Chief of the Defence Staff addresses COVID-19 and CH-148 Cyclone Accident and in weekly letter

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Chief of the Defence Staff released his weekly letter addressing the current COVID-19 situation, resumption, CH-148 Cyclone accident, Operation Laser, Operation Inspiration, and the long weekend. 

“As the curve continues to flatten and regional discussions have moved towards easing social restrictions, you must continue to follow the measures the CAF has implemented to ensure a healthy force,” state General Vance. 


In regards to returning to a per COVID-19 work routine General Vance noted he had asked the CAF senior leadership team to plan for a “controlled resumption of critical activities.” 

He also mentioned consideration was being given to family care plans in regards to daycares. 

“What is clear is that CAF readiness must be maintained and not allowed to erode. It is a conditions-baed approach. Health and safety are key planning principles,” stated General Vance.

He explained plans were being formalized from strategic to tactical level, with more information available in the coming weeks. 

He noted, “You may continue to work at home or work on site, or a mixed approach, all with new safety protocols in place.” 

Plans will be both regionally based and conations-based and will be “continuously reviewed” for both health and safety. 

“I want you to know that critical actives must resume to ensure the CAF meet its obligations, but we will need to work as a whole Defence Team. I ask that you collectively look at employing creative opportunities in order to carry on with critical activities,” stated the General.

He asked military personnel to take the time to get ready by focusing on their mental and physical fitness. 

“Make sure your PT regime has prepared you to return to work. If you are not ready, make PT a priority.” 

HMCS Fredericton 

Addressing the tragedy of losing six CAF personnel in the CH-148 Cyclone accident over the Ionian Sea, Vance noted Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton had resumed her duties with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. 

Currently, the ship is without an air detachment as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has directed operational pause on the fleet. However, a CH-148 Cyclone may be transferred to HMCS Fredericton. 

“However, many factors will be assessed including lifting the operational pause which remains in place for the Cyclone fleet,” stated Vance. 

He noted that there are plans to recover the helicopter, Callsign Stalker 22. The plan will be available “publicly in the coming days.” 

“We are committed to making every effort to recover the aircraft and by doing so determine the cause of the accident.” 

He closed his letter asking families and members of the CAF to enjoy the long weekend and to ensure they continue to follow regional and CAF directives regarding social distancing. 

Top Photo: Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, at the announcement in Ottawa, Ontario, November 22, 2016. Photo: Cpl Mark Schombs, Canadian Forces Combat Camera.

Read the letter below: 

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