Work-life balance in the Canadian Armed Forces 

There is no job more challenging or rewarding than a job in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Serving your country is a life-changing experience that will push you to be the best you can be – that’s why we take care of our members and ensure that they are maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. As a member of this exclusive community, you will have access to state-of-the-art gymnasiums, and sports facilities, on top of a range of wellness programs specifically designed for you and your family.

The best team you’ll ever join

From the moment you begin basic training, you’ll be welcomed into a team of dedicated professionals who will soon become like family. Members of the CAF come from all across Canada, each bringing something unique and valuable to the team as a whole. As you progress in rank and skill, you’ll learn something new from every member you meet, and develop lifelong friendships along the way.

Sports and fitness

You will have the opportunity to join one of our intramural or extramural sports teams, or participate in the local sporting events hosted by your home base. Joining a sports team is a great way to make new friends, and stay in shape while doing it!

Since maintaining a healthy level of physical fitness is key to a successful career in the CAF, we encourage our members to do everything they can to remain healthy and active - that is why we give our members the opportunity to develop and maintain their fitness goals. The gyms at our military facilities are equipped with top of the line cardio and weight machines, and are staffed by qualified trainers who will help you reach your goals. We also provide courses on healthy eating and smoking cessation for those who are interested.

Paid time off

Having enough time to rest and recharge is essential to maintaining a healthy/work life balance. That’s why all of our members are entitled to paid vacation days and holidays. If you join as a full-time member, you will start with 20 paid vacation days per year. The number of vacation days you receive will increase with your seniority. If you join as a part-time member, you will receive 1 paid vacation day for each 15 consecutive calendar days worked.

The parental leave plan provides new parents with the freedom to spend time at home after the birth or adoption of your child with up to 93% of your regular salary.

Flexible work schedule

Members usually work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, and have evenings and weekends free. From time to time, CAF members move to different locations to develop new skills and experiences or to provide humanitarian aid or participate in a military mission. Members normally bring families on postings and have access to a full range of family-related benefits.

As a Reservist, you will be expected to attend a weekly training night, and occasionally participate in weekend training activities or tasks. The Reserves also offer summer employment opportunities. Many of our members choose to spend their spare time going to school or working a full-time job.

Family services

There are many services and benefits available to our members including housing assistance, community orientations, family counselling, travel allowances, education and training. We also provide occasional and emergency daycare to ensure that your child receives excellent and personalized care when there is immediate need. The benefits will help you start and raise your family and ease the transition into the military lifestyle for you and your family.

Managing a home life is very similar to managing a ship

Victoria and Chris Devita know what it takes to maintain a healthy work/life balance. After all, they’re the first married couple to have skippered the same Canadian naval ship!

The Lieutenant Commanders are both full-time members of the CAF, with busy careers that require their devoted leadership and tenacity. They’re also full-time parents, with two children in their early teens.

Victoria and Chris do not find it unusual, or even significant, that they can command a warship in counter-drug operations one day, and watch their children play soccer the next.

Together, the couple is able to balance their busy careers with their home life through the support they provide one another, and with a little help from the CAF.

 “Managing a home life is very similar to managing a ship. I mean, the ship is always considered a family away from home. You have to make sure that everyone is looked after both psychologically as well as in their own individual pursuits."

Victoria Devitas

 Lifestyle

 Transcript

TITLE: LIFESTYLE

MICHELLE BARANOWSKI: I would describe my lifestyle as very similar to my friends that aren't in the Canadian Forces. I'm single, I go out a lot, and I go to work in an office every day, and I go out a lot with my friends in the evenings. I think our lifestyles are very similar, except that I wear a uniform every day.

EMELY ALCINA: My lifestyle is actually pretty active. I have my job in the Navy part time, and I have my full-time job on the civilian side. I do a lot of sports. I'm really busy constantly. I'm still taking a couple classes, so, really, really active.

KAREN STREEK: I would describe my lifestyle as being very busy. I have a busy career that I truly enjoy, I have a big family with three small children, and a lot of extra-curricular activities.

ROSEANNA MANDY: I have a great family life. I'm really happily married. My children are both athletes. I have time to do homework. I think that I have a great work-life balance.

AVRIL JEAN-BAPTISTE JONES: I think it's so important that you are a soldier, yes, 24/7, but however, when I take my uniform off, I'm very much a lady.

CHERYL BUSH: So, I have my life with the military, but also a great, awesome civilian life with great friends.

MICHELLE BARANOWSKI: I don't live on a base; I live in an apartment, downtown Ottawa. I've actually never lived on a base, except when I was in training.

KAREN STREEK: I live in a nice family neighbourhood. It's got lots of other little children there. And a nice home, with only minutes to drive to where I work.

LYNNE PATTERSON: I live in a great downtown neighbourhood that's very family-friendly – lots of kids, lots of other families. It's a super-friendly place to live.

AVRIL JEAN-BAPTISTE JONES: My neighbourhood is actually very quiet, very family oriented, and it's great.

CLAIRE BRAMMA: I go to and from work with my bicycle. The bike trails are a great way to get around town.

CHERYL BUSH: Everyone in my subdivisions has two acres of land. I have bush, I have a hot tub, a pool, and no one would ever know that I'm actually in the military. I just kind of blend in with the surroundings.

MICHELLE BARANOWSKI: I definitely have a lot of leisure time. I mainly work business hours from 8 to 4. In the evenings, I got to the gym or go to yoga or go out with my friends.

EMELY ALCINA: I love travelling, I love doing activities, new activities, photography.

AVRIL JEAN-BAPTISTE JONES: I love to travel, I love to dress up, I love to go out, I like the, you know, the dresses, the heels.

ROSEANNA MANDY: I love to hike and track and travel, and I'm an athlete, so I have tonnes of time to fit those things in. The military is amazing. I have an hour dedicated every day to my physical training, so they even build time in for my recreation.

KAREN STREEK: That's one of the advantages of the military, is that you get to do your leisure during your work, because I'm big into physical fitness, I'm a cyclist – we're currently training to go on a cycling trek from Ottawa to Kingston. So, these are things that I'm able to do with my job, with my soldiers, so I'm fulfilling both my leisure desires and my military occupation at the same time.

 Diversity in the Forces

 Transcript

// Variety of sounds: wind, machines and gears grinding, bells ringing. //

(Title appears on a grey background over a montage of images representing diversity in the Forces.)

// Voiceover (woman): Equal opportunity is fundamental to the Canadian Armed Forces. //

// Dynamic music. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Close-up on a soldier in front of an airplane.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier in a library.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier wearing a helmet and headset.)

// Voiceover (woman): When you put on the uniform of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force, you are seen as a soldier first, regardless of your background, and valued for your work and your character above all else. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Cut: Close-up on an officer in a library.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier in uniform, smiling, in a conference room.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier in front of a military airplane.)

(Cut: Close-up on a sailor, a military ship is in the distance.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier.)

(Cut: On a landing strip, a pilot is walking, his helmet in hand. A fighter jet is parked behind him.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier, she is smiling.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier in uniform. There is machinery on his right and a military aircraft is taking off behind him.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier in front of a military airplane.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier who is smiling. She is at her post.)

(Cut: Close-up on a smiling soldier in a command room.)

(Cut: Close-up on a soldier standing in front of lockers, she is smiling.)

// Voiceover (woman): Canada’s military has a long tradition of diversity and the face of our military has continued to evolve with Canada’s increasing multiculturalism. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Historical tableau illustrating a 19th century battle: at the mouth of a river, several soldiers arriving by canoe attack a village. There are clouds of smoke.)

(Transition: Historical tableau illustrating another 19th century battle: in a forest, a group of soldiers are going into battle. A soldier wields his sword.)

(Transition: Historical black and white photograph depicting a group of soldiers who are marching, bags on their backs, weapons strapped to their sides. They are crossing a bridge.)

(Transition: Black and white video sequence of two soldiers in uniform marching in a field, carrying wooden poles.)

(Transition: Black and white video sequence of a group of soldiers marching in a port near a docked ship. The soldiers are wearing large backpacks, weapons strapped to their side, carrying bags. In the background, four soldiers carrying their caps go down the ramp of the ship.)

// Voiceover (woman): The Forces welcome applicants from all genders, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Black and white video sequence of a group of soldiers marching in formation in an arid landscape.)

(Transition: Black and white video sequence of soldier looking into the distance through binoculars.)

(Cut: Return to colour shots. A military diver jumps into the water from the ship’s deck. Four soldiers are already in the water, a buoy is nearby. Underwater view of the divers. The divers are inspecting large propellers.)

(Transition: A group of soldiers marches in formation in a parking lot.)

// Voiceover (woman): Today, people of all backgrounds work collaboratively. Forces’ members have the right to be treated fairly, respectfully and with dignity in a workplace free of harassment. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: A group of soldiers in two lines marches down a rural road. Each soldier is wearing a large backpack and a sleeping bag with weapon in hand.)

(Transition: On a landing strip, soldiers form a long line. They march towards a military plane and prepare to board. There is a hangar in the background.)

(Transition: A group of soldiers boards a military plane. Close-up on four of them.)

(Cut: Two soldiers in uniform seen in profile. They are looking at a computer screen in a classroom.)

(Transition: In a classroom, groups of two soldiers are seated at computers.)

(Transition: Standing at a lectern, a soldier is presenting to the class. There are two huge projection screens behind him.)

(Cut: Close-up on profile of a soldier in the classroom.)

(Transition: Zoom out to larger view of the class. The instructor is walking down the centre aisle, as the soldiers pay close attention to what he is saying. The shot narrows and focuses on the instructor as the edges of the scene fade and darken.)

// Voiceover (woman): Operating in an environment where uniform and rank are seen first, the Forces respect individual diversity. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: At Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, a group of soldiers holding books walks by.)

(Transition: Zoom in on two of the soldiers.)

(Transition: In an amphitheatre-style classroom, profile shot of soldiers taking notes. Point of view changes to see the class from the front, four rows of students are taking notes.)

(Transition: Two soldiers are seated at the front of the class. They are listening to the lecturer, seen from behind.)

// Voiceover (woman): To help ensure that ranks reflect Canada’s cultural make-up, the Canadian Armed Forces practise Employment Equity,… //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier in a classroom.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier presenting to the class.)

(Transition: Close-up on profile of soldier in classroom.)

(Transition: Close-up on a hand writing on a piece of paper with a pen.)

(Transition: In a cubicle at a recruiting centre an officer is seated at his desk. He is interviewing a young candidate. Close-up on the officer who is explaining something, pan out to include the candidate, who is listening intently.)

// Voiceover (woman): …which means striving for appropriate representation of designated groups at all areas and levels of the institution, including women, Aboriginal peoples and members of visible minorities. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Two soldiers outside at a training exercise, walking a tightrope suspended one metre off the ground.)

(Transition: A group of about 100 soldiers is running outside on a paved course. They are wearing grey sweats and a green toque. The leader is wearing a red and yellow safety vest.)

(Transition: In a gymnasium, a group of soldiers stretches as they listen to their coach. They are wearing numbered bibs.)

(Transition: In a hospital corridor, a soldier is speaking to medical personnel; at that moment a soldier on crutches passes in front of the camera.)

(Transition: An officer is sitting at his desk, working at his computer.)

(Transition: Under a tent, a soldier is standing and comforting a soldier who is seated on a bed.)

(Transition: A soldier is marching, carrying two duffle bags. In the background, other military personnel are inside a tent.)

(Transition: View from the bottom of airstairs attached to a military plane. A member of the security team, wearing a suit and tie and dark glasses is standing at the bottom of the stairs. At the top, a soldier in uniform is disembarking.)

(Transition: In an office, an officer is greeting a young member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He invites her to sit at a conference table.)

(Transition: In a conference room, three rows of soldiers are seated, another group stands at the back. In the foreground, a soldier is taking notes.)

(Transition: Close-up on the soldier who is explaining something to the group. At the back of the room, two soldiers are taking notes.)

// Voiceover (woman): Whoever you are, when you put on the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces you will be treated with equal respect. By joining the Forces, you join a long tradition of honourable service that is recognized around the world. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Cut: A military helicopter with a Red Cross sign is taking off in a desert landscape.)

(Cut: Black and white sequence: a soldier smiles, his arms crossed, as he stands in front of military truck.)

(Cut: Three close-ups on soldiers’ name tags sewn onto their uniforms.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier, he is smiling. He is in front of a sophisticated computer screen.)

(Cut: View from the bridge of a military ship. A large Canadian flag is hanging from the side of the ship. There is another military ship in the background.)

(Transition: An Aurora aircraft in flight.)

(Transition: In a desert setting, a smiling Canadian soldier shakes hands with another soldier.)

(Transition: Two Canadian soldiers in front of a group of six civilians wearing long tunics. One of the soldiers is shaking hands with a member of the group. In the background, mountains.)

// Voiceover (woman): You will also enjoy the unique opportunities for education, training, travel and personal excellence that are part of every soldier’s life. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: In a foreign country, a Canadian soldier is speaking with four women wearing veils. Three children are with them.)

(Cut: A military helicopter is landing in an arctic landscape as an air traffic controller guides him to safety.)

(Cut: A Forces encampment in a desert.)

(Transition: Outdoor shot of the camp on a sunny day: two soldiers are playing catch with a football; on the left, four soldiers are reading on lawn chairs; other soldiers are gathered in the background.)

(Transition: A helicopter lands in a desert zone. In the background, mountains.)

(Cut: Cut to the deck of a ship that is docked in an urban setting, four soldiers are pulling the rigging.)

(Cut: A military ship at sea.)

(Cut: View from the cockpit of an airplane in flight. View from behind the pilot of a bright orange sunset.)

(Cut: A military ceremony is taking place in a great hall. Fifty soldiers wearing ceremonial red are lined up in formation. Some of them carry Canadian flags. Another group of soldiers stands on a platform. Three huge Canadian flags are hanging.)

(Cut: Front view of a Hercules aircraft landing.)

(Transition: A military ship at sea.)

(Transition: Orange sunset on the ocean as seen from the deck of a military ship.)

// Voiceover (woman): Thanks to diversity in uniform, the Forces have a strong and unified team that is able to respond to situations quickly and effectively in Canada and around the world. //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Close-up on sepia shot of a soldier.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier.)

(Transition: Close-up of a soldier walking on a landing strip.)

(Transition: A soldier walks through the office holding a file folder and pen.)

(Transition: Medical personnel in the hallway of a hospital.)

(Cut: Aerial view of a military ship at sea. Three images add to the scene one after the other in vertical bands: on the left, a soldier in front of a plane; in the middle, a soldier in a hangar; on the right, a soldier in front of the cockpit of an airplane.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier wearing a toque.)

(Transition: Close-up on an officer in a library.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier in a command room.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier.)

(Transition: Close-up on a soldier; there is medical equipment in the background.)

(Transition: Close-up on a smiling soldier.)

(Cut: A military ship at sea, another ship follows behind.)

(Cut: View of the Earth from a satellite.)

// Music ends. //

// Voiceover (woman): JOIN US //

(Voiceover layers over a quick montage of scenes as described below.)

(Transition: Front view of a pilot in the cockpit of a fighter jet. He is wearing a helmet and mask that covers his face. Two fighter jets follow behind. View from above the clouds. The bright sun shines directly into the camera’s lens.)

(The Forces badge appears followed by FORCES.CA.)

(Super: JOIN US)

// Drum beat. //

(The badge fades to black.)

(Super: Copyright, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Department of National Defence, 2014.)

(Canada Wordmark)

Interested in learning more?

Drop by a recruitment centre near you today.

  •  Send us an email
  •  Send us a message on Facebook
  •  Call us at 1-800-856-8488
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: