Canadian Armed Forces commence military operation in Canada’s North

News release

February 26, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

This week, approximately 150 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will take part in Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT 2021, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

From February 27 to March 7, 2021, CAF members will conduct a series of activities in Canada’s Arctic to improve domain awareness and demonstrate the CAF’s ability to rapidly project forces throughout the North. The Operation also provides opportunities for the CAF to work collaboratively with other government departments and agencies, as well as local, territorial and Indigenous governments.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT 2021 will include a smaller task force than in previous years, with no international participation. All deployed CAF personnel will adhere to strict Territorial and Department of National Defence COVID-19 health protection measures, and activities are being carefully planned to mitigate potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 by military members and the local population.


“In the Canadian Arctic and the North, as in the rest of the country, defence, security, and safety are part of the essential requirements for the maintenance and development of healthy communities and a sustainable environment. Despite the challenges of operating in a COVID-19 environment, the CAF remains committed to enhancing our capacity to conduct operations in the Arctic and the North, and enhancing our ability to respond to a variety of situations in the region.”

Lieutenant-General Christopher Coates, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command

“Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT hones our ability to operate in challenging environments while demonstrating a consistent presence in Canada’s North. This year’s activities will provide an opportunity for us to adapt to and contend with a new reality of operating in a COVID-19 environment, while continuing to strengthen our collective understanding of this vital region.”

Brigadier-General Patrick Carpentier, Commander, Joint Task Force (North)

Quick facts

  • Commanded by Joint Task Force (North), all activities and phases of Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT 2021 are executed by Task Force elements, based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and operating in the surrounding area.

  • The Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT Task Force comprises Regular and Reserve Force personnel from the following units:

    • 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group members from the Wiilideh Patrol;
    • Primary Reserve units under 37 Canadian Brigade Group, based in Atlantic Canada;
    • Canadian Army Combat Divers from 4 Engineer Support Regiment, based in New Brunswick;
    • Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic and Pacific divers, from Nova Scotia and British Columbia;
    • Joint Task Force Support Component; and
    • The Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • To address concerns around COVID-19, this iteration of Operation NANOOK-NUNALIVUT is being hosted in Yellowknife, N.W.T., and deployed CAF personnel will stay in military accommodations or on the land away from the local community.

  • Op NANOOK-NUNALIVUT 2021 activities include:

    • Ice diving and underwater maneuvers;
    • Landing of CAF aircrafts on austere landing sites;
    • Long range patrols using Light Over-Snow Vehicles; and
    • Dismounted patrols.

Associated links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

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