Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 02, 2012 14:22 ET

Defending our Northern Sovereignty: Minister MacKay Announces Op Nanook 2012

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 2, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced today the beginning of Operation Nanook, Canada's premier annual northern sovereignty operation. Now in its sixth year, Operation Nanook will run from August 1st to the 26th and will involve over 1250 Canadian Forces personnel working to expand and refine their skills in cooperation with other federal departments, and other levels of government.

"Operation Nanook is an important opportunity for Canadian Forces members to build on their growing skills and capabilities in the North, to respond to unique security situations, and to do so in new locations and challenging conditions. A growing number of our men and women in uniform benefit from this exceptional training period, and in fact, this year marks the largest participation of Canadian Forces personnel in the operation's history," said Minister MacKay. "I am very proud of the work we continue to accomplish, in line with our Northern Strategy and the Canada First Defence Strategy, to effectively watch over Canadian territory, and to increase our ability to respond in the North alongside our many northern partners."

This year's operation will be conducted in two new, distinct locations: in the Western Arctic in and around Inuvik, and Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories; and in the Eastern Arctic in the Hudson Strait, Hudson Bay and its littoral area including Churchill, M anitoba. The Western scenario will include the building of two temporary bases of operations, will feature close collaboration between local and federal officials, and will employ the Canadian Forces in the air and on land. The Eastern scenario will focus on the approach of a vessel of interest. Both scenarios will underline the domestic role played by the Canadian Forces in safeguarding the nation, deterring threats to our security, and responding to emergencies in the High North.

"The Canadian Forces remain ready and capable to operate in the North to protect Canadian safety and security," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "Our ongoing defence activities will include enhancing situational awareness, demonstrating capacity to respond quickly and sustain the response anywhere in the High North, and maintaining a visible presence in support of the exercise of Northern sovereignty."

Canadian Forces personnel will be working alongside federal partners from the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Public Safety Canada among others, representatives from the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Nunavut, and local officials from Tsiigehtchic, Ivunik and Churchill. Operation Nanook helps the Canadian military develop and maintain strong relationships with local northern authorities and indigenous peoples, and to further develop and harness the unique expertise of the Canadian Rangers.

The Canadian Forces' success in conducting large-scale joint operations in the North is a testament to their training, professionalism, and outstanding ability to perform in the most harsh and rugged regions of the world. As an Arctic nation, Canada is dedicated to ensuring the North is a healthy, prosperous and secure region within a strong and sovereign Canada.

"Operation Nanook enables the Canadian Forces to demonstrate the ability to operate effectively in this challenging environment while enhancing the skills of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen and airwomen," said Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command. "This operation also highlights the interoperability, command and control, and cooperation with our interdepartmental, intergovernmental and international partners in the North."

Every year the Canadian Forces conduct three northern operations: Operation Nunalivut in April, Operation Nunakput from July to August, and Operation Nanook in August. These activities complement other routine Canadian Forces operations which occur throughout the year across Canada's North. In its inaugural year in 2007, Operation Nanook was held over ten days and included the participation of over 700 Canadian Forces personnel.

Notes to editor / news director:

Still and video imagery of Op Nanook can be found at:

For further information, please see the backgrounder at

Contact Information