COVID-19 Affects Current Operations
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, five CAF Operations have been adjusted.
Op Impact, Op Projection, Op Reassurance – Maritime Task Force, Op Caribbe, and Op Unifier have been scaled back due to the ongoing pandemic with military personnel returning home at the beginning of April.
Due to travel restrictions, the military personnel returning home from overseas will need to be quarantined.
In his weekly update on April 24, 2020, General Jonathan Vance noted, “While the quarantine protocols for people coming into Canada are in effect, returning troops will be isolated in Trenton or elsewhere for a fourteen day period to ensure your are COVID free and pose no risk to families or your communities.”
He also touched on sailors returning to Canada.
“Sailors will conduct their isolation during a 14-day passage at sea,” he noted.
As for the modifications to current deployments, the Canadian Government website, canada.ca noted how the below operations had been affected.
Op IMPACT – Iraq
Over the past several months, the environment in Iraq has shifted considerably. The spread of COVID-19 has caused the Iraqi Security Forces to suspend all training activities, which has led to an operational pause for both the Global Coalition to Defeat Da’esh and NATO Mission Iraq.
Because the duration of this pause is unknown, the CAF has decided to reposition personnel and equipment from Iraq and redeploy approximately 400 personnel to Canada. That will leave less than 100 personnel in Iraq as part of the Coalition and NMI. The CAF’s commitment to the mission remains resolute, and we will remain postured to deploy these forces in support of the Coalition and NATO when the conditions are right to do so.
Op PROJECTION – Africa
HMCS Glace Bay and HMCS Shawinigan will return to Canada early from Op PROJECTION Africa due to the cancellation of two international exercises in response to the global effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The ships will now arrive back in Halifax by mid-April.
Op REASSURANCE – Maritime Task Force
All non-operational port visits and ceremonies aboard HMCS Fredericton have been cancelled.
HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse will return to Canada earlier than planned from Op CARIBBE due to ongoing concerns of the spread of COVID-19. The ships were originally set to return to their homeport of Esquimalt, British Columbia, in mid-May and they are now expected to arrive in early April.
There will be a reduction in the number of personnel departing in early April on Op UNIFIER. Instead of the planned 200 personnel, now approximately 60 members will relieve the current rotation of personnel completing their six-month deployment in April. These members will maintain essential and mission-critical activities with our allied, partner and host nations, and maintain coordination and planning activities for future training and exercises. We have 140 CAF personnel on high readiness who will be called forward to engage on training as soon as conditions permit.