May 27, 2020 – Appearance by the Minister of National Defence
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 asked for assistance to help in long-term care facilities and the Canadian Armed Forces have answered the call.
- Military personnel are making a real difference and have transitioned out of five facilities in Quebec and one in Ontario that no longer require our support.
- Canadian Armed Forces members have also been re-positioned to three new facilities identified by Quebec as requiring support.
- Military personnel continue to provide assistance in twenty-three long term care facilities in Quebec and four facilities in Ontario.
- Our personnel take pride in supporting Canadians and have quickly adapted to performing new tasks in this dynamic environment.
If Pressed on Cases of COVID-19 Among CAF Members
- Every day, military personnel risk their own health and safety to protect vulnerable Canadians.
- This is why the Canadian Armed Forces ensures its personnel are properly trained and equipped to provide assistance in Long Term Care Facilities.
- Processes are in place to remove any ill military personnel from the facilities and to provide them with appropriate medical attention.
- The Canadian Armed Forces continues to build best practices and to seek ways to further mitigate risks.
- As of 25 May, 39 military personnel who were providing support in facilities in Quebec and Ontario have tested positive for COVID-19.
- To respect the privacy of the members, I will not go into further detail regarding the condition of their health.
If Pressed on Special Duty Pay for CAF Personnel In LTCF
- The Canadian Armed Forces are working diligently to assist vulnerable populations in Long Term Care Facilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Following advice from the Surgeon General, military personnel are applying all protocols to mitigate the hazards associated with COVID-19.
- We recognize that COVID-19 poses unique hazards for Canadian Armed Forces personnel operating in these facilities.
- This is why the Chief of the Defence Staff has tasked his staff to pursue hazard allowance for members directly engaged inside these facilities.
- We will continue to support our troops as they provide assistance to communities across Canada.
If Pressed on Reporting on Care of Residents in LTCF
- Military Personnel have worked diligently to assist vulnerable populations in a total of five Ontario Long Term Care Facilities affected by COVID-19.
- In the course of their duties, personnel observed and documented a number of issues relating to the provision of care to residents in some facilities.
- Canadian Armed Forces members have an obligation to report significant observations when they serve.
- These reports were consolidated and moved, all the way up the chain of command.
- Given severity of these issues, I communicated these observations to the Minister Public Safety Canada who then informed the Province of Ontario.
- Military members in Quebec facilities follow similar reporting procedures and any observations would be communicated through appropriate channels.
- Canadian Armed Forces members will continue to provide compassionate care to long-term care residents as part of their ongoing deployment.
Location of CAF Assistance in LTCF
- Quebec: CAF personnel assisting in twenty-three facilities in and around Montreal.
- 19 facilities on the island of Montreal
- 1 facility in Longueil
- 1 facilities in Saint-Lambert
- 1 facilities in Laval
- 1 facility in L'île-Bizard
- Ontario: CAF personnel assisting in four facilities in and around Toronto.
- 1 facility in Scarborough
- 1 facility in Pickering
- 1 facility in Etobicoke
- 1 facility in North York
COVID-19 cases within the CAF population providing support in LTCF
- Quebec: 24 Tested Positive
- Ontario: 15 Tested Positive
Responsible Principals: Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) - May 26, 2020
Advice to the Minister - Snowbirds Aircraft Accident
Question: Can the Minister of National Defence provide an update on the circumstances of the Snowbirds aircraft accident in the vicinity of Kamloops, BC?
- 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 colleagues of Captain Casey, and I wish Captain MacDougall a complete recovery.
- I would also like to thank first responders in Kamloops for responding to this incident, which has impacted their community.
- 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 the Life-Extension of the Tutor Fleet
- We will continue to provide Canadian Armed Forces members with the equipment they need to do their jobs.
- We are currently examining options for the full life-extension of the Tutor fleet until 2030.
- The results of the flight safety investigation will inform our decision making in this matter.
- Accident: On May 17, 2020, shortly after take-off from the Kamloops Airport, a CT-114 Tutor Snowbird crashed in a residential area near the airfield. The aircraft crashed into a home however occupants were not reported to have suffered any injuries.
- Lost and injured Canadian Armed Forces members:
- Captain Jennifer Casey, Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431 Demonstration Squadron lost her life in the accident.
- Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the Coordinators for the flight team sustained non-life threatening injuries in the accident.
- Investigation: A Royal Canadian Air Force Flight Safety Investigation team arrived in Kamloops on May 18, 2020, to investigate the circumstances of the accident.
- Implications for Op INSPIRATION: Further demonstrations of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds are postponed indefinitely.
- Implications for the CT-114 Tutor Fleet: As a result of the accident, the CT-114 Tutor fleet has been placed on operational pause.
- CT-114 Tutor Life extension to 2030:
- This project will upgrade the avionics (electronic systems), including the communications and navigations systems, to ensure the aircraft continues to meet modern regulatory requirements.
- Upgrades to all of the RCAF Tutor aircraft are scheduled to be completed by 2025.
- Tutor Aircraft Maintenance:
- RCAF technicians ensure daily maintenance and repairs. A maintenance team travels with the Snowbird demonstration team.
- Periodic in-depth repair and overhaul work is contracted to third parties, which includes taking apart and rebuilding the engine and airframe to inspect each individual part.
- There are currently three distinct contracts for repair and overhaul on the Tutor aircraft (one for the engines, one for the engineering support, and one for the airframe).
Responsible Principals: Strategic Joint Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force, Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) - May 21, 2020
Advice to the Minister - HMCS Fredericton Helicopter Accident
Question: Can the Minister of National Defence provide an update on the investigation into the helicopter accident and recovery of the helicopter?
- The loss of members of the Canadian Armed Forces is devastating to their families and to our military community.
- I offer my sincere condolences to the families, friends and crewmates of the six brave heroes who lost their lives.
- Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been working with the United States Navy to locate the wreckage of the CH-148 Cyclone.
- On May 27, a combined Canadian and American search and recovery team located the remains of our fallen personnel and a piece of the fuselage.
- Our top priority is repatriating the remains of the fallen back to Canada – with dignity and respect – to give some measure of closure to their loved ones.
- We remain determined to understand what happened, and in this respect, recovering the helicopter is critical.
- The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to keep the families of the fallen informed of our plans throughout this process.
- Accident: On April 29, 2020, a Canadian Armed Forces CH-148 Cyclone operating from HMCS FREDERICTON was lost at sea while it was returning to ship following 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 took place on May 6, 2020, in Trenton.
- Ongoing Recovery Operations: The US Navy is assisting the CAF with the search and recovery for the helicopter, with specialised equipment and personnel.
- 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.
- Procurement of the Cyclone helicopter: A total of 28 Cyclones are being delivered following a blocking strategy, which consists of the gradual introduction of capabilities throughout five versions of the helicopters.
- Contract Award: 2004
- First Delivery: 6 Cyclones in 2015
- Deliveries to Date: 20 Cyclones
- 6 Block One helicopters (offer a basic but increasing range of capabilities that allowed aircrew training and initial operational test and evaluation to start)
- 14 Block Two helicopters (capable of the full spectrum of maritime warfare, search and rescue, and utility roles)
- Project cost: $3.174B
- Helicopter acquisition through Sikorsky: $1.9B
- Initial set up of in-service support through Sikorsky: $588M
- Modification of Royal Canadian Navy frigates, acquisition of communication equipment and project management: $686M.
- Project end: 2022
Responsible Principals: Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force - May 20, 2020.
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