Marking nearly 75 years of participation in UN Peacekeeping, Canada today provides 59 uniformed personnel, including 18 women, to six UN peace operations. Overall, Canada has provided more than 125,000 military and police personnel to dozens of UN peace operations around the world.
Canada was one of the 10 countries that contributed troops to the 6,000-strong UNEF I and it also provided the mission’s first force commander. Here, Canadian troops built a signpost in their base, giving the various distances to leading Canadian cities, to remind them of home.
Canada contributed to the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), one of Organization’s earliest and most dangerous operations. Among its mandated activities, the mission provided training to the Congolese National Army. Here, a peacekeeper is on duty at the entrance to a firing range where Congolese soldiers are being trained in marksmanship. (January 1963)
Canada was also an early contributor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which was established in 1964, and continues to operate to this day. Canada was a major contributor to UNFICYP for three decades and still has a presence on the ground. Here, Canadian peacekeepers get news from UN Headquarters via the Secretariat News. (June 1967)
Canada played a significant role in the many of the operations established during the surge in UN peacekeeping in the 1990s, including in countries where there was little or no peace to keep. Here, a Canadian peacekeeper serving with the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) stands guard near a destroyed house in Croatia.
Answering UN Peacekeeping’s request for specialized units, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed an Air Task Force to the operation in Mali (MINUSMA) to enhance its transport, logistics and medevac capacities. Here, members of the Canadian medical team work on a simulated casualty during a medical evacuation exercise.
Canada has provided police officers to UN Peacekeeping operations for decades, including many women officers. At the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada launched the ‘Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operation’s to help increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women. Here, two Canadian police officers serving with MINUJUSTH in Haiti talk to local women about UN efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse.
Peacekeeping does not come without risk or sacrifice. 123 Canadian peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving in the cause of peace since 1948. Here, Canadian police officers serving with MINUSTAH mourn their colleagues, Doug Coates and Mark Gallagher, at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Mr. Coates was Acting UN Police Commissioner in Haiti when an earthquake struck the capital in January 2010.