Every year since 2007, Operation NANOOK has taken place across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Labrador, with a variety of activities featured throughout the year. The number of CAF members deployed varies based on planned activities and exercises.
Canada guards its sovereignty and defends the country against threats within the region. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) plays a significant role in maintaining both areas. The CAF continues to adapt to the ever-changing environment and furthering its capability to operate in the Arctic.
During Op NANOOK, the CAF guards Canada’s sovereignty over its northernmost regions; improves upon the way in which it operates in Arctic conditions; improves coordination with Indigenous, federal and territorial governments and northern partners; and works with mission partners to best respond to safety and security issues in the North.
CAF members aboard HMCS Charlotte partnered with international military partners, and other Canadian federal departments and agencies, territorial and Indigenous governments, local organizations, and Canada’s contributions to Arctic security are a vital part of the Canada-US defence relationship. The CAF also works with the local indigenous communities to strengthen their ties through collaborative and continuous discourse throughout the year, continuing to build on mutual understanding with northern community leaders.
Op NANOOK will focus on climate change, international trade, and global security. The Arctic becomes more accessible as the climate and technology change. According to National Defence and the CAF, there were less than 1,000 flights on polar routes in Canadian airspace in 2003. In 2016, there were over 14,000 flights.
Due to the vast reserve of fossil fuels and minerals, and the long-term benefits, State, and commercial actors are interested in operating in the Arctic. They expect these factors to lead to increased business activity, research, and tourism in and around Canada’s northern region.
With the increase in traffic, brings new safety and security risks and Canada must be ready to respond to search and rescue cases, as well as natural or human-made disasters.
Between 2007 and 2018, the CAF has conducted various operations in the North:
• Operation NUNALIVUT: focused on land operations, cooperating with international partners, and supporting research and development in the High Arctic during late winter to early spring.
• Operation NUNAKPUT: focused on operating with government partners along northern waters in the summer.
• Operation NANOOK: included one or two major activities, taking place across the North during late summer.
Now, these activities are all combined under one operation: Operation NANOOK.