Operation NANOOK 2021 activities begin in Canada’s Arctic region

News release

August 3, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

From August 3 to September 12, 2021, approximately 250 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will take part in Operation (Op) NANOOK 2021, which will be executed in several communities along the Northwest Passage and the Davis Strait.

Alongside northern partners and allies, such as the United States Coast Guard, the CAF will conduct a series of activities designed to exercise the defence of Canada and to secure Canada’s northernmost regions. Through land, air and maritime presence activities, to maritime domain defence and security exercises, the CAF will work collaboratively with other government departments and agencies, and domestic and international partners to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in Canada’s North.

This summer, Op NANOOK will comprise three distinct operations:

  • Op NANOOK-TUUGAALIK: Davis Strait, August 3-10
    • A maritime defence domain and security exercise off the coast of Labrador and Baffin Island, designed to assist the CAF in building capacity in Canada’s northern regions.
  • Op NANOOK-TATIGIIT: Davis Strait, August 10-15
    • An interagency territorial exercise engaging other government departments and agencies in a response to a major incident in the North.  
  • Op NANOOK-NUNAKPUT: Northwest Passage, August 9 – September 12
    • A series of presence activities along the Northwest Passage so as to demonstrate Canada’s capability to deploy forces in the Arctic as well as build the CAF’s domain awareness of the region.

Common to all NANOOK operations is the strengthening of the CAF’s knowledge of Canada’s Arctic, and the opportunity to reinforce relationships with federal, territorial and Indigenous partners – a key component of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged


“As competitors seek to bolster their presence and increase military operations in the Arctic, we must remain vigilant - ready to protect our nation and to deter, deny and defeat potential threats. Our nation is no longer a geographic sanctuary. There is increasingly more competition in the air, on land and at sea. Op NANOOK prepares us to anticipate, adapt and act across these domains in defence of Canada and North America.”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command

“Our annual contribution to Operation NANOOK demonstrates the Royal Canadian Navy’s commitment to the Arctic region and highlights our work in surveillance and security across all of Canada's ocean areas. It also provides a unique opportunity to work alongside our allies and other Government of Canada partners to strengthen our capabilities in the North.”

Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force (Atlantic)

“Operation NANOOK is designed to strengthen the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to operate in challenging environments while improving the readiness of all participants. It also gives us the opportunity to work with our northern partners, share departmental knowledge and experiences, improve interagency collaboration, and enhance all-domain awareness.”

Brigadier-General Pascal Godbout, Commander, Joint Task Force (North)

Quick facts

  • The NANOOK series of operations is conducted to enhance the security of Canadians and to build lines of communication and best practices with regional and international partners.

  • This year’s iteration of Op NANOOK will include Regular and Reserve Force personnel from all environments of the CAF, other Government Departments and Agencies, and domestic and international partners.

  • On the ground, soldiers from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and Canadian Rangers from the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group will conduct presence patrols along the Northwest Passage and conduct interoperability activities with the Royal Canadian Navy.

  • In the air – The CC-130J Hercules will transport troops, supplies, and equipment to Resolute Bay. In addition, the CC-138 Twin Otter will deploy to various locations to provide local air transport.

  • Navigating the seas – The Royal Canadian Navy will deploy Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Goose Bay and Harry DeWolf to conduct maritime presence patrols and reconnaissance, as well as rehearse maritime response practices and procedures alongside northern partners from the Canadian Coast Guard, and the United States Coast Guard. Of note, this deployment also marks the first time HMCS Harry DeWolf, Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, has participated in Op NANOOK and marks the beginning of its four-and-a-half month circumnavigation of North America, including a transit through the Northwest Passage.

  • Deployed CAF personnel will adhere to Department of National Defence and Territorial COVID-19 health orders and restrictions throughout the execution of Op NANOOK 2021 activities.

  • Visiting military personnel to Canada will adopt the same COVID-19 risk mitigation measures as the CAF. This includes following Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines, provincial and/or territorial public health measures, and any additional CAF policies and procedures where applicable.

  • Throughout their stay in Canada, visiting military members must also monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are expected to isolate themselves and get tested if symptoms present. If they test positive for COVID-19, they must continue to isolate and follow the advice of our Canadian Forces Health Services care providers. Contact tracing will be conducted to limit the spread of COVID-19 to other military personnel or civilians.

Associated links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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