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Operation HELIOS ~ Canadian Armed Forces Members Deploy

Library image of members of the Royal 22e Régiment handing out supplies to children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2013 [© Canadian DND]

Canadian Armed Forces members deploy to Jamaica on Operation HELIOS to train CARICOM troops for MSS mission in Haiti.

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Press Release, Ottawa, 30 March 2024: Yesterday, approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to Jamaica. At the request of the Jamaican government, they will provide training to military personnel from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations who are set to deploy to Haiti as part of the United Nations-authorised, Kenyan-led, Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission.

On the Canadian mission in Jamaica, known as Operation HELIOS, CAF members will provide training on core peacekeeping skills and combat first aid – and carry out validation and integration exercises for CARICOM troops. This Canadian training will prepare the CARICOM troops to deploy on the Kenyan-led MSS mission and to bolster the Haitian National Police (HNP) in their efforts to restore security for the people of Haiti. This Canadian-led training will take place at the Canadian Armed Forces’ Operational Support Hub in Jamaica.

The Canadian personnel being deployed are drawn primarily from the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment from Valcartier, Quebec. Their deployment will last for an initial period of approximately one month. Canadian Armed Forces expects to train approximately 330 CARICOM troops from Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas.

This training is just one way that Canada is supporting the Kenyan-led MSS mission and building the capacity of CARICOM partner nations. In February, Minister Joly announced an investment of $80.5 million to support the deployment of MSS mission.

Operation HELIOS also builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to increase the capacity of CARICOM nations to participate in United Nations missions. In January of 2024, the Canadian Armed Forces led training courses for approximately 300 members of the defence personnel of Jamaica, Belize, and Bahamas. The training covered a range of topics including the protection of civilians, conduct and discipline, and conflict-related sexual violence. All troops must undergo such training prior to participation on UN sanctioned peacekeeping missions.

“Canada is committed to supporting the Haitian people, who are striving for a peaceful and more prosperous future. By helping our CARICOM partners prepare to deploy on the United Nations-backed MSS mission, Canada is stepping up with important contributions to Haiti’s security. We will continue to support Haitian-led efforts to build stability, and we thank all CAF members involved for their contributions to this mission.” The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“I’d like to thank members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their dedication and support towards a successful deployment of the MSS mission, a critical step in restoring security, law and order and democracy in Haiti. As we’ve said from the beginning, Canada believes in Haitian-led solutions to the political, security and humanitarian crises in Haiti. We will continue to engage with Haitian stakeholders, CARICOM and international partners to strengthen the security and justice sectors, as well as to protect the people of Haiti and encourage Haitian-led efforts to restore peace, law and order, and prosperity in the country.” The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Assisting in the Latin American and Caribbean region is just one way in which the Canadian Armed Forces contributes to global peace and security. We are collaborating with partners and international organisations to devise optimal strategies for aiding Haiti, while continuing to facilitate training and logistics support to this operation.” Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

Quick Facts:-

  • In October 2023, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution authorising the deployment of a MSS mission to Haiti, that Kenya since volunteered to lead. The MSS mission seeks to assist the Haitian National Police to stabilise security conditions conducive to holding inclusive, free, and fair elections in Haiti. The Government of Jamaica agreed to take on the role of lead for planning and pre-deployment efforts for the CARICOM contingent.
  • The CAF’s Operational Support Hub (OSH) in Jamaica will be the location for the training. The OSH, located in Kingston, Jamaica, is one of four hubs the CAF maintains around the globe in partner nations that provide logistical support to operations, and ensure that CAF members and assets can be quickly brought into the region. The OSH in Jamaica was first activated in 2016.
  • The CAF are key part of Canada’s initiative to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti. Security assistance is one of the four pillars of Canada’s response to the crisis in Haiti, which also includes diplomacy, sanctions, and humanitarian and development assistance. The CAF also contributes to the Interdepartmental Task Force, led by Global Affairs Canada, which guides Canada’s support and contributions to Haitian-led efforts to resolve the current interrelated political, security and humanitarian crises.
  • In February 2024, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced $123 million for projects to support Haiti, including $80.5 million for a United Nations trust fund for the deployment of the Kenyan-led MSS mission, which will support the efforts of the HNP to improve security conditions in Haiti for the civilian population.
  • For over 30 years, Canada has contributed to every UN peace mission to Haiti to support stabilisation and reconstruction efforts. Contributions have included financial assistance and the deployment of members of the Canadian Armed Forces and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as correctional officers.

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