group 2
- The Canadian Armed Forces contributes to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures across Central and Eastern Europe.
- As part of this ongoing contribution, Canada is working alongside our Allies on land, in the air, and at sea.
- This includes the deployment of one Canadian frigate to a maritime group, which conducts surveillance and deterrence in support of NATO.
- In January, HMCS FREDERICTON deployed to the Mediterranean, with the Cyclone helicopter onboard to provide support.
- Accident: On April 29, 2020, contact was lost with a Canadian Armed Forces CH-148 Cyclone operating from HMCS FREDERICTON, during an exercise as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean.
- Six CAF members lost their lives in the accident:
- Captain Brenden MacDonald
- Captain Maxime Miron-Morin
- Captain Kevin Hagen
- Master Corporal Matthew Cousins
- Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke
- Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough
- Ceremony: The Ramp ceremony is scheduled for May 6, 2020, in Trenton.
- Ongoing Recovery Operations: Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 allies have completed their support in locating debris. Further salvage options are being considered at this time.
- Investigation: A Flight Safety Investigation team is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this accident, and determining next steps. The flight data and voice recorders have been recovered, and are undergoing analysis in Ottawa.
- Implications for the Cyclone Fleet: As a result of this accident, an operational pause has been ordered for the CH-148 Cyclone fleet.
Responsible Principals:Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force – May 5, 2020
Advice to the Minister – Parliamentary Budget Officer Costing of Class C Employment for Op LASER
Question: Can the Minister of National Defence explain if the figures produced by the PBO match his department’s accounting?
- The Canadian Armed Forces always stands ready to assist communities across Canada.
- This is why we announced the mobilization of up to 24,000 Canadian Armed Forces members to stand ready to help – including 10,000 Reservists.
- We thank the PBO for his costing analysis of the Government’s response to COVID-19, including the mobilization of the Reserve Force.
- As our military planning and deployments evolve, we will continue to share up-to-date information with Parliament, as well as with the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
- On April 28, 2019, the PBO published its costing analysis of The Incremental Cost of Employing 10,000 Reservists as Part of CAF Readiness Efforts in Response to COVID-19.
- The PBO’s analysis covers the incremental salary cost of employing reservists on full-time contracts for a period of 144 days. It accounts for employee benefit costs, temporary duty allowances, deployment costs, and support costs.
- The PBO estimates the total cost to be $456 million in FY 2020-2021.
Responsible Principals: Assistance Deputy Minister (Finance), Strategic Joint Staff, Assistance Deputy Minister (Policy) – April 28, 2020
Advice to the Minister – Countering misinformation On COVID-19
Question: What is the Government doing to counter misinformation about COVID-19?
- Cyber threat actors are attempting to take advantage of Canadians’ heightened levels of concern and fears around COVID-19.
- That is why, in coordination with industry partners, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is taking action against malicious cyber actors.
- Our coordinated efforts have contributed to the removal of thousands of fraudulent sites or email addresses designed for malicious cyber activity.
- CSE also continues to provide critical foreign intelligence to inform decisions on Canada’s approach to COVID-19.
- Canadians need to be able to trust official Government of Canada sources, and we are taking action to ensure they can.
- Misinformation on COVID-19:
- COVID-19 has presented cybercriminals and fraudsters with an effective lure to encourage victims to visit fake web sites, open e-mail attachments, and click on text message links. These e-mails typically impersonate health organizations, and can pretend to be from the Government of Canada.
- CSE and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security:
- The Communications Security Establishment, in coordination with industry partners, is taking action that is contributing to the removal of a number of fraudulent sites that have spoofed the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, and the Canada Border Services Agency.
- The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has also shared advice and guidance to help inform and educate Canadians about how to stay safe online.
Responsible Principals: Communications Security Establishment – April 20, 2020
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