Finally returning to Canadian soil after months of deployment to the Middle East, a group of 65 members of the CAF were welcomed home by a small welcome party. The welcome contingency included Parliamentary Secretary Karen McCrimmon and Lt.-Gen Christine Whitecross, which you can watch below.
The group, a mix of health service personnel, linguists, signalers and a clerk, were returning home from Operation PROVISION. Op. PROVISION is the CAF’s commitment to carry out the Government of Canada’s directive of resettling 25,000 Syrian Refugees in Canada. The deployed military personnel were in charge of carrying out medical examinations for refugees destined for Canada at Aerial Ports of Embarkation in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. A typical examination consisted of various basic medical checks including x-rays, blood collection, a physical exam and a detailed medical questionnaire.
CAF personnel first deployed on Op. PROVISION in mid-November. Medical personnel began deploying to region in early December. At its peak, close to 20 personnel were deployed on Op. PROVISION.
Currently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has determined that there is no longer a need for CAF personnel to deploy to the region. The CAF began pulling out in mid-January. However, 20 members are staying on to support the process.
Back in Canada, military personnel are involved with preparing bases in Ontario and Quebec for interim lodging, also part of Op. PROVISION.
Those finally returning home on Sunday were greeted with warmth, thanked for their service and surrounded by family, friends and community members.
“There is absolutely no activity or opportunity that makes me more proud and more honoured than to welcome back the men and women that have done some great service to our country outside of Canada. The opportunity to be there on Sunday night to welcome our health services folks back from working in areas that help the Syrian refugee situation here in Canada, that was just a complete honour for me to be able to do that. Having deployed myself and come back from deployment, just the acknowledgement people carried out to come and say hello and welcome people back it really speaks to who we are” said Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross.