Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Canadian Armed Forces is officially bilingual, the French language ranks are presented following the English (in italics).

Commander-in-Chief insigniaEdit

The Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces (French: Commandant en chef des Forces armées canadiennes) rank insignia is a special sleeve braid embellished with the crest of the Royal arms of Canada and this same embroidered crest is worn on the shoulder straps.[1]

The rank insignia for the Commander-in-Chief.

Commander-in-Chief
  Royal Canadian Navy  
  Canadian Army  
  Royal Canadian Air Force  

Officer rank insigniaEdit

Army general gorget
Army colonel gorget

The rank insignia for commissioned officers for the navy, army, and air force.

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
  Royal Canadian Navy[2]
                     
Admiral Vice-admiral Rear-admiral Commodore Captain (N) Commander Lieutenant-commander Lieutenant (N) Sub-lieutenant Acting sub-lieutenant Naval cadet
Amiral Vice-amiral Contre-amiral Commodore Capitaine de vaisseau Capitaine de frégate Capitaine de corvette Lieutenant de vaisseau Enseigne de vaisseau de 1re classe Enseigne de vaisseau de 2e classe Aspirant de marine


  Canadian Army[2]
                     
General Lieutenant-general Major-general Brigadier-general Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant Officer cadet
Général Lieutenant-général Major-général Brigadier-général Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-lieutenant Élève-officier


  Royal Canadian Air Force[2]
                     
General Lieutenant-general Major-general Brigadier-general Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant Officer cadet
Général Lieutenant-général Major-général Brigadier-général Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-lieutenant Élève-officier
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer

Non-commissioned member (NCM) rank insigniaEdit

The following are the rank insignia for non-commissioned members for the navy, army and air force respectively.

NCM rank insignia for the rank of petty officer 1st class/warrant officer and above are worn on the lower sleeve, while those for the rank of petty officer 2nd class/sergeant and below are worn on the upper sleeve. The Royal Canadian Navy has directed its personnel to use the English rank titles for OR-1 through OR-5, but they are not yet legally in force pursuant to the National Defence Act, as they are not yet updated in the Queen's Regulations and Orders issued by the Governor-in-Council.[3]

NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
  Royal Canadian Navy[2]
             
       
Canadian Forces
chief warrant officer
Command chief petty officer 1st class Senior appointment
chief petty officer 1st class
Chief petty officer 1st class Chief petty officer 2nd class Petty officer 1st class Petty officer 2nd class Master sailor Sailor 1st class Sailor 2nd class Sailor 3rd class
Adjudant-chef
des Forces canadiennes
Premier maître de 1re classe du commandement Premier maître de 1re classe – nomination supérieure Premier maître de 1re classe Premier maître de 2e classe Maître de 1re classe Maître de 2e classe Matelot-chef Matelot de 1re classe Matelot de 2e classe Matelot de 3e classe


  Canadian Army[2]
             
       
Canadian Forces
Chief Warrant Officer

Adjudant-chef
des Forces canadiennes
Command Chief Warrant Officer
Adjudant-chef
du commandement
Senior Appointment
Chief Warrant Officer

Adjudant-chef-
nomination supérieure
Chief warrant officer
Adjudant-chef
Master warrant officer
Adjudant-maître
Warrant officer
Adjudant
Sergeant
Sergent
Master corporal
Caporal-chef
Corporal
Caporal
Private (trained)
Soldat (formé)
Private (basic)
Soldat (confirmé)


  Royal Canadian Air Force[2]
             
       
Canadian Forces
chief warrant officer
Command chief warrant officer Senior appointment
chief warrant officer
Chief warrant officer Master warrant officer Warrant officer Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Aviator (trained) Aviator (basic)
Adjudant-chef
des Forces canadiennes
Adjudant-chef
du commandement
Adjudant-chef-
nomination supérieure
Adjudant-chef Adjudant-maître Adjudant Sergent Caporal-chef Caporal Aviateur (formé) Aviateur (confirmé)
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Rank slip-onsEdit

The tables above describe the rank insignia worn on the service dress jacket. On DEU shirts, sweaters, and outerwear; and operational dress shirts and jackets, rank insignia are worn on slip-ons with the word "CANADA" or a regimental/branch title embroidered underneath. Flag/general officers' slip-ons include only the crown, crossed sabre and baton, and maple leaves worn on the shoulder straps; they do not include the braid worn on the sleeve. Army NCM slip-ons for DEU shirts, sweaters, and outerwear display only the word "CANADA" or a regimental/branch title, rank insignia being worn instead as enamelled metal pins on collar points or lapels.

Service stripesEdit

From 1955 to 1968 Militia personnel were permitted to wear service insignia on the right jacket sleeve.[4][5] There were one to five silver chevrons on drab backing for every two years of service or a maple leaf in silver thread on a drab cloth circle to represent 10 years of service. Chevron points were worn either up or down; even official documents and photos were confused on the matter. Further awards after 10 years were believed covered by the Canadian Forces Decoration, which was awarded after 12 years and a clasp added for every 10 years afterwards.

Qualifying service could include prior active service in the active reserves of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force or the regular or territorial forces of a fellow Commonwealth member nation. Service in Canadian Army reserve forces units (like the regular reserve, supplementary reserve and reserve militia) did not count. The awarding of Service Stripes ceased in 1968 after the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Canadian Army distinctive corps insigniaEdit

Every branch or corps of the Canadian Army uses a distinctive colour. Applicable only to officers, they are indicated by coloured borders of rank insignia on DEU shirt and sweater slip-ons and on mess dress.[6][7][8]

Branch Colour Image
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Yellow  
Red  
Blue  
Scarlet  
Royal Canadian Medical Service Dull cherry  
Canadian Intelligence Corps Forest green (silver rank)  
Royal Canadian Dental Corps Emerald green  
Royal Canadian Chaplain Service Purple  
RCIC members of Les Voltigeurs de Québec Black  

Distinctive rank namesEdit

Some branches and regiments use distinctive job titles for privates in those regiments:

Branch Distinct title
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Trooper (cavalier)
Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Gunner (artilleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers Sapper (sapeur)
Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Signaller (signaleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Craftsman (artisan)
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (RCIC) members of guards regiments Guardsman (garde)
RCIC members of rifle regiments Rifleman (carabinier)
RCIC members of fusilier regiments Fusilier (fusilier)
RCIC members of voltigeur regiment Voltigeur (voltigeur)

Additionally, the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery uses "bombardier" for corporals and "master bombardier" for master corporal. In the guard regiments, warrant officers are known as "colour sergeants" and second lieutenants are known as "ensigns".

 
LCdr (medical)'s sleeve variant

Except for those who acquired the Canadian Forces mess dress between 1968 and 2010, naval officers have always worn the Royal Navy-style executive curl rank insignia on mess uniforms (see Royal Navy officer rank insignia). The colour designations for specialist officers are not used except for naval medical officers who may use a variant of the standard rank slip-ons and shoulder boards incorporating a scarlet red background between the gold braid of their rank insignia and naval medical service officers (nursing officers, pharmacy officers, health care administration officers, social work officers, physiotherapy officers, and bioscience officers) who have shoulder boards incorporating a dull cherry red background between the strips of their rank.

Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Navy rank and insigniaEdit

When the Canadian Navy was established in 1910 it was natural to adopt the same straight rings with the executive curl for the permanent navy that was designated as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in August 1911 and subsequently the "wavy" shaped rings for the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) and the rings of narrow interwoven gold lace for the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (RCNR). Other variations in rank insignia included sky blue lace with a diamond shaped loop for officers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, and warranted Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps officers, who had a small anchor in place of the executive curl.

Following the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy was reorganized with a single reserve component. In 1946 the distinctive wavy gold braid of the reserves gave way to the straight braided executive curl of the regular force until 1968. With the integration of the Canadian Forces the sea element was designated as Canadian Forces Maritime Command. Unembellished straight braid became the common rank insignia for officers of both the regular and reserve forces. The executive curl rank insignia has been in continuous use in the Royal Canadian Navy, but from 1968 to 2010 it appeared only on navy mess dress.

On 5 March 2010, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion (moved by Guy Lauzon[9]) recommending the executive curl be reinstated on the Canadian navy uniform. Subsequently, in recognition of the Canadian Naval centennial, Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, authorized the use of the executive curl for the Canadian Navy on 2 May 2010. The insignia became effective on 11 June 2010, on the occasion of the Pacific Canadian Naval International Fleet Review parade of nations in Victoria, B.C.[10][11]

More than 54 countries including Canada and 18 other of the 22 Commonwealth navies use the insignia. Most navies that do not use the executive curl insignia substitute a star or other national device above the top row of lace such as the United States Navy and the French Navy.

Timeline of changes (sleeves only)Edit

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Royal Canadian Navy
(1910 - 1968)
                     
Maritime Command
(1968–1985)
                     
Maritime Command
(1985–2010)
                     
Royal Canadian Navy
(Present)
                     
Rank titles Admiral Vice-Admiral Rear-Admiral Commodore Captain(N) Commander Lieutenant-Commander Lieutenant(N) Sub-Lieutenant Acting Sub-Lieutenant Naval
cadet
Amiral Vice-amiral Contre-amiral Commodore Capitaine de vaisseau Capitaine de frégate Capitaine de corvette Lieutenant de vaisseau Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe Enseigne de vaisseau de deuxième classe Aspirant de marine
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
Royal Canadian Navy
(1953–1968)
          Trade badge No insignia No insignia
Chief petty officer 1st class
Premier maître de 1re classe
Chief petty officer 2nd class
Premier maître de 2e classe
Petty officer 1st class
Maître de 1re classe
Petty officer 2nd class
Maître de 2e classe
Leading seaman
Matelot de 1re classe
Able seaman
Matelot de 2e classe
Ordinary seaman
Matelot de 3e classe
Recruit
Recrue
Maritime Command
(1968–1973)
               
Maritime Command
(1973–1985)
               
Rank titles
(1968–1985)
Chief petty officer 1st class
Premier maître de 1re classe
Chief petty officer 2nd class
Premier maître de 2e classe
Petty officer 1st class
Maître de 1re classe
Petty officer 2nd class
Maître de 2e classe
Master seaman
Matelot-chef
Leading seaman
Matelot de 1re classe
Able seaman
Matelot de 2e classe
Ordinary seaman
Matelot de 3e classe
Maritime Command
(1985–2010)
       
       
Chief petty officer 1st class
Premier maître de 1re classe
Chief petty officer 2nd class
Premier maître de 2e classe
Petty officer 1st class
Maître de 1re classe
Petty officer 2nd class
Maître de 2e classe
Master seaman
Matelot-chef
Leading seaman
Matelot de 1re classe
Able seaman
Matelot de 2e classe
Ordinary seaman
Matelot de 3e classe
Royal Canadian Navy
(2011–present)
       
       
Rank titles
(2011–2020)
Chief petty officer 1st class
Premier maître de 1re classe
Chief petty officer 2nd class
Premier maître de 2e classe
Petty officer 1st class
Maître de 1re classe
Petty officer 2nd class
Maître de 2e classe
Master seaman
Matelot-chef
Leading seaman
Matelot de 1re classe
Able seaman
Matelot de 2e classe
Ordinary seaman
Matelot de 3e classe
Rank titles
(2020–present)
Chief petty officer 1st class
Premier maître de 1re classe
Chief petty officer 2nd class
Premier maître de 2e classe
Petty officer 1st class
Maître de 1re classe
Petty officer 2nd class
Maître de 2e classe
Master sailor
Matelot-chef
Sailor 1st class
Matelot de 1re classe
Sailor 2nd class
Matelot de 2e classe
Sailor 3rd class
Matelot de 3e classe
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Reinstatement of Canadian Army ranks and insigniaEdit

The Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, announced on 8 July 2013 the intention to reintroduce a more traditional style Canadian Army officers' rank insignia.[12] Instead of the sleeve stripe rank insignia used since unification, officers would use the older St Edward's Crown and Star of the Order of the Bath insignia, commonly called "pips and crowns".[13] The traditional gorget patches were also restored for officers of the rank of colonel or higher.[14] The reinstated insignia for officers, instead of using the current British rank insignia for brigadier (used in the Canadian Army until 1968), had the pre-1920 brigadier-general insignia (crossed sabre and baton) instead.

In 2017 the Bath Star (above) was replaced by the Vimy Star.

On 2 April 2016, the Commander of the Canadian Army announced that general officers would revert to the unification-era rank insignia worn between 1968 and 2013. This rank insignia is based on the shoulder board rank insignia of Royal Canadian Navy flag officers. The rank insignia of general officers now consists of a crown, crossed sabre and baton, and a series of maple leaves on shoulder straps. Additionally, general officers wear one broad gold band on each of the lower sleeves of the service dress tunic.[15]

On the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9 April 2017, the Bath Star pip was replaced by the "Vimy Star". It depicts a maple leaf and is surrounded by the Latin motto vigilamus pro te ("we stand on guard for thee"). Commissioned officers of the household guard regiments (Governor General's Foot Guards, Canadian Grenadier Guards, and Governor General's Horse Guards), plus Army personnel stationed to the seasonal Ceremonial Guard, use the Guards Star in place of the Vimy Star on their shoulder boards.

Timeline of changesEdit

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Canadian Militia
(1902–1920)
Canadian Expeditionary Force
(1914–1920)
                     
General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier-General Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
Canadian Militia
(1921–1940)
Canadian Army
(1940–1953)
                     
General Lieutenant-General Major-General Colonel commandant Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
Canadian Army
(1953–1968)[16]
                     
General Lieutenant-general Major-general Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant Officer cadet
Mobile Command & Land Force Command
(1968–2013)
                     
Canadian Army
(2013–2016)
                     
Canadian Army
(2016–2017)
                     
Canadian Army
(Present)
                     
Rank titles General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier-General Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
Général Lieutenant-général Major-général Brigadier-général Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-lieutenant Élève-officier
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
(1920 – 1953)          
    No insignia
Warrant Officer Class I Warrant Officer Class II Staff/Colour Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Lance Corporal Private
(or equivalent)
Canadian Army
(1953 – 1966)[16]
         
    No insignia
Warrant Officer Class I/1 Warrant Officer Class II/2 Staff/Colour Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Lance Corporal Private
(or equivalent)
Canadian Army
(1966 – 1968)
                No insignia
Warrant Officer Class I/1 Warrant Officer Class II/2 Staff/Colour Sergeant Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Lance Corporal Private
(or equivalent)
Land Force Command
(1968 – 1973)
       
       
Land Force Command
(1973–Present)
       
       
Rank titles
(1968–present)
Chief warrant officer Master warrant officer Warrant officer Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Private Private (basic)
Adjudant-chef Adjudant-maître Adjudant Sergent Caporal-chef Caporal Soldat Soldat (Confirmé)
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Air Force rank and insigniaEdit

In April 2015,[17] the Royal Canadian Air Force adopted new rank insignia reminiscent of the pre-unification RCAF system. The new officer rank insignia uses pearl-grey-on-black rank stripes instead of gold. Non-commissioned members (NCMs) rank insignia is pearl grey instead of gold. The colour gold found elsewhere on the uniform was also changed to pearl-grey. The air force rank of private, formerly indicated by one chevron, became aviator (Fr: aviateur), and is indicated by a horizontally-aligned two-bladed propeller. All other ranks titles remain as they were.[18]

Timeline of changesEdit

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Royal Canadian Air Force
(1924-1968)[16]
                     
Rank titles
(1924-1968)
Air chief marshal Air marshal Air vice-marshal Air commodore Group captain Wing commander Squadron leader Flight lieutenant Flying officer Pilot officer Flight cadet/
officer cadet
(post-1962)
Maréchal en chef de l’Air Maréchal de l’Air Vice-maréchal de l’Air Commodore de l’Air Colonel d’aviation Lieutenant-colonel d’aviation Commandant d’aviation Capitaine d’aviation Lieutenant d’aviation Sous-lieutenant d’aviation Élève-officier
Air Command
(1968–1984)
                         
Air Command
(1984–2014)
                         
Royal Canadian Air Force
(2014–present)
                     
Rank titles
(1968–present)
General Lieutenant general Major-general Brigadier-general Colonel Lieutenant colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second
lieutenant
Officer cadet
Général Lieutenant-général Major-général Brigadier-général Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-lieutenant Élève-officier
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
Air Force
(1948–1953)
            No insignia
Air Force
(1953–1968)[16]
            No insignia
Rank titles
(1948-1968)
Warrant officer first class Warrant officer second class Flight sergeant Sergeant Corporal Leading aircraftman/aircraftwoman Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman first class Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman second class
Adjudant de 1re classe Adjudant de 2e classe Sergent de section Sergent Caporal Aviateur-chef Aviateur 1re classe Aviateur 2e classe
Air Command
(1968–1973)
       
       
Air Command
(1973–1984)
       
       
Air Command
(1984–2014)
               
Rank titles
(1968–2014)
Chief warrant officer Master warrant officer Warrant officer Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Private Private (basic)
Adjudant-chef Adjudant-maître Adjudant Sergent Caporal-chef Caporal Soldat Soldat (confirmé)
Royal Canadian Air Force
(2014–present)
       
       
Rank titles
(1968–present)
Chief warrant officer Master warrant officer Warrant officer Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Aviator Aviator (basic)
Adjudant-chef Adjudant-maître Adjudant Sergent Caporal-chef Caporal Aviateur Aviateur (confirmé)
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Mess dressEdit

Contrary to the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, mess dress uniform ranks for officers of the Royal Canadian Air Force follow the naval pattern, without the executive curl. General officers do not wear shoulder straps with this order of dress.

NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Royal Canadian Air Force
Mess ranks since 2015
                     

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Department of National Defence, Canadian Forces Dress Instructions (PDF), Queen's Printer for Canada, pp. 3–7–3, archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011, retrieved 15 November 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ranks and appointment". canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  3. ^ Department of National Defence (8 August 2014). "QR&O: Volume I - Chapter 3 Rank, Seniority, Command and Precedence". aem. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Service Stripes".
  5. ^ Grimshaw, Lou (Spring 1997). Military Collector's Club of Canada Journal. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ 11110-1 (G7-4), 26 Feb 2014, OPERATION ORDER - CANADIAN ARMY IDENTITY B. CAO 33-19 - PUBLIC FUNDING TO RESTORE CA CORPS' IDENTITIES
  7. ^ CAO 33-19 - PUBLIC FUNDING TO RESTORE CA CORPS' IDENTITIES
  8. ^ CFSS Materiel Authorization (D01102CFS) - ARMY- BASIC CLOTH REGULAR & RESERVE, 20161005
  9. ^ "Guy Lauzon on Canadian Navy". Hansard. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  10. ^ Marotte, B. (3 May 2010). "Navy celebrates centennial by restoring historic insignia". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  11. ^ Department of National Defence. "Photo of the day archive". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  12. ^ "Canada restores historical features of the Canadian Army". Department of National Defence. 8 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Restoring the Canadian Army's historical identity". The Department of National Defence. 8 July 2013. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  14. ^ Pugliese, David (8 July 2013). "Government Intends To Restore Canadian Army Rank Insignia, Names and Badges To Their Traditional Forms". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Canadian Army Announces Changes to the General Officer Rank Insignia". Department of National Defence. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d United States Department of the Army (1962). "Military Uniforms - DA Pam 355-120 - 1959 to 1962 - Part 2". Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  17. ^ Pugliese, David (24 September 2014). "New RCAF Insignia and rank colours not available until March 2015". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  18. ^ unknown (21 September 2014). "New Uniform for the Royal Canadian Air Force". Government of Canada. Retrieved 24 September 2014.

External linksEdit