COVID-19 Medical Intelligence Records: the Critical Period for Early Warning and Response
Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) has considerable intelligence resources at its disposal, and paid close attention to preliminary reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak. In Parliament, the Minister of National Defence repeatedly asserted that the government’s COVID-19 response was premised on “sound intelligence.” But medical intelligence documents recently released under the Access to Information Act contradict this claim. Historian Wesley Wark uses these records to trace DND’s assessments of COVID-19 between January-March 2020, “the first months of the pandemic’s emergence and spread.” Throughout this “critical period for early warning and response,” defence intelligence officials downplayed the risks that COVID-19 posed to Canadians.
This briefing book is comprised of 78 documents. Many are DND “Defence Intelligence Briefs” covering global COVID-19 developments and weekly “SITREPs” (situation reports) produced by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Health Services Group. The full release package is available as CDMI00079, in the 'Reference Documents' tab. These records were requested and made available by Professor Wark. Read his 2021 pieces, “Newly Released Records Show Defence Intelligence Officials Downplayed the Risk of COVID-19” and “Pandemic Warnings: Taking Stock of the Canadian Military’s Flawed Early Intelligence.”