DAOD 2020-5, Reserve Forces Foreign Service Arrangements

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
  3. Governance
  4. Procedure
  5. Limitations
  6. Administration
  7. Compliance and Consequences
  8. Responsibilities
  9. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2019-08-09

Application: This DAOD is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).


Approval Authority: Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS)

Enquiries: Director International Reserve Outreach (DIRO)

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2. Overview

2.1 This DAOD outlines the policies and procedures governing reserve forces foreign service arrangements (RFFSAs). RFFSAs permit approved CAF Reserve Force (Res F) members to serve, for other than continuing full-time training and duty, with the reserve forces of foreign armed forces that have an RFFSA memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of National Defence (DND) or the CAF. This DAOD also includes the conditions under which the CAF would host a foreign reserve force member under an RFFSA MOU.

Note – Approved RFFSA MOUs are listed in the References section of this DAOD.

2.2 An RFFSA MOU permits voluntary and individual participation with a foreign reserve force by a Res F member who temporarily resides within a host nation while attending school, working for a civilian employer on temporary assignment, accompanying a family member who is attending school or on a temporary work assignment, or some other similar reason. An RFFSA MOU allows for a Res F member to be retained by their CAF parent unit and remain on effective strength while taking advantage of opportunities to parade with a foreign reserve force unit.

2.3 RFFSA MOUs also foster the development and maintenance of an active relationship between Canada and foreign countries that serves to promote interoperability between forces.

2.4 RFFSA MOUs do not apply to attachments or secondments such as mutual exchanges or small unit exchanges which are governed by separate arrangements.

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3. Governance

3.1 Approval and coordination of an RFFSA MOU are completed at the national level between signatory national defence officials. VCDS has delegated national authority to the Chief of Reserves and Employer Support (CRES) to sign RFFSA MOUs on behalf of the DND and the CAF.

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4. Procedure

Eligibility Criteria

4.1 A Res F member who requests approval to serve with a foreign reserve force unit under an RFSSA MOU must:

  1. be recommended by their commanding officer (CO);
  2. have achieved their operationally functional point;
  3. be sufficiently proficient in the language of the foreign reserve force unit to satisfy the requirements of the relevant position within that unit;
  4. hold a valid security clearance that covers the nature and period of service;
  5. satisfy any other requirements required by the applicable MOU;
  6. if applicable, possess the essential qualifications listed in the terms of reference or position description provided by the foreign reserve force unit; and
  7. meet all minimum operational standards (see DAOD 5023-1, Minimum Operational Standards Related to Universality of Service).

Application Process

4.2 The following table identifies the procedure for a Res F member to request approval to serve under an RFSSA MOU:

Who Does It?


Res F member
  • become familiar with the provisions of the applicable RFFSA MOU; and
  • submit a completed form DND 4577, Reserve Forces Foreign Service Arrangement Application, to their parent unit CO for consideration.

Note Informal direct liaison with a foreign reserve force unit is authorized. The Res F member may liaise with DIRO to identify a possible foreign reserve force unit and point of contact if required. The Res F member is not authorized to parade with the foreign reserve force unit until an authority message is received.


Parent unit CO
  • support or deny the application; and
  • if supported, forward the application directly to DIRO and inform the relevant chain of command.
  • approve or deny the application;
  • if approved, submit the application package to the potential host nation, Canadian Defence Liaison Staff (Washington) (CDLS (W)), Canadian Defence Liaison Staff (London) (CDLS (L)) or Directorate of Foreign Liaison (DFL); and
  • coordinate further details and communication.
Note – Only DIRO has direct liaison authority with the host nation approval authority, CDLS (W), CDLS (L) and DFL.
  • when host nation approval is received, issue a formal authority message to the parent unit, level one advisor point of contact and VCDS outside of Canada (OUTCAN) section.
5 Parent unit CO
  • when DIRO approval is received, attach post the Res F member in Guardian from the parent unit to a VCDS OUTCAN position as described in the authority message; and
  • ensure a visit clearance request (VCR) is completed.

Note – A VCR may be submitted prior to final approval in anticipation of approval.


4.3 An RFFSA application should be received electronically by DIRO for consideration at least 90 days before the expected start of duty with a foreign reserve force unit. The application is to be sent directly from the applicant’s unit to DIRO, and to the appropriate chain of command for information.

Authority Message

4.4 The authority message issued by DIRO must contain the following:

  1. Res F member information;
  2. time period of the arrangement;
  3. number of authorized paid training days over defined periods of time;
  4. contact information of the parent unit;
  5. contact information of the foreign reserve force unit;
  6. host nation point of contact information;
  7. provisions regarding direct liaison authority between the parent unit and the foreign reserve force unit; and
  8. any other necessary administrative instructions.

Application by Foreign Reserve Force Member

4.5 Any CAF unit could be informally contacted by a foreign reserve force member or unit to enquire about the possibility of RFFSA participation. If contacted, the CAF unit should seek advice from their chain of command or DIRO to apply the procedures in this DAOD and the applicable RFFSA MOU.

Extension of RFFSA Period

4.6 Subject to paragraph 5.4, a Res F member may request an extension of an approved RFFSA period by submitting a written request to their parent unit CO.

4.7 An RFFSA extension request should normally be received electronically by DIRO at least 45 days before the termination date. The following information is required to process a request for extension by either a Res F member or a foreign reserve force member:

  1. new proposed RFFSA period and justification;
  2. demonstration of parent unit CO support; and
  3. number of authorized paid training days over a defined period of time.

4.8 If the extension is approved, DIRO issues an amendment to the initial RFFSA authority message. The parent unit must then submit an updated VCR.

Termination of RFFSA Participation

4.9 Unless an extension is authorized, RFFSA participation terminates on the date specified in the authority message. DIRO must be advised that the Res F member has ceased parading in the host nation. No termination message is issued.

4.10 If the Res F member ceases parading before the end of the authorized period, DIRO must be advised. DIRO may issue a termination message.

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5. Limitations


5.1 A Res F member must not train or parade with a foreign reserve force unit without an authority message from DIRO. Similarly, COs and their military supervisors must not permit a foreign reserve force member to train or parade with a CAF unit without an authority message from DIRO.

5.2 A Res F member participating in an RFFSA at a foreign reserve force unit must not:

  1. deploy on operations;
  2. perform continuing, full-time military service;
  3. perform unpaid training or duty;
  4. wear host nation uniform items except for personal protective equipment unique to and compatible with host nation small arms, or communication or specialist equipment, for example, body armour, load carriage systems, or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear equipment; or
  5. participate in training outside the host nation without prior CAF authorization.

5.3 Likewise, a CO and military supervisors in the unit must not permit a foreign reserve force member participating in an RFFSA to engage in the activities set out in paragraph 5.2.

Maximum Period of RFFSA Participation

5.4 Service by a Res F member with a host nation should normally not exceed 60 months, including any extensions. In any event, the length of service must not extend beyond the limits set in the applicable RFFSA MOU or imposed by the host nation.

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6. Administration


6.1 There is no requirement for a CAF unit to have a vacant establishment position in order to host a foreign reserve force member.


6.2 Participating Res F members are responsible for all aspects of their lodgings and subsistence, except while on duty with or at the direction of the foreign reserve force unit in accordance with the applicable RFFSA MOU.

Administrative and Disciplinary Authorities

6.3 Administrative and disciplinary authorities are described in the applicable RFFSA MOUs. DIRO coordinates administrative and disciplinary matters between countries as required.

Compensation and Benefits

6.4 The pay, allowances and other benefits to which participating Res F members are entitled are paid by the parent unit in accordance with applicable regulations, policies, orders and instructions.

Medical and Dental Care

6.5 Participating Res F members must have a valid periodic health assessment (PHA) prior to departure. Local CAF health services centres will conduct PHA parts 1 and 2 for Res F members who demonstrate that they have unit support for RFFSA participation.

6.6 Participating Res F members are entitled to medical and dental care in accordance with QR&O Chapter 34, Medical Services, and Chapter 35, Dental Services.

Performance Reports or Assessments

6.7 The parent unit is required to request performance reports or assessments on the participating Res F member from the foreign reserve force unit. The immediate superior in the foreign reserve force unit should provide such reports or assessments in the format provided by the parent unit if practical.

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7. Compliance and Consequences


7.1 CAF members must comply with this DAOD. Should clarification of the policies or instructions set out in this DAOD be required, CAF members may seek direction through their chain of command, as appropriate. Military supervisors have the primary responsibility for and means of ensuring the compliance of their CAF members with this DAOD.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

7.2 CAF members are accountable to their military supervisors for any failure to comply with the direction set out in this DAOD. Non-compliance with this DAOD may result in administrative action or disciplinary action, or both. Non-compliance may also result in the imposition of liability on the part of Her Majesty in right of Canada and CAF members.

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8. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

8.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The ... is or are responsible for …


  • negotiating and approving, on behalf of the DND and the CAF, RFSSA MOUs with the armed forces of other countries.


  • managing the RFFSA process;
  • applying RFFSA MOU provisions;
  • coordinating with the host nation RFFSA point of contact to facilitate approvals; and
  • supporting, approving or denying RFFSA applications.
commanders of CDLS (W) and CDLS (L) and DFL
  • providing regional support to Res F members participating in an RFFSA within their area of responsibility.
parent unit CO of a CAF member
  • supporting or denying a Res F member RFFSA application, or a request for extension, based on the selection criteria in this DAOD and the applicable RFFSA MOU;
  • submitting a supported RFFSA application or request for extension directly to DIRO, and informing their chain of command;
  • authorizing the maximum allowable number of days that the Res F member may be paid while participating in an RFFSA;
  • submitting a VCR;
  • funding pay, pay in lieu of leave and allowances for the Res F member participating in an RFFSA;
  • managing the administrative requirements of the Res F member;
  • liaising with the foreign reserve force unit for routine administrative issues; and
  • informing DIRO and the relevant chain of command of any change of status by a Res F member participating in an RFFSA.
unit CO in regard to a foreign reserve force member
  • approving or denying a formal request for a foreign reserve force member to participate in an RFFSA with their unit;
  • ensuring that a foreign reserve force member does not train or parade with their unit without an authority message from DIRO;
  • complying with the provisions of the applicable RFFSA MOU; and
  • liaising with the parent foreign unit for administration.
Res F member
  • completing an RFFSA application and forwarding it to their parent unit CO for consideration;
  • maintaining the currency or validity of their Military Personal Record Resume, identification card, passport, security clearance and other administrative arrangements for the period of the RFFSA in the host nation;
  • ensuring that their physical fitness evaluation and PHA are current on the date of departure to the host nation;
  • complying with the provisions of the applicable RFFSA MOU;
  • seeking arrangements to complete the CAF physical fitness evaluation with other CAF members in the host nation as required, if possible;
  • forwarding a request to their parent unit CO for any extension of the approved time period of the arrangement; and
  • forwarding a notification of early termination to the parent unit CO if required.

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9. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies, and Policy DAOD

Other References

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