In accordance with the Government of Canada Communications Policy, the Deputy Minister is accountable for the paid advertising and public opinion research for the Defence Team. This is delegated to ADM(PA), whose primary focus is on increasing Canadians’ awareness of the CAF. They provide strategic advice and deliver national advertising campaigns and products in support of defence recruitment priorities.
The recruitment process has tasks performed at the national headquarters (HQ) level, at the recruitment centre level, and by stakeholders outside of CFRG’s chain of command. CFRG is comprised of an HQ located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden with six regional HQ which are responsible for 26 full-time and two part-time recruitment centres. CFRG HQ established policies and procedures for the regions and recruitment centres. They are also responsible for administering portions of the recruitment process, such as the selection of successful applicants.
In addition to administering some of the assessment tools throughout the recruitment process, the recruitment centres are responsible for developing local attraction events tailored to the demographics within their area of responsibility.
In the recruitment process, the medical and security screening processes are performed by two organizations outside of CFRG’s chain of command. The Recruit Medical Office (RMO) is responsible for determining the applicants’ medical eligibility. They report through the Director General Health Services, under MILPERSCOM.
Director General Defence Security is part of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff organization within the Department and is responsible for the security screening process. This process includes the criminal record, name and credit checks of the applicants.
The Recruitment Information Management System
Applicant information is tracked in CFRIMS 2. CFRIMS 2 is used to collect and hold applicant information. There is also a feature where activity and communication with the applicant is logged. This feature is used for both tracking purposes and ad hoc data analysis.
Strategic Intake Plan
The Strategic Intake Plan (SIP), issued by MILPERSCOM, outlines the recruitment targets by individual occupations within each CAF organization. The SIP also identifies priority occupations
and threshold occupations Footnote 2 which are differentiated by their percentages of vacant positions. Subsequent to the creation of the SIP, MILPERSCOM considers current regular force demographic information and future gender targets in the creation of the annual recruitment and production plan. As per data available, new enrolment between FYs 2016/17 and 2018/19 has been approximately 85 percent of the overall SIP recruitment targets for these three fiscal years. Interviews indicated that challenges remain in meeting established priority occupation and gender targets. The annual enrolment of applicants is limited to the CAF’s capacity to train new enrollees, including basic and occupation specific training. Factoring both recruitment and retention, as demonstrated in the Departmental Results Report, between FY 2015/16 and FY 2017/18 Footnote 3 the Regular Force has increased from 65,879 to 66,572 which represents 99.6 percent of the FY 2017/18 planned regular force full-time equivalent target of 66,845. Footnote 4 Additionally, this increase of 693 Regular Force members represents 12.3 percent (693 out of 5,621 Footnote 5 ) of the increase necessary to meet the ultimate SSE target of 71,500. Footnote 6
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SSE highlights the importance of effective recruitment by promoting the uniqueness of full-time military careers and reducing the time required to enrol CAF members. Given the importance of growing the CAF and meeting gender diversity goals, the Advisory of the Military Recruitment Process was included in the ADM(RS) Risk-based Internal Audit Plan for FYs 2018/19 to 2020/21.
The objective of the advisory was to determine if attraction and recruitment strategies support the CAF in achieving its recruitment targets and if enrolment processing times have been reduced.
The scope of this advisory included current CAF Regular Force attraction activities and enrolment steps in place to achieve the recruitment targets. The applicant data used in this advisory included all applicants that were identified as active in CFRIMS 2 at any point in time during the period between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.
Given the long-term nature of the targets and the on-going renewal of the recruitment model, this advisory did not assess whether or not the attraction strategies would be successful in attracting women and priority occupational targets. Further, this advisory did not examine the steps within the security screening process, as this process was recently the subject of an ADM(RS) engagement. Finally, given that the military environments have unique Reserve Force recruitment approaches, this advisory did not examine Reserve Force recruitment processes. In addition, this advisory did not review CAF training.
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The advisory used the following methodology:
For the scope of our data extract, there were approximately 28,000 applicant records in the CFRIMS 2 database. Approximately 13,000 applicant files had been closed prior to completing all the recruitment process. These candidates were either unsuccessful in meeting testing requirements or voluntarily withdrew from the process. Of the remaining almost 15,000 applicant files, nearly 12,000 were still open and active during the scope of the advisory while 3,010 had enrolled in the CAF. From these 3,010 files, a directed sample of 28 files were selected from those enrolled through the Ottawa Recruitment Centre for in-depth process tracking analysis.
Reviewed pertinent documents from various stakeholders.
Interviewed key personnel within the attraction and recruitment process.
A process step analysis was developed using written procedures and interviews to identify any potential bottlenecks in the recruitment process.
The following sites were visited:
CFRG HQ – CFB Borden;
North Eastern Ontario Region HQ; and
Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre Ottawa.
A more detailed project methodology can be found at
1.6 Assessment Criteria
The following criteria were used for assessment during this advisory:
The CAF has developed, implemented and monitored attraction strategies required to achieve SSE recruitment targets; and
The recruitment process within CFRG is efficient and effective in reducing the time to enrol CAF members and meeting SSE recruitment targets.
The assessment criteria can be found at
1.7 Statement of Conformance
The advisory findings and conclusions contained in this report are based on sufficient and appropriate evidence gathered in accordance with procedures that meet the Institute of Internal Auditors’
International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. The advisory thus conforms to the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program. The opinions expressed in this report are based on conditions as they existed at the time of the advisory and apply only to the entity examined.
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2.0 Findings and Recommendations
While attraction initiatives at the national and local recruitment centres exist, there is no formally documented strategic level plan to guide military recruitment.
ADM(RS) expected MILPERSCOM and ADM(PA) to have consistent and documented:
National and local attraction initiatives;
Clearly delineated ARA between MILPERSCOM and ADM(PA) to enhance collaboration and help minimize duplication of effort between the organizations;
Governance structures to oversee the Regular Force military attraction process; and
Performance metrics to measure the success of attraction campaigns.
Attraction functions are crucial to raise awareness of the CAF and its overall mission, as well as to attract Canadian citizens, with the requisite education and experience, to the various military occupations. This responsibility is shared within the Department between MILPERSCOM and ADM(PA). ADM(PA) is responsible for national campaigns and all other paid advertising, using a mix of media including digital, social media, job boards and television. MILPERSCOM, including local recruitment centres, are responsible for initiatives such as local social media campaigns, community events and engagement with the public at recruitment centres. Given that ADM(PA)’s paid advertising campaigns have an important impact on increasing the awareness of jobs in the CAF and for targeting candidates to apply for specific jobs, a collaborative partnership between ADM(PA) and MILPERSCOM is essential.
While there is strategic direction for attraction, a strategic level plan for military recruitment has not been formally documented. It is expected that this strategic level plan would align the ARA, define governance, and document the required performance metrics. This would allow ADM(PA), CFRG, regions and individual recruitment centres to create attraction initiatives which are complementary, ensure alignment of messaging, provide opportunities for collaboration to capitalize on synergies and contribute toward strategic targets within their respective area of responsibility.
2.1.1 National and Local Attraction Initiatives
One of the SSE initiatives is to “implement a recruitment campaign to promote the unique full-time career opportunities offered by the CAF, as well as to support key recruitment priorities, including hiring more women, increasing diversity and addressing priority occupations.” There are national advertising and local attraction initiatives and events aimed at meeting this initiative.
At the national level in FY 2018/19, ADM(PA) had four separate advertising campaigns targeting Regular Force recruitment pursuing each of the following categories:
100+ Careers Awareness;
Visible Minorities and Indigenous.
Each of these campaigns had specific tactics, target audiences, intent, and short and long-term objectives. At the local level, recruitment centres have developed attraction plans tailored to the demographics within their specific areas of responsibility. For example, the one recruitment centre examined attended a Women in STEM
conference to inform participants of CAF occupations which complement their education and background. Footnote 7