The former Canadian minister of defence received a briefing on UFOs last year from his department ahead of the release of a U.S. intelligence community report on the topic, according to newly obtained documents.
It gave two recent examples, including one dated May 9, 2021, when a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900 cruising at 39,000 feet asked air-traffic controllers about “traffic well above them moving right to left.”
The briefing and related email communications from the Department of National Defence (DND) were obtained by CTV News through an access to information request and published on May 6.
The unclassified briefing does not reveal any groundbreaking information as it focuses more on the agencies involved and reporting mechanisms used over the years.
Then-chief of staff to former Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan had requested the briefing in the lead up to the U.S. intelligence community releasing its report on the matter.
“It should/could be expected that the imminent US release of information will prompt questions domestically and with Defence-related implications, more than likely, given the nexus with DoD [Department of Defense] in the US for the upcoming report,” wrote George Young in an email to National Defence Deputy Minister Jody Thomas and Chief of Defence Staff Wayne Eyre.
“Anticipating this, I believe it is prudent to request a full briefing for Minister Sajjan from the Canadian perspective on this issue.”
In June 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which oversees U.S. intelligence agencies, released its report “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.”
The report is conservative in nature, leading with the statement that the “limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP.”
The report noted that some UAP appeared to demonstrate advanced technology.
“Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion.”
It also raised national security concerns “if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology.”
With the topic gaining more attention and less stigma in recent years, the U.S. House Intelligence subcommittee will be holding public hearings on UFOs on May 17, a first in more than half a century.
While the U.S. created a task force in 2020 to better collect and analyze information on the UFO phenomena and is holding public hearings, the briefing to Sajjan suggests the Canadian government is lagging behind in terms of interest.
The briefing says NAV Canada, which operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, is responsible for managing UAP-related reporting. Instances of unidentifiable occurrences are then reported via the Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS) and passed to non-governmental Canadian UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski.
Rutkowksi, a prominent ufologist who also works as a communications officer at the University of Manitoba, commented on the CTV News article on the UFO briefing to DND on his LinkedIn page and said he had been “asked to provide info on UFOs in Canada for a briefing to the Minister of Defence.”
Rutkowski manages the Canadian UFO Survey website and produces reports on the number of yearly sightings with an assessment of explained and unexplained phenomena.
The briefing says the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the National Research Council’s research partnership into UFOs was dissolved in 1995 and reporting on “Non-Meteoric Sightings” began to be directed to Rutkowski.
In 2000, Rutkowski started receiving all UFO-related reports from DND and Transport Canada, and currently the University of Manitoba “does not fund Canadian UFO Survey, but assists in archiving Mr. Rutkowski’s files for future academic research.”
Transport Canada also maintains a database of aviation incidents, for which NAV Canada provides 80 percent of reporting.
One such report filed as a potential UFO in May 2016 says that a Sky Regional Airlines plane travelling from Montreal to Toronto reported it had “crossed an unidentified flying object, round in shape, flying at an approximate speed of 300kts [555 km per hour]. North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) was advised.”