Above image: Fus William Labrie, Infantry Soldier with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, helps a resident at Centre d’hébergement Jean-De La Lande as part of Operation LASER in Montreal, Quebec, on May 18, 2020. Photo: Avr Zamir Muminiar, 2 Cdn Div Imagery, Saint-Jean/Montreal. Courtesy of the CAF.
On Friday afternoon, the Department of National Defence announced the Exceptional Hazard Allowance had been amended to compensate Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed to COVID-19 risk environments.
The new allowance, which will be in effect until Sept. 30, 2020, will be paid to eligible CAF personnel deployed on Operation LASER, and on the domestic portion of Operation GLOBE, and who were or are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their duties.
The $78 per day allowance is retroactive to when they commenced their duties.
“The Exceptional Hazard Allowance recognizes the risk assumed by those Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to high-risk COVID-19 environments. To all those CAF members who deployed to serve Canadians, you have made us very proud of your dedication and professionalism,” General Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff.
It is expected that approximately 4,500 CAF members will be eligible to receive the allowance.
CAF personnel are currently deployed to long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec, where they are supporting Canadians impacted by COVID-19.
The press release noted, the personnel face the physical hardship of spending all of their shifts wearing the full complement of Personal Protective Equipment for up to 12 hours a day and without appreciable breaks in service.
The personnel have also served in the facilities for months while being away from their families during this highly challenging time.
Back in January 2020, General Vance ordered Operation GLOBE, a blended domestic and expeditionary operation supporting the repatriation of Canadians overseas and providing quarantine capability in Trenton.
“Our brave women and men in uniform are always ready to help Canadians. From the earliest days of the pandemic, our troops stepped up, as they always do, despite the risk to their own health and safety. This Exceptional Hazard Allowance is one way we can recognize the significant efforts and risks faced by Canadian Armed Forces members, who have worked hard to keep our family members and loved ones safe during this challenging time,” Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.
With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading quickly across the country and around the globe, Operation LASER was ordered in March, and by April, provinces had requested military assistance for COVID-19 related situations.
Since the beginning of Operation Laser, CAF personnel have supported civilian authorities within 47 long-term care facilities in Quebec and within seven in Ontario.
As of June 18, one CAF personnel has an active case of COVID-19, with 49 cases being resolved.