Operation IMPACT

Operation IMPACT began as the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) support to the Global Coalition to degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

The coalition has been effective. The CAF is continuing to work with partners in the region to set the conditions for stability and security.

Canada plays an important role in Iraq alongside its partners. The CAF efforts in support of the Global Coalition improve Iraqi security forces capabilities. These efforts help Iraq to achieve long-term success in keeping its territory and people secure.


On June 26, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the extension of the Canadian Armed Forces command of NATO Mission Iraq until November 2020. The original end date of the mission was Fall 2019.

The CAF will continue to contribute up to 250 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to the mission in its second year. This will include the mission commander, as well as advisors, trainers, headquarters staff, and other key personnel. 

Major-General Dany Fortin, who took command in November 2018, will transfer command in the fall of 2019 to Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan, who will be promoted to the rank of Major-General. 

How many people are deployed?

A maximum number of 850 CAF members are approved to serve on Operation IMPACT. This number includes those assigned to the train, advise, and assist mission in support of the Iraqi security forces and those supporting NATO Mission Iraq.

What are they doing?

NATO Mission Iraq

Up to 250 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed to Iraq in support of NATO Mission Iraq. The mission is currently led by Canadian Major-General Dany Fortin.

The purpose of the mission is to help strengthen Iraqi security forces and Iraqi military education institutions so that Iraqi forces can prevent the return of Daesh. The end goal is a transition from foreigners training Iraqi troops to Iraqis training Iraqi troops.

Canadian contribution:

  • Leading two training and advising teams
  • Leading one training team specializing in explosive ordnance disposal
  • Flying three CH-146 Griffon helicopters
  • Moving passengers and equipment.

NATO Mission Iraq includes up to several hundred trainers, advisers and support staff from Allied countries and non-NATO partners, including Australia, Sweden, and Finland. Training is conducted in the area of Baghdad.

NATO Mission Iraq complements the broader international effort to help Iraq eradicate terrorism and increase the long-term stability of Iraq and the region.

Leadership and support

Joint Task Force-IMPACT is responsible for:

  • national command and control of Operation IMPACT personnel and operations
  • coordinating operations with the Coalition headquarters

JTF-I Detachment Erbil is made up of some 30 CAF members. It is known as Camp Érable. It is host to and directly supports:

  • the Tactical Aviation Detachment

The CAF operates an all-source intelligence centre as part of Joint Task Force-IMPACT. It gathers information from a variety of sources. It is responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing this information.

This intelligence is then used for operational planning. It ultimately helps to:

  • protect Coalition forces
  • determine how to conduct Coalition operations
Serving in Coalition headquarters

CAF members serve in key positions in Coalition headquarters around the Middle East. They have high-demand skills in planning and carrying out military operations. These skills support and enable the Coalition and Iraqi security forces. The CAF members are experts in areas such as:

  • intelligence operations
  • targeting
  • command and control
Air Operations
Explosive threat training

About 20 CAF engineers are delivering explosive threat training to the Iraqi security forces in Besmaya, Iraq. This training aims for the Iraqi security forces to be self-sufficient in the long term.

Train, advise, and assist

Operation IMPACT includes highly-specialized CAF members from the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. They train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces in developing their military skills. This support enables the Iraqi security forces to take the fight to Daesh. As a result, they can work to remove the threat posed by Daesh in Iraq and the region and contribute to a more secure environment.

Building partner capacity

The CAF works with regional partners to help make the region more stable and secure. Military cooperation helps prevent the spread of violent extremism. To that end, the CAF has sent two training assistance teams, one to Jordan and one to Lebanon. They work closely with Canada’s Jordanian and Lebanese partners. The teams aim to:

  • help the Jordanian Armed Forces build their capacity
  • create a new program for the Lebanese Armed Forces to build their capacity

These capacity building programs may focus on:

  • individual soldier skills
  • infrastructure
  • individual soldier equipment

A Canadian brigadier-general leads the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team. The team is supported by staff from eight countries, including Canada. It engages with the Iraqi Prime Minister’s staff. It also liaises with the Iraqi ministries of Defence and Interior. This liaison helps develop key military leaders and helps build institutional capacity. It ensures that current and future Coalition operations are in line with those of the government of Iraq.

History and context of the operation

Daesh is a terrorist organization which advocates radical interpretations of Islam. Originating in 1999, it rose to global prominence in 2014. At that time, it claimed religious authority over all Muslims. Its stated goal was to create a world-wide Islamic caliphate. It pursued that goal through extreme violence, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

The group began taking control of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014. It captured Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014, and Mosul in June 2014. As it quickly advanced across Iraq and Syria, it committed numerous human rights violations and atrocities. Its actions:

  • displaced millions of people and caused the death of thousands
  • undermined stability in Iraq and the region
  • posed a threat to international security

Daesh had fighters across Iraq and Syria. A number of these were foreign recruits.

The group has also been known as:

  • the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
  • the Islamic State (IS)
  • the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

International response

The Global Coalition was formed in September 2014. It has 79 members, including many of Canada’s closest allies and partners. It also includes important regional partners.

The Coalition is committed to tackling Daesh on all fronts. The military campaign in Iraq and Syria has been effective. Daesh has lost more than 98% of the territory it once occupied. Over 7.7 million people have been liberated from its occupation.

The Coalition is supporting Iraqi Security Forces as they transition from major combat to stability operations. The emphasis is on training, logistics, intelligence, protecting borders, and counter-terrorism support.

Beyond the military campaign, the Coalition is also committed to:

  • tackling Daesh’s financing and economic infrastructure
  • preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across borders
  • supporting stabilisation
  • restoring essential public services to areas liberated from Daesh
  • countering propaganda

Timeline of key events

Date Description
Aug. / Sep. 2014 RCAF aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26, 2014. They delivered more than 1,600,000 pounds of military supplies to Iraq.
Oct. 30, 2014 Two CF-188 Hornets, one CP-140 Aurora and one CC-150T Polaris flew their first missions as part of the Global Coalition. The two CF-188 Hornets did not conduct any airstrike during this first sortie. The first successful ATF-I missions confirmed that Canadian air assets had been integrated in the Global Coalition.
Nov. 2, 2014 CF-188 Hornets conducted Canada’s first combat airstrike on Daesh targets.
Mar. 30, 2015 The CAF mission was formally extended for as many as 12 months and expanded into Syria.
Mar. 2016

The CAF ceased airstrike operations in Iraq and Syria.

May 2016 The all-source intelligence centre was stood up.
May 2016 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron sent three CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Northern Iraq to form a Tactical Aviation Detachment.
Nov. 2016 The CAF assumed the lead of a Coalition Role 2 medical facility in Northern Iraq.
Jul. 12, 2017 A CC-130J Hercules flew its first sortie under Operation IMPACT.
Jul. 13, 2017 Brigadier-General Steven Whelan assumed the lead of the Global Coalition’s Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT).
Nov. 11, 2017 The CAF began delivering explosive threat training to Iraqi security forces.
Dec. 11, 2017 The CP-140 Aurora aircraft flew its last sortie under Operation IMPACT.
July 11, 2018 The Prime Minister of Canada announced that Canada will command a new NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.

Jan 24, 2019


The CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller flew its last sortie and completed its deployment on Operation IMPACT.
Mar. 11, 2019 The Canadian Armed Forces transferred the lead of the Role 2 to the United States Naval Expeditionary Medical Unit. 
Mar 18, 2019 The Government of Canada announced the renewal of Operation IMPACT until the end of March 2021. 
Jun 26, 2019 The Government of Canada announced the extension of Canada’s command of NATO Mission Iraq until November 2020.

Past deployments

Before sending a permanent Air Task Force to fly missions in Iraq, the CAF delivered military supplies to Iraq.

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft made 25 flights between August 28 and September 26. They carried more than 1,600,000 pounds (725,000 kilograms) of donated supplies. The supplies were delivered to security forces working in Baghdad and Erbil. The CAF worked with military partners, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The military supplies came from allied countries. They included:

  • small arms
  • ammunition
  • other military equipment

From November 2014 to February 2016, the CAF conducted airstrikes in Iraq using CF-188 Hornet aircraft. Read a record of all airstrikes, including the date, location, and effect.

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