The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has members serving on Operation REASSURANCE in Central and Eastern Europe. They are there as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These measures aim to reinforce NATO’s collective defence. It also shows the strength of Allied solidarity.

During this operation, the CAF is conducting training, exercises, and some NATO-specific tasks.

The CAF support to NATO helps make Central and Eastern Europe more secure and stable. It also shows that the CAF is a professional force that is ready for any task.

Information: Update

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ville de Québec has completed its six-month deployment with Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and returned to Halifax.

On January 19, 2019, HMCS Toronto left Halifax to take its place as the maritime component of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

The deployment of a Halifax-class frigate and CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures provides Canada with the flexibility to execute a range of missions across a broad spectrum of operations. The ship and aircraft support the international efforts in the region, including surveillance and monitoring, regional defence and diplomatic engagement, and capacity building.


How many people are deployed?

At any time, there may be up to 835 CAF members deployed on Operation REASSURANCE. This includes:

  • approximately 240 sailors onboard a frigate, operating with NATO
  • approximately 540 soldiers leading a NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia

What are they doing?


Maritime Task Force

Since 2014, the CAF has deployed a Maritime Task Force of one frigate on Operation REASSURANCE. The current frigate is HMCS Toronto.

The previous frigate, HMCS Ville de Québec, started to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures on July 19, 2018. It joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. SNMG2 is a naval force made up of ships from various allied countries that work together for a common purpose.

This was the first time that HMCS Ville de Québec had deployed on Operation REASSURANCE. It was also the first operational deployment for the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

The Cyclone can conduct surface and subsurface surveillance and control. It ca also conduct tactical transportation, and search and rescue missions.

HMCS Ville de Québec is a Halifax-class frigate. It had a crew of approximately 240 personnel of all ranks. This includes an Enhanced Naval Boarding Party and the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter air detachment.


Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia

In June 2017, the CAF deployed about 540 Canadian Army members to Latvia. They are leading a NATO battlegroup comprising military members from several nations, including:

  • Albania
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • Montenegro
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain

On January 9, 2018, Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Sauvé assumed command of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia from Lieutenant-Colonel Steve MacBeth.

This battlegroup works as part of the Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade. It is based at Camp Adazi, Latvia.

NATO has deployed four such battlegroups to the Baltics and Poland. These battlegroups demonstrate the strength of the NATO alliance, and aim to prevent conflict and protect stability in the region.


Air Task Force

The CAF sent approximately 135 members and five CF-188 Hornets to Constanta, Romania. They  participated in NATO enhanced Air Policing from September to December 2018.

This was a peacetime collective defence mission to safeguard the integrity of NATO airspace.

The CAF members were mainly from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron. They were primarily supported by personnel from 2 Air Expeditionary Wing and 3 Wing Bagotville.

History and context of the operation

NATO agreed upon and began to enact a series of military measures on April 16, 2014. They are based on the principles of defence, deterrence and de-escalation meant to:

  • reinforce NATO’s collective defence
  • demonstrate the strength of allied solidarity

The CAF offered assets and members to NATO on April 17, 2014.

Canadian Armed Forces’ relationship with NATO

Canada is a strong supporter of NATO.  It is committed to doing its part to help NATO allies and partner nations.

The CAF is a major contributor to NATO operations and exercises. It has been fully engaged since NATO was founded in 1949. The CAF is committed to unity, security, and stability on both sides of the Atlantic. In recent years, Canada has been an active participant in NATO-led missions in:

  • The Balkans (Operation KOBOLD)
  • Libya (Operation MOBILE)

Mission timeline

  • April 29, 2014 – the CAF sent its first CF-188 Hornet Air Task Force to Europe. Since then, the CAF had periodically sent air task forces to Central and Eastern Europe.
  • May 3, 2014 – the CAF sent a Land Task Force to Central and Eastern Europe,  based in Poland.
  • May 13, 2014 – the CAF sent a Maritime Task Force of one frigate to Central and Eastern Europe.
  • June 19, 2017 – Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup Latvia was stood up during a ceremony at Camp Adazi, Latvia.
  • August 17, 2017 – The Land Task Force in Poland completed its final deployment.
  • July 10, 2018 – The Prime Minister of Canada announced the renewal of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence until March 2023. The CAF will also increase the number of members deployed to Latvia from 455 to 540.
  • January 9, 2019 – Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Sauvé assumed command of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia from Lieutenant-Colonel Steve MacBeth.

Past Deployments

CAF members have continuously supported NATO assurance and deterrence measures since 2014.

  • To date, seven different ships have contributed to this operation; three of them have deployed twice.
  • From May 2014 to August 2017, over 1000 soldiers deployed in eight rotations to Europe. Based at Drawsko Pomosrkie Training Area, Poland, they regularly took part in exercises with allies and partners.
  • The CAF has sent an air task force to three different countries: Romania (three times), Iceland, and Lithuania.
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