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1.0     Introduction

Canadian Armed Forces (2)This article provides an overview of the recruitment and selection process for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or Forces Armées Canadiennes (FAC).

Canada is composed of ten provinces and three territories and is geographically located in the northern part of North America, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean.

Canada covers 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles) making it the world’s second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. However, it only has a population of approximately 35 million people, about four-fifths of whom live near the southern border with the United States of America (USA). Although the majority of Canada has a cold or severely cold winter climate, southerly areas are warm in summer.

The Canadian-USA border (excluding Alaska) is the world’s longest land border at 3,987 miles (1,788 miles of land and 2,199 miles of water) (International Boundary Commission, 2008a), and Canada and the USA maintain extensive cross-border civil/military initiatives. The country is officially bilingual (French and English) at the federal level.

The last credible external threat to Canada was the war fought between the UK and USA during the Napoleonic Wars period in the early 1800s (1812-1815); some Canadian Army units can trace their lineages back to the early 1800s when militia units were formed to assist in the defence of British North America against invasion by the USA. Since 1783, there have been a number of treaties and conventions between the USA and Canada/UK in order to promote and then ensure peace (International Boundary Commission, 2008b).

Canada also faced a number of internal threats through failed rebellions between 1830 and 1870.

Canada’s strong attachment to the (then) British Empire and Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). During the Cold War (1950s to 1990s), Canada was a major contributor to United Nations (UN) forces in the Korean War (1950-1953) as well as a number of other peacekeeping missions.

Although the last vestiges of UK rule were removed with the Canada Act 1982, the British Monarch still remains head of state.

Canadian Armed Forces BadgeAlthough Canada sent troops to Afghanistan (2002), it declined to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In August 2007, Canada’s territorial claims in the Arctic were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition to the North Pole; Canada has considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925 (International Boundary Commission, 2008b).

This article is presented in six parts for easier reading:

  • Part One of this article is the general introduction.
  • Part Two will provide an overview of the structure of the CAF, as well as identifying some of the key personalities.
  • Part Three discusses the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group, the recruiting organisation for the CAF.
  • Part Four provides a general outline of the CAF recruitment and selection process.
  • Part Five looks at some of the additional testing and requirements for certain applicants.
  • Part Six provides some useful links to pertinent studies and research concerning the CAF recruitment and selection process, as well as references.

1.1     Aim

The aim of this article is to describe the fundamental entry requirements and selection process for individual’s seeking to become a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (Forces Armées Canadiennes) as:

  • A Regular (full-time) commissioned officer;
  • A Reserve (part-time) commissioned officer;
  • A Regular (full-time) non-commissioned member (NCM); or
  • A Reserve (part-time) NCM.

1.2     Method of Entry

Unlike NCM applicants, officer applicants may have more than one option for joining the CAF, as there are a number of officer entry programmes.

  • Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP): This is the primary Regular Force entry programme and includes education at the Royal Military College of Canada (Section 5.2) or at civilian Canadian universities.
  • Direct Entry Officer: These applicants already hold a university degree/diploma in a suitable discipline, and is the second most common method of entry.
  • Continuing Education Officer Training Plan: This is a programme that allows applicants without a university degree/diploma to be enrolled when there are not enough candidates through the previous two methods of entry to satisfy annual production targets.
  • Subsidised Special Education: Medical and dental students can have up to the last three years of their degree programme subsidised, and is followed by a period of obligatory service. Programmes include the Medical Officer Training Plan and Dental Officer Training Plan.
  • Military Dental, Legal, Medical, Chaplain and Pharmacy Training Plans.
  • Reserve Entry Training Plan – Canadian Military Colleges.

In addition to the above officer entry programmes, there are three programmes for in-service officer selection:

  • The University Training Plan – Non-Commissioned Members selects junior NCMs to earn a Baccalaureate degree and receive officer training.
  • The Commissioning from the Ranks Plan selects senior NCMs to serve as officers in selected occupations.
  • The Special Commissioning Plan.

Assessment for these plans is primarily based on the applicant’s service employment. This article deals specifically with the assessment of civilian applicants, and not in-service applicants.

As discussed later in Part Four the officer applicant process follows the same general sequence for all officer entry programmes, with any further/additional testing/requirements discussed in Part Five.


2.0     Introduction

Canadian WW1 Recruiting PosterThe Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), or Forces Armées Canadiennes (FAC) is the unified armed force of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act 1985 (as amended) (Justice Laws Website, 2016). The CAF consists of sea, land and air elements (or service branches) referred to as the:

  • Royal Canadian Navy (RCN): Created as the Naval Service of Canada in 1910 and retitled the RCN in 1911;
  • Canadian Army: Land forces in Canada where not referred to as the Canadian Army until November 1940, prior to this it was known as the Canadian Militia (since 1867ish); and
  • Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF): Formed in 1920 as the Canadian Air Force, and renamed in 1924 as the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The current iteration of the CAF dates from 01 February 1968, when the RCN, Canadian Army and RCAF were merged into a unified structure and superseded by three functional commands: Maritime Command; Land Force Command; and Air Command. After the 1980s, the use of the name ‘Canadian Armed Forces’ gave way to the name ‘Canadian Forces’ or CF, the CAF name returned in 2013. In 2011, the three functional commands had their original names reinstated, becoming once again the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force, respectively.

Under the Canadian First Defence Strategy (first published in 2008 and reaffirmed in 2013), the Canadian Federal Government is committed to 70,000 Regular personnel and 30,000 Reserve personnel by 2028, including a 25,000 civilian workforce; up from 64,000 Regular personnel and 26,000 Reserve personnel in the 2000s (DND, 2013a). These personnel operate out of a number of Canadian Forces bases (CFB) located across the country, including the National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), and may belong to either the (DND, 2013a & 2015, p.15):

  • Regular Force, which has three service branches:
    • Canadian Army consisting of approximately 23,000 Regular Force and 17,300 Army Reserve personnel, supported by 4,100 civilians (Canadian Army, 2016).
    • Royal Canadian Navy consisting of approximately 9,000 Regular Force and 3,600-4,800 Naval Reserve personnel, supported by 4,000 civilians (RCN, 2013).
    • Royal Canadian Air Force consisting of approximately 13,000 Regular Force and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel, supported by 2,000 civilians (RCAF, 2015).
  • Reserve Force, which has four sub-components:
    • Primary Reserve (approximately 27,000 personnel): train regularly and may work alongside their Regular Force counterparts on a full-time basis. There are three ‘classes’ of service in the Primary Reserve:
      • Class A: Employed in part-time work and training in Canada;
      • Class B: Employed full-time permanent (year-over-year) or perform incremental full-time employment or training for one or more periods of more than 14 but less than 365 consecutive days within any one-year period, in Canada; and
      • Class C: Employed full-time for operations only (either domestically or internationally) but with the equivalent pay, benefits and liability as a Regular Force member.
      • The existence of these three classes of service means that not all Primary Reserve personnel will be working on any given day; they are usually codified as ‘total strength’ and ‘paid strength’.
    • Supplementary Reserve (approximately 19,000 personnel): Are former personnel who could be called out in an emergency.
    • Cadet Organisations Administration and Training Service (COATS) (approximately 8,000 personnel): Officers with administrative, instructional and supervisory responsibilities to the Cadet programme.
    • Canadian Rangers (approximately 5,000 personnel): Constitute a military presence in isolated and sparsely settled areas of Canada.

Each of the three service branches is made up of both Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks (non-commissioned members (NCM) in the Canadian vernacular) known as soldiers (Army), ratings (RCN) or airmen/women (RCAF).

  • Commissioned Officers: are trained to be leaders in the CAF and are responsible for the soldiers, sailors, airmen/women in their command. To become an officer, an individual will need a university education and leadership training.
  • Non-Commissioned Members (NCM): are skilled personnel who provide operational and support services in the CAF. Some NCMs are trained as operators or technicians while others may work in the administrative or health services fields.

Both officers and NCMs receive their basic training at the CAF Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Officers will generally either directly enter the CAF with a degree from a civilian university, or receive their commission upon graduation from the Royal Military College of Canada. Specific element and trade training (aka Phase 2 employment training) is conducted at a variety of institutions throughout Canada and, to a lesser extent, internationally.

There are over 100 job options available to individuals, however, some jobs/roles are only open to officers and some are only open to NCMs, although all jobs/roles are open to both men and women. Further, some jobs/roles are only available after the individual has joined the CAF, for example Search and Rescue Technicians.

Depending on the job/role chosen, the length of service in the Regular Force an individual must complete can range from three to nine years, not including paid training or education.

2.1     Department of National Defence

Under the National Defence Act, the CAF are an entity separate and distinct from the Department of National Defence (DND).

The DND, located at Ottawa in Ontario, is the federal government department whose role is twofold:

  1. It has responsibility for the administration and formation of defence policy; and
  2. It acts as the civilian support system for the CAF.

The DND is headed by the Minister of National Defence, a member of the Cabinet. The Minister is aided by a variety of junior ministers, civil servants and senior military officers.

2.2     Commander-in-Chief

The Commander-in-Chief of the CAF is the reigning British monarch, who is represented by the Governor General of Canada.

2.3     CAF Professional Head

The professional head of the CAF is the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), an OF-9 level officer, who is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister.

The CDS is advised and assisted by the Armed Forces Council, of which the CDS is the head.

The CDS has primary responsibility for command, control and administration of the CAF, as well as military strategy, plans and requirements. The position is held by a senior member of one of the three service branches of the CAF.

The CDS is assisted by three service chiefs known as:

  • Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, a Vice Admiral (OF-8).
  • Commander of the Canadian Army, a Lieutenant General (OF-8); and
  • Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, a Lieutenant General (OF-8).


3.0     Introduction

Canadian Forces Recruiting CentreThe Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) is the recruiting organisation for the CAF, and is one of the largest recruitment organisations in Canada (DND, 2013b).

Across the CAF, the CFRG is responsible for recruiting approximately 12,000 people annually into full- and part-time employment. Within the Regular Force, the CFRG is responsible for recruiting approximately 4,000-8,000 applicants from the roughly 20,000 applications generated each year.

  • 2001-2002: 13,504 applications (CTV News, 2012);
  • 2004-2005: 24,000 applications (Day, 2005);
  • 2009-2010: 25,738 applications (CTV News, 2012); and
  • 2010-2011: 18,881 applications (CTV News, 2012).

Canadian Forces Recruiting, Education and Training Systems (CFRETS)In 1995, the Canadian Forces Recruiting, Education and Training System (CFRETS) moved from Trenton to Borden. The move was made to centralise headquarters (HQ) staff functions.

In 1997, the Commander Training Schools (CTS) was formed, consolidating the Deputy Chief of Staff Occupational Training Staff and the CFB Borden staff.

In 1999, the CTS reorganised and became the Canadian Forces Support Training Group (CFSTG).

In 2002, as part of the ongoing process of refining training, CFRETS was disbanded. As a result the CFSTG became a Level 2 formation reporting directly to the Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources – Military) (ADM (HR-Mil)), now Chief of Military Personnel (CMP), in Ottawa.

The CFRG was established as a separate Group in 2002 (needs verification).

On 10 June 2015, the CFSTG was officially renamed the Military Personnel Generation Training Group (MPGTG) (Citoyen Borden Citizen, 2015).

3.1     Organisation

The CFRG is composed of 39 recruiting offices (10 recruiting centres and 29 detachments) located across Canada. CFRG HQ is a lodger unit of CFB Borden, located near Barrie in Ontario.

The CFRG is commanded by an OF-5/6 level officer, who is assisted by the Deputy Commander, an OF-5 level officer, and the Commanding Officer CFRG HQ, an OF-3 level officer (Pugliese, 2009; Market Wired, 2012; The Barrie Examiner, 2015). The CFRG has a staff of approximately 760 people (DND, 2013b).

The Commander CFRG reports to the Chief of Military Personnel, an OF-8 level officer, although it has been an OF-7 level position (Pugliese, 2009).

The CFRG also has its own Multimedia Services Lab, established around 2002, in downtown Montreal (Day, 2005). In 2005, the Lab employed 13 civilians and was headed by a Captain (OF-2). It produces everything the CAF needs to ‘entice’ individuals into a career with the forces.

3.2     Role and Responsibilities

The role of the CFRG is twofold:

  1. To support the operational capability of the CAF by recruiting (attracting, processing, selecting and enrolling) Canadian citizens to join the Regular Force; and
  2. To process the requests of Canadian citizens who wish to join the Primary Reserve or the Cadet Instructors Cadre.

In addition to recruitment, the CFRG is also responsible for the:

  1. Performance standards of all of its recruiting processes; and
  2. Coordination and conduct of attracting, processing, selecting and enrolling recruits and officer candidates to meet the Canadian Forces’ operational requirements.


4.0     Introduction

The recruitment and selection process within the CAF is unified, i.e. all applicants go through the same process regardless of which branch of the CAF they wish to join.

Applicants to the CAF are processed at Canadian Forces Recruiting Centres, which are located in major cities throughout the country.

In 2014, it was reported that, on average, it took 166 days, up from just over two months in 2005 (Day, 2005), to process a Regular Force applicant and 150 days to process a Reserve Force applicant (Blatchford, 2014).

Within Canada individuals tend to be attracted to the military per se rather than individual service branches. Although each Service has its own identity, traditions and standards, recruitment and marketing campaigns are conducted as a unified function.

The CAF recruitment and selection process is a multistage selection system (also termed a multiple hurdle model) and is designed much like a multilevel video game; applicants must successfully complete each stage in sequential order before moving on to the next stage.

To pass a stage, the applicant must meet the minimum cut-off for the predictor or set of predictors (i.e. assessment measures) at a given stage. Failure to pass a stage results in the removal of the applicant from the selection process, thereby narrowing the applicant pool after the completion of each stage.

From an organisational viewpoint, the purpose of the recruitment and selection process is to choose the best possible candidate resulting in a lower training failure rate and ultimately reducing the costs of training.

Table 1 provides an outline of the current CAF military recruitment and selection process.

Table 1: CAF Recruitment and Selection Process
Step Regular Personnel Reserve Personnel
1 Meet eligibility criteria
2 Contact Local Recruiter Contact Local Reserve Unit
(determine which positions are available)
3 Create a GC Key account with the Government of Canada.
4 Complete Online Application
5 Schedule appointment to take Canadian Forces Aptitude Test
6 Take the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test
7 Medical Examination
8 Interview with Military Career Counsellor
9 Reliability and Security Screening
10 Receive Job Offer Receive Job Offer
(the reserve unit makes the Job Offer)
11 Start Basic Training

4.1     Recruit Attraction Methods

The CAF utilises a number of marketing channels in order to engage with the general populace and these include:

  • High street stalls;
  • Trade shows and other events;
  • School and university visits;
  • Commercial recruitment fairs;
  • Own websites;
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress);
  • Newspapers;
  • Television;
  • Billboards and posters;
  • Cadet and other youth organisations; and
  • Friends and family of current and ex-military personnel.

4.2     General Eligibility

There are a number of eligibility criteria that must be considered before making an application to join the CAF and these vary across the various jobs due to the nature of the job/role an applicant may wish to undertake. The general principles are outlined in Table 2.

Table 2: CAF General Eligibility Criteria
Principle Criteria
  • Must be a Canadian citizen.
  • In general, an applicant should be 18 years of age or older before they can progress their application at the Recruiting Centre. However, there are three exceptions:
  • 17 years of age with parental consent;
  • Regular Officer Training Plan: Junior applications must be 16 or older; and
  • Reserve Force: Applicants may be 16 years of age if they are also enrolled as a full-time high school student.
  • On enrolment into the Regular Force, applicants must be of an age where there is enough time to complete any necessary training and their first term of service before the compulsory retirement age of 60.
  • Reservists must be able to complete 2 years of service for each year of training before reaching the compulsory retirement age of 60.
  • Have completed at least Grade 10 or Secondaire IV (in Quebec).
  • Certain entry programmes and occupations require higher levels of education, such as high school diplomas, college certificates or university degrees.
  • The CAF will consider applicants who have passed a General Education Development (GED) test. However, applicants from Quebec who have a GED must also have the necessary credits from Secondaire IV.
  • If an applicant has:
    • Not completed high school they can submit an Attestation of Secondary School Equivalency, but it is not considered equivalent to a high school diploma.
    • Been home-schooled, they will need to provide proof from their home province’s educational authority that their marks have been assessed and meet their standards.
    • Attended and graduated high-school, college or university in another country, they may need to have their education evaluated by the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada to determine if it is equivalent to the education provided in Canada. The CAF do not pay for the cost of the evaluation.
    • Completed college or university, or have skilled work experience, they may qualify to have their military and occupational training reduced. In these cases, the CAF will complete a Prior Learning Assessment.
  • There are various criteria including height, weight, eyesight, and checks for medical conditions and any ongoing illnesses which may limit career choices
  • Vision standards vary depending on the job.
  • There are no minimum standards for dental health.
Tattoos and Piercings
  • These are dependent on location and nature and will usually need to be declared and shown during a medical examination.
  • Non-offensive visible tattoos, except tattoos on the face, are allowed.
  • All applicants must submit copies of:
    • Their birth certificate;
    • Photographic identification; and
    • School transcripts.
  • If copies of these documents are not sent, the application cannot be processed.
Reliability and Security Screening
  • This will take longer if the applicant has lived in another country or if they have a criminal record.
  • Some kinds of offences and sentences can bar applicants from joining or re-joining.
  • A poor credit history or financial problems can slow the enrolment process or, if there are related legal obligations that prevent an applicant from deploying, may even disqualify them from the CAF.
  • If an applicant has any debts, they will be asked about their plans to repay them.
Fitness Standards
  • Regular Force applicants will be assessed by the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School during the first week of training, in order to ensure that each applicant has an acceptable level of physical fitness prior to continuing basic training. The Recruiting Centre will not conduct this test.
  • Reserve Force Applicants must complete a Physical Fitness Evaluation as part of the application process.

4.3     Online Application

In order to commence an online application, an applicant must create a GC Key account with the Government of Canada. The online application form takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

4.4     Making an Appointment

Once an application has been received and verified by the recruiting centre, the CAF will send the applicant an email requesting that they contact their local recruiting centre in order to make an appointment to take the aptitude test. A follow-up email is sent confirming the appointment.

Applicants should take the following documentation to the appointment:

  • Original birth certificate or citizenship card;
  • Government issued photo identification;
  • Proof of education: diplomas, certificates, degrees and school transcripts;
  • Personnel Screening, Consent and Authorisation Form; and
  • Personal Data Verification Consent Form.

4.5     Canadian Forces Aptitude Test

The next step in the recruitment process is the standardised Canadian Forces Aptitude Test (CFAT), which is designed to test an applicant’s cognitive ability and covers verbal, spatial and problem-solving skills. The use of a calculator is not allowed. The CFAT was first implemented in 1997 (Otis, 2012), although “Two distinct versions of the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test (CFAT) were implemented in 1998, one for Anglophone applicants and one for Francophone applicants.” (Donohue & Skomorovsky, 2006).

All applicants must complete the CFAT, although some applicants may be required to complete further/additional testing/requirements such as those applying for aircrew roles or the Royal Military Colleges (view Part Five: Further/Additional Testing/Requirements).

The test is multiple choice with 60 questions and a time limit of 45 minutes, on a computer (electronic CFAT or eCFAT) or by hand. The test is divided into three sections and there are four answers per question:

  • Verbal Skills (VS): This is a test of an applicant’s ability to understand words (15 questions, 5 minute limit to finish);
  • Spatial Ability (SA): This is a test of an applicant’s ability to recognise a form from its pattern, or a pattern from its form (15 questions, 10 minute limit to finish); and
  • Problem Solving (PS): This is a test of an applicant’s ability to solve problems (30 questions, 30 minute limit to finish).

The three sections can be combined into different composites such as Verbal Skills and Problem Solving (VSPS). To attend training applicants must obtain a score above the 40th percentile on the VSPS composite (Hausdorf & Girard, 2013).

The results of the CFAT, in conjunction with other criteria, are used to determine which military occupations the applicant is best suited to. Higher CFAT scores (may) mean more job opportunities are available to the applicant. Research suggests that applicants who score higher on the CFAT are more successful in initial military training.

In the case of officer applicants the CFAT percentile score (the converted raw score on either the Anglophone or Francophone version of the CFAT) is used strictly for selection purposes. In the case of NCM applicants, the CFAT percentile score is used both to select applicants and to classify those applicants into appropriate Military Occupations (MOCs) within the CAF.

As I understand it, the minimum CFAT score for (Syed, 2001, p.2-3):

  • Infantry is 18 out of 60 (needs verification).
  • Officers is 20 out of 60 (needs verification).
  • “The cut-off score for officers (who must have obtained a University degree) is the 25th percentile on the total CFAT score (in comparison to the officer applicant population).”
  • “The CFAT is used for screening and classification of NCMs into different MOCs. There are different percentile cut-off scores for the CFAT based on job family. MOCs for NCMs are clustered into five job families: Administrative, Mechanical, General Military, Operator and Technical.”
    • “The CFAT cutoff for the Mechanical, Operator and Technical families is the 50th percentile on the total CFAT score.”
    • “The current cutoff for the Administrative family is the 50th percentile on the VSPS scale.”
    • “The cutoff for the General Military family is currently set at the 20th percentile for the Problem Solving subscale.”

Syed (2001) suggested that the CFAT cutoff scores for the Mechanical, Operator, Technical and Administrative families be lowered to the 40th percentile.

Retests are only allowed in certain conditions. If an applicant does not pass, they can request to retake the test after 3 months. Applicants are only allowed to retake the test a third time if they provide proof that they are registered in a college or university programme, and that they are passing courses without difficulty.

Theoretically, at least, the test is supposed to be taken without any preparation by the applicant. However, as applicants will be taught in the CAF, preparation is important. All CAF units conduct some form of deployment (preparation) training and the CFAT is no different. The official CAF website offers a practice test, which is an easier and shorter form of the actual test. There are a variety of free sources on the internet, do not be fooled into paying $5-$99 for preparation material.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the official CFAT Practice Version in addition to refreshing their Grade 10 level mathematical problem solving skills: fractions, decimals and long division by hand.


Many applicants unduly concern themselves with the importance of the CFAT, to the detriment of other steps, but this is merely one element of a complicated (and sometimes long) recruitment and selection process. The CFAT is more complex than a minimum score and aiming for a minimum score is unlikely to get an applicant a job offer, as approximately only one in three applicants will receive a job offer. Further, if an applicant performs poorly on the Formal Interview (Section 4.7) they are unlikely to receive a job offer, regardless of achieving 100% on the CFAT!

4.6     Medical Examination

Medical, WWI (1)All applicants must complete a medical examination as part of the selection process, which is used to determine their medical suitability for military training and service life. The medical examination consists of three parts:

  1. Health Questionnaire: medical history asking questions about past and current illness, and medications including dosage, among other things.
  2. Physical Examination: All applicants must meet the medical standards for their respective occupation and the common enrolment medical standard for the CAF. The exam is performed by qualified and licensed military medical staff or a civilian doctor, and includes:
    1. Eyesight: visual acuity and colour perception/vision.
    2. Hearing.
    3. Height and weight.
    4. Geographical limitations: This is based on the effects that environment, accommodation, living conditions and medical care available would have on the medical status of a member.
    5. Occupational limitations: This reflects the limitations that physical or mental disabilities place upon a military member’s capabilities and performance of duties.
    6. The air factor: Assesses medical limitations to serving as aircrew.
    7. A urine sample is also required.
  3. Review of Medical Files: An applicant’s medical records and history will be reviewed by military medical staff. This review, which can take 2-3 weeks, helps to determine if there are any medical limitations that will affect the applicant’s training and career. The review may require additional exams or reports from the applicant’s family doctor or a specialist.

4.7     Formal Interview

Once the results from CFAT and medical exam have been finalised, an applicant will be invited for a (semi-structured) interview with one or two military career counsellors. This is an official job interview and is a very important part of the process of joining the CAF. Officer applicants will generally be interviewed by a junior officer.

The interview is a two-way conversation, with the aim of assessing personality and person-environment fit or to (put it another way) assess an applicant’s suitability and competitiveness in their specific entry programme and chosen military occupation(s).

Applicants should prepare for their interview and, within reason, research all of the available information on the occupations they are considering. Applicants should also be prepared to discuss their education, history, work experience and involvement in activities. Further, applicants should be able to answer the following common questions:

  • Where and how long are the basic and occupational training?
  • What is the role of your chosen occupation(s)?
  • Where might you serve?
  • What appeals to you about the occupation(s) and what is unappealing about it?

As the process is very competitive, even the answers to these common questions could tip the balance, so investing some time to consider these factors will greatly help the applicant in preparing for their interview.

Applicants are assessed on the following attributes:

  • Academic Achievement;
  • Accepting Criticism;
  • Conformity to Rules;
  • Initiative;
  • Motivation towards the Canadian Forces;
  • Oral Communication;
  • Performance under Stress;
  • Perseverance;
  • Physical Endurance;
  • Team-work;
  • Learning Potential; and
  • Leadership Skills.

When assessing suitability for a particular occupation, military career counsellors will consider an applicant’s:

  • Motivation;
  • Work experience;
  • Education;
  • Occupation knowledge; and
  • Interests, likes and dislikes.

Appraisal (12)After the interview, the interviewer(s) will generate a report in which the applicant is given a Military Potential (MP) rating and, if the programme includes academic subsidisation, an Academic Potential (AP) rating. The MP (and if applicable the AP), along with the CFAT score, is used to assess an applicant’s suitability for enrolment in the CAF.

For the MP score, a total of 30 points are allocated to the personality portion, 30 points are allocated to the person-job fit portion and the education score is based on 15 points (Poirier, 2010).

Both the MP and AP utilise a rating scale from 1 to 9, with 1 being substantially below average to 9 being substantially above average. Applicants assigned a rating of 1 or 2 (below average) are considered unsuitable for enrolment.

The rating scale (from 1 to 9) (Grandmaison & Cotton, 1994), as well as the method of assigning MP ratings, was modified in 2006 to overcome shortcomings of the original MP rating score. To date (2016), no CAF studies have examined the ability of the new MP score to predict Qualification Level (QL) 3 training performance (QL3 training is the first phase of training that is specific to MOC or military occupational specialty). The interview questions were changed in 2009 (Poirier, 2010).

Remember, it is better to arrive early for an interview (10-15 minutes) rather than be late!

4.8     Physical Fitness Test/Evaluation

BPFA, Run (1)Members of the CAF are required to maintain a minimum fitness level, which is assessed every year via a physical fitness test (PFT). A PFT was first introduced in 1997 for all applicants, although at some point this requirement was dropped for Regular Force applicants.

  • Regular Forces: The recruiting centre will not conduct a PFT for Regular Force applicants. These applicants are assessed by the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School during the first week of training, in order to ensure that they have an acceptable level of physical fitness prior to continuing initial military training.
  • Reserve Forces: If an applicant is applying to the Reserves they must pass the PFT as part of the application process. The PFT is conducted by qualified fitness instructors.
    • Adult (Age of Majority) applicants shall complete the applicable form immediately prior to the PFT, in the presence of the Test Administrator.
    • Youth (Not of the Age of Majority) will be provided the applicable form as part of the Applicant Package and must properly complete the form. This form, with Parent or Guardian signature, must be provided to the Test Administrator before being permitted to take the test.

4.9     Reliability and Security Screening

Security policy specifies that all governmental employees must go through a reliability and security screening process before commencing employment with the federal government.

The DND has the responsibility for conducting this screening process with respect to members and prospective members of the CAF, and each member must meet established operational standards of reliability and security. Because military personnel, from the commencement of their military training, have access to sensitive information and assets, all applicants to the CAF must go through the screening process.

The completion of the screening process will result in the conferring or denying of Reliability Status. The granting of Reliability Status is a mandatory condition of eligibility of enrolment into both the Regular Force and the Primary Reserve.

The Reliability and Security Screening process involves a number of checks as outlined in Table 3.

Table 3: Outline of Reliability and Security Screening Process
Check Description/Criteria
Reliability Screening
  • Verifies information regarding an applicant’s reliability and trustworthiness for the previous five years.
  • All applicants must complete a form, in an accurate and detailed manner, for this purpose.
  • The complete form will enable the DND to conduct all the necessary background checks, including verification of their personal data, relevant education and professional qualifications, employment data, and the Criminal Record Name Check and Credit Check.
Criminal Record Name Check
  • Is conducted as part of the standard Reliability Screening process and is valid for one year.
  • Applicants need to declare any criminal convictions for which a pardon has not been granted.
  • On occasion, fingerprints are required as part of the process. It is valid for one year.
Credit Check
  • This check, conducted as part of the standard Reliability Screening process, will only cover the period for which the applicant has been a resident of Canada.
  • Should the check reveal any negative credit information, the applicant should be prepared to discuss their financial issues.
Personal and Employment Reference Checks
  • In terms of the Reliability Screening process, the goal is to determine whether the applicant has been honest, trustworthy and reliable for a reasonable period of time.
  • Each applicant must provide three references, who are not relatives, who must have known the applicant for the previous five continuous years (or to age 16, whichever comes first).
Pre-Enrolment Security Clearance Pre-Assessment Questionnaire
  • This is conducted to determine if a pre-assessment is required, and is completed with the aid of recruiting staff.
  • If a pre-assessment if required, the applicant will need to complete a Security Clearance Form (accuracy and detail is important).
  • The information provided will be used to determine if there are any security objections with the applicant.
  • The process can take between 6 and 18 months to complete depending on the number of countries that must be contacted and the willingness and/or ability of some countries to provide the information sought.
Foreign Implications and Security Clearance Pre-Assessment Process
  • If a favourable reliability status is granted, an applicant will then have to be granted a security clearance.
  • When foreign implications exist, it is mandatory to submit a request for a Security Clearance Pre-Assessment.
  • In order to grant or deny a security clearance, the applicant must be prepared to produce adequate and verifiable information for up to ten years immediately prior to the application.
  • A Security Clearance Pre-Assessment will be required for an applicant under the following circumstances:
    • Is not a Canadian Citizen.
    • Has resided outside Canada or has immigrated from a country other than Australia, New Zealand, or one of the original 16 NATO countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom (includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the United States (Applicants who were accompanying their parents while they were employed outside Canada are not to be considered in this category).
    • Has travelled or studied outside of Canada in countries other than those listed above in excess of 180 continuous days.
    • Has undertaken work placement outside of Canada in countries other than those listed above for a non-Government of Canada Agency in excess of 180 continuous days.
    • Has immediate relatives who are currently residing in a country other than those listed above. Immediate relatives include a child (18 years and older that the applicant or applicant’s spouse/partner have a parental relationship), parent, spouse, sibling (half or step), or in-laws (including step parents).

4.10     Selection, Offer and Enrolment

Appraisal (6), Success, FailureThe final selection process differs between officer and NCM candidates, as well as Regular and Reserve applicants, as outlined in Tables 4 and 5 respectively.

As well as the process outlined in Part Four above, some applicants may be required to conduct further/additional testing/requirements, outlined in Part Five below, as part of the recruitment and selection process.

If an applicant is deemed to be unsuitable at any stage of the application process they will be counselled accordingly, receive guidance on how to improve, and advised if and when they may re-apply.

Table 4: Officer and NCM Applicant Selection
Applicant Type Description
NCM Applicant
  • After completing all of the previous steps, and if appropriate the steps outlined in Part Five below, the recruiting centre will carefully examine an applicant’s application, in competition with other applicants, to ensure that all suitability factors are met for their entry plan and occupational selection.
Officer Applicant
  • Following processing at a recruiting centre, officer applicant files are sent to a centralised board.
  • This file includes the selection interview report, two letters of reference and academic transcripts.
  • For the Regular Officer Training Plan (Section 1.2), a file is also sent to the Royal Military College of Canada for an additional assessment of academic suitability.
  • The purpose of the board is to compare all officer applicants on a consistent, national standard.
  • The board uses rationally developed protocols for each officer occupation which reflect the relative importance of key factors for success.
  • The board members are usually members of the occupation for which the applicant is being assessed and an ‘honest broker’ from another occupation.
  • The board produces a ‘merit list’, which ranks applicants on the basis of suitability.
  • The final selection decision is made at the CFRG HQ using the merit list provided by the selection board.
  • Prior to enrolment, all applicants must meet the CAF minimum physical fitness standard.
Table 5: Offer and Enrolment Process by Applicant Type
Applicant Type Description
Regular Force
  • If selected, the applicant will receive a job offer that will allow them to enrol in the CAF.
  • Even if found suitable for enrolment, an applicant may have to wait for a period of time before they are hired.
  • Applicants are advised not to quit their studies or present occupation until they have received a job offer and firm dates for training (additional work experience or education may serve to benefit the applicant’s career).
  • Should an applicant be selected for a job, they will receive an offer of employment to which they must decide to either ‘accept’ or ‘refuse’, typically within 10 calendar days.
  • As part of the offer process, applicants will be provided with an enrolment date and course start date.
  • Enrolment into the CAF will typically occur between 5 and 30 days prior to the applicants published course start date.
  • Upon acceptance of the job offer applicants will be mailed several documents, including Joining Instructions, providing all details about the finalisation of administration, travel arrangements and the course itself.
  • File managers will book travel, assist the applicant to complete the remaining paperwork and respond to any questions.
  • On the day of enrolment, applicants will complete the final documents and be officially enrolled into the CAF.
  • Applicants are encouraged to invite their family and friends to participate in this formal ceremony.
Reserve Force
  • Upon completion of the application process, an applicant’s file will be carefully examined at the recruiting centre and then forwarded to the gaining Primary Reserve Unit.
  • The Reserve Unit will then select applicants for available positions on a ‘first come, best served’ competitive basis.
  • If selected, applicants will receive an enrolment offer from the Reserve Unit.
  • Even if found suitable for enrolment, an applicant may have to wait for a period of time before they are hired.
  • Upon acceptance of the job offer applicants will be given an enrolment date and the projected course start date.
  • On the day of enrolment, an applicant will complete the final documents and be officially enrolled into the CAF by their new Reserve Unit.
  • Applicants are encouraged to invite their family and friends to participate in this formal ceremony.

4.11     Basic Military Training

I Am Loving This...
I Am Loving This… (This is how most people envisage a Boot Camp being delivered)

Once an applicant has been enrolled into the CAF, they will undertake basic training delivered by the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS), which is in the Saint-Jean Garrison located in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

The CFLRS conducts basic training for officers and NCMs joining the Regular Force component of the CAF. Officer applicants undertake the Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) and NCM applicants undertake the Basic Military Qualification (BMQ).

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialised skills.

Some Reserve Force military occupations are only open to members of the Regular Force who have been trained in the particular military occupation and wish to transfer to the Reserve Force, or former military members who have the stated qualification.


5.0     Naval Officer Assessment Board

CFB EsquimaltFor Naval officer applicants, the Naval Officer Assessment Board (reinstated in 1996) replaces the selection board outlined in Table 4, and follows assessment at a recruiting centre.

The purpose of the Naval Officer Assessment Board (NOAB) is to assess leadership, self-confidence and oral communication (Poirier, 2010). The five day NAOB is conducted at the Naval Officer Training Centre in Esquimalt, British Columbia

The NAOB is typically used in assessing naval officer applicants who will proceed directly to military training, rather than to subsidised academic training, and is made up of two main components as outlined in Table 6.

Table 6: Outline of the Naval Officer Assessment Board
Component Description
  • The orientation component, typically conducted over the first two days, is intended to give applicants a realistic expectation of naval training and service.
  • It may include formal and informal information sessions with senior and junior naval officers, and ship tours.
  • The assessment component, typically conducted over days three and four, includes a modified “…Flight Planning Test used by the US Army Research Institute in helicopter pilot selection.
  • To adapt the test to a naval environment, nautical terminology replaced air terminology in the test to reflect elements of a nautical passage plan.
  • The test was eventually renamed the Maritime Officer Selection Test and incorporated into the Naval Officer Assessment Board process.” (Poirier, 2010, p.23).
  • The Maritime Officer Selection Test, sometimes known as the Passage Planning Test, is designed to measure naval relevant information-processing abilities such as working memory, selective attention and deductive reasoning.
  • The assessment also includes a structured interview board, or Panel Interview, which is made up of senior naval officers.

The Maritime Officer Selection Test has 60 multiple-choice questions divided into five timed sections and three progressive levels of difficulty. Applicants must answer a minimum of 24 questions correctly in order to pass the test. The Maritime Officer Selection Test makes up 35% of the total NOAB score, which is scored out of 100 points (Poirier, 2010).

Officer Selection BoardThe Board will also conduct an initial file review which evaluates an applicant’s background and experience (e.g. employment history, educational achievement and learning ability), which is typically conducted during the orientation component.

As part of the NOAB, each applicant undergoes a short structured interview which is conducted by a panel of four assessors: three senior naval officers and a senior Personnel Selection officer; the same four assessors who conduct the file review. The interview makes up 30% of the total NOAB score (Poirier, 2010).

At the end of the NOAB, a total file review score is calculated by adding the MP score and the CFAT score to the initial file review score. The file review score makes up 35% of the total NOAB score (Poirier, 2010).

If an applicant is not found suitable by the NAOB, they have immediate access to a military career counsellor to discuss other career options.

5.1     Aircrew Selection Testing

Canadian Forces Aircrew Selection Centre, CFASCAircrew selection is an additional step in the CAF recruitment and selection process, and is central to the final selection board decision.

The Aircrew selection process is conducted at the Canadian Forces Aircrew Selection Centre (CFASC), renamed from the Aircrew Selection Unit (ASU) in 1979. CFASC moved from CFB Toronto in 1997 to its current location at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton in Ontario. Key personalities at the CFASC include:

  • The Officer Commanding (OC), an OF-3 level officer (also trained selection officer);
  • Deputy OC, an OF-2 level officer (also trained selection officer);
  • Chief Selection Officer, a Class ‘A’ Reserve OF-2 level officer;
  • Aviation Research and Selection Officer, an OF-2 level officer who is also a Personnel Selection Officer (PSO).

The role of the CFASC is to select Pilot, Aerospace Controller (AEC) and Air Combat System Officer (ACSO) candidates for aircrew training in the CAF, assessing approximately 1840 Pilot/AEC/ACSO candidates per year. The CFASC also assesses Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators (AES Op).

The selection process for applicants takes two days, with approximately 8 hours of computer-based aptitude testing over these two days using the Canadian Forces Aircrew Selection Test (CFAST) battery. The first 4 hours of testing is conducted on the morning of day one (Pilot, AE, ACSO & AES Op), with the second 4 hours conducted on the morning of day two (Pilot, AEC and ACSO). Applicants are divided into one of three intakes:

  • Intake ‘A’ (Pilot, AEC & ACSO) conducts testing on Mondays and Tuesday.
  • Intake ‘B’ (Pilot, AEC & ACSO) conducts testing on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • AES Op applicants conduct testing on Fridays.

The CFAST is an umbrella term for a number of aptitude tests designed to assess a range of cognitive and psychomotor abilities. All applicants are tested for all three roles (Pilot, AEC and ACSO). Table 7 provides an outline of the various aptitude tests.

Besides the CFAST, applicants will also receive a tour of the airfield and briefings on the various occupations. This commonly known as a realistic job preview and is typically conducted on the afternoon of day one. Applicants with previous flying experience must take their log book(s) and pilot licence to CFASC for verification.

Table 7: CFAST Aptitude Test
Aptitude Test Description
Airborne Numerical Test A 35 minute reasoning test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to estimate answers to numerical calculations whilst under a degree of time pressure, as demanded in an airborne environment.
Angles, Bearings and Degrees Test A 10 minute spatial test designed to assess an applicant’s judgement of angles and bearings.
Auditory Capacity Test A 23 minute short term memory test designed to assess an applicant’s memory capacity under multiple tasks and timed condition.
Colours, Letters and Numbers Test A 20 minute multiple tasks test specifically designed to assess an applicant’s ability to shift attention between different tasks.
Mathematics Reasoning Test An 18 minute reasoning test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to solve numerical problems. Applicants will have to interpret written descriptions to solve numerical problems using DST (distance/speed/time) calculations.
Instrument Comprehension Test A 26 minute spatial test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to visualise using pictorial, numerical and verbal information. Applicants will have to inspect instrument readings to visualise the orientation of an aircraft.
Digit Recognition Test A 4 minute short term memory test designed to assess an applicant’s short-term visual memory.
Cognitive Updating Test A 35 minute multiple tasks test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to manage and coordinate tasks in a busy working environment.
Numerical Operations Test A 2 minute reasoning test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to work out mental arithmetic problems.
Situational Awareness Test A 30 minute multiple tasks test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to collate verbal, numerical, pictorial information to build, maintain and update a mental picture of a complex changing situation to solve problems.
Sensory Motor Apparatus Test A 9 minute test is designed to assess an applicant’s eye-hand-foot coordination. An applicant will have to use a joystick and foot pedal to control the vertical and horizontal motions of a moving circle (i.e. red dot) and keep it as close as possible to the centre of the cross-hair.
Rapid Tracking Test A 16 minute eye-hand coordination test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to track and target objects.
Spatial Integration Test A 28 minute spatial test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to collate information provided by a number of two-dimensional displays to form a 3-D air/ground picture.
System Logic Test A 38 minute reasoning test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to solve logical problems related to a system, based on available numerical and verbal information from different sources.
Table Reading Test An 11 minute test is designed to assess an applicant’s work rate in terms of scanning and cross-referencing tables of information.
Target Recognition Test A 25 minute multiple tasks test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to search and identify a series of visual targets.
Trace Test 1 A 9 minute spatial test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to orientate in three-dimensional space.
Trace Test 2 A 9 minute test is designed to assess an applicant’s ability to remember the movement of objects in three-dimensional space.
Vigilance Test An 8 minute test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to scan information and switch between tasks.
Visual Search Test A 4 minute test designed to assess an applicant’s ability to scan information under time constraints.

The CFASC has used the desktop computer-based CFAST model since 2013 for both Pilot and AEC applicants (Forgues, 2014), introducing ACSO applicants to the model in April 2014.

Between 1997 and 2013, the CFASC utilised the Canadian Automated Pilot Selection System (CAPSS) which was a computer-based system using five full motion (single engine light aircraft flight) simulators networked to an analysis centre.

Canadian Automated Pilot Selection System (CAPSS)The CAPSS syllabus consisted of four, one hour, sessions. Over the course of each session, the system monitored and recorded the output from 10 flight instruments twice per second. The resulting 250,000 data points were converted into Summary Measures, which research found to be predictive of outcomes at Basic and Primary flight training. The Summary Measures assessed the following broad areas:

  • Accuracy in maintaining prescribed flight parameters;
  • Speed of response to errors/warnings;
  • Variability in performance;
  • Smoothness of operation and avoidance of over-corrections; and
  • Co-ordination of flight controls.

Upon completing the CFAST process, applicants will be debriefed by a CFASC Officer who will explain the applicant’s results and how they correspond to the occupations they have selected.

Successful pilot applicants (of the CFAST process) will also undergo anthropometric (body) measurements for cockpit fit at CFASC upon completion of the CFAST testing on day two. Applicants are also required to meet aircrew medical standards.

The results of the aircrew selection testing will be forwarded to CFRG HQ and the candidate’s file will be included in the selection board for the specific officer entry plan. For AES Op applicants, the results of their testing will be forwarded to the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA).

For those applicants who do not meet the requirements for their chosen occupation(s) on the first attempt, they may attempt the process again after twelve months. An applicant may attempt the process a maximum of three times. Applicants who are not selected will need to consult with their recruiting centre (new recruits) or personnel selection office (in-service transfers).

5.2     Royal Military College of Canada

Canadian Defence Academy, CDAThe Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC), established by an act of the Canadian Parliament in 1874, provides both undergraduate and graduate programmes. The RMCC is located in Kingston, Ontario.

Along with the Royal Military College Saint-Jean and the Canadian Forces College, the RMCC is part of the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA). As a result of changes witnessed in 2015, the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) was officially renamed the Military Personnel Generation (MILPERSGEN) Command (Citoyen Borden Citizen, 2015). Key personalities of the RMCC include:

  • RMCC Principal: A Governor-in-Council appointment which also carries with it the responsibilities of special advisor to the Minister of National Defence, who is also the RMCC Chancellor.
  • RMCC Registrar: Administers student admissions and student services.
  • Commandant: an OF-6 level officer.
  • College Chief Warrant Officer: an OR-9 level NCM.
  • RMCC Board of Governors: Formed in 1997, the RMC Board of Governors provides advice and recommendations to the Minister of National Defence concerning all matters related to the RMCC. It is a governance body, separate from the RMCC, to ensure that officer professional military education is sustained in the long-term.

The RMCC is empowered to confer degrees in arts, science and engineering as legislated by the Royal Military College of Canada Degrees Act 1959.

Under the Regular Officer Training Programme (ROTP) (Section 1.2), new applicants will be enrolled in the CAF in a military occupation of their choosing and begin their military career by completing an undergraduate university programme at the RMCC, or the Canadian civilian university of their choice. The ROTP is open to both high school students and college/university students.

In order to enrol in the RMCC, an applicant must meet all the criteria outlined in Part Four as well as the necessary academic prerequisites for admission to the RMCC (an assessment of an applicant’s top six most recent marks related to the requirements of their chosen programme or gain unconditional admission at a Canadian university). Applicants must be 17 years of age, by the 1st of January of the year of enrolment. The deadline for application on the ROTP at RMCC is 31 January.

5.3     Royal Military College Saint-Jean

The Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMCSJ), formerly known as Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean (CMR), first opened in 1952 and was at the time the only Canadian institution offering education in French to officer cadets. The RMCSJ is located near the Richelieu River, approximately 40 kilometres South-East of Montreal.

Along with the Royal Military College of Canada and the Canadian Forces College, the RMCSJ is part of the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA). As a result of changes witnessed in 2015, the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) was officially renamed the Military Personnel Generation (MILPERSGEN) Command (Citoyen Borden Citizen, 2015). Key personalities of the RMCSJ include:

  • Commandant: an OF-5 level officer.
  • College Chief Warrant Officer: an OR-9 level NCM.
  • Academic Director: a civilian position.
  • Honorary Colonel.
  • Board of Governors: Provides advice and recommendations to the Minister of National Defence on matters relating to the RMCSJ and assists in developing the strategic direction of the institution.
  • Director and Deputy Director of Cadets.
  • Military Wing Sergeant-Major.
  • Career and Planning Officer.
  • Cadet Squadron Commanders.
  • Training Officer.
  • Training Sergeant.

In April 1971, an affiliation with Université de Sherbrooke, located in Quebec, enabled the CMR to award bachelor’s degrees from this institution. In 1985, CMR was granted the right to award university-level diplomas.

1995 witnessed the closure of CMR, however, military educational activities continued on the site, managed by the Corporation du Fort Saint-Jean. These activities included the preparatory year for officer cadets via the Richelieu Squadron. May 2008 saw the CMR re-established as the RMCSJ.

The RMCSJ provides officer cadets with a transition from high school to university through college-level and first-year university programmes in science and social sciences. Simply put, the RMCSJ offers academic programmes at the college level to officer cadets who have been accepted into the ROTP whilst the RMCC offers academic programmes at the university level. Each programme is offered in the first official language of the officer cadet and includes the Preparatory Year and First Year.

  • Orientation Programme: Takes place before the start of the school year and provides officer cadets with an introduction to military life.
  • Preparatory Year (CEGEP 1): This is equivalent to grade 12 in most provinces and to the first year of college-level studies (CEGEP) in Quebec. The CEGEP programme is the normal entry point into the Canadian Military Colleges for Quebec high-school graduates. This academic year is also designed for individuals from across Canada who demonstrate strong academic ability but are missing prerequisites for direct admission to First Year. Following successful completion of the Preparatory Year, officer cadets typically begin the first year of their undergraduate degree at the RMCSJ, although some may start their first year at the RMCC.
  • First Year (CEGEP 2): This academic year is designed to provide the same university-level programmes offered at the RMCC. Officer Cadets who meet the prerequisites may be given the opportunity to complete First Year at RMCSJ without the need to attend Preparatory Year. Officer Cadets who complete First Year at the RMCSJ continue toward an undergraduate degree beginning in the Second Year at the RMCC. Officer Cadets who meet all the requirements of the Quebec Department of Education receive a Diploma of College Studies.

During the summer following the first academic year, officer cadets undertake Basic Military Officer Qualification training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School.

The military programme at the RMCSJ is structured to develop the leadership skills of officer cadets, who form the Cadet Wing which is divided into squadrons (Richelieu, Tracy & Iberville), flights and sections. Under the direction of experienced military members, this hierarchy governs the life of officer cadets. Senior officer cadets are entrusted with command positions (up to Cadet Wing Commander) in the Cadet Wing and are responsible for the officer cadet’s daily activities.


6.0     Summary

The Canadian Armed Forces are open to all male and female citizens of Canada, subject to certain criteria, and provides a wide variety of opportunities that may not be witnessed in other professions. The CAF recruitment and selection process seeks to attract determined, highly-motivated, intelligent, reliable and physically fit individuals to serve with the CAF community. This article provides the basic information to allow individuals to make an informed judgement before applying for the CAF.

6.1     Useful Publications

6.2     Useful Links

6.3     References

Blatchford, C. (2014) Christie Blatchford: Canadian Military’s Woefully Inept Recruiting System Blasted in Stinging Report. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Canadian Army (2016) About the Army. Available from the World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

CTV News (2012) Afghan Mission Saw Canadian Forces Recruitment Surge. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Day, A. (2005) Going Through The Hoops To Be In The Forces. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

DND (Department of National Defence) (2013a) Canada First Defence Strategy – Complete Document. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

DND (Department of National Defence) (2013b) Archived – Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG). Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

DND (Department of National Defence) (2015) Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces – Report on Plans and Priorities 2015-16. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Donohue, J.J. & Skmorovsky, A. (2006) The Impact on Percentile Norms of Combining Officer and NCM Applicants. Paper Presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the International Military Testing Association (IMTA) held 02-06 October 2006 at Kingston, Ontario in Canada. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 28 May, 2016].

Forgues, S.L. (2014) Aptitude Testing of Military Pilot Candidates. Master’s Thesis. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 28 May, 2016].

Grandmaison, L.J. & Cotton, A.J. (1994) An Empirical Review of the Military Potential Rating of Non-Commissioned Member Applicants. Director Human Resources Research and Evaluation Technical Note 11-94. Ottawa, Ontario: Human Resources Research and Evaluation.

Hausdorf, P.A. & Girard, M.J.L. (2013) Validity Study: Predicting Clerical Training Performance in the Canadian Forces: A Comparison of Cognitive Ability, Education and Work Experience. Applied Human Resource Management Research. 13(1), pp.69-72. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 28 May, 2016].

International Boundary Commission (2008) Boundary Facts. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 03 June, 2016].

International Boundary Commission (2008b) The History: The Historic Treaties of the Boundary Commission. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 03 June, 2016].

Justice Laws Website (2016) National Defence Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-5): Table of Contents. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Market Wired (2012) Canadian Forces Recruiting Group Headquarters Welcomes New Commanding Officer. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Otis, N. (2012) An Investigation of Canadian Forces Selection Measures as Potential Indices of Recruit Quality. Res Militaris. 2(3). Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 28 May, 2016].

Poirier, L.C.M. (2010) Validation of the Naval Officer Assessment Board. Master’s Thesis. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 03 June, 2016].

Pugliese, D. (2009) Ottawa Man Takes Over at Canadian Forces Recruiting Group. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) (2015) Overview. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

RCN (Royal Canadian Navy) (2013) Structure of the RCN. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

The Barrie Examiner (2015) Commander Change at Base Borden. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 June, 2016].

Borden Citizen (2015) A New Identity: Positioning for the Future. Borden Citizen. 67(24). 12 June 2015, pp.1. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 09 June, 2016].