Canadian Armed Forces Support to Whole-of-Government Response to COVID-19
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces has contributed to whole-of-government efforts in response to COVID-19.
The Canadian Armed Forces played a critical role in initial response efforts, including repatriating Canadians from outbreak epicentres across the world and housing returnees at CFB Trenton for their quarantine.
When it became clear that COVID-19 posed a serious threat within Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces answered the call.
This support included responses to Requests for Assistance across the country, to include logistical support to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Canadian Rangers were also active across Canada, where they provided assistance to northern and Indigenous communities.
Most notably, the Canadian Armed Forces helped provincial partners support some of our most vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities.
Looking ahead, the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to remain responsive to new challenges that emerge as a result of COVID-19.
National Defence stands ready to provide support to federal, provincial, and territorial partners in response to COVID-19, while also maintaining operational readiness abroad.
Operation GLOBE activities:
The Canadian Armed Forces assisted in the repatriation and quarantine of a total of 870 individuals at CFB Trenton, and the NAVCENTRE, Cornwall.
The CAF delivered over 180,000 lbs of medical supplies into Latin America and the Caribbean between July 23rd and August 3rd, 2020
Operation LASER activities:
Through Op LASER, approximately 1,700 CAF members deployed to support long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario.
A total of 47 facilities in Quebec
A total of 7 facilities in Ontario
Another 30 CAF members assisted Public Health Ontario in conducting contact tracing over a 71 day period, establishing contact with 1536 individuals.
CAF infrastructure was used to house testing equipment, distribute essential medical equipment domestically, and transport personal protective equipment samples for testing in the US.
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are sometimes asked to help other Canadian federal departments with various tasks or to participate in Government of Canada activities abroad. When these tasks involve working outside of Canada, Canadian Armed Forces personnel deploy under Operation GLOBE.
As a part of Operation LASER, the CAF provided support to Government of Canada objectives and requests for assistance.
This included support in long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario by assisting with day-to-day operations, helping with the coordination and provision of medical care, and providing general support.
Northern and Indigenous Communities
In the COVID-19 environment our Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups remain ready to support community leaders and provincial and territorial COVID-19 awareness programs. The Rangers will also help identify potential emerging demands of the communities in which they operate.
Recent Parliamentary and Media Interest
There has been sustained media and parliamentary interest in all aspects of the Canadian Armed Forces' support to whole-of-government efforts in response to COVID-19, particularly the CAF's role in repatriating Canadians from overseas and the CAF's more recent deployment to long-term care facilities.
On February 5, 2020 and February 26, 2020, National Defence officials appeared before the House Standing Committee on Health (HESA) to provide testimony on the CAF's role in the medical screening and repatriation of Canadians.
On June 26, 2020 National Defence officials appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to provide testimony on the CAF's role in the government's response to COVID-19.
On July 20, 2020 the House Standing Committee on Health passed a motion for the production of papers, requesting documents from National Defense on CAF support to long-term care facilities in Ontario.