The delay is one of the many changes the armed forces are making to their missions abroad following a detailed analysis of the 20 or so operations the military is already carrying out or scheduled to start in the coming months.
“We have performed a detailed analysis of our operations to determine whether additional adjustments are necessary to protect our personnel while ensuring the continuity of critical tasks,” Forces spokesperson, Captain Leah Campbell, said in an email.
“Following this review, we have adjusted some of our operations. These adjustments range from the postponement of the deployment of certain capabilities, to the change in the number of CAF members deployed, to the change in the duration of deployments while the risks of COVID-19 remain present. “
The new changes follow an earlier decision to withdraw members of the Iraqi Armed Forces, reduce Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine and bring back several warships from different parts of the world.
They also arrive as the federal government deploys the majority of military medical personnel to assist long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario that have been badly affected by COVID-19.
The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Calgary and a CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft were scheduled to cross the Pacific this month, the latest iteration of Canada’s continued contribution to the international effort to prevent North Korea from expanding its nuclear arsenal.
Yet Campbell said the deployment was “postponed” for an indefinite period.
The same is true for Canada’s contribution of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to United Nations operations in Africa. The plane has been based in Uganda five days a month since the end of last year, transporting supplies, peacekeepers and equipment to various missions in the region.
The Armed Forces have also suspended military training efforts in the West Bank, where they are helping the Palestinian Authority to strengthen its security forces, and have moved troops from one area in South Sudan to another.
It also limited its support to a French counterterrorism mission in West Africa, where Canada occasionally provided a heavy aircraft to help transport troops and equipment, and canceled its intention to send military trainers in Niger this spring.
The military is also keeping troops on some missions longer, rather than replacing them with new members of the Forces as planned. These include nine Canadian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 in South Sudan and 55 in the Sinai Peninsula.
Hundreds of members focus on long-term care facilities
“The decision to delay or adjust the number of staff deployed to certain missions was a balance between the weighing of acceptable risk factors for our staff, our ability to maintain the mission and the impact that any change would have on the mission itself, “said Campbell. .
“For some operations, this decision is the result of a pause in the operational activities of host or partner countries. In others, it is better to delay the movement of forces inside and outside missions for the time being. “
Changes in missions abroad occur as hundreds of members of the Armed Forces prepare to work – or already work – in long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec who have been badly affected by COVID-19 .
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said last week that the military would have 1,350 soldiers in 25 long-term care facilities in Quebec by mid-May and 265 more in five facilities in Ontario.
Many other troops are currently staying at home in case they remain healthy in case they are forced to help with the spring floods or forest fires in different parts of the country.