Operation NEON

Operation NEON is Canada’s contribution to a coordinated multinational effort to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea.

The series of UN sanctions, imposed between 2006 and 2017, aim to pressure North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs and respond to North Korean nuclear weapon tests and ballistic missile launches.

Previously conducted under Op PROJECTION Asia-Pacific, Canada will now support this effort under the name “Operation NEON”.

This operation demonstrates the importance that Canada places on security in the Asia-Pacific region, international security and the importance of upholding the UN Security Council sanctions regime. It further demonstrates Canada’s resolve in standing with allies and partners in accordance with Canadian values. This is in line with Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.


HMCS Winnipeg departed Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt, B.C. on August 17, 2021 to deploy on Operations PROJECTION and NEON. Under Op NEON, Winnipeg will engage in monitoring and surveillance activities in waters surrounding Japan, including the East China Sea, to counter North Korea’s illicit maritime sanctions evasion activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). The deployment marks the sixth time the Royal Canadian Navy has engaged in such activities since 2018.

How many people are deployed?

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members will deploy periodically a Canadian frigate and/or a CP-140 Aurora on Operation NEON alongside countries including Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

What are they doing?

Since 2018* and into 2023, Canada will periodically deploy military ships, aircraft and personnel to conduct surveillance operations to identify suspected maritime sanctions evasion activities, in particular ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other commodities banned by the United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCR). This contribution will bolster the integrity of the global sanctions regime against North Korea.

History and context of the operation

On April 28, 2019, the Government of Canada announced that Canada was renewing its contribution to the multinational surveillance initiative, for a two year timeframe, to counter North Korea’s maritime sanctions evasion. The Government of Canada renewed the mandate once again on April 23, 2021 for a further two years, ensuring Canada’s continued contribution to security in the Indo-Pacific region into 2023.

Canadian Armed Forces members participate in this operation alongside countries including Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Past deployments

  • October 2020 – HMCS Winnipeg deployed with a CP-140 Aurora
  • September 2019 – HMCS Ottawa deployed with a CP-140 Aurora
  • June 2019 – HMCS Regina and Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix deployed with a CP-140 Aurora
  • October 2018* – HMCS Calgary deployed with a CP-140 Aurora
  • May 2018* – HMCS Vancouver deployed with a CP-140 Aurora

*Prior to 2019, these activities were conducted under Operation PROJECTION.

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