Canada's Contributions to UN Peacekeeping 

Dr. Walter Dorn, 25 September 2021
Using the monthly UN data for 31 August 2021

Canada has pledged to the United Nations and the international community to provide substantial contributions to UN peacekeeping. Specifically, major pledges were made at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in London, UK, on 8 September 2016 (pdf) and at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in Vancouver on 15 November 2017 (pledges). In three election campaigns, the Trudeau government promised to "re-engage" in UN peacekeeping. After the 2019 election, Prime Minister Trudeau tasked his Defence and Foreign Ministers to "expand Canada’s support for United Nations peace operations" (Defence Minister Mandate letter, 2019). 

This webpage tracks the status of implementation of these government promises on UN peacekeeping using easily measurable statistics, the latest figures, historical commentary, and benchmark data for key commitments and past contributions. It draws conclusions for each promise and conclusions overall.


Latest stats
Uniformed Personnel
Women in Peacekeeping
Uniformed Personnel at UN Headquarters
Training for UN Operations
Intellectual/Political/Policy Contributions
Government's Self-Evaluation



Canada's Personnel Contributions to UN Peace Operations as of 31 August 2021:

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
BINUH Haiti Police 2 2 4
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 5 13
    Mil  3 2 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil  8 1 9
    Police 10 5 15
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil  1 0 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil  4 2 6
UNTSO Middle East Mil  5 0 5
    Mil 21 5 26
    Police 20 12 32
    Totals 41 17


Source: UN



Pledge: Up to 750 uniformed personnel, i.e., 600 military + 150 police (2016 London Ministerial: pdf). This should be in addition to what Canada deployed at the time, 112, as is required for the pledging conference (i.e., pledging new contributions only).  So the total would be approximately 860 maximum.

Status58 Canadian uniformed personnel deployed, according to UN figures.

Table 1. Number of Canadian uniformed personnel, recent history and last UN report

Date     Military     Police     Total Source  Comment
2015 Oct 31        27        89          116 UN, 2015 (pdf) Conservative gov, last official figures 
2016 Aug 31        28        84          112 UN, 2016 (pdf)
Contribution when pledge of additional 750 uniformed personnel was made
2017 Oct 31        23
UN, 2017 (pdf)
At time of Vancouver Ministerial last official figures beforehand
2018 May 31        19        21          40 UN, 2018 (pdf)
To that point, lowest number of uniformed personnel -- lowest military contribution since 1956; lowest police contribution since 1992
2019 Feb 28 167  23 167 UN, 2019 (pdf) Highest contribution from Trudeau gov in Mali -- 250 military incl. NSE
2020 Aug 31 22 12 34 UN, 2020 (pdf) Lowest number of uniformed personnel since 1956 and lowest police contribution since 1992
2021 Aug 30  26 32



UN, 2021 Increase over lowest point

Figure 1. Contribution by month, from 2005 to 2020 (Dec), showing governments in power at the time


Historical benchmarks: Canada was a leader in providing personnel to UN peacekeeping from its early days, e.g., providing the first military observer chief, BGen Harry Angle of UNMOGIP, which was the first observer mission, created in April 1948 for Kashmir. In 1956, Canada proposed the first peacekeeping force: UNEF in Egypt and made major contributions, including battalion-sized contributions throughout the life of the mission (1956–67). It also helped create the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), to which Canada contributed large units (battalions) for about 30 years (1964–1993). Canada was the only country to contribute to ALL peacekeeping operations during the Cold War, with about 1,000 deployed on average over 40 years. It remained a top contributor into the early 1990s. In 1993, Canada had 3,300 uniformed personnel deployed in UN missions (including in Bosnia, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Somalia). Canada contributed approx. 200 logisticians to the UN Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights (UNDOF, in Syria) from its creation in 1974 until 2006, when the Harper government withdrew them (see decline in Figure 1). So during the half-century 1956-2006, Canada always maintained at least 200 uniformed personnel in peacekeeping, and the average for the period was well about 1,000 (see Figure A2 in Annex below). In March 2006, shortly after the Harper government came to power, the UN contribution dropped to 120 personnel.

When President Barak Obama co-hosted the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping at UN headquarters on 28 September 2015, Canada made no pledge. That same night, in an election debate, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau criticised the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, saying:

The fact that Canada has nothing to contribute to that conversation today is disappointing because this is something that a Canadian Prime Minister started, and right now there is a need to revitalize and refocus and support peacekeeping operations.

Before his election in October 2015, Trudeau criticized the Conservative government of Stephen Harper for a decline in number of uniformed personnel (rank 66th on the list of contributors on 31 September 2015). Surprisingly, under the Trudeau government, the contribution fall further for over two years until Canada reach its lowest rank ever: 81st (31 May 2018). The rank increased substantially in July 2018 with the addition of 134 mil personnel in Mali (as counted by the UN) but it was short lived. 

During the one year deployment in Mali (2018-19), the Canadian defence department (DND) frequently stated that the number deployed in Mali is "approximately 250 personnel." The discrepancy between UN and Canadian statistics arises because Canada generously deployed more personnel on this mission than the UN pays for. (The UN has standards for the number of deployed for a given function that are much lower than what Canada deemed was required for its deployment.) So the additional Canadian personnel (approx. 100) were considered part of a "National Support Element" (NSE), which is not reimbursed, though most of these personnel still wore UN insignia and were incorporated into the mission as part of the regular UN chain of command.

The Mali contribution was the largest Canadian deployment since 2005 and only the third time it contributed a military unit since 2005 (both other units were short one-time deployments in Haiti with no rotations). With the Mali deployment, the number of uniformed personnel deployed finally became greater than what it was when the Harper government ended in October 2015. But instead of being at 860, Canada never contributed over 300. Following the Defence and Foreign Ministers' announcement on 19 March 2018 that Canada will contribute to the UN mission in Mali, Canada provided an aviation task force of 8 helicopters (three Chinooks and five Griffons). This was a substantial military contribution with high quality assets. The initial Vancouver pledge was made as a "smart pledge," which means "helping [the UN] to eliminate critical gaps" by securing successive rotational contributions from different countries but Canada still left a gap until the next country (Romania) took over the responsibility in mid-October 2019. So the pledge was not so "smart." Furthermore, the police contribution reached the lowest point since 1992 (just 15 police officers in November 2018, see Figure 1).  At less than 20 officers, this is lower than any point in the Harper government, though the authorized ceiling under the Trudeau government is much higher (150 overall, with 20 for UN mission in Mali, and 35 for mission in Haiti; see RCMP current operations).  


– With the withdrawal from the Mali mission, Canadian personnel contributions sunk to a record low, now only slightly higher. Not since 1956 had Canada made a smaller contribution of personnel. 
– Over half-decade after the 2015 Liberal campaign pledge, promises ring hollow. Only one substantive increase over the Harper monthly numbers was made, but for only for one mission (Mali) for a short duration (one year).  
– The average number of deployed personnel under the Trudeau government (monthly average of 95 personnel) is 60% LESS than that of the Harper government (157). 
– It is hard to say that the Trudeau government is heeding the legacy or the call of Lester B. Pearson, as made in his 1957 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: 

We made at least a beginning then. If, on that foundation, we do not build something more permanent and stronger, we will once again have ignored realities, rejected opportunities, and betrayed our trust. Will we never learn?



Promise: to promote more women in peacekeeping. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the 2017 Vancouver Peacekeeping Ministerial: "We are equally committed to increasing the number of women that we deploy as part of UN peace operations." ("Canada to deploy more women to peacekeeping missions, says Trudeau" Youtube, 1:13). A specific programme was also announced "titled Women in Peace Operations Pilot – 'The Elsie initiative.'"

Table 2. Number of Canadian uniformed women in peacekeeping (benchmark data and the recent figures)

Date      Military


2015 Oct 31           1          20            21 UN, 2015 (pdf) Conservative gov, last official figures
2016 Aug 31           2          13            15 UN, 2016 (pdf) At time of London ministerial, last official figures before meeting
2017 Oct 31           2           6             8  UN, 2017 (pdf) At time of Vancouver Ministerial, last official figures before meeting

2021 Aug 31

           12             17 UN, 2021

5 women of 26 military personnel (19%) 
12 of 32 police personnel  (38%)
17 women of 58 Uniformed personnel (29%)

Recent stats

At end August 2021, the Trudeau government is providing only 17 women uniformed personnel. The total is fewer than the 21 women that the Harper government provided at the end of its term.

During the time of the Mali deployment (2018-19), if the National Support Element is included, the number of Canadian women increased substantially. The percentage of Canadian uniformed women on peacekeeping became especially high (25%) compared to other countries, with the UN average being (approx) 5% for military personnel, and 10% for police. Although the UN has no target for troops, it has set a target of 16% for SOs and MILOBs in 2019 (starting 2018 at 15% and increasing 1% each year thereafter to 2028; UN Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) called for a doubling number of women by 2020).

Canada almost lost a military position in the UNMISS mission in March 2019 when it was unable to meet the UN standard for the percentage contribution of women as staff officers and UNMEM in peacekeeping. After Canada pledged to increase its number of deployed women, the UN allowed Canada to retain the position. 

The government's 2017/18 Progress Report on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda states: "Dedicated efforts were made to recruit women for the Canadian deployment to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), resulting in women making up 14% of the Canadian contingent, including the task force deputy commander, and to ensure gender responsive action through the deployment of a gender advisor." 

The 2017/18 Progress Report also states: "Of the 45 Canadian police newly deployed to international peace operations during the fiscal year [2017/18], women made up 18%, as compared to 14% the previous year.18" [footnote 18: "Of the total 70 police in deployment during the fiscal year, women represented on average 19% in fiscal year 2017–2018 and 18% in 2016–2017. The target is 20%, which equals the UN goal."] It seems there has been some backsliding in 2018/19. 


In 2020, Canada had dropped to near record lows in its contributions of women to peacekeeping, i.e., single digits.  In 2021, it is only slightly above that. 

In 2019, Canada finally temporarily set a good example percentage-wise, with 19% of its UN military personnel being women, well above the UN average.  For Staff Officer/MilObs deployed, Canada had 7 out of 23 or 30%, well exceeding the UN goal of 16% for 2019.

In 2017, Canada's Vancouver pledge, especially the financial incentives, held promise to increase the number of women military personnel provided by other countries.

Unfortunately, slow to no progress on the pledges on women, peace and security or WPS is being made: 

– Elsie initiative: Announced at the 2017 Vancouver ministerial, the Global Elsie Fund was launched at the UN on 28 March 2019, co-organized with UN Women. The disembursements have been very slow. Nothing had been distributed to ransferred to Participating Organizations by end of 2020. Most has gone to administration. The programme is planned to end March 2022. 

– Training assistance: two countries were designated to serve in a pilot project: Ghana and Zambia -- see Freeland, Sept 2018, neither being Francophone -- but actual training and mentoring activities have not commenced in the three year period since initiative was announced. 

– A pledge of C$ 21 m was made in Vancouver for WPS in UN peace operations. This includes contributions to the UN's trust fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse or SEA. Whether the funds were actually dispersed is not known. 

– More broadly, "A new WPS Chiefs of Defence Network was launched by Canada, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh to share best practices and compare progress in addressing barriers and challenges to integrating WPS in national militaries." Canada succeed the United Kingdom as network chair in July 2019. -- see WPS CHODS website. But a planned tour of nations for WPS consultations by General Jon Vance did not take place as planned.  

– Canadian Gender Advisors (GENADs) were deployed with Op PRESENCE and UNMISS (South Sudan).

– Graphs of CAF women deployed by year 2011-21 is shown in Annex Figure A1.5, giving the number that went on deployment that year and the percentage women of the total deployed (men and women combined).

– Percentage by women by occupation in CAF and percentage deployed on peace ops by occupation (Annex Figure A.6) shows that women are less likely to be deployed than men in all occupations, except engineering officers.


The total number of Canadian women contributing to peacekeeping has fallen drastically with the end of the Mali mission. It was only with that mission that Canada finally made an impact by example in the percentage of women deployed, at 25%, after years of slow or no progress. The percentages have since fallen, as have the number of women deployed. Some long-promised programmes may eventually be implemented, especially the Elsie initiative, which has not started dispersing funds more than three years after it was announced. The long-term effects of the Fund are yet to be determined.



Pledge: While no specific pledge has been made in this regard, service at UN headquarters provides a way to make a significant contribution, to gain Canadian experience in UN planning, procedures, and priorities, and to view the inner workings of the world organization. Positions to support UN peacekeeping should be in Department of Peace Operations or the Department of Operational Support. For the military, placements would be within the Office of Military Affairs within DPO.  

Current status (military)
UN employment: 0, out of more than 120 personnel serving from over 70 countries
Gratis personnel: 1, legal advice to the UN office dealing with Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

History: Canada provided the Military Adviser to the Secretary-General or MilAd, who is head of OMA,  from 1992 to 1995, namely Maurice Baril, Major-General at the time, later full general and Chief of Defence Staff. The last leadership post held by Canada in OMA was Chief, Military Planning Service: Col. Dave Barr, serving 2011-2015.    

Current status of Canadian police in UN Police Division 
UN employment: 0

Civilian positions: these are not contributions made by UN member states but are individual hired by the UN. However, in a major advance, Gilles Michaud, formerly with the RCMP, was appointed on 30 May 2019 as Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security.  Although the position is won on merit, it is usual for governments to support their citizens who are seeking such high-level positions. Still, is not a secondment from the Canadian police so it is not considered a Canadian governmental contribution. 

Positions at the Canadian Mission: 3 military and 1 police. The Trudeau government upgraded the rank of the Military Advisor (MilAd) in the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (PRMNY) from Colonel to Brigadier-General. At times in the past, the MilAd was also the "Dean" of the Military and Police Advicers Community (MPAC). The MilAd is assisted by two other military officers (often a LCol and a Major). A police advisor is also resident at PRMNY.  


Conclusion: Canada is lagging far behind other nations in an area where it once led.  



Pledge: while no international pledge was made by Canada, the Prime Minister did request his defence minister to provide "mission commanders" for the UN. Canada has not yet done so.

Historical Background: The UN's first chief military observer, BGen Harry Angle in UNMOGIP, and the first Force Commander, MGen E.L.M. Burns in UNEF, were Canadians. Other Canadians were appointed as UN commanders in the Cold War. Canada provided seven force commanders and two commanders of observer missions in the 1990s but none since. The commanders, i.e., force commanders or heads of military components of missions, in the 1990s were:

 MGen Clive Milner   UNFICYP  1988-1992 
 BGen Lewis MacKenzie  ONUCA 1990-1991
 MGen Armand Roy  MINURSO 1991-1992
 MGen Roméo Dalliare  UNOMUR/UNAMIR   1993-94
 MGen Guy Tousignant  UNAMIR II 1994-95
 LGen Maurice Baril  MNF in E.Zaire 1996
 BGen Pierre Daigle  UNSMIH 1996-1997
 BGen Robin Gagnon  UNTMIH 1997
 BGen Cam Ross  UNDOF 1998

Canada has not provided any Force Commanders or heads of military components in the twenty-first century. Canada was offered the opportunity to submit candidates for the force commander positions in the D.R. Congo and Mali around 2008 and 2016, respectively, but did not commit. The highest ranking positions in the twenty-first century has been the Force Chief of Staff in MINUSTAH, i.e., in Haiti, 2005-2017, and Deputy Chief of Staff in MONUSCO in D.R. Congo. 

On the police side, a Canadian police officer has headed the police component in the UN's missions in Haiti since 2004. That has been a significant RCMP-organized police contribution.  

Status: Canada lost its most significant military position in UN missions with the end of MINUSTAH in 2017. It was a colonel position as Chief of Staff. The UN mission was downgraded to a smaller mission, MINUJUSTH. However, Canada did retain the role of police commissioner and mission leader in MINUJUSTH. Canada lost the major opportunity to provide the Force Commander for the Mali or MINUSMA mission in January 2017 when Canada dithered and delayed on the Mali mission, with Cabinet unable to commit. A force package for Mali was only delivered a year-and-a-half later. The Force Commander position in 2017 went to a Major-General Jean-Paul Deconinck of Belgium and two years later to Lieutenant-General Gyllensporre from Sweden. 

Aside: On the civilian side, three Canadians hold positions of mission leadership, i.e., Special Representative of the Secretary-General or SRSG: Colin Stewart leads the UN mission in Western Sahara or MINURSO, since Dec 2017; Elizabeth Spehar leads the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus or UNFICYP, since April 2016; and Deborah Lyons leads the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan or UNAMA, since March 2020. But these mission leaders are not provided by the Canadian government. These Canadians are part of the international civil service, individually recruited by the United Nations, though often with endorsement of the Government of Canada. The Canadian civilians who lead UN missions are to be much commended for their achievement and personal service. 

Conclusion:  In terms of providing military leadership of UN missions, this is a major failure for Canada, especially given the illustrious history of past contributions and the contributions of other middle-power nations, including Ireland and Norway, who were fellow contenders for a Security Council seat 2021-22. The opportunity to lead the Mali mission was missed catastrophically, causing extra hardship for the UN, with the position being unfilled for two months while the UN waited in vain for a response from Canada. 



Pledges: Made as part of the "Contribution of police and up to 600 military personnel" at the 2017 Vancouver commitment, "advancing" the London pledge:
   Tactical Airlift Support [C130 aircraft]
   Aviation Task Force
   Quick Reaction Force or QRF [approx. 200 personnel]
   New Police missions being examined [vague]

– The aviation task force was deployed for one year in Mali, with the aeromedical unit staying an extra month. contribution has passed.
– The transport aircraft unit, one C-130, is being provided for UN service, based in Entebbe. It was suspended in February 2020 out of concerns about COVID-19 and Ebola. It began again in August 2020, after the agreement was finally signed that month to extend the mission for another year. But in 2021, the United Nations stated that it no longer needed the service. 
–The plans for the deployment of a QRF, e.g., in Golan Heights with UNDOF or in Mali with MINUSMA, is being examined as a possibility. 

Conclusion: only a fraction of the pledge has been fulfilled and with the Mali deployment being so short, Canada is letting the UN down. 



Canada has for decades paid its UN dues "on time, in full, and without conditions," unlike countries such as the US, which regularly defaults in all three aspects -- see Williams, 2018. Canada very seldom misses the January deadlines for payment of its mandatory UN dues, including the peacekeeping contributions. It is 2.7% of the UN peacekeeping budget, making Canada the 9th largest contributor on the assessment scale. So Canada, under both Liberal and Conservative governments, is to be praised for this financial consistency in UN support over many decades. In addition, Canada contributed advanced helicopters to the UN mission in Mali for free, actually $1/year, while also providing some 100 personnel of the 250 at no cost to the United Nations.  In this one mission, MINUSMA in Mali, Canada was quite generous, though it is not filling the time gap between its departure and the arrival of the next contingent from Romania in 2019. 

In giving extra-budgetary, voluntary funds to UN peacekeeping, Canada is a leader in the total amount, roughly $12 million per year. It supports some worthwhile projects, including the establishment of a training Joint Operations Centre or "mock JOC", $0.5 million, in Entebbe, Uganda, to allow individuals to train on the UN's procedures, including the  situational awareness programme called "UniteAware", which was piloted in the MINUSCA mission but is due to be deployed in other missions. 

Conclusion: Canada is continuing its positive record of financial contributions, though the vast majority of these are mandatory. 



Mandate Letter (2015): includes "leading an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed on peace operations" -- see full letter

Pledge at Vancouver conference: 
"Innovative Training"
"Training activities to meet systemic UN needs"
"Canadian Training and Advisory Team" 

Status: The Canadian government is currently less well equipped to lead in training for UN peacekeeping since so few Canadian military personnel have deployed in such operations over the past two decades. In addition, the training and education within the Canadian Armed Forces on UN peacekeeping has also declined, with the number of activities less than a quarter of what they were in 2005 -- see study: Dorn and Libben, Preparing for Peace? 2018, html or pdf or the longer 2015 version: htmlpdf. The closure of the Pearson Centre in 2013 left Canada without a place to train military, police and civilians together. The Peace Support Training Centre or PSTC in Kingston devotes only trains miliitary perisonnel. And peace ops are a small fraction of its efforts: just one course out of nine The training is done on an individual not unit level, and is mostly at the tactical level. 

The Government announced on 29 May 2018, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, financial contributions for peacekeeping training to two institutions: École de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye de Bamako or EMP Bamako, and Peace Operations Training Institute or POTI, which is US-based. Each institution was offered $1 million. This does not demonstrate international leadership but it does assist these two particular institutions financially. 

As part of the Elsie Initiative for women in peace operations, Canada is planning in the near future help train women in Zambia, being police, and Ghana being military. This programme was announced in November 2017 but is has not yet started the actual training programmes. 

The United Nations was counting on Canada to provide trainers for its courses at the Regional Services Centre Entebbe or RSCE in October 2018 but Canada did not send the promised trainers. Also, Canadian assistance to the Women's Outreach Course of the UN Signals Academy or UNSA, located at RSCE, has not yet materialized, even though the Elsie Initiative would seem to be an ideal source of funds, given the Initiative's goal of increasing women's participation in peacekeeping. Canada has announced a provision of $500,000 to the UN for a Joint Operations Centre or JOC simulation or "mock JOC" that is planned to enhance training in Entebe. 

Conclusion: very little of the promised leadership in training has been shown.



In the past, Canada provided great contributions to the evolution of UN policies and practice, with the creation of the first peacekeeping mission called UNMOGIP in 1948, and especially the first peacekeeping forces called UNEF in 1956 and UNFICYP in 1964. Later it led in the development of the concepts of Responsibility to Protect or R2P in 2001, the Protection of Civilians or POC in 1999, and human security more generally. It also helped pioneer the use of panels of experts for sanctions monitoring, e.g., Angola 1999, which often happen in conjunction with peace operations.   

During the tenure of the Harper government, no intellectual initiatives were undertaken, even as the UN made tremendous progress in developing POC, peacekeeping-intelligence, as well as better training and equipping of peacekeepers. The Trudeau government made a major contribution in one area: child soldiers. Thanks mostly to the work of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, the Vancouver Principles on "Peacekeeping and Preventing the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers" were adopted at the 2017 Vancouver ministerial and have been endorsed by over 80 countries. The contribution to Women, Peace and Security has been more by example, i.e., percentage women deployed in 2019, and financial contributions than by intellectual contribution. In the area of peacekeeping technology innovation, Canada did provide the UN with one gratis personnel for one year, namely Walter Dorn, 2017-18, who served as the UN's Innovation and Protection Technology Expert. 

For decades, Canada has consistently chaired the Working Group of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (aka Commmittee of 34 or C34, from the original number of members of the committee). The Working Group develops the draft of the annual C34 report, which is an important document in the United Nations since it expresses (by consensus) the views of the nations contributing to UN peacekeeping. Some years, the negotiations can be quite difficult because of the range of positions on major issues. In 2020, Canadian diplomats had to work hard to secure consensus, particularly after some nations refused to accept the wording from previous years as acceptable. 

The Minister of National Defence created the Dallaire Centre for peace and Security in June 2019 but the results of this centre are not visible to the public. One area of focus is on the Vancouver Principles.

Conclusion: With the exception of the Vancouver Principles on child soldiers and peacekeeping, led by the non-governmental Dallaire initiative (now Dallaire Institute), little or no intellectual leadership in peacekeeping has been shown by the current government. 



The government provides its own self-evaluation of the results of the promises from the PM's mandate letters at, which redirects to  In October 2018, it listed the peacekeeping commitments as "Underway – on track," defined as "progress toward completing this commitment is unfolding as expected". In December 2018, this was downgraded to "Actions taken, progress made." That self-appraisal status has not changed.  The government's self-evaluation that fulfilment of its peacekeeping promises was "on track" in October 2018 was inaccurate. The government's downgraded self-evaluation of "actions taken, progress made," starting January 2019 and continuing to October 2019, was more accurate but also indicates how far the reality is from the promises. Only one mission has been added by the Trudeau government since 2015: the Mali mission but this support function was provided for only a year. Afterwards the uniformed personnel contribution fall to an all-time low. 



The Canadian government is not living up to its promises to re-engage in UN peacekeeping.  Evidence shows that it has gone backwards. In August 2021, it was near the lowest level of personnel contribution since the creation of the first peacekeeping force in 1956.

For a single year in 2018/19, the air force contribution for Mali was substantial and valued by the world organization but it lasted only the one year. A new means of cross-mission air-transport assistance was established in 2019, which is also commendable, but it is only one C-130 tactical aircraft for several days a month of UN service. In the end (spring 2021), the United Nations stated it no longer needed this service.  

While the Air Force experienced an increased contribution under the Trudeau government, the Canadian Army has not. It has not rotated troops in UN peacekeeping since the last century. Also,  in the 1990s, the Canadian Army provided nine military leaders in UN missions, but none since. Canada is far behind its contributions of the past and dozens of other nations, in terms of numbers, leadership and hardship.

Canada has not yet re-engaged in UN peace operations, as promised.

The Trudeau government is providing FEWER peacekeepers than the Harper government did: over 50% less, averaging over their respective time in office. Maybe with a deployment of the long-promised QRF in the near future, Canada might once again make a strong contributions to the United Nations but will it be sent? Will it be a sustained contribution? The track record of the Trudeau government puts that in doubt.   

NATO missions in Iraq and Latvia have clearly been prioritized over UN missions. These have been sustained contributions over many years, with far greater numbers of personnel deployed and much larger funding. For instance, in fiscal year 2020/21, $112 million was set aside for NATO operations in Central and Eastern Europe, while only $5 million was planned for UN operations in Africa (Canada - DND, 2020).  

Ironically, the same month that Canada hosted a peacekeeping pledging conference in Vancouver in November 2017, the number of Canadian uniformed personnel in UN peacekeeping was lower than at any other point since the creation of the first peacekeeping force in 1956. It decreased even further in the months afterwards to 40 in May 2018 and then to 34 by end of September 2020. Even with the increase in Mali from July 2018 to August 2019, the average monthly contribution of the Trudeau government since it assumed power in 2015 is still substantially less than that of the previous government: on average, 97 uniformed personnel for the Trudeau government 2015-20 and 157 for the Harper government, 2006-15.

The Mali deployment did not signal a "re-engagement" in UN peace operations since the deployment of the aviation task force was relatively short-term: one year plus one month for the aeromedical component. It was not renewed. As noted, Canada announced on 19 March 2018 that it would provide the UN mission in Mali with an aviation task force of 6 helicopters and an aeromedical team. The deployment came to 8 helicopters after negotiations with UN headquarters. This substantial contribution became fully operational in August 2018 but the commitment was of short duration, less than the countries that preceded Canada. Furthermore, it was not a complete replacement for the German capability that was withdrawn in June 2018 after one-and-a-half years of service. And even with the Mali contribution, Canada's peak contribution during Trudeau's terms has been just one-third, roughly, of Canada's pledged military contribution of up to 600 personnel.

Furthermore, other pledges are not being implemented. The promised Quick Reaction Force is not deploying quickly since it was pledged at the Vancouver ministerial in 2017. There is no deployment date or place in sight. Similarly, a new mission for Canadian police contributions has not yet been announced, though the number of police in Mali has increased. During Trudeau's term, Canada reached the lowest police contribution since 1992, 8 personnel in September 2020. For the promised deployment of C-130 Hercules aircraft to Entebbe, a creative proposal to serve multiple UN missions, the UN-Canada MOU took almost two years to negotiate. Though August 2018 was the expected deployment month for the service, the agreement was not reached until a year later. And that service was suspended just as the UN faced the challenges of Ebola and COVID-19. The agreement was extended for another year in August 2020, to the credit of the Canadian government. 

With the Air Force making the majority of the UN contribution, the Army has been left in limbo in peacekeeping, having deployed no units to UN operations during Trudeau's term.  

Canada is now doing better on on deploying women in peacekeeping, with about 20% of deployed Canadian uniformed personnel being women, according to UN statistics. But the total number of women deployed fall preciptiously in September 2019 after the end of the Mali mission. There are less than 10 military women deployed in UN peacekeeping operations. 

Defence Minister Sajjan has not shown leadership on the peacekeeping file. In fact, he has made Canada's fulment of its 2017 Vancouver commitments conditional on the United Nations. Rather than fulfilling the promises and offering much needed asssistance to the world organization, in the House of Commons Defence Committee he stated: "Once we have the confidence through the UN that we'll have four to five nations as a part of it, then we as a government can consider getting into a rotation. ... we need to make sure that the mission is right, the troops that we have provided are going to have the right impact, and they will make the decisions accordingly ..." see Sajjan, 2020. This is another case of "paralysis by analysis," where significant opportunities and UN experience are lost as Canada continues to dither and delay in keeping its promises. 

The Trudeau government is clearly not "back" and it is certainly not on track to meet its promises. Canada has not re-engaged, though a substantial commitment was made with the one mission in Mali for one year. The rhetoric remains lofty on paper and in speeches but the Canadian government has yet to match its words with deeds. Canada defaulted on its promises and is not leading by example. It has not followed its own advice to the world: "The time for change is now and we must be bold" – Minister Sajjan speech to UN Security Council, 28 March 2018, copy


This webpage is updated on a monthly basis, around mid-month, after UN statistics for the previous month-end are released. A copy of this page can be found at An op-ed on this subject, summarizing the above, was published in the Toronto Star on 22 August 2019. 



Canada, Department of National Defence, "Pledges," 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial, Vancouver,

Canada, Department of National Defence, Directorate of History and Heritage, Operations Database: DOMREPONUCONUCAUNDOFUNEFUNEFIIUNFICYPUNGOMAPUNIFIL

Canada, Department of National Defence,"Minister Sajjan Reaffirms Peace Operations Pledge at UN Defence Ministerial," Quote: "Canada stands ready to deploy up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel for future UN peace operations," 8 September 2016.

Canada, DND, "Supplementary estimates (A) line items - National Defence," 2020, Also has sections for peacekeeping (Smart Pledges, Elsie Initiative, Vancouver Principles)

Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, "Canada’s Role in International Peace Operations and Conflict Resolution," 2019 (pdf, 2 MB) (Fr: pdf)

Canada, Prime Minister, "Canada bolsters peacekeeping and civilian protection measures," News Release, 15 November 2017,

Canada, Privy Council, "Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians,", accessed 8 February 2018.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "Canada offering 200 ground troops for future UN peacekeeping operations,", 15 November 2017. Trudeau Quote from Ministerial on 15 November 2017: "We are making all these pledges today, because we believe in the United Nations and we believe in peacekeeping," he said. "What we will do is step up and make the contributions we are uniquely able to provide.", “Peacekeeping,”

Davis, Karen, Erinn C. Squires, and Ingrid Lai, “Canadian Military Women and Peace Support Operations: Preliminary Scoping of Deployment Patterns,” paper delivered to the Canadian Peace Research Association, Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4 June 2021. 

Dorn, A. Walter and Joshua Libben, "Preparing for peace: Myths and realities of Canadian peacekeeping training," International Journal, Vol. 73, Iss. 2, pp. 257-281 (26 July 2018) htmlpdf. Longer 2016 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Rideau Institute report: htmlpdf.

Durch, William J., The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1993.

Goncharova, Daria. "Canada and ‘Re-engaging’ United Nations Peacekeeping: A Critical Examination." University of Manitoba (MA thesis), Winnipeg, 2018. pdf:

Sajjan, Harjit, Defence Minister, Address to the UN Security Council, 28 March 2018, video at, 42:00-51:44.

Sajjan, Harjit, Defence Minister, "Testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence," 11 March 2020, at

Trudeau, Justin, Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter, 12 November 2015, html

Trudeau, Justin, Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter, 13 December 2019,

Trudeau, Justin, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, update of 1 February 2017, html

Trudeau, Justin, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 13 December 2019,

United Kingdom, "UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial: London 2016," Final Report (pdf).

United Kingdom, "UN Peacekeeping Ministerial – pledge slides PPT",

United Nations, "Troop and Police Contributors,"

United Nations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations / Department of Field Support, "Current and Emerging Uniformed Capability Requirements for United Nations Peacekeeping," issued periodically, including December 2016 pdf, May 2017 pdf and August 2017 pdf.

United Nations, Department of Public Information, The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peace-Keeping, 2nd ed.., New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1992.

World Federalist Movement – Canada (WFMC), “Canadians for Peacekeeping”,, which provides a copy of this webpage at



Figure A.1: Canada's pledges, as recorded in peacekeeping ministerials in London, Vancouver and New York

London (2016) and Vancouver new pledges (2017):

Pledges Peacekeeping Vancouver Ministerial Canada unpkdm pledges en Accessed 2Dec2017

New York (2019):

Canada Pledge PkgMinisterial NYC 29Mar2019

Figure A.2: Canadian contributions of uniformed personnel from 1950 to 2019
(maximum of each year)

 Cdn Uniformed Pers UN Pkg 1950 to 2020 04 31

 Sources: Canada DND,, Durch, Goncharova, UN DPI

Mission Acronyms: Largest Cdn Contributions (at the time)
MINUJUSTH:  United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (2017-19)
MINUSTAH:   United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (2004-17)
UNDOF:        United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (1974-)
UNEF:           United Nations Emergency Force (1956-67)
UNEF II:       United Nations Emergency Force (1973-79)
UNFICYP:     United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (1964-)
UNMEE:        United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000-08)
UNMISS:       United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (2011-)
UNPROFOR:   United Nations Protection Force (1992-95)
UNOSOM:      United Nations Operation in Somalia (1992-95)
UNTAC:         United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992-93)
UNTSO:         United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (1948-)

Figure A.3: Canada's rank among nations contributing uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping, 1991 to 2019
(Lowest rank since Pearson's proposal for a peacekeeping force (1956) was 81st, reached in May 2018, two months before the Mali deployment)

CdnPkgRank UN Data 1991 to 2020 04 32

Figure A.4. Contribution by six-month average, from 2000 to 2018 (December), showing governments in power at the time (graphics by Munich Security Report 2019 using data from Dorn)

MSR19 Dorn CanadaPeacekeepingChart

Figure A.5. Women in Canadian Armed Forces deployed to UN peace operations over the decade 2011-2021 by Fiscal Year
(Source: Davis et al, 2021; using data from Department of National Defence)

CAF Women PSO 2011 2021 Capture Davis CPRA 4June2021

(deployment means on the operation for more than 30 days, starting in the fiscal year specified)


Figure A.6. Precentage of women in each occupational group of the CAF and percentage women deployed in each occupational group
(Source: Davis et al, 2021; using data from Department of National Defence)

CAF Women PSO DavisEtAl Capture5 Crop 4June2021


Table A.1  Canadian personnel contributions (M, F) to UN peace operations by month

M, F: Male, Female
MSO: Military Staff Officer
Troops: military personnel deployed in units
UNMEM: UN Military Expert on Mission (mostly UN Military Observers)
UNPOL: UN Police

31 August 2019 

Mission    Troops   Mil Experts


Police Mission
MINUSMA 69 (58, 11) 8 (5, 3) 77 (63, 14) 9 (6,3) 86 (69, 17)
MINUJUSTH 18 (6, 12) 18 (6, 12)
UNMISS 4 (4, 0) 7 (4, 3) 11 (8,3) 11 (8, 3)
MONUSCO 8 (7, 1) (7, 1) 8 (7, 1)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) (4,0) (4, 0)
UNFICYP 1 (0, 1) 1 (0, 1) 1 (0, 1)
Totals 69 (58, 11) 9 (8, 1) 23 (16, 7) 101 (82, 19) 27 (12, 15) 128 (94, 34)

30 September 2019 (pdf)

Mission    Troops   Mil Experts


Police Mission
MINUSMA  0  5 (3, 2)  5 (3, 2) 12 (8, 4) 17 (11, 6)
MINUJUSTH  8 (3, 5)   8 (3, 5)
UNMISS  4 (4, 0)  7 (4, 3) 11 (8,3) 11 (8, 3)
MONUSCO  8 (7, 1)  8 (7, 1)   8 (7, 1)
UNTSO     4 (4,0)     4 (4,0)      4 (4, 0)
UNFICYP  1 (0, 1)  1 (0, 1)   1 (0, 1)
Totals  0   8 (8, 0)  21 (14,7) 29 (22, 7) 20 (11, 9) 49 (33, 16)

31 October 2019

Mission     Totals
   UNMEM  Troops UNPOL MSO Mission
BINUH 0 0 4 (0,4) 0 4 (0,4)
MINUSMA 0 0 12 (8,4) 5 (3,2) 17 (11,6)
MONUSCO 0 0 0 7 (6,1) 7 (6,1)
UNFICYP 0 0 0 1 (0,1) 1 (0,1)
UNMISS 4 (4,0) 0 0 8 (4,4) 12 (8,4)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) 0 0 0 4 (4,0)
Totals 8 (8,0) 0 16 (8,8) 21 (13,8) 45 (29,16)

31 December 2019

Mission     Totals
  UNMEM  Troops UNPOL MSO Mission
BINUH 0 0 3 (0,3) 0 3 (0,3)
MINUSMA 0 0 16(9,7) 5 (3,2) 21 (12,9)
MONUSCO 0 0 0 8 (8,0) 8 (8,0)
UNFICYP 0 0 0 1 (0,1) 1 (0,1)
UNMISS 4 (4,0) 0 0 7 (4,3) 11 (8,3)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) 0 0 0 4 (4,0)
Totals 8 (8,0) 0 19 (9,10) 21 (16,6) 48 (32,16)

31 January 2020

Mission Location Contribution type Male Female Total
BINUH   Haiti Police 3 0 3
UNTSO   Middle East Experts 4 0 4
UNMISS   S. Sudan Staff 4 3 7
    Experts 3 0 3
UNFICYP  Cyprus Staff 0 1 1
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Staff 8 0 8
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Staff 3 2 5
      33 12 45

29 February 2020

Mission Location Type M F Tot
BINUH  Haiti Police 3 0 3
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil staff 4 0 4
    Mil experts 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 20 9 29
    Police 17 0 17
      35 11 46

31 March 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil staff 4 0 4
    Mil experts 3 4 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 23 6 29
    Police 8 6 14
    Totals 31 12 43

30 April 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil staff 3 3 6
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 21 4 25
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 27 8 35

31 May 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 2 0 2
    Mil staff 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 20 4 24
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 26 8 34

30 June 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 2 0 2
    Mil staff 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 20 4 24
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 26 8 34

31 August 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 3 4 7
    Mil staff 2 2 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 2 0 2
    Mil staff 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 6 0 6
    Mil 21 6 27
    Police 3 4 7
    Totals 24 10 34

31 October 2020:

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
BINUH Haiti Police 2 0 2
MINUSMA  Mali Police 4 3 7
    Mil staff 2 2 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
    Police 1 1 2
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 0 0 0
    Mil staff 6 4 10
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 5 0 5
    Mil 20 7 27
    Police 7 4 11
    Totals 27 11


31 March 2021:

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
BINUH Haiti Police 3 1 4
MINUSMA  Mali Police 9 2 11
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
    Police 8 4 12
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 3 1 4
    Mil staff 4 2 6
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 23 5 28
    Police 20 7 27
    Totals 43 12



30 Apr 2021:

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
BINUH Haiti Police 3 1 4
MINUSMA  Mali Police 10 3 13
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
    Police 8 5 13
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 3 1 4
    Mil staff 4 2 6
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 23 5 28
    Police 21 9 30
    Totals 44 14