Canadian Forces ranks and insignia

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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[edit]

The Queen of Canada, represented by the Governor General, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, and in that capacity may wear the appropriate Canadian Armed Forces uniform.[1][2] The sleeve braid is embellished with the Royal Crest of Canada and this same embroidered crest is worn on the shoulder straps.

Commander-in-Chief as
Naval Officer Army Officer Air Force Officer
Commander-in-Chief sleeve and shoulder insignia.
Commander-in-Chief shoulder boards
Commander-in-Chief sleeve and shoulder insignia.
Commander-in-Chief rank slip insignia.
Commander-in-Chief sleeve and shoulder insignia.
Crest of the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada[3]

Flag officer / General officer rank insignia[edit]

Navy Army Air Force Description
Admiral / amiral General / général General / général
Generic-Navy-O11.svg Canadian Admiral Shoulder Board.png Cdn-Army-Gen(OF-9)-2014.svg Canadian General Gorget.png CDN-Air Force-Gen.svg CDN-Air Force-Gen-Shoulder.svg St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, four maple leaves

Army: St. Edward's crown, a Pip and a crossed sabre and baton


Vice Admiral / vice-amiral Lieutenant General[4] /
lieutenant-général
Lieutenant General[4] /
lieutenant-général
Generic-Navy-O10.svg Canadian Vice-Admiral Shoulder Board.png Cdn-Army-LGen(OF-8)-2014.svg Canadian General Gorget.png CDN-Air Force-Gen.svg CDN-Air Force-LGen-Shoulder.svg St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, three maple leaves

Army: St. Edward's crown and a crossed sabre and baton


Rear Admiral / contre-amiral Major General / major-général Major General / major-général
Generic-Navy-O9.svg Canadian Rear-Admiral Shoulder Board.png Cdn-Army-MGen(OF-7)-2014.svg Canadian General Gorget.png CDN-Air Force-Gen.svg CDN-Air Force-MGen-Shoulder.svg St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, two maple leaves

Army: A Pip and a crossed sabre and baton


Commodore Brigadier General /
brigadier-général
Brigadier General /
brigadier-général
UK-Navy-OF6.svg Canadian Commodore Shoulder Boards.png Cdn-Army-BGen(OF-6)-2014.svg Canadian General Gorget.png CDN-Air Force-Gen.svg CDN-Air Force-BGen-Shoulder.svg St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, one maple leaf

Army: Crossed sabre and baton

Officer rank insignia[edit]

Navy
(since 2010)
Army[5] Air Force[6] Description
Captain /
Capitaine de vaisseau
Colonel Colonel
Generic-Navy-O7.svg Cdn-Army-Col(OF-5)-2014.svg CDN-Air Force-Col.svg RCN and RCAF : Four rows of standard gold braid
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's Crown and 2 Pips

Commander /
Capitaine de frégate
Lieutenant Colonel[4] Lieutenant Colonel[4]
Generic-Navy-O5.svg Cdn-Army-LtCol(OF-4)-2014 - Copy.svg CDN-Air Force-LCol.svg RCN and RCAF : Three rows standard gold braid
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's Crown and a Pip

Lieutenant-Commander[4] /
Capitaine de corvette
Major Major
Generic-Navy-O4.svg Cdn-Army-Maj(OF-3)-2014 - Copy.svg CDN-Air Force-Maj.svg RCN and RCAF : One row narrow gold braid between two rows of standard gold braid
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's Crown

Lieutenant[4] /
Lieutenant de vaisseau
Captain / Capitaine Captain / Capitaine
Generic-Navy-O3.svg Cdn-Army-Capt(OF-2)-2014.svg CDN-Air Force-Capt.svg Navy :
Two rows standard braid with executive curl
Air Force:
Two rows standard gold braid
Army:
Three Pips

Sub-Lieutenant[4] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de première classe
Lieutenant[4] Lieutenant[4]
Generic-Navy-O2.svg Cdn-Army-Lt(OF-1A)-2014.svg CDN-Air Force-Lt.svg Navy :
One row standard braid with executive curl over one row of narrow braid
Army:
Two Pips
Air Force:
One row of narrow braid over one row standard braid

Acting Sub Lieutenant[4] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de deuxième classe
Second Lieutenant[4] /
Sous-lieutenant
Second Lieutenant[4] /
Sous-lieutenant
Generic-Navy-O1.svg Cdn-Army-2Lt(OF-1)-2014.svg CDN-Air Force-2Lt.svg Navy:
One row standard braid with executive curl
Air Force:
One row standard braid
Army:
One Pip

Naval Cadet /
Aspirant de marine
Officer Cadet /
Élève-officier
Officer Cadet /
Élève-officier
Cdn-Navy-NCdt.svg Cdn-Army-OC-2014.svg CDN-Air Force-OCdt.svg Navy and Air Force:
One row of narrow braid.
Army:
One Pip in a white band.

Non-commissioned member rank insignia[edit]

Navy[7][8] Army[9][10] Air Force[11][12] Description
Cdn-Navy-CFCWO(OR-10).svg
Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer
(CFCWO)
Cdn-Army-CFCWO(OR-10).svg
Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer
(CFCWO)
Cdn-Air Force-CFCWO(OR-10).svg
Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer
(CFCWO)
The simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada within a wreath of maple leaves.
Cdn-Navy-Comd CPO1(OR-9++).svg
Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Cdn-Army-Comd SgtMaj(OR-9++).svg
Army Command Chief Warrant Officer
Cdn-Air Force-Comd CWO(OR-9++).svg
Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada over a wreath of laurel.
Cdn-Navy-Fmn CPO1(OR-9+).svg
Formation Chief Petty Officer
Cdn-Army-Fmn SgtMaj(OR-9+).svg
Formation Chief Warrant Officer
Cdn-Air Force-Fmn CWO(OR-9+).svg
Formation Chief Warrant Officer
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada over tri-service emblem.
Senior ranks (Rangs supérieurs)  
Cdn-Navy-CPO1(OR-9).svg
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class
(CPO 1)
Premier maître de 1re classe
(pm 1)
Cdn-Army-CWO(OR-9).svg
Chief Warrant Officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
Cdn-Air Force-CWO(OR-9).svg
Chief Warrant Officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada.
CDN-Navy-CPO2.svg
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class
(CPO 2)
Premier maître de 2e classe
(pm 2)
CDN-Army-MWO.svg
Master Warrant Officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
CDN-Air Force-MWO.svg
Master Warrant Officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
St. Edward's Crown within a laurel wreath.
CDN-Navy-PO1.svg
Petty Officer 1st Class
(PO 1)
Maître de 1re classe
(m 1)
CDN-Army-WO.svg
Warrant Officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
CDN-Air Force-WO.svg
Warrant Officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
St. Edward's Crown.
CDN-Navy-PO2.svg
Petty Officer 2nd Class
(PO 2)
Maître de 2e classe
(m 2)
CDN-Army-Sgt.svg
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(sgt)
CDN-Air Force-Sgt.svg
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(
sgt)
Three chevrons surmounted by a maple leaf
Junior ranks (Rangs subalternes)  
CDN-Navy-MS.svg
Master Seaman
(MS)
Matelot-chef
(matc)
CDN-Army-MCpl.svg
Master Corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
CDN-Air Force-MCpl.svg
Master Corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
Two chevrons surmounted by a maple leaf.
CDN-Navy-LS.svg
Leading Seaman
(LS)
Matelot de 1re classe
(mat 1)
CDN-Army-Cpl.svg
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
CDN-Air Force-Cpl.svg
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
Two chevrons.
CDN-Navy-AB.svg
Able Seaman
(AB)
Matelot de 2e classe
(mat 2)
CDN-Army-Pte.svg
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt)
CDN-Air Force-Pte.svg
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt)
One chevron.
CDN-Navy-OS.svg
Ordinary Seaman
(OS)
Matelot de 3e classe
(mat 3)
CDN-Army-Pte (Basic).svg
Private (Basic)
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt )
CDN-Air Force-Pte (Basic).svg
Private (Basic)
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt )
No insignia.

Distinctive rank names[edit]

Some branches and regiments use distinctive rank names in place of master corporal, corporal and private:

Branch Master corporal Corporal Private
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Trooper (cavalier)
Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Master bombardier (bombardier-chef) Bombardier (bombardier) Gunner (artilleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Sapper (sappeur)
Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Signalman (signaleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Craftsman (artisan)
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (RCIC) members of guards regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Guardsman (garde)
RCIC members of rifle regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Rifleman (carabinier)
RCIC members of fusilier regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Fusilier (fusilier)

The officers of some army regiments wear pre-unification rank insignia on their ceremonial uniforms (full dress and patrol dress). These insignia are nearly identical to those of the British Army: see British Army officer rank insignia for details. 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 after 1968, 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.

The Royal Canadian Navy and the executive curl[edit]

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 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[13]) 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.[14][15]

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.

Reinstatement of Canadian Army ranks and insignia[edit]

The Minister of National Defence, Peter McKay, announced on 8 July 2013 their intention to restore the traditional rank names for all Canadian Army non-commissioned members, as well as the reintroduction of Canadian Army officers' rank insignia.[16] Instead of the air force style rank insignia, Canadian Army officers will once again use the traditional "pips and crowns", a system which is more than one hundred years old.[17] The traditional gorget patches are also to be restored for officers of the rank of colonel or higher.[18] The re-introduction of Canadian Army rank insignia is expected to save the Canadian Armed Forces $53,550 per year, but with an initial outlay of $245,000, savings are not expected to be realised until after the first five years.[19] The reasons behind the return to the traditional Canadian Army ranks and insignia were explained by the Minister of National Defence as strengthening Canadian Army identity as "our officers who accepted the (German) surrender, were wearing pips and Crowns. This in no way diminishes Canada's identity, and I would suggest we are returning to the insignia that was so much a part of what the Canadian Army accomplished in Canada’s name".[20]

The reinstated insignia for officers, instead of using the current rank insignia for Brigadier (used until 1966), had the pre-1920 Brigadier-General insignia (crossed sabre and baton) instead.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Governor General of Canada Ranks and Insignia. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010.
  2. ^ Canadian Forces Dress Instructions. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. 1995. pp. 3–1–1. 
  3. ^ "The Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, Vol. IV, p. 457". The Canadian Heraldic Authority. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l In the Canadian military lieutenant is pronounced /lɛfˈtɛnənt/ in English.[citation needed]
  5. ^ National Defence Canada Army Rank and Appointment Insignia. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010
  6. ^ National Defence Canada Air Force Rank and Appointment Insignia. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010
  7. ^ "Royal Canadian Navy Rank and Appointment Insignia", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  8. ^ "Insignes de grade et de fonction de la Marine royale canadienne", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  9. ^ "Canadian Army Rank and Appointment Insignia", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  10. ^ "Insignes de grade et de fonction de l'Armée canadienne", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  11. ^ "Royal Canadian Air Force Rank and Appointment Insignia", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  12. ^ "Insignes de grade et de fonction de l'Aviation royale canadienne", Défense nationale et les Forces canadiennes (www.forces.gc.ca), retrieved 10 July 2013 
  13. ^ "Guy Lauzon on Canadian Navy". Hansard. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  14. ^ Marotte. B. (May. 03, 2010). "Navy celebrates centennial by restoring historic insignia." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010.
  15. ^ National Defence Canada. Photo of the day archive. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Canada restores historical features of the Canadian Army". Department of National Defence. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Restoring the Canadian Army’s historical identity". The Department of National Defence. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Pugliese, David (8 July 2013). "Government Intends To Restore Canadian Army Rank Insignia, Names and Badges To Their Traditional Forms". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Pugliese, David (21 July 2013). "New Canadian Army insignias to pay for themselves, military says". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Brewster, Murray (8 July 2013). "Canadian Army goes back to the future with return to British-style ranks and designations". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 

External links[edit]