This owl is the emblem of the Second Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which includes Rangers in Nunavik communities who have been activated to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image courtesy of the 1CRPG Canadian Rangers)

Canadian Rangers step up during COVID-19 crisis

Nunavik first seeks reservists’ help

By Nunatsiaq News

Canadian Rangers in Nunavik communities will use their experience to help control COVID-19 throughout the region, where, as of Sunday, five cases of the new coronavirus had been confirmed.

“We have enough human resources and medical personnel right now, but you don’t know tomorrow, next week, we might need extra resources,” Minnie Grey, the executive director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, said in an interview on April 3, before the latest COVID-19 cases had been declared.

“These people have expertise in setting up in our communities. They will be utilized to be a part of our team.”

In Nunavik communities, the Rangers will be available to set up tents in front of health facilities, such as the hospital in Puvirnituq, where people with COVID-19 symptoms can be triaged in one tent and get tested, if needed, in another.

Four of the active COVID-19 cases in Nunavik are in the Hudson Bay community of Puvirnituq, which has population of about 1,900.

The Nunavik Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, along with the Kativik Regional Government’s civil security department, had requested last week, through Quebec, that the Rangers be deployed.

“We received a request from the Quebec government for an intervention by the armed forces to lend a hand to northern and isolated communities,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed at his daily news conference in Ottawa on April 3.

The Rangers will also conduct missions on the land to tell people about the need to practise social distancing, the KRG said in a release issued later that day.

And they will work with the local emergency response teams to distribute food and “become an important asset in the day-to-day operations of local emergency response teams,” the release said.

Personal protective equipment 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,” a news release from the Department of National Defence said on Monday, April 6.

As of March 31, there were 305 active Canadian Rangers in Nunavik.

The plan is to mobilize 40 Rangers on continuous standby and another 40 on call for short tasks, as long as their presence is required and authorized.

Rangers have been in voluntary isolation since March 13, following the order of the chief of the defence staff in anticipation of possible deployment, the DND said.

Brigadier General Gervais Carpentier, the commander of the Nunavik-based Rangers, wrote in an online statement that the patrol group “will support the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services in Nunavik to prevent the spread of the 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.”

Since then other reservists in Canada have also been deployed.

Rangers from the First Canadian Rangers Patrol Group in the territories have also been activated to assist local and territorial COVID-19 awareness programs and deal with “emerging demands” from northern communities, its headquarters in Yellowknife said.

(with files from Jane George and Elaine Anselmi)

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Great but with caution on

    That’s great, Canadian rangers deployed for this good cause. But any large group patrolling or any type of team work needs extra special training, and distancing themselves. I’m sure they have the proper method. Care to you too rangers going around cabin or tents on the land, where people are following the rules with only their own families under the roof. I say care , because it wouldn’t need a big group coming up on those families to check on them, maybe send one ranger towards the cabin or team while alerting the family that you are coming just to check, and keep your distance. I would be concerned if I see an army of rangers coming towards me and my family, even thou I know what to do, and have confidence that they know as well. Just saying.

  2. Posted by Not going to be very effective here on

    The ranger in our town went on the local radio and he seemed so unsure. First, he said distancing should be maybe three feet. Duh! And he wasn’t sure where we would have a vacant house to isolate people if necessary. I guess he wasn’t briefed.

    Not a reliable source. But it’s okay! We’ve been hearing the same information every single hour of every single day that we know what not to do by now.

    • Posted by Concerned for sure on

      It’s not clear if more rangers are coming in from south or if deployment mean our local stock. It’s concerning either way to me. First the local rangers are not trained in this delicate situation, as I’m witness lots of ignorance throughout our area in the general,population, of which our local rangers are part of. Secondly those coming from the south if any, will be risky to have a group come in to Nunavik now, in opposition to how we’re trying to keep people out. To me no one knows what to do, any good intentions might cost us big. This needs more thought by those that are putting these measures in place.

  3. Posted by Ches on

    It’s new ground for us all. Mental health is just as important in the pressure cooker we find ourselves and I think our health services could do messaging on this front. Keep an active regular schedule, get fresh air and outdoor exercise to relieve the stress, etc.

    • Posted by Thank you! on

      That’s what we’ve been trying to say, but we’re forced by a very hateful, angry manager to stay in 24/7. He’s even chasing and yelling at kids to “f¥€£en stay home!!!”

      I guess he’s got a reason to fear dying.

    • Posted by Inuit traditionally on

      Now is the time. Inuit all over Canada are heading for the land with family . For those that can do this , please do it. For those that can’t , krg, makivik, cnv should endure some funds to help . It’s a great time for inuit to connect with the land again. Many Inuit from living day to day , in and out of stores and services that like all
      People they find frustrating. Go on the land

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