Canadian 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

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
Crest of the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada[3]

Flag officer / General officer rank insignia

Navy sleeve insignia
(since 2010)
Navy shoulder
insignia
[4]
Army[5] Air Force[6] Description
Admiral / amiral General / général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, four maple leaves

Vice-Admiral / vice-amiral Lieutenant-General[7] / lieutenant-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, three maple leaves

Rear-Admiral / contre-amiral Major-General / major-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, two maple leaves

Commodore Brigadier-General / brigadier-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, one maple leaf

Officer rank insignia

Navy sleeve insignia
(since 2010)
Army[5] Air Force[6] Description
Captain(N) /
Capitaine de vaisseau
Colonel
Four standard gold stripes
(naval with executive curl)

Commander /
Capitaine de frégate
Lieutenant-colonel[7]
Three standard gold stripes
(naval with executive curl)

Lieutenant-Commander[7] /
Capitaine de corvette
Major
One thin gold stripe between two standard gold stripes
(naval with executive curl)

Lieutenant (N)[7] /
Lieutenant de vaisseau
Captain / Capitaine
Two standard gold stripes
(naval with executive curl)

Sub-Lieutenant[7] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de première classe
Lieutenant[7]
Navy :
One standard stripe with executive curl over a half stripe
Army and Air Force:
One half stripe over standard stripe

Acting Sub-Lieutenant[7] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de deuxième classe
Second Lieutenant[7] /
Sous-lieutenant
One standard stripe
(naval with executive curl)

Naval Cadet /
Aspirant de marine
Officer Cadet /
Élève-officier
One half stripe

Non-commissioned member rank insignia

Navy[8][9] Army[10][11] Air Force[12][13] Description
Senior ranks (Rangs supérieurs)  
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class
(CPO 1)
Premier maître de 1re classe
(pm 1)
Chief Warrant Officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
Chief Warrant Officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
Sleeve. The 1957 version of the Coat of Arms of Canada.
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class
(CPO 2)
Premier maître de 2e classe
(pm 2)
Master Warrant Officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
Master Warrant Officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
St. Edward's Crown within a laurel wreath.
Petty Officer 1st Class
(PO 1)
Maître de 1re classe
(m 1)
Warrant Officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
Warrant Officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
St. Edward's Crown.
Petty Officer 2nd Class
(PO 2)
Maître de 2e classe
(m 2)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(sgt)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(
sgt)
Three chevrons surmounted by a maple leaf
Junior ranks (Rangs subalternes)  
Master Seaman
(MS)
Matelot-chef
(matc)
Master Corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
Master Corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
Two chevrons surmounted by a maple leaf.
Leading Seaman
(LS)
Matelot de 1re classe
(mat 1)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
Two chevrons.
Able Seaman
(AB)
Matelot de 2e classe
(mat 2)
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt)
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt)
One chevron.
Ordinary Seaman
(OS)
Matelot de 3e classe
(mat 3)
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt )
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt )
No insignia.

Distinctive rank names

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.


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 stripes of their rank 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

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[14]) 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.[15][16]

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

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.[17] 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.[18] The traditional gorget patches are also to be restored for officers of the rank of colonel or higher.[19] 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.[20] 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".[21]

See also

Canadian Armed Forces portal

References

External links

  • Canadian Forces ranks and appointment insignia – official site with images of rank insignia for Navy, Army and Air Force.
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