CDS Directive 003 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination for Operations and Readiness

October 11, 2022


  1. Defence Team FAQs on COVID-19.
  2. VCDS Directive for DND/CAF COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) campaign, 28 May, 2021.
  3. DAOD 5019-2, Administrative Review.
  4. CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Operating and Reconstituting in a Persistent COVID-19 Environment, 16 February 2022
  5. Government of Canada announcement of intent to require vaccination of the federal workforce, 13 August, 2021.
  6. Draft PHAC public health rationale for a Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, 17 August, 2021.
  7. Update on COVID-19 in Canada: Epidemiology and Modelling [PDF, 1,3MB], 3 September, 2021.
  8. Framework for Implementation of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 6 October, 2021.
  9. Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, 24 September, 2021.
  10. DAOD 5019-4 Remedial Measures.
  11. DAOD 1000-8 Policy Framework for Safety and Security Management.
  12. DAOD 7000-1 Completion of Affidavits and Statutory Declarations.
  13. DAOD 5516-3, Religious or Spiritual Accommodation and DND Form 2983, Request for Religious or Spiritual Accommodation.
  14. DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics
  15. QR&O 16.25 Leave without Pay and Allowances.
  16. National Defence Security Orders and Directives, Standard 4B: Individual Security Screening Program [PDF, 1,2MB] (accessible only on the National Defence network).
  17. Canada Labour Code Part II Occupation Health and Safety.
  18. Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 6 October, 2021.
  19. CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, 8 October, 2021.
  20. CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination – Implementation of Accommodations and Administrative Action, 3 November 2021.
  21. CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination – Implementation of Accommodations and Administrative Action – Amendment 1, December 2021.
  22. TBS suspension of policy on COVID-19 vaccination for Core Public Administration, effective 20 June 2020.
  23. DAOD 5009-1, Personnel Readiness Verification Screening.


  1. Application. This directive:
    1. Supersedes the CDS Directives on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination (Refs S, T and U), except as otherwise stated; and
    2. Applies to all officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This includes the Regular Force, all Class A, B, and C Reserve Forces, Canadian Rangers, and Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS).
  2. General. At Ref R, the Government of Canada (GC) directed federal public service employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDS subsequently issued directives to the CAF on COVID-19 vaccination (Refs S, T, and U) that aligned to GC policy, while being tailored to the specific institutional constraints and instruments of the CAF. At Ref V, GC Policy on COVID-19 Vaccinations for the Core Public Administration was suspended.
  3. The CAF currently exceeds a rate of 96% for those who have received the COVID-19 primary vaccine series (defined per Annex A). This has helped to ensure a very low rate of hospitalizations and severe outcomes of infection, which has enabled a sufficient level of operational readiness to meet the many demands asked of the CAF throughout the pandemic
  4. Vaccination remains one of the most effective tools to protect our members. CAF members should follow best medical advice by vaccinating against COVID-19, including recommended booster doses, to ensure CAF operational readiness as the force of last resort to meet GC requriements. Vaccinations, along with layered Public Health Measures (PHMs) in the workplace, help reduce risk of severe COVID symptoms, hospitalization, and Long COVID.
  5. Problem Definition. The CAF routinely reviews its policies in light of changes in the public health situation, notably the evolution of the virus and increased CAF vaccination rates. The CAF has a unique role, and is often called upon to conduct various missions on short notice, domestically and internationally, in locations with their own vaccination requirements, and/or in austere environments where comprehensive medical support is not available. It must ensure operational readiness to act under such conditions as a last line of defence – a single case of severe illness or death has the potential to significantly impact the CAF’s operational readiness and effectiveness. It is understood that COVID-19 vaccinations continue to play a role in ensuring a ready force – not solely for individual members’ welfare, but also in minimizing risk to mission and readiness. Best scientific evidence has indicated that a COVID-19 primary series vaccination protects against severe illness and/or hospitalization, and limits the likelihood of operationally ‘high impact’ events requiring MEDEVAC. We are still in a global pandemic, and conditions may yet change. Given the evolving situation and the demands upon the CAF, a vaccine directive is still required to ensure protection of its members and overall operational readiness, while broadly returning to extant policies as able.
  6. Challenges. Despite the primary vaccine series’ efficacy against severe illness, its efficacy in preventing infection and symptomatic illness decreases over time. Furthermore, there are significant limitations in the ability of the vaccine to decrease transmission risk. While maintaining a targeted vaccine mandate enables operational readiness, risk of transmission cannot be considered on its own when considering a requirement for vaccination against COVID-19.
  7. The CAF needs to reconstitute the force as quickly as possible and take steps to mitigate the threat that COVID-19 presents to CAF operational readiness and effectiveness.
  8. Assumptions. The following assumptions are intended to guide planning efforts and are subject to validation as the situation evolves:
    1. The Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS), the Canadian Forces Housing Authority (CFHA), the Canadian Junior Rangers and Cadets in relation to civilian employees and volunteers, and other non DND/CAF entities, will suspend or amend their own COVID-19 vaccination policies reflective of the GC and CAF policies;
    2. The CAF’s definition of vaccinated, for the purposes of this directive, remains aligned with Health Canada guidance (see Annex A);
    3. At present, the COVID-19 primary vaccine series refers to the completion of a 2 dose HC-approved vaccine regimen (with the exception of those who received J&J). Completion of the full series may take up to 45 days to be effective;
    4. Future requirements for booster doses with specific formulations dependent on risk assessment of waning immunity and/or risks posed by new Variants of Concern (VOC) may be considered;
    5. Members may be required to obtain additional doses in order to meet screening or DAG requirements; and
    6. Evolution of COVID-19 pandemic situation and risk may require a future return to a policy of COVID-19 vaccination for all CAF members.
  9. Limitations
    1. Constraints
      1. The CAF will continue to monitor scientific evidence to assess the requirement for PHMs, including the possible reintroduction of a requirement for all CAF members to be vaccinated against COVID-19;
      2. The CAF will ensure operational effectiveness while, to the greatest extent possible, aligning its COVID-19 directives and orders with related direction from Treasury Board Secretariat to promote symmetry across the Defence Team;
      3. Effective communication and engagement will be required to facilitate an understanding of the changes to the requirement for all CAF members to be vaccinated against COVID-19; and
      4. Members posted to an OUTCAN position, and their eligible accompanying dependants, will be subject to the vaccination requirements of the host nation.
    2. Restraints
      1. Domestic collective training will not automatically be considered ‘high risk’. The proximity and availability of the specialized medical care (including the civilian healthcare system) required to treat serious illness and prevent death must be considered;
      2. Members who have not received the primary vaccine series no longer require accommodation, but these members may not be eligible to perform certain duties; and
      3. Contractors working alongside Defence Team members will no longer be required to attest to their vaccination status through their contracted company in line with others who may need to visit Defence Establishments episodically (such as delivery persons, landscapers, garbage collectors, etc.) who have not been subject to this requirement.


  1. The CAF will adopt an operationally-oriented COVID-19 vaccination policy in order to ensure operational readiness and effectiveness.


  1. Concept of Operations. We remain in a global pandemic. The CAF, as force of last resort, must continue to preserve its readiness to conduct operations – often on short notice, in a variety of settings and locations, and at distance from medical support. It will do so by ensuring that key positions and core operational functions and tasks are preserved by being vaccinated, supporting readiness and reducing risk to individuals and mission. All CAF members are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated and current. Those elements and positions not identified at readiness here defined will no longer carry COVID-19 vaccination requirements. This policy will be reviewed and updated as the pandemic situation evolves.
  2. Vaccination Requirements. CAF members falling into one or more of the sub-categories below must complete/ have completed the COVID-19 primary vaccine series. L1s will apply this intent to their positions/elements/units and situations.
    1. Operational Activities. Personnel assigned to units/elements expected to perform one or more of the following core functions/critical capabilities with short notice-to-move (NTM), such as:
      1. SOF High Readiness Forces/Task Forces;
      2. Ready-Duty Ships/Standby Ready-Duty Ships;
      3. DART;
      4. NEO;
      5. Contributions to NATO;
      6. Contributions to UN; and/or
      7. Contributions to bilateral or multilateral partners.
    2. Any personnel assigned to an Immediate Response Unit that could be employed in an isolated area of operations where no/limited medical care is available to the unit or the supported community; and/or
    3. Any personnel not included in the above Operational Activities who is placed on less than 45 days NTM with a potential to be employed at:
      1. A location with no/limited access to medical care; and/or
      2. Locations or nations where vaccination is a prerequisite for entry or operations.
    4. Any personnel not included in the Operational Activities above serving in locations or nations where vaccination is a prerequisite for entry or operations (foreign Liaison personnel).
  3. Vaccinations are encouraged, but will not be required for all other personnel. This would include, for example:
    1. Forces at readiness greater than 45 days NTM;
    2. Certain CAF schools/ educational establishments;
    3. Static units/elements/ headquarters;
    4. Ceremonial units/elements;
    5. Canadian Rangers/COATS; and
    6. Reservists not falling under the requirements at para (12).
  4. Effective as of the date this directive is issued, the following measures will be implemented:
    1. Administrative reviews related to previous COVID-19 policy (References S, T, U) for which a release decision has been rendered by Director Military Career Administration shall be actioned;
    2. Remedial Measures related to previous COVID-19 policy (Refs S, T, U) shall be formally concluded and will be retained on members’ files. Administrative Reviews related to previous policy (Refs S, T, U) which have not been completed and resulted in a final decision shall be closed; NOIs will be retained on file:
      1. In complex cases where deficiencies go beyond simply not getting vaccinated/attesting to vaccination, CO’s may recommend that DMCA proceed with AR considering members’ whole career, IAW Ref C.
    3. COVID-19 Remedial Measures policy will cease, and chains of commands and staffs will return to extant policies (e.g., Refs C, J) governing administrative processes. Any fully concluded Remedial Measures or ARs related to prior COVID-19 directives shall be retained on members’ files;
    4. Members employed in positions/ functions requiring vaccination who have not completed their primary vaccination series and choose not to shall be reassigned to roles/units designated as not requiring a vaccination;
    5. The personnel readiness verification (PRV) process (Ref W) will be used to identify CAF members who meet the requirements for employment on operations and for postings for which vaccination against COVID-19 has been identified as a requirement. Ref W and Attestation (via Monitor Mass) remain necessary mechanisms for determining member readiness;
    6. APS/postings will require DMilC and chain of command engagement in ensuring members’ meet the readiness requirements (including vaccination) for new positions;
    7. The requirement for all CAF members to attest to the status of their vaccination against COVID-19 will be in effect for the duration of this directive. A member’s attestation will continue to be considered protected information and may only be accessed by those with a need-to-know; and
    8. COVID-19 Vaccination status will no longer be a condition for enrolment to the CAF. New recruits will be informed of the COVID-19 vaccine policy, and will be informed that employment in certain positions or operations may require COVID-19 or other vaccinations for operational and readiness purposes.
  5. Attestation. Attestation remains a necessary mechanism to ensure compliance with Health & Safety institutional requirements that individuals be vaccinated for certain roles, and this is aligned with ‘consistent use’ previously applied and validated. Recognizing that not all personnel will have been captured during the initial directive for a variety of reasons (e.g. LWOP, MATA/PATA).
    1. CAF members remain required to provide confirmation of their COVID-19 vaccination status. All CAF members who have not completed their attestation must do so or will be presumed unvaccinated;
    2. Chains of command must ensure the attestation requirement is communicated to CAF members who may not be in receipt of regular communications from the institution due to circumstances such as being on BTL, LWOP, MATA/PATA, or being assigned to an educational institution (ATL), without Defence Wide Area Network (DWAN) access, or other similar situations;
    3. Attestation is a declaration of vaccination status and does not require CAF members to produce proof of vaccination; and
    4. Where there are grounds to believe that the member may have made a false attestation, COs may, having appropriately consulted legal advisors, request the member to provide a proof of vaccination certificate in support of their attestation. Inaccurate attestations by individuals claiming a vaccination status other than what they have who are subsequently determined to have made a false entry may result in administrative or disciplinary measures.
  6. Tasks
    1. Common to all L1/FGs
      1. Encourage all CAF members to remain up-to-date on COVID-19 force health protection measures and vaccinations during the evolving pandemic situation;
      2. Identify and confirm all positions within L1 that require mandatory COVID-19 vaccination based on the intent and examples at paras 12-13 of this directive;
      3. Provide clear direction within their commands regarding positions/units/functions to which this applies;
      4. Ensure attestation completion IAW para 15 as unattested members return to work or arrive post-recruitment; and
      5. Ensure managers of Defence Team members understand and continue to adhere to:
        1. the direction at Ref D in order to continue to operate and reconstitute in a persistent COVID-19 environment; and
        2. The relevant confidentiality and privacy considerations for handling and storage of members’ personal information.
    2. VCDS
      1. As the DND/CAF Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) functional authority, liaise with the HC COVID-19 Testing Secretariat to ensure the CAF application of rapid testing is consistent in approach to the application of rapid testing across the GC.  Review and revise the HC rapid testing playbook as necessary to provide appropriate rapid testing  guidance to the Defence Team as needed, in coordination with the CAF Surgeon General;
      2. Continue to lead consultation with the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC); and
      3. In consultation with Regional Authorities (RA) and SMA, ensure application of this policy to the CAF OUTCAN population.
    3. SJS
      1. Remain engaged at the federal echelon with WoG stakeholders in order to continue to closely monitor domestic and international scientific evidence to assess the need for additional public health measures, including the possible reintroduction of vaccination mandates; and
      2. In coordination with L1 representatives, medical and legal advice, conduct a review of this policy with regards to the pandemic situation, efficacy, and continued viability within six (6) months of issue.
      1. Effective the date of this directive, close outstanding AR processes currently underway resulting from non-compliance with the CDS Directives on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination;
      2. Process the releases for all members who have been provided release decisions already approved by Director Military Careers Administration;
      3. Inform candidates in the recruitment process of the potential mandatory requirements for COVID-19 and other vaccinations in order to perform certain roles or functions (e.g. deployments) for operations and readiness, and implement – in the recruiting process – a signed acknowledgement by entrants to remain on file acknowledging same; and
      4. Review & consider cancellation of CANFORGEN 012/22 in light of lack of necessity following issuance of this directive.
      5. Conduct holistic CAF vaccination policy review to explore and identify options and develop advice to establish policy foundation for CAF vaccination requirements supporting operational readiness (e.g. via Universality of Service, as bona-fide operational or occupational requirements, etc), as well as the administrative measures / policies / procedures supporting individual readiness, and BPT present findings and recommendations at an AFCX TBD.
    5. ADM(PA)
      1. Is requested to provide strategic-level communication guidance, messaging and coordination consistent with GC direction to support internal Defence Team communication; and
      2. Coordinate external messaging with GC partners.
  7. Coordinating Instructions
    1. Process to formally conclude RM/AR. COs will advise non-compliant CAF members that AR processes are being closed and RMs are being are being formally concluded, but related documentation will remain on their respective personnel files. COs will also advise members who have already been provided release decisions already approved by Director Military Careers Administration that their release will be processed.
    2. PA Posture
      1. The public affairs approach will be active and closely coordinated with the GC and L1s in support of GC priorities; and
      2. General inquiries with respect to this directive and any other COVID-19 related topic can be submitted via the Ask Anything: COVID-19 inbox.
    3. Key dates and timings
      1. All related ARs will be closed and RM processes will be formally concluded (less situations per para 14(b)(1)), effective the signature date of this directive; and
      2. SJS to conduct review of this directive six months from release.

Concept of Support

  1. Finance. L1s are to fund and capture all expenditures associated with this directive using internal financial coding and funding. L1s are to create their own Internal Orders (IOs) and charge all expenditures to this IO. All IOs are to be linked to the IO Group GEN039.20 for local fund expenses related to COVID-19. Any pressures are to be reported through the regular reporting process.


  1. Office of Primary Interest (OPI). DOS SJS.
  2. Office of Collateral Interest (OCI). MPC, VCDS.
  3. Points of Contact (POCs)
    1. BGen John Errington, SJS Director General Plans, 613-901-7179;
    2. Col Shawn Guilbault, SJS Director Plans North America, 613-904-5504;
    3. Chris Charron, SJS Section Head Emergency Management, 613-904-5824;
    4. Col William Rideout, CMP Director Health Services Operations, 613-901-7476;
    5. Col Guillaume Grenier-Lachance, CMP Director Military Careers Administration, 613-901-8306;
    6. Capt(N) Todd Bonnar, VCDS Director Coordination, 613-901-5820; and
    7. LCol Valerie Saunders, Director of Military Personnel Law, 343-550-1892.

W.D. Eyre
Chief of the Defence Staff

Distribution List


  • VCDS
  • Comd RCN
  • Comd CA
  • Comd RCAF
  • Comd CJOC
  • DComd JFC Naples
  • JAG
  • ADM(Pol)
  • ADM(Mat)
  • ADM(IM)
  • ADM(IE)
  • ADM(Fin)/CFO
  • ADM(HR-Civ)
  • ADM(RS)
  • ADM(DIA)
  • ADM(PA)
  • Corp Sec


  • MND
  • DM
  • Senior Assoc DM

Annex A to CDS Directive 003 on CAF COVID-19 Vacinnation for Operations and Readiness

  1. CAF members are considered to have received the primary vaccine series 14 days after they have either:
    1. Received both doses of an HC authorized vaccine that requires two doses to complete the vaccination series. Mixed dose vaccination series are accepted as long as it aligns with NACI Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccine;
    2. Received one dose of an HC authorized vaccine that only requires one dose to complete the vaccination series; or
    3. Received one additional dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after a complete or incomplete course/series of a non-HC authorized vaccine; or
    4. Received three doses of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless if they are HC authorized vaccines or non-HC authorized vaccines.

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