Activities – International

Peacekeeping

Line item note on Operation PRESENCE

  • In November 2017, Canada committed to supporting UN peacekeeping, including several “Smart Pledges” that provide specialized military capabilities to UN peace support operations.
  • In 2018-2019, Canada delivered on its first “Smart Pledge” by providing aeromedical evacuations and air transport in support of UN forces in Mali.
  • Canada is delivering on another commitment by operating a CC-130J Hercules out of Entebbe, Uganda, that transports cargo and personnel in support of UN operations across the region.
  • Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions for air crew entering Uganda, we have had to cancel the May and June episodes.
  • We are currently reviewing whether the conditions are right for the scheduled deployment of the aircraft in July.
  • As part of the Elsie initiative, the Canadian Armed Forces will provide the Ghanaian Armed Forces with training and support to increase the participation of women in UN peace operations.
  • We are awaiting the completion of a barrier assessment that has been delayed due to COVID-19, before identifying and developing training supports.

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.

Key Facts

  • Canada currently has 24 military peacekeepers deployed in 5 UN operations (4/24 are women – 17%)
  • COVID-19: The rotation of peacekeepers is currently suspended.
  • Since August 2019, Canada’s CC-130J aircraft in Entebbe, Uganda, has transported over 400,000 pounds of cargo 
  • Supplementary Estimates (A) 2020-21 request: $4.67M for the tactical airlift lift in Entebbe and closing out payments for Mali.
  • Main Estimates 2020-21 request: $225,000 for the Vancouver Principles Contribution Program.

Details

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” to provide 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.
  • From August 2018 to August 2019, Canada delivered on 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. 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. This support is currently on pause as the host nation has instituted strict COVID-19 protocols that affect all arriving flight crew.

Elsie Initiative

  • 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, to double the current rate of women’s participation as military peacekeepers and police peacekeepers.
  • Canada is establishing bilateral technical assistance support and training partnerships with the governments of Ghana and Zambia, specifically the Ghana Armed Forces and Zambia Police Service. 
  • A barrier assessment is currently being conducted in conjunction with the Ghana Armed Forces that will identify obstacles to the meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping operations. This will inform approaches that ensure the right conditions are in place to increase the deployment of women into meaningful roles and leadership positions and engage with host communities.

Vancouver Principles

  • In November 2017, Canada also 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, 96 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.

Version 1 – 2020-06-11

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Operation IMPACT

  • Canada’s contribution to Operation IMPACT has been essential to countering Daesh, and fostering security, and stability in the Middle East.
  • The Government of Iraq has temporarily paused Coalition and NATO training activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • As a result, we have repositioned equipment and redeployed approximately 400 personnel to Canada.
  • Currently, less than 125 military members remain in Iraq, including some Special Operations Forces personnel.
  • Our commitment to stability in the Middle East remains strong and personnel levels will be readjusted when the conditions are right.
  • 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.

Key Facts

  • Some 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 will resume when the conditions are right.

Details

  • The spread of COVID-19 has caused the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to temporarily suspend all Coalition and NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) training activities. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) remains ready to return to their Coalition and NMI activities when conditions allow.

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 are 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.
  • 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 30, 2020. Following completion of its command, the CAF will continue contributing military assets to the NATO training mission in Iraq until March 31, 2021.

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.

Version 1 – 2020-06-11 – Source: QP Note on Operation IMPACT

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Operation UNIFIER

  • Canada’s support to Ukraine remains unwavering.
  • Through Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces provides Ukrainian Security Forces with specialized military training to help Ukraine increase stability and security.
  • As announced on March 26, 2020, we reduced the number of personnel deployed to Operation UNIFIER and temporarily paused our training activities.
  • While 200 personnel were originally scheduled to deploy to Ukraine in April, this was reduced to 60 to maintain the health and safety of our women and men in uniform.
  • On June 14, additional members were deployed to the mission, bringing the number of Canadian Armed Forces members in Ukraine to 149.
  • These members are maintaining mission-critical activities, alongside our allied and partner nations, as well as coordinating and planning activities for future training exercises.

If pressed on the provision of lethal aid:

  • Canada remains committed to supplying Ukraine with important non-lethal military equipment.
  • This includes vital equipment such as communications systems, explosive disposal equipment, medical kits, and night vision goggles.

Key Facts

  • Canadian Armed Forces deployments to Operation UNIFER:
    • 200+ personnel previously deployed prior to last rotation
    • As of June 14, 149 personnel deployed
  • Personnel will observe a 14-day isolation period on arrival in Ukraine.
  • On March 18, 2019, Canada announced the renewal of Operation UNIFIER until March 31, 2022.
  • Achievement: Since 2015, the Canadian Armed Forces have trained 18,096 Ukrainian Security Forces.
  • Supplementary Estimates (A) 2020-21 request: $25.4M to continue training support, capacity building, and professionalization of the Security Forces of Ukraine.

Details

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Parliamentarians maintain a sustained interest in Canada’s ongoing support to Ukraine, including through Operation UNIFIER. In February 2020, National Defence officials provided an informal briefing to Parliamentarians on Operation UNIFIER, as well as Operation REASSURANCE – Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

Version 4 – 2020-06-15 – Source: Supps B 2019-2020 note: Operation UNIFIER, QP Note on Proposed Peacekeeping Mission in Ukraine

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Operation REASSURANCE 

  • Our commitment to NATO remains unwavering as demonstrated through our continued leadership in Operation REASSURANCE.
  • On the ground, at sea, and over the skies of Central and Eastern Europe, Canada continues to work alongside our Allies to increase security and stability. We are:
    • Leading a multinational NATO Battle Group in Latvia until 2023;
    • Contributing to the Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Two in European waters; and,
    • Deploying an Air Task Force on a rotational basis in support of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing activities.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have fully maintained our presence in Central and Eastern Europe, while taking a number of measures to protect the health and well-being of our members.
  • As the next contingent of Canadian Armed Force members prepares to deploy to Latvia this summer, they will undergo isolation in Canada before their deployment into theatre.
  • As part of our new posture, we have also shifted our focus to maintaining only mission-critical activities.
  • Canada will continue to work with our NATO Allies to enhance our collective security and promote stability around the world.

Key Facts

  • Number of currently deployed personnel across land, air, and sea components: approximately 710.
  • Canada is the Framework nation for the NATO Battle Group in Latvia comprised of approximately 1500 soldiers from 8 other Allied contributing nations.
  • HMCS Fredericton is currently deployed to the Baltic Sea to provide support to Standing NATO Maritime Group One.             
    • In 2019, Commodore Josée Kurtz was the first woman to command Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.
    • In 2020, Commodore Brad Peats will command Standing NATO Maritime Group One.
  • Canada deploys an Air Task Force to participate in NATO enhanced Air Policing each year.
    • The last rotation, which returned from Romania in January 2020, included approximately 135 Canadian Armed Forces members and 5 CF-18 Hornets
    • $111.4 million will be used to support our contribution to NATO land, maritime, and air activities in Central and Eastern Europe, including:
      • Operational and tactical level demonstrations;
      • Maneuvers; and
      • Enhanced interoperability activities with Allies and partners.
  • Supplementary Estimates (A) 2020-21 request: $111.4M to support our contribution to NATO land, maritime, and air activities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Details

Recent parliamentary interest

  • On April 29, 2020, a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) 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.
  • This accident generated significant interest from Parliamentarians who expressed their condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the fallen members during the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliamentarians also questioned the safety of the aircraft and the perceived history of procurement challenges associated with the Cyclone Helicopter.
  • Parliamentarians have demonstrated sustained interest in Canada’s contributions to Operation REASSURANCE writ large. In February 2020, National Defence officials provided an informal briefing to Parliamentarians on Operation REASSURANCE, as well as Operation UNIFIER – Canada’s training mission to assist with security force training in Ukraine.

Operation REASSURANCE

  • The 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 is leading 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.
  • This is the largest and most multinational of the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups.
  • Up to 540 CAF members are deployed on an ongoing basis 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 conducts collective training and exercises, serving to bolster Latvian territorial integrity, defence capabilities, and 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

  • Canada regularly contributes one frigate to either Standing NATO Maritime Group One or Two, conducting Maritime Security Awareness patrols and surveillance in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Under the command of Commodore Josée Kurtz, Canada led 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 is currently assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group One in the North Atlantic. It will participate in Baltic Sea and North Atlantic exercises until it is relieved in theatre by HMCS Toronto in July 2020.

Air task force

  • Canada is contributing to a peacetime collective air policing mission to safeguard the integrity of NATO airspace.
  • On January 3, 2020, Air Task Force Romania completed a four-month NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania. The Air Task Force consisted of five CF-188 Hornets and approximately 135 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel.

Version 1 – 2020-06-12 – Source: Supps B 2019-2020 note: Operation REASSURANCE, QP Note on Leadership of NATO Battle Group in Latvia and Other Activities in Eastern Europe (Operation REASSURANCE)

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Cyclone helicopter – Operational pause

  • The Canadian Armed Forces continues to ensure that operations and training are conducted in a safe and deliberate manner.
  • In the wake of the tragic accident, the Canadian Armed Forces placed the Cyclone fleet on an operational pause.
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force has now concluded its initial investigation and completed a thorough risk assessment.
  • We are now implementing mitigation measures and new training procedures.
  • Once the Wing Commander is satisfied that mitigation measures are complete and our aircrews are fully prepared to resume flying safely, he will authorise a return to operations.
  • The Airworthiness Investigative Authority continues to investigate the tragic accident in an independent manner, and the Royal Canadian Air Force will continue to ensure the safety of our aircrews.

Key Facts

  • The investigation confirmed the accident was not a result of mechanical failure; it was a rare anomaly which occurred under a very specific and narrow set of circumstances.

CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter:

  • Delivered to date: 20 out of 28 (first delivery 2015)
  • Project costs: $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

Details

  • The investigation confirmed the accident was not a result of mechanical failure; it was a rare anomaly which occurred under a very specific and narrow set of circumstances. The Cyclone did not respond in a way that the crew was expecting during a manoeuver to align with the ship.
  • The Wing Commander will determine when the Cyclone fleet will resume operations upon completion of all mitigation measures and training procedures. These measures include training in the flight simulator, updates to training syllabus, updates to publications, and operational maneuvering.
  • On April 29, 2020, a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) 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
  • Directorate of Flight Safety initial report on the accident was released June 8, 2020, and is focusing on aircraft systems and human factors to determine cause.
  • The US Navy assisted the CAF with specialized equipment and personnel during the search and recovery of human remains and the helicopter. Efforts led to the recovery of human remains and of critical equipment for the investigation. This is in addition to the flight data and voice recorders that had been previously recovered from the crash site. All the equipment recovered is undergoing analysis in Ottawa (NRC) and Gatineau (QETE).
  • This accident generated significant interest from Parliamentarians who expressed their condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the fallen members during the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliamentarians also questioned the safety of the aircraft and the perceived history of procurement challenges associated with the Cyclone Helicopter.

Procurement of the Cyclone helicopter

  • In 2004, the Government of Canada awarded a contract to Sikorsky for 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters to replace the fleet of aging Sea King Helicopters in service since the 1960s.
  • The Cyclones are being delivered following a “blocking strategy” which consists of the gradual introduction of capabilities throughout five versions of the helicopters. The Block One Cyclone offered a basic range of capabilities allowing aircrew training and initial operational evaluation. The Block Two Cyclone provides a full spectrum of maritime warfare, search and rescue, and utility capabilities. As new capabilities are introduced, Cyclone helicopters already delivered and in service will be upgraded.

Version 3 – 2020-06-17 – Source: QP Note on the Cyclone Helicopter Accident.

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