The safety and security of all who participate in our programs is always one of my top priorities. Combined with our commitment to developing in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, it was clear to me that Canada’s Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers programs could not in good faith carry on with our planned summer activities while the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces is gearing up to assist Canadians in the face of COVID-19, and any other challenges they may face.
Therefore, that is why, I have made the decision to cancel all in-person Cadet and JCR training activities until 31 August 2020 and have directed that every Cadet and JCR have their training qualifications for this current training year marked as completed. This cancellation decision will affect local training, corps and squadron trips, cadet summer training and activities, in-person training for Cadet Instructors Cadre officers, and, in coordination with the Canadian Army, the JCR enhanced training sessions.
( Although We Cannot Be Physically Training, 504 Will Be Continuing Training With Our Online Academy Launched Today Please Read Full Statement Below)
This decision ensures the safety and security of everyone who participates in our programs and will ensure that the Cadet program, like the Canadian Armed Forces, does not become a vector to spread COVID-19.
This was not an easy decision, nor was it made in isolation. I have consulted far and wide to ensure that I am taking a measured response to the challenges that lie before us. In order to rise to that challenge, I will require Cadets, COATS members, our volunteers, and key stakeholders including League representatives, to come together – not only to bounce back, but to help improve and enhance the Cadet and JCR programs for the next generation of young Canadians when training is forecasted to resume in September 2020.
The Canadian Armed Forces have always done everything they can to support our programs, from providing medical support, instructors, and facilities which allow us to operate the summer training programs the way we do. The reality is that the Canadian Armed Forces now need to focus on the mission to protect Canadians during this pandemic. Their hard work and dedication will allow us to return stronger than ever.
Even in difficult times we are coming together in new ways. An excellent example was the Battle of Vimy Ridge virtual memorial through social media, which saw hundreds of cadets and JCRs honouring this important battle that shaped our nation. Putting a national-level effort together in this short a timeframe is just one small example of the work being done by local Commanding Officers and their staff, members of the formation and regional headquarters, and Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups to ensure that we remain focused on the Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger experience. Thank you all for your support and contributions during these difficult times.
I encourage all of you to find new and innovative ways to stay engaged with our programs throughout this pandemic, while respecting physical distancing. I want to thank all of the Corps and Squadron staff as well for their exemplary communication effort – these are challenging times and you have clearly stepped up to the plate.
I have directed my staff to begin planning to explore innovative ways to take advantage of this pause in training to implement new and exciting solutions for today’s youth. Expect to hear more about what this may entail in the weeks to come, as I will be looking at options that will involve employment opportunities for COATS members, Staff Cadets and Civilian Instructors to help make these ideas come to life.
I understand many of you will be disappointed with today’s news. However, the safety and security not only of those involved in our programs, but of all Canadians must be our top concern. The Cadet and Junior Canadian Programs must not be a vector for the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. I am confident in the strength and resilience of the men and women who not only support and lead this program, but also participate in it. I am extremely proud of all Cadets, Junior Canadian Rangers and adult staff of how you have been adapting to this unprecedented situation and adhering to the Government’s social distancing protocols. Our role now is to demonstrate leadership and citizenship in the face of adversity, and I know that you are all up to the challenge.