2 June 2020: Message from the Wing Commander, COVID-19

To members, families, and friends of 4 Wing,

Portrait - Col Moar

Photo: LS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

It’s finally June and I’m feeling pretty encouraged by what I see. COVID-19 infection rates are declining in Alberta and across Canada, our access to local services continues to improve, and CAF/DND senior leaders have shifted their focus to safely resuming operations. At 4 Wing, we have been incrementally increasing our pace of operations since mid-April to ensure that our pilots and technicians did not lose their qualifications due to COVID-19. On May 4, we permitted our training schools a limited resumption of maintenance and flying courses to ensure we sustained the future of our operations. Yesterday I directed our training schools to further increase their maintenance and flying course rates provided they can safely do so. We’ve made good progress but still have a ways to go.

Business resumption plan – Although increases in flying and maintenance training are positive steps for our operation, we are far from resuming normal business here at 4 Wing. I anticipate that the process for resuming normal business will continue throughout the summer and into the fall. It will be based on factors such as the local COVID-19 situation, our ability to guarantee safe work conditions at each unit, inputs from our contractors and unions, and direction from the Provincial and Federal governments. Within the Wing our resumption of business may be asymmetric, with some units able to fully return to operations while other units require more time. To avoid incurring unnecessary risk, causing a safety issue, or putting unreasonable stress on our members, our approach will have to be deliberate, cautious, and patient. At this time, the Wing is finalizing a Business Resumption Plan and individual units are updating their work processes while conducting workplace safety inspections. Child care will continue to be a challenge for our families during our resumption of operations. Even with our ability to access local child care services and MFRCS, Unit Command Teams will be required to work with our members to accommodate their child care needs. Again, the resumption of normal business will take some time and I thank everyone (in advance) for your patience while we work to ensure that the Wing is ready to fully and safely resume operations.

Active Posting Season – Last week we received some highly anticipated news from the CDS on the Active Posting Season (APS), House Hunting Trips (HHTs), and Destination Inspection Trips (DITs). The good news is that HHTs/DITs are now being approved. I would encourage all members who are being posted this year to read CANFORGEN 072/20 (DWAN – http://vcds.mil.ca/apps/canforgens/default-eng.asp). There are a number of important considerations for the conduct of HHTs/DITs and a change in the approval process for trips outside of Alberta.

Travel restrictions – As of 1 June the authority for domestic (i.e. within Canada) travel has been delegated to unit Commanding Officers (COs). With the approval of your unit, you are permitted to travel domestically for non-duty purposes. Note that all members leaving the local area for non-duty purposes need a CF100 leave pass and must abide by all pertinent Provincial travel restrictions.

Physical fitness – This week PSP will be commencing an outdoor fitness program for our members. Units will have the opportunity to sign up for 15 person outdoor fitness classes which will be organized and run by PSP. Provided the classes go smoothly and there are no safety concerns, we will look at increasing group size in the coming weeks. Further direction on this initiative will be sent separately.

Group gatherings – The Province of Alberta has directed that group gatherings shall not exceed 50 people. This week, 4 Wing will be issuing guidance to permit workplace gatherings of up to 50 people for operationally essential activities (e.g. training, coordination meetings, classified briefings). These gatherings will be conducted so as not to create unnecessary risk to our members. Further direction on this initiative will be sent separately.

Quality of Life – I am focused on exploring all options to improve the quality of life of our members and families – especially during this summer. PSP is working hard to develop business resumption plans for our clubs, hobby shops, sports/equipment stores, and recreation facilities. In some cases, we are limited by the Province of Alberta but we’re doing our best to (safely) push to the limits of what we can provide our members and families. In the meantime, there are a wide range of on-line and/or physically distanced activities hosted by PSP and MFRCS on our CAF Connection page (https://www.cafconnection.ca/Cold-Lake/Home.aspx). I will highlight the Wing Commander’s Wellness Challenge which PSP kicked off last week and the upcoming Father’s Day Weekend Car Rally and Scavenger Hunt that is being coordinated by MFRCS for June 20th. I encourage you all to check out and sign up for the outstanding programs and activities that are being offered by PSP and MFRCS.

I hope that many of you are sharing my optimism and are looking forward to this summer. Although we still have a lot of problems to solve including a complicated posting season, I’m encouraged by the numerous examples of putting people first that I have seen from the units. Our key to success is effective communication and I’ll continue doing my best to share information that is accurate and timely.

Keep healthy, wear a mask when you can’t remain 2 metres from others, and stay vigilant for symptoms of illness!

Talk to you again soon.

Colonel Dave Moar
Commander, 4 Wing