On April 6, 2020, the Canadian Armed Forces announced the 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2 CRPG) mobilized 14 Canadian Ranger patrols in Nunavik on April 3, 2020, in a press release.
The Rangers mobilized in response to a request from the Province of Quebec. The deployment followed an agreement made between the provincial and federal governments where 2 CRPG was mandated to assist the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS).
Support Operation LASER
The deployment supports Operation LASER, the CAF operation in response to the CODIV-19 pandemic, 2 CRPG plans to mobilize 40 Rangers on continuous standby and another 40 on call for short tasks, as long as their presence is required and authorized.
“The Canadian Rangers of 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group support the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services in Nunavik in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We are proud to support this request from the Government of Quebec, which has been approved by federal authorities. The Canadian Rangers have a unique capacity and are integrated within their communities,” stated Brigadier General Gervais Carpentier, 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (East) Commanding Officer in the press release.
Spread of COVID-19
The spread of COVID-19 in remote and isolated communities has been a concern for the government since the beginning of the pandemic announcement. Tasks performed by the Canadian Rangers in Nunavik will vary according to the needs and approval of the chain of command.
“The Canadian Rangers provide a range of specialized services in their geographic area of operation, including responding quickly to emergencies or ground search and rescue operations. I am proud of our Rangers and their dedication to their community. Our Rangers will do their part and do everything they can to support their community during this complex crisis, noted Lieutenant Colonel Benoit Mainville, 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Commanding Officer in the press release.
As requested by the NRBHSS officials in the communities, the Rangers will prepare triage points to facilitate the work of healthcare personnel.
As the well-being and safety of the Rangers and their families are a primary concern to the chain of command, the personnel participating in the deployment will be issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Eyes and ears of the CAF in remote community
The deployed personnel have been in voluntary isolation since March 13th, following the order of the Chief of the Defence Staff in anticipation of possible deployment.
The Canadian Rangers are the eyes and ears of the CAF in remote, coastal, and sparsely populated areas of Canada and provide self-sufficient, lightly equipped mobile forces to support operations on Canadian soil and protect Canadian sovereignty.
According to the press release, 2 CRPG is responsible for nearly 76 per cent of Quebec land area. Currently, there are more than 700 Canadian citizens serving as Canadian Rangers within the CAF and more than 700 youth, aged 12 to 18, participating in the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) Program in remote and isolated regions of Nunavik, James Bay and Quebec’s North Shore.
The Canadian Ranger sub-component is a separate military occupation but is not considered a combat arms occupation. Canadian Rangers are recruited primarily for their knowledge and ability to operate in extreme environments within their geographical areas.
According to the press release, As of March 31, 2020, there are 305 active Canadian Rangers in Nunavik.
Above image: Canadian Rangers conduct patrols of Kangiqsujuaq and Quaqtaq, Québec during training on March 13, 2019. Photo: Captain Julie L. Pagé, 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.