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Archived - Canada announces additional contributions in global fight against Ebola - Phase 3 vaccine trial begins as first Canadian Armed Forces Medical Team returns home from Sierra Leone

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Captain Carly Montpellier
Captain Carly Montpellier, along with her Canadian and British counterparts on Operation SIRONA, applauds during the discharge ceremony of an Ebola survivor at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone.

March 6, 2015

OTTAWA – Today, the first group of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel on Operation SIRONA arrived home to Canada, after deploying to West Africa in support of the Government of Canada’s response to fight the Ebola epidemic. The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, attended their homecoming.

The team has returned following a detailed handover with the second group of CAF military doctors, nurses, medics, and support staff at the United Kingdom’s Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone. In providing much needed frontline care to patients in West Africa, CAF healthcare professionals are having a direct impact in the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

Minister Kenney also highlighted Canadian support for a Phase 3 Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Guinea. The trial, announced by the World Health Organization earlier this week, is being supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). These institutions are collaborating to provide critical advice, safety oversight, training and support to the clinical trial of Canada’s VSV-EBOV vaccine developed by the PHAC.

Quick Facts

  • Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. The Government of Canada has committed more than $110 million to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions to address the spread of the disease and for further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures.
  • Operation SIRONA augments the United Kingdom’s Operation GRITROCK at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone. Canadians continue to work alongside their British counterparts in providing essential medical care to local and international healthcare workers. Canadian military health care personnel deployed on Operation SIRONA rotate approximately every two months.
  • CAF personnel deploying to Sierra Leone are expertly prepared. Before deploying to West Africa, CAF members train at the British Army Medical Services Training Centre in Strensall, UK, alongside their British military counterparts. Training includes lectures by experts in infectious disease, including Ebola, and by health workers with experience working in Sierra Leone; cultural awareness and language training; and practical scenarios in a simulated Ebola treatment centre.
  • The majority of personnel who returned to Canada today are from 2 Field Ambulance and 1 Canadian Field Hospital, based in Petawawa, Ontario. The second group of CAF members departed the UK on February 20 for Sierra Leone and is a truly composite unit, consisting of CAF medical personnel from across Canada.
  • Canada is supporting a Phase 3 clinical trial of the Canadian VSV-EBOV vaccine in Guinea to be led by the World Health Organization in collaboration with the Health Ministry of Guinea, Médecins Sans Frontières, Epicentre and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
  • Trial results are expected by the end of 2015. Information from the trial will be shared with the international community as part of the global response to the Ebola crisis. This trial will complement other Phase 2 and 3 trials planned or underway in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • The risk of Canadians contracting the Ebola virus remains low.


“I greatly appreciate the work done by our Canadian Forces personnel in their important humanitarian mission to combat the spread of Ebola. Canada is deeply committed to global efforts to contain the spread of Ebola. This operation demonstrates the exceptional capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence

“Canada remains committed to playing a leadership role in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Our Government is proud to contribute Canadian expertise and support to the global fight against Ebola.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

“One of the most effective ways to fight this outbreak is through ongoing research. The calibre of partners involved in this research response speaks to both the seriousness of the current outbreak and the incredible efforts to resolve this global crisis. Canada is proud to provide its clinical trial expertise to the Phase 3 trials."

Dr. Alain Beaudet, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“It is encouraging to see the vaccine move forward in clinical trials. Having a regulated, safe and effective vaccine that has undergone clinical trials will be an important tool in helping to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and for ensuring that we do not see an outbreak of this magnitude again.”

Dr. Gregory Taylor, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

“This initiative builds on Canadian leadership in global health innovation and IDRC is proud to be part of it.”

Mr. Jean Lebel, President, International Development Research Centre

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Media Contacts

Lauren Armstrong
Office of the Minister of National Defence
(613) 996-3100

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
(613) 941-4563

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: (613) 996-2353
Toll-Free: 1 866 377-0811

International Development Research Centre
Russell Milon
(613) 696-2157

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,700 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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