Canadian Rangers deployed in Nunavik

National Defence

The 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2 CRPG) mobilized its 14 Canadian Ranger patrols in Nunavik on April 3 in response to a request from Quebec.

Following an agreement between the provincial and federal governments, 2 CRPG was mandated to assist the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS), which reports to the Ministère de la Santé et des services sociaux (MSSS) of the Quebec Government.

2 CRPG is able to respond to this request for assistance by deploying its military personnel, the Canadian Rangers, who are permanent residents of the 14 Nunavik communities. The Canadian Rangers are members of the Canadian Army Reserve Force who provide the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with a military presence in remote, isolated and coastal areas of Quebec’s Northern and North-Shore regions.

“The Canadian Rangers of 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group support the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services in Nunavik in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We are proud to support this request from the Government of Quebec, which has been approved by federal authorities. The Canadian Rangers have a unique capacity and are integrated within their communities,” said Brigadier General Gervais Carpentier, 2nd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (East) Commanding Officer.

The spread of COVID-19 in remote and isolated communities has been a concern for government authorities since the beginning of the pandemic announcement. The Canadian Rangers are dynamic, dedicated, well-trained and disciplined citizens. Rangers are committed members of their community, mayor’s office, band council, essential services, education, health, transportation, infrastructure and more. The well-being and safety of their communities are a priority for our Rangers.

Tasks performed by the Canadian Rangers in Nunavik will vary according to the needs and approval of the chain of command. As requested by the NRBHSS officials in the communities, the Rangers will prepare triage points to facilitate the work of healthcare personnel. The well-being and safety of the Rangers and their families are a primary concern to the chain of command, therefore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be distributed to the Rangers involved. Prior to commencing any task that may put their health at risk, Rangers will be adequately trained in the proper use of their PPE.

“The Canadian Rangers provide a range of specialized services in their geographic area of operation, including responding quickly to emergencies or ground search and rescue operations. I am proud of our Rangers and their dedication to their community. Our Rangers will do their part and do everything they can to support their community during this complex crisis,” said Lieutenant Colonel Benoit Mainville, 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Commanding Officer.

As of March 31, there are 305 active Canadian Rangers in Nunavik. In support of Operation LASER, the CAF operation in response to the CODIV-19 pandemic, 2 CRPG plans to mobilize 40 Rangers on continuous standby and another 40 on call for short tasks, as long as their presence is required and authorized.

2 CRPG is sending a command and control element to be co-located with the NRBHSS and the Kativik Regional Government in Kuujjuaq to facilitate coordination between 2 CRPG Headquarters, local civilian authorities and the 14 Canadian Rangers patrols deployed in the communities. The deployed personnel have been in voluntary isolation since March 13th, following the order of the Chief of the Defence Staff in anticipation of possible deployment.

The Canadian Rangers are the eyes and ears of the CAF in remote, coastal and sparsely populated areas of Canada. They provide self-sufficient, lightly equipped mobile forces to support operations on Canadian soil and protect Canadian sovereignty.

With the ability to be called out at any time, and the need to be ready for any eventuality, 2 CRPG Canadian Rangers undergo individual and collective training and education to be ready to meet defence objectives and support the CAF in domestic training and operations in Quebec.

2 CRPG is responsible for nearly 76 per cent of Quebec land area, has more than 700 Canadian citizens serving as Canadian Rangers within the CAF and more than 700 youth, aged 12 to 18, participating in the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) Program in remote and isolated regions of Nunavik, James Bay and Quebec’s North Shore. 17% of the Rangers in Quebec are women.

The Canadian Ranger sub-component is a separate military occupation, but is not considered a combat arms occupation. Canadian Rangers are recruited primarily for their knowledge and ability to operate in extreme environments within their geographical areas.