Update on Canadian Armed Forces’ response to COVID-19 pandemic
May 7, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces
Canadians can trust that, in times of need, their Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be there for them. This is especially true right now, as people from coast to coast to coast come together to face the unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the CAF is no exception. As active members of our communities, we are proud to be there for our federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous partners when needed.
Caring for elders and vulnerable people in Long Term Care Facilities
As part of the response underway to help Canadians in the context of COVID‑19, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have been supporting civilian authorities in Quebec since April 20, 2020, and in Ontario since April 28, 2020, as agreed between the provincial and federal governments.
Members deployed in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs, or CHSLD in Quebec) are working collaboratively with their provincial partners and with medical staff in the homes to maintain staffing levels and help with infection control and prevention. They are providing assistance with the day-to-day operations, helping with the coordination and provision of medical care, and providing general support at the identified facilities.
In Quebec, on April 20th, the Canada Armed Forces were deployed in the originally requested five long-term care facilities following a request for assistance. Following this initial deployment, CAF scaled up to 13 long-term care facilities.
And as of today, the 7th of May, the CAF will have over 1020 personnel committed to the support of 20 long-term care facilities in Quebec. Of this number, over 670 medical and support personnel are contributing inside the facilities, while nearly 350 individuals are providing essential day-to-day support, such as delivering personal protective equipment and other needed supplies, maintaining liaison with the Province, as well as planning to refine operations to better support the patients of the long-term care facilities.
Additional CAF members will be deployed in the coming days to support Quebec’s most vulnerable residents. We expect to have approximately 1350 CAF members dedicated to this task in support of up to 25 facilities when the deployment is complete.
As requested by Quebec, the Canadian Armed Forces are currently serving in:
- Grace Dart Extended Care Centre (Montreal)
- CHSLD Vigi Reine-Elizabeth (Montreal)
- Résidence Berthiaume-Du Tremblay (Montreal)
- CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal (Ville Mont-Royal)
- CHSLD Floralies-De-Lasalle (Lasalle)
- Centre d’hébergement de Saint-Laurent (Saint-Laurent)
- CHSLD Argyle (Saint-Lambert)
- CHSLD Benjamin-Victor-Rousselot (Montreal)
- Manoir de Verdun (Montreal)
- Centre d’hébergement Yvon-Brunet (Montreal)
- CHSLD Hôpital Sainte-Anne (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue)
- CHSLD Valéo (Saint-Lambert)
- CHSLD Villa Val des Arbres (Laval)
- CHSLD Auclair
- CHSLD de la Rive
- CHSLD Eloria-Lepage (Montréal)
- Centre d'Hébergement Jean-De-La-Lande (Montréal)
- Centre d’Hébergement Saint-Andrew (Montréal)
- CHSLD Denis-Benjamin Viger (L'île-Bizard)
- Le Bellagio (Longueuil)
These task-tailored teams have been generated by the CAF from military bases across the country. Before being integrated, members have undergone instruction in how to integrate with health services staff, they have been trained on the use of medical-grade personal protective equipment, and they have also received a mandatory long-term care facility orientation facilitated by Quebec.
Last week, the CAF has started to assist in five Long Term Care Facilities (LTCFs) across the Greater Toronto Area. This was in response to a Request for Assistance from the Province of Ontario.
While the exact number of deployed personnel fluctuates, the CAF is employing approximately 265 medical and support personnel.
As requested by Ontario, CAF members are now serving in:
- Orchard Villa (Pickering),
- Altamont Care Community (Scarborough),
- Eatonville (Etobicoke),
- Hawthorne Place (North York), and
- Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor (Brampton)
Conditions at these LTCFs and others across the country are being monitored by the provinces and CAF support may be reassessed as required. The CAF’s support to these LTCFs is intended as an interim measure to help Ontario and Quebec get through a critical situation over the short term.
Canadian Rangers and the CAF’s presence in remote areas
The Canadian Rangers are active members of their communities and they are proud to help out during these difficult times. As a result of COVID-19, approximately 1,200 Rangers are employed throughout many communities across Canada.
In Quebec, the Canadian Rangers have deployed to Nunavik, Côte-Nord and Basse-Côte-Nord to support these remote communities in their fight against COVID-19. Our Canadian Rangers are making a difference stop and slow the spread of COVID-19, preparing triage points to facilitate the work of healthcare personnel, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations,.
In Northern Saskatchewan, the Canadian Rangers are providing logistical support including wellness checks, transportation and distribution of local supplies to community members. They are also assisting in staffing municipal/community-operated command posts and emergency centres, gathering data and statistics on the COVID-19 relief efforts, and supporting community food security through hunting, gathering and fishing. Some are also assisting community elders by cutting and delivering firewood, hauling and refilling water, and delivering medications and groceries.
In British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii archipelago, in Yukon, in the Northwest Territories and in Nunavut, the Canadian Rangers are providing logistical support including wellness checks; gathering data and statistics on the current state of the community relative to the COVID-19 relief efforts; and delivering critical goods to people in need including groceries and prescription medications.
The work the Rangers are doing on a daily basis provides valuable information to the Government about the on the ground situation in Northern, Indigenous and remote communities across the country.
“We know many Canadians are worried about their loved ones in these facilities. They are concerned about the health and the added stress of the isolation that our parents and grandparents are experiencing. It is why when the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces are called to serve, they do so. The entire Defence Team has been working hard to support the requests from Ontario and Quebec. To confront the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians can be assured that the CAF will provide immediate support to health care workers and some of our most vulnerable populations within these facilities. Our country is going through difficult times during an unprecedented health crisis, and I want to salute the efforts of our troops as well as that of all frontline workers dedicated to ensuring the safety of their fellow Canadians.”
— The Honourable Harjit S.Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
The health and safety of our people, and those they are supporting, is our top priority. Each deployment is carefully coordinated with on-site medical personnel. CAF members that will be deployed in these facilities are receiving proper training and medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment to limit their risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
As the situation across the country evolves, we will continue to work with civil authorities to make sure that CAF support is available where and when it is needed most — as part of Canada’s pandemic response, or in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster.
At the same time, the CAF is continuing to participate in international operations, including in NATO allied exercises as part of Operation Reassurance. Following last week’s tragic helicopter accident off the coast of Greece, investigation and recovery efforts are ongoing, and recovered remains were repatriated to Canada this week.
Department of National Defence
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