CANADIAN ARMED FORCES
Approximately 200 soldiers from local Canadian Army Reserve units completed NOREX 20 on March 8, 2020. Troops from London, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, Barrie and multiple other communities across Southwestern Ontario took part.
NOREX is run by the Toronto-headquartered 4th Canadian Division (4 Cdn Div), which is the Army command for the majority of Ontario. The exercise takes place in Canada’s Arctic or North, with this year’s operations conducted in the Municipality of Greenstone, approximately 300 km Northeast of Thunder Bay from February 28 - March 8, 2020.
This major exercise was conducted by 4 Cdn Div’s Arctic Response Company Group’s (ARCG), a specialized sub-unit that maintains an ability to command, move, and communicate under harsh weather conditions in remote locations. The ARCG is the mission task of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, of Barrie and Owen Sound, and is reinforced with soldiers drawn from across 31 Canadian Brigade Group, based in London, which has units all across Southwestern Ontario.
Exercises like NOREX 20 fulfill several pillars of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, to include enhancing the Canadian Armed Forces' presence in the region by demonstrating mobility, reach, and footprint. These capabilities are required to better respond to the needs of those residing in Arctic and Northern communities with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, whenever needed.
NOREX 20 participants engaged local leadership and citizen groups to enhance emergency preparedness and foster the lines of communication required to respond to crises in isolated communities. Local Northern experts from the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group supported the effort to reinforce partnerships in the area, and help ensure readiness to respond to emergencies like wild-fires and floods, for example.
Throughout the exercise, soldiers demonstrated arctic survival and winter warfare skills in a harsh climate, including the maintenance and operation of snow vehicles and communications gear, operating survival equipment, and conducting patrols in both austere environments and within local communities.