Activities – Domestic

Operation LENTUS

  • The Canadian Armed Forces stand ready to answer the call to assist communities across Canada affected by natural disasters.
  • In January, approximately 400 women and men in uniform were deployed in Newfoundland and Labrador in response to record-breaking snowfall.
  • In 2019, approximately 3,000 military personnel deployed across Canada to help local authorities respond to hurricanes, floods and forest fires.
  • While we continue to respond to the unprecedented challenges associated with COVID-19, we will ensure that the military is also able to effectively respond to natural disasters.
  • We are always extremely proud of the work our women and men in uniform do to help Canadians across the country in their time of need.

Key Facts

  • In 2020:
    • 400 women and men deployed to Newfoundland and Labrador in response to a record-breaking snowstorm.
    • 750 snow removal tasks and 80 medical movements supported (Canadian Armed Forces supported transportation to attend medical appointments)
  • In 2019:
    • 5 deployments to respond to hurricanes, floods, and forest fires.
    • Approximately 3,000 military personnel deployed to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, including an evacuation of Pikangikum and Bearskin Lake First Nation communities in Ontario.


  • Operation LENTUS is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)’s response to natural disasters in Canada.
  • Provinces and territories can submit a request for federal assistance to the federal Minister of Public Safety after all other options have either been exhausted or are not viable given the urgency of the situation.
  • The Minister of Public Safety, on the advice of the Government Operations Centre, may determine that CAF assistance is required and subsequently request assistance from the Minister of National Defence. Following the receipt of the request, the Minister of National Defence makes the decision to employ the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Operation LENTUS follows an established plan of action to support provincial and territorial authorities as well as other Federal Government departments. This plan can be adapted to multiple situations. These might take the form of forest fires, floods, ice and snow storms, or hurricanes.
  • The objectives of Operation LENTUS are to mitigate the effect of natural disasters on the populations by assisting federal, provincial, and local authorities. This includes reassuring the Canadian public through CAF presence and activity, providing humanitarian assistance to help prevent and ease suffering, and ultimately save lives.
  • CAF personnel are prepared to respond rapidly and effectively to emergencies, and help affected Canadians in need.

Version 1 – 2020-06-11 – Source: Supps B Note 2020-03-09

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Snowbird plane – Operational pause

  • The loss of any member of the Canadian Armed Forces is devastating to our military community.
  • I would like to reiterate my sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Captain Casey.
  • As a result of the accident, the CT-114 Tutor fleet has been placed on an operational pause until a fleet-wide problem can be ruled-out.
  • Experts are conducting a thorough risk assessment on technical matters needed to support any recommendation to lift the operational pause.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces is also currently conducting a flight safety investigation into the circumstances surrounding this accident.
  • As part of this investigation, National Defence issued a preliminary report which identifies areas of focus for the ongoing investigation.
  • 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 CT-114 Tutor Fleet:

  • We are currently examining options for the full life-extension of the Tutor fleet until 2030.
  • The results of the flight safety investigation may inform our decision making in this matter.

Key Facts

CT-114 Tutor:

  • Current fleet: 35 (23 active, 12 stored in flyable conditions).
  • Procured in 1963 and used as training aircraft until 2000.
  • Snowbird team started flying the CT-114 Tutor aircraft in 1971.

CT-114 Tutor Life Extension beyond 2020:  

  • Will involve key upgrades to ensure the aircraft continues to meet modern regulatory requirements.
  • Estimated Project Costs: $25M to $30M
  • Scheduled to be completed by 2025


  • 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.
  • In the accident, Captain Jennifer Casey, Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431 Demonstration Squadron lost her life and Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the Coordinators for the flight team sustained non-life threatening injuries.
  • This accident generated significant interest from Parliamentarians who expressed their condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Captain Casey during the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliamentarians also questioned the safety of the aircraft due to its advanced age.
  • On June 1, 2020, the Department of National Defence’s Airworthiness Investigative Authority issued a preliminary From the Investigator report. The report is a brief summary of the circumstances and factual information known at this time. It also identifies areas of focus for the ongoing investigation.

CT-114 life extension project

  • This project will upgrade the avionics (electronic systems), including the communications and navigations systems, to ensure the aircraft continues to meet modern regulatory requirements.

Version 1 – 2020-06-15 – Source: QP Note on the Snowbird Accident

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  • This Government is enhancing the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to operate in a changing Arctic security environment and to defend Canadian sovereignty.
  • This means working to develop better surveillance, defence, and rapid-response capabilities in the North by:  
    • acquiring six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels;
    • pursuing the current process to procure 88 future generation fighter jets;
    • working with the United States to renew the North Warning System; and,
    • launching three RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites.  
  • We also maintain an active and persistent presence in the North through regular Canadian Armed Forces activities.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we paid particular attention to supporting the unique needs of Indigenous, Northern and Arctic communities during our planning.
  • At the peak of COVID-19 Response operations, there were approximately 1240 Canadian Rangers providing crucial support including wellness checks and the delivery of critical goods.
  • This support was provided in:
    • The Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
    • the Northern areas of Quebec; and
    • Ontario and other provinces.
  • Our efforts contribute to the collective defence of North America and will ensure that the Arctic and Northerners continue to be safe, secure, and well-defended.

Key Facts

  • Approximately 1,800 Rangers in the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group work in 60 communities throughout the North.
  • Canadian Armed Forces infrastructure in the North includes:
    • The North Warning System;
    • Three NORAD forward operating locations
    • Canadian Forces Station Alert;
    • The Arctic Training Centre in Resolute Bay; and,
    • Nanisivik Naval Facility.
  • Approximately 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel stationed in Yellowknife with Joint Task Force North and other units.
  • Approximately 5,000 Canadian Rangers nation-wide of which 26% self-identify as Indigenous.


Operations in the North

  • OP BOXTOP: The bi-annual resupply of Canadian Forces Station Alert and Fort Eureka.
  • OP LIMPID: The routine, and contingency, domestic surveillance and control in Canada’s air, maritime, land, and space domains.
  • OP NANOOK: A signature Arctic training operation, reinforces the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a key partner and expert in Arctic safety, security, and defence.
  • OP NEVUS: An annual operation to perform maintenance on the High Arctic Data Communications System.

CAF capabilities in the Arctic

  • In Strong, Secured, Engaged, National Defence committed to acquiring next generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems, and all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and larger tracked vehicles for use in the Arctic.
  • National Defence has also taken the following steps to further improve the CAF’s presence and ability to operate in the Arctic.
    • Modernizing CAF capabilities in the Arctic, including through the acquisition for six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and supporting the modernization of the Inuvik Airport runway.
    • Launching the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in 2019, which enhance the CAF’s ability to monitor Canada’s maritime and northern approaches.
    • Investing in a range of space capabilities, such as satellite communications that achieve global coverage, including in the Arctic.
    • Launching the All Domain Situational Awareness Science and Technology Program in 2015 and a subsequent science and technology program to help find innovative solutions to address surveillance challenges in the North.

Arctic and northern policy framework

  • In 2019, Canada’s Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs released the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, which provides a long-term vision for federal activities in the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic through to 2030. The framework reinforces Arctic priorities set out in Strong Secured, Engaged and aligns with direction provided from the Prime Minister to the Minister of National Defence in the latest mandate letter.

Version 1 – 2020-06-11 – Source: Note for Supps B 2020-03-09

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