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|Canadian Forces Primary Reserve|
Reserve infantrymen train in urban operations circa 2004
|Active||1867 — Present|
|Allegiance||Crown of Canada|
|Branch||Royal Canadian Air Force|
|Part of||Canadian Forces|
The Primary Reserve of the Canadian Forces (French: Première Réserve des Forces Canadiennes) is the first and largest of the four sub-components of the Canadian Forces reserves, followed by the Supplementary Reserve, the Canadian Rangers, and the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (formerly the Cadet Instructors Cadre).
The Primary Reserve consists of sailors, soldiers and airmen who train to the level of, and are interchangeable with, their Regular Force counterparts, as per the "total force" policy outlined in both the 1987 and 1994 Defence White Papers, and are posted to CF operations or duties on an ongoing basis. Each reserve force is operationally and administratively responsible to its corresponding environmental command; those being the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Primary reservists number approximately 26,000 (all ranks, all services). It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the reserves to sustaining CF operations, particularly following the defence budget cuts under the Chrétien government's Finance Minister Paul Martin and increased operational tempo of the 1990s, which highly strained both the Reserve's personnel and equipment.
The Naval Reserve (NAVRES) is the reserve formation of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). It is organized into 24 Naval Reserve Divisions (NRDs), shore-based training facilities located in communities across the country. Each NRD has a small cadre of full-time reservists and regular force members to coordinate training and administration, but is for the most part directed by the division's part-time leadership. Training is conducted year round with regular force counterparts at the three Canadian Forces Fleet Schools and reservists frequently deploy on regular force ships to augment ships' companies. The Naval Reserve supplies all personnel (except two regular forces electricians and one marine engineer) for the 12 Kingston Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), which are used for patrol, minesweeping and bottom-inspection operations. The Naval Reserve has a funded manning level of 4,000.
The Army Reserve of the Canadian Army (CA) is the largest part of the Primary Reserve with an authorized strength of over 18,000 troops. It is sometimes referred to by its original and historic name, the Militia. During operations the Army Reserve is tasked to provide fully trained and equipped troops to augment the regular army. It is the time-tested backbone of the Canadian Army and perpetuates the historic force generation mission when in times of national emergency it will be tasked to provide subordinate units (like platoons and companies) and complete units (battalions). It forms the framework needed to raise a national army during wartime and or insurrection. This fighting mission has not changed much since the Second World War when the majority of combat units overseas were mobilized reserve battalions detached from their home regiments. In keeping with this mission, regiments of the Army Reserve have a theoretical administrative capacity to support a full battalion upon mobilization, although they maintain a standing force that can typically deploy the manpower of a reduced company. The regimental system in the reserve army of today is perpetuated as such for the timely absorption of recruits in case of war or in aid of the civil power. Such as when the need may one day arise, to call out more than 26,000 supplementary reservists and cadet instructors (who are also subjected to provide general service), to reinforce the order of battle bringing it up to war establishment. However, in practice the regimental system exists in the Army Reserve as an important institution for Canada. In addition to the tactical contribution provided for today’s Total Force they also provide a deep rooted community tie and focus on Canada’s proud military tradition.
The true strength of the Army Reserve is the strong connection the extended regimental family fosters with the community. From coast to coast regimental depots support Regimental Bands, sponsor Army Cadet Corps, participate in ceremonial duties and parades with some even operating old comrade associations from non public funds. Many of these activities are overseen by the regimental Honourary Colonel and Honourary Lieutenant Colonel. Although the vast Canadian geography and demographic factors impact unit composition they mostly functions in much the same way. During peacetime the Regimental establishment will only be the equivalent of a much reduced battalion of a couple hundred troops and less in some cases. Normally regiments are commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and consist of a headquarters staff and headquarters company with an administrative and logistical element directed by a small regular force support staff. The regiment’s subordinate units consist of one Training Company that may include a Platoon devoted to inducting recruits and another Platoon conducting recruit training. The Training Company provides candidates for basic courses run at the brigade's Battle School and combat arms training conducted at the Divisional Training Center. Once the soldiers are trade qualified they return to their units to serve in the Line Company (or operational sub-unit) that is ready and equipped to deploy when called to do so. Each unit will usually deploy a reduced Company of two Platoons one of these usually consisting of younger soldiers who have just passed through qualification training. The Line company may be rounded out with a third Platoon that is involved with retention duties such as refresher training of mature soldiers (this was once known as Warrior training) and holding the non effective strength with the goal of returning troops back into the line.
Traditionally the militia was subdivided into district garrisons and this system is still used as units are grouped along geographic lines into brigades for the purposes of administration, training and operations. The deployable sub unit from each regiment are often operationally tasked and grouped together by the Brigade to form a composite all arms battle group of battalion strength for combined arms training or defense of Canada tasks in the brigade area of operations. The Battle Group is usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel selected on a rotational basis from one of the brigade units. The order of battle will vary depending on the task and the available manpower but generally includes an artillery battery with 105mm C3 Close Support Guns, several companies of truck mounted light infantry with support weapons, an armoured reconnaissance squadron with G-Wagons equipped with GPMGs/LAW and a combat engineer troop. These combat arms troops will be supported by signals, service, medical and military police combat support sub units. The Brigades are commanded by a Colonel and provide a garrison for the reserve units, however they are usually ready to contribute a Battle Group to the Division’s Task Force and battle school candidates to the Division’s Training Center. The Army Reserve is a true force multiplier and the reservists are always very active preparing for battle and training for war. They are continuously exercised particularly in the summer months when combined arms field exercises up to the brigade group level are conducted and also during the wintertime when the troops must qualify in winter indoctrination and winter warfare exercise. A high degree of winter training is expected as the Army Reserve provides Arctic Response Companies for Northern service. They have participated heavily in all deployments of the Canadian Army over the last decades. In some cases the Army Reserve has contributed as much as 40 percent of the personnel in each deployment in the form of individual augmentation and occasionally formed sub-units (companies). At the peak of the fighting during the War in Afghanistan almost a quarter of the troops came from the Army Reserve thus earning new Battle honours for Reserve units.
- 3rd Canadian Division
- 4th Canadian Division
The Air Reserve is the reserve element of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). 2,600 air reservists are organized into flights and squadrons that are attached to Regular Force RCAF wings at various bases. Air Reserve personnel conduct training to support wing operations. Air Reserve units are specialized in various areas of surveillance, engineering, and airfield construction. Personnel also conduct further training at Canadian Forces bases and can deploy with Regular Force RCAF crews around the world in support of RCAF missions. Unlike the Naval Reserve and Army Reserve, the Air Reserve is composed principally of former members of the Regular Force, although this does not reflect any official policy.
Health Services Reserve
The 1,500-strong Health Services Reserve (HSR) provides essential health services in the Canadian Forces. Health services reservists serve the Canadian Forces in a wide range of health care professions, including medicine, nursing and social work. Reserve paramedical personnel who are not civilian trained and employed are trained, at a minimum, to the level of emergency medical responder.
Training and employment
The level of activity associated with being a reservist varies from formation to formation. There are three classes of employment available to Reservists:
- Class A
The most common form of employment for reservists; members are employed on a part-time basis within their unit. This form of employment is entirely voluntary, provides no job security and fewer benefits (e.g., medical and dental) than the other classes of service. The Class A contract covers training or employment up to 12 consecutive days. Class A reservists are generally limited to a certain number of paid days per year
Most units provide employment for training in the form of one evening per week or two full days a month during the training year (September – April). Units also normally provide one additional evening a week for administration purposes.
Reservists are obliged to accumulate a minimum of 14 full days of service per year and may not exceed 30 days of unauthorized absence during which no fewer than 3 duty periods were conducted by the reservist's unit. Those failing to adhere to these requirements can be deemed to be Non-Effective Strength and can be subject to administrative action.
- Class B
This form of employment is for Reservists employed full-time in a non-operational capacity. The length of the employment is dependent on the Reservist's availability and the needs of the Canadian Forces. Reservists on Class B employment receive many of the same benefits as members of the Regular Force, and, for members on contracts longer than six months duration, almost exactly the same benefits aside from pay. Members on Class A and B are paid 85% of their counterparts on Class C and in the regular force.
- Class C
This is the operational level of employment. Reservists on Class C employment receive an increase in pay to the level that a Regular Force member in the same position would be expected to receive (Reservists employed in either of the other classes earn 85% of the amount their Regular Force counterparts receive). There is no maximum length of employment and is normally in excess of one year. Typically, a reservist in a Class C contract fills the role of a Regular Force member and is accordingly paid from the Regular Force budget.
Members of the Primary Reserve may serve in routine domestic operations, or be called up in cases of national emergency as an aid to the civil power. This may include rescue operations, disaster management, additional security operations or a threat to national security.
- Operation CADENCE: security support during the 2010 Muskoka G8 and Toronto G20 Summits.
- Operation LAMA: the joint humanitarian relief mission in Newfoundland after Hurricane Igor.
- Operation LOTUS: a military operation to assist flooding victims in the Montérégie area 
- Operation LYRE: Canadian Forces assistance to flooded communities in southern Manitoba.
- Operations NANOOK, NUNALIVUT and NUNAKPUT: the annual sovereignty operations in Canada’s North.
- Operation PALACI: which supports Parks Canada’s annual avalanche control program in British Columbia’s Rogers Pass.
- Operation PODIUM: the Canadian Forces support to security operations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in February 2010
- Operation LENTUS: aid to civil authorities in 2013 Calgary floods. Operated as the first entirely reservist task force, TF Silvertip.
Overseas deployment on operations is voluntary. Members of the Primary Reserve are required to be selected after volunteering and must undergo workup training before being deployed overseas on operations.
In case of a severe national emergency, an Order in Council may be signed by the Governor General of Canada acting under the advice of the federal cabinet to call reserve members of the Canadian Forces into active service. Members of the reserve have not been called to involuntary active service in foreign operations since the Second World War.
|G-Wagen 4 × 4||Light Utility Vehicle||1,159||2004–||Mercedes-Benz, Germany||replaced the Iltis light trucks in Afghanistan|
|MILCOTS (Milverado) – 2003 Silverado Basic model 861 (GM K25943HD)||light utility vehicle wheeled||1,061||2003–2004||Chevrolet, United States||replacing the Bombardier Iltis jeeps in North American operations only|
|Cougar AVGP||Fire Support Vehicle||195||1976-2005||General Dynamics, Canada||to be replaced by G-Wagen|
|Kingston class patrol vessel||Coastal Defence/Mine Clearance Vessel||12||1996–||Halifax Shipyards||An operational asset of Royal Canadian Navy manned by reservists|
|24' RHIB||Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat||24||1993–||Zodiac Hurricane Technologies||Inshore patrol and operations vessel|
- Canadian Forces Supplementary Reserve
- Military history of Canada
- History of the Canadian Army
- Canadian Forces
- List of armouries in Canada
- "Administrative Order: Implementation of Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service", NDHQ 1085-30 (D Cdts 6) dated 2 July 1009.
- "About – Chief Reserves and Cadets"
- Department of National Defence (August 2007). "About DND/CF". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- J.L. Granatstein; LGeneral (Ret’d) Charles Belzile (September 2005). "The Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves, 1995: Ten Years Later" (PDF). http://www.cdfai.org/. p. 5. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Employment Opportunities". http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
Class A – includes training or employment for a half-day, full-day, weekend or as many as 12 consecutive days.
- Primary Reserve (August 2006). "Classes of Reserve Service". Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "Military Administrative Law Manual Chapter 19 – Release". Office of the JAG. Non-Effective Members: 33. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- The Honourable Pamela Wallin; The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire (December 2011). "Answering the Call: The Future Role of Canada's Primary Reserve" (PDF). Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. p. 12.
- Corinne McDonald (29 November 1999). Trainingtxt "THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES: THE ROLE OF THE RESERVES". Political and Social Affairs Division. C. Organizational Structure: 1. Primary Reserve. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Domestic Operations" Canadian Forces Canada Command[dead link]