Canadian Forces CH-47 Chinook helicopters participate in a flyover of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 9, 2014. The Canadian Armed Forces is postponing the deployment of a warship and surveillance aircraft to help enforce United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea because of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canadian Forces CH-47 Chinook helicopters participate in a flyover of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 9, 2014. The Canadian Armed Forces is postponing the deployment of a warship and surveillance aircraft to help enforce United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea because of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canadian military postpones, curtails numerous overseas missions due to COVID-19

The new changes follow an earlier decision to withdraw Armed Forces members from Iraq

The Canadian Armed Forces is postponing the deployment of a warship and surveillance aircraft to help enforce United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The delay is one of numerous changes the Armed Forces is making to its overseas missions following a detailed analysis of the roughly 20 operations that the military is either already conducting or which were due to begin in the coming months.

“We conducted a detailed analysis of our operations to determine whether further adjustments were required to protect our personnel while ensuring continuity for critical tasks,” Forces’ spokeswoman Capt. Leah Campbell said in an email.

“Following this review, we adjusted some of our operations. These adjustments range from delaying the deployment of some capabilities, to amending the number of CAF personnel deployed, to modifying the length of deployments while the risks of COVID-19 remain present.”

VIDEO: Snowbirds to fly across country to salute Canadians trying to flatten the curve

The new changes follow an earlier decision to withdraw Armed Forces members from Iraq, scale back Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine and bring back several warships from different parts of the world.

They also come as the federal government is deploying the majority of the military’s medical personnel to help with long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario that have been hit hard by COVID-19.

The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Calgary and a CP-140 Aurora patrol plane were scheduled to head across the Pacific this month, the latest iteration in Canada’s ongoing contribution to the international effort to prevent North Korea from expanding its nuclear arsenal.

Yet Campbell said the deployment has been “deferred” for an unspecified amount of time.

The same is true for Canada’s contribution of a C-130 Hercules transport plane to UN operations in Africa. The aircraft has been based out of Uganda for five days per month since late last year, carrying supplies, peacekeepers and equipment to different missions in the region.

The Armed Forces has also suspended military training efforts in the West Bank, where it is helping the Palestinian Authority build its security forces, and relocated some troops from one area in South Sudan to another.

It has also curbed its support to a French counter-terrorism mission in West Africa, where Canada has been providing a heavy aircraft on an occasional basis to help transport troops and equipment, and cancelled plans to send military trainers to Niger this spring.

The military is also keeping troops on some missions in place longer, rather than replacing them with fresh Forces members as planned. Those include nine Canadian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 10 in South Sudan, and 55 in the Sinai Peninsula.

“The decision to delay or adjust the number of personnel deployed on select missions was a balance between weighing the acceptable risk factors for our personnel, our ability to sustain the mission, and the impact any changes would have on the mission itself,” Campbell said.

“For some operations, this decision is the result of a pause in operational activities by the host or partner nations. In others, it is preferable to delay the movement of forces in and out of missions at this time.”

The changes to overseas missions come as hundreds of Armed Forces members are preparing to work — or already working — in long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec that have been hit hard by COVID-19.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan last week said the military would have 1,350 service members in 25 long-term care facilities in Quebec by mid-May and another 265 in five institutions in Ontario.

Many other troops are currently remaining in their homes in case to stay healthy in case they are required to assist with spring flooding or wildfires across different parts of the country.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCanada military missionsCoronavirusMilitary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some older Canadian currency will have its legal status removed at the start of the new year(. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com)
Bank of Canada puts the boots to old bills

$1 and $2, $25 to $500 and $1,000 lose cash value Jan. 1, 2021

Grade 3 student Nate Twaddle, who uses a walker for a rare neurological condition, has been zooming along a new accessible walkway since it was installed in early October at Willway Elementary in Langford. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Langford mother thankful for accessible walkway that helps son connect with peers

Rare neurological condition means Grade 3 student uses wheelchair, walker to play

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read