Reserve Force - RPP 2014-15

Reserve Force

The Reserve Force is composed of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who enrolled for service other than continuous full-time military service. The Reserve Force has four sub-components: the Primary Reserve (P Res), the Supplementary Reserve, the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS), and the Canadian Rangers.

Primary Reserve

A vital link to Canadian communities, the P Res consists of predominantly part-time professional CAF members who contribute to the defence and security of Canada. The mission of the P Res is to provide the CAF with professional personnel at directed levels of readiness who contribute to the CAF’s capability to achieve its roles and missions.

A robust and well-trained, predominantly part-time Force located throughout Canada will remain key to the ability of the CAF to meet the security and defence needs of the future.

The P Res structure includes the Naval Reserve, the Army Reserve, the Air Reserve, the Health Services Reserve and the Legal Reserve. Although primarily part-time in nature, the career of a Primary Reservist will include some full-time service to attend individual training, professional development or those duties necessary to maintain military competencies as part of their occupations’ normal career progression. These periods of full-time service may range from several days to several months depending on the complexity of the skill or competency to be learned. Additionally, Primary Reservists will sometimes be employed on full time service for temporary and definite duration to meet a specific need, generally as a surge capacity. Finally, Primary Reservists may be employed for a longer period of full time service in positions established in the CAF organizational structure to support an enduring requirement, consistent with Defence priorities and managed within the context of the whole DND and CAF workforce.

On average, approximately 5,000 P Res are expected to be employed in P Res force generation, P Res professional development, and in support to the institution while approximately 800 P Res will support domestic and international operations.

There is a requirement to stabilize and realign the P Res workforce in order to sustainably meet the current and future requirements established in the Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS). Work force requirements are being reviewed across the defence team to determine the force structure needed to meet our operational and institutional commitments. This initiative is reviewing the way in which our P Res are managed, funded, trained and employed. As a result of this review, there will be improved oversight, enhanced monitoring methods and updated personnel policies allowing a greater flexibility for the Reserves.

Plans for Enhanced and Ongoing Support to Domestic and International Operations

Reservists make a substantial and valued contribution to Canada’s security. The past decade has seen an increase in the Canadian Armed Forces’ operational tempo both at home and abroad, with a significant share of the CAF personnel deployed being Primary Reservists. With respect to domestic operations, the P Res provides the personnel for coastal, air, and arctic operations and the Territorial Battalion Groups. Reserve contributions to operations and connections with Canadians are critical to the nation and to the environments and communities in which they serve and we must ensure that we attract, develop, support and retain a ready, capable, motivated and relevant P Res force as both a strategic and operational resource for Canada and the CAF well into the future. The Primary Reservists have performed with skill and dedication as a vital asset and respected partner that is an integral part of the CAF. The willingness of Primary Reservists to volunteer when needed and the devotion to duty is recognized. Reserve units are located in Canadian communities across Canada, and are residents of those communities.

Naval Reserve

The Naval Reserve trains and prepares individuals to supplement the Regular Force at home and abroad through part-time and full-time service. Naval reservists are employed on CAF operations domestically, particularly in the seaward approaches to North America, and abroad. The Naval Reserve is focused on providing a sustainable strategic source of trained personnel for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and CAF within a "One Navy" concept. It is continuing to realign its structure to support the CAF's direction regarding Primary Reserve employment and implement the "One Navy" concept, becoming fully integrated into the RCN's force generation and force employment processes and structures, to better enable achieving RCN's strategic objectives. As well, through its Naval Reserve Divisions, the Naval Reserve is the Navy's vital link to communities across Canada and supports, through a broad national presence, the RCN's efforts in connecting with Canadians.

Army Reserve

Canada's Army Reserve is organized into 123 units, located in 117 cities and communities across the country. The role of the Army Reserve, an integral component of the Canadian Army, is to augment, sustain and support the Canadian Army in carrying out its mission.

After a period of very high operational tempo, the Army Reserve is focusing its efforts on reconstitution and expanding to meet its funded strength target of 19,471 part-time soldiers. It continues to provide augmentation to the Regular Force for domestic and international operations and to backfill Regular Force personnel shortfalls within the land forces and the CAF at all levels of responsibility. These demands will be balanced against the needs of the Army Reserve for its own leadership and management of personnel.

Domestically, the Army Reserve contributes to the Canadian Army's Lines of Operation 1 & 2 through Territorial Battalion Groups (TBGs), Domestic Response Companies (DRC) and Arctic Response Company Groups (ARCG). These nascent capabilities represent the force employment framework through which the Army Reserve will leverage existing unit structures and capacities and eventually take the land forces lead in domestic operations, with support from the Regular Force as required.

Internationally, the role of the Army Reserve has expanded to provide 20 per cent of required land force personnel to expeditionary operations through individual and formed capability augmentation.

The current strength of the Army Reserve is 18,456 part and full-time Reservists.

Air Reserve

The Air Reserve is employed in total force establishments throughout Canada, working side-by-side with members of the Regular Force and other departmental employees. Air Reservists receive the same training as their Regular Force counterparts and Air Reservists maintain their occupational skills through a combination of specialized training opportunities and routine support of daily Air Force operations. The close integration of the Air Reserve into total force establishments provides a surge capacity to ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force is able to deliver strategic effects for the CAF particularly during periods of high operational tempo, in support of the Canada First Defence Strategy.

The rationalization of the Primary Reserve will continue through 2014-15 and the transition to a predominantly part-time force will near completion with 265 full-time positions allocated to the Air Reserve. Recruiting and retention marketing strategies are being developed to stem the high rate of attrition in the Air Reserve and endeavour to achieve a total Air Reserve strength of approximately 2300 personnel. The RCAF will continue to rely on its Air Reservists to meet assigned readiness levels and achieve RCAF operational and training objectives.

CF Health Services Reserve

The Health Services Reserve, with approximately 1,600 members, is organized into two functional groups: Primary Reserve units known as Field Ambulances, and the 1 Canadian Field Hospital Detachment Ottawa. Core tasks assigned to the Field Ambulances include force generating trained personnel to support, augment and sustain CAF Health Services Group's domestic and expeditionary commitments, to provide health services support to their affiliated Canadian Brigade Groups and to conduct community outreach activities. The members of the 1 Canadian Field Hospital Detachment Ottawa include specialist clinicians and serve to provide depth and breadth to the Health Services Group on international operations and in military clinics within Canada.

Priorities for the Health Services Reserve in fiscal year (FY) 2014-15 include:

  • Field Force Review. Review Reserve Field Ambulance capabilities including establishments and equipment to ensure they have an appropriate field structure to meet current and future tasking requirements. This will be harmonized with the Regular Force review to ensure interoperability and compatibility for training;
  • Develop a Health Services Reserve career management program. Develop a comprehensive program of career management and merit boards to ensure viable succession for Health Services Reserve units. This program will be tied to career progression and training plans to allow members to gain the professional development opportunities and experience needed to be employed in various jobs over their entire career;
  • Enhance the clinical capability of the Field Ambulances and 1 Canadian Field Hospital Detachment Ottawa through targeted recruiting and a harmonized recruiting and training plan. This will allow the Health Services Reserve to continue augmenting and sustaining the CAF Health Services Group in meeting its tasking and operational commitments to the Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) and relevant six core missions, as well as provide a robust health services support capability to their affiliated Canadian Brigade Groups. The Health Services Reserve will continue to participate in the Health Services Annual Military Occupation Review (AMOR) to ensure synchronization with the overall recruiting strategy of Health Services Group;
  • Reserve Casualty Support Initiative - Field Ambulance Medical Link Teams (FAMLT). Provide coordination, support and unit liaison to facilitate the medical follow up process for all personnel returning from deployed operations – primarily dealing with Class A members. This entails contacting each deployed Reservist 3 times post-deployment. The second primary function of the FAMLT is to conduct annual health care entitlement briefings to all Primary Reserve units (Army, Navy, Air) within the Res Fd Amb's area of responsibility. In addition, in accordance with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Surgeon General emphasis on mental health, the FAMLT has begun to deliver an additional briefing on mental health specific to the Primary Reserve;
  • Post Afghanistan Operational Readiness training opportunities. Continue to develop collective training opportunities that will increase the domestic operational response capabilities of the Reserve Field Ambulances as well as train to meet CFDS imperatives;
  • Primary Reserve Operational Readiness care. The trial to conduct Periodic Health Assessments (PHAs) to Class A members of the Primary Reserves was inconclusive and will continue for this training year to provide a more robust data trail on the personnel and resource requirements to provide this service nationally. Providing PHAs to the Primary Reserves would ensure their members were ready to meet its domestic and international operational commitments on short notice; and
  • Implementation of Performance Measurement Framework. The Health Services Reserve has developed a Performance Measurement Framework, focused on quantifying Reserve activities, that has been integrated into the broader Health Services Group framework. The collection and assessment of data is geared toward converting Health Services Reserve potential and capacity into operational capabilities.

Legal Reserve

The planned strength of the Judge Advocate General Primary Reserve List (PRL) for FY 2014-15 will be 100% staffing of the 63 legal officer positions. Reserve Force legal officers will be employed on Class A service providing legal advice in all areas of military law. They will also continue to be employed on limited Class B (full time, temporary) service from time to time, as well as on Class C service on international operational tours of duty.

Supplementary Reserve

The Supplementary Reserve is administered by Director Reserve Support Management (DRSM). With the current policies in place, the Supplementary Reserve will consist of approximately 15,000 members as of 1 April, 2015. However, a submission was made to reduce the Supplementary Reserve period of service from 10 years to 5 years and, if approved, would see Supplementary Reserve with approximately 9,000 members on 1 April, 2014.

DRSM is examining the Retirement Age (RA) 60 election (in accordance with Chief Military Personnel Instruction 14/04) of its current members in order to provide a more accurate accounting of personnel that can be employed after 55 years of age. If authorised to release members who are over 55 and have not elected RA 60 because they would not be meeting the purpose of the Supplementary Reserve, membership could be approximately 12,000 on Apr 1st, 2014. If authorised to reduce the period of service to 5 years and release those who have not elected RA 60 the Supplementary Reserve could consist of approximately 8,000 members on April 1st, 2014.

In order to ensure our database accuracy, increase the visibility of CAF employment opportunities and initiate our electronic mailer initiative, DRSM conducted its annual correspondence campaign with Supplementary Reserve members. A general information letter was sent to all Supplementary Reserve members in November 2013 that included: a notice of the new email address for the Supplementary Reserve to receive all inquiries, key contact information, including the Supplementary Reserve's 1-800 contact number, e-mail address, fax number and mailing address. It also included RA 60 election information, employment information, links to various CAF employment opportunity websites, information regarding the recent changes to hiring and employment practices for Regular Force annuitants, limitations with respect to transfers and attached postings, and information regarding the process for obtaining copies of personnel file documents.

Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service

The Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS) which consists of Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) Officers, General Service Officers and General Service Non-Commissioned Members who have undertaken, by the terms of their enrolment or transfer, to perform such military duty and training as may be required of them, but whose primary duty is the supervision, administration and training of cadets or Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) who are members of the cadet organizations referred to in section 46 of the National Defence Act. Their mandate is to ensure the safety and welfare of cadets and JCRs while developing in them the attributes of leadership and citizenship, promoting physical fitness and stimulating their interest in the sea, land and air activities of the CAF. From time to time they may be assisted by members of the Regular Force or members of other sub-components of the Reserve Force.

Canadian Rangers

The Canadian Rangers (CR) are Reservists, who provide a military presence in remote, isolated, and coastal communities of Canada, report unusual activities or sightings, and conduct surveillance or sovereignty patrols as required. One of the tasks assigned to the Canadian Army is to support the Government's sovereignty and security objectives in the North. Canadian Rangers contribute to this objective by providing a military presence in those sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada which cannot conveniently or economically be covered by other elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. Canadian Rangers also support the Junior Canadian Ranger program, a program sponsored by the CAF for youths 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities. The Canadian Rangers have grown to 179 Patrols and their current strength is approximately 5000 nation wide.

Canadian Forces Liaison Council

The Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) is a group of more than two hundred Canada-wide senior civilian business executives and educational leaders who volunteer their time and efforts to promote the primary Reserve Force by highlighting the benefits of Reserve Force training and experience to the civilian workplace. Supported by a full-time military Secretariat and a national network of Reserve officers, CFLC assists individual Reservists as well as Reserve units in matters related to employer support.

The Council's mandate is to enhance the availability of Reservists for their military duties by obtaining the support and co-operation of organization leaders in Canada. As a force enabler, the Council encourages civilian employers and educational institutions to grant Reservists military leave on a voluntary basis, without penalty, to participate in their military activities, duties and training.

CFLC's Operational activities are based on two key defence tasks – Provide Force Elements and Program Governance – and contribute directly to the achievement of two of the Vice-Chief of Defence Staff's strategic objectives – Generate and Sustain Forces and Contribute to Canadian Government, Society and the International Community.

The Council has five programs. Two programs, namely the ExecuTrek and the Outreach programs, are focused on generating awareness and educating employers, academic leaders and other organizations as to the value of Reserve service. Two other programs, the Reservist's Assistance program, the Reserve Unit Support program, exist to support Reservists in their discussions with employers when there are challenges regarding a Reservists request for military leave for operations or training. Finally, the Awards and Recognition program is designed to recognize Canada's organizations that have been highly supportive of their Reservists. All of these programs have been implemented with the intent of significantly improving employer and educator support for Reservists. In this manner, the Council continues to play an important role in the ongoing availability of Reservists for domestic and international operations.

Primary Reserve Planned Expenditures

The Primary Reserve accounts for 6.1% of the total Defence Services Program. The costs are divided into four categories: direct, indirect, attributed and capital costs. This method of reporting is intended to provide greater clarity on the makeup of the total costs of the Primary Reserve.

Direct expenditures include funds specifically budgeted for the Primary Reserve such as pay, travel and goods and services which are locally procured.

Indirect expenditures reflect the Primary Reserve share of departmental resources, which are controlled centrally. Included are ammunition, equipment operating costs, clothing and the cost of maintaining facilities such as armouries.

Attributed expenditures are departmental overhead costs, which are allocated, for reporting purposes, to all activities including the Primary Reserves. In reality, these costs do not vary directly as a function of activity and would largely be incurred whether the Primary Reserve existed or not.

Capital expenditures are shown for the year in which payments have been made, and do not reflect an amortization of cost over the life of the asset. The capital expenditures can vary significantly from one year to the next, depending on priorities established within the capital equipment plan and the cash flow requirements of individual projects.

Primary Reserve Full Cost Estimate
Financial Resources
($ Thousands) Forecast Spending
Planned Spending
Type of Expenditure
Reserve Pay 588,231 605,792
Regular Support Staff 174,304 178,265
Reserve Operating 75,471 54,881
Subtotal Direct1 838,006 838,938
Ammunition 10,411 10,411
Equipment Usage 60,155 61,427
Clothing 26,876 26,920
Facility Operating 65,291 63,685
Subtotal Indirect2 162,733 162,443
Base Support 245,599 250,825
Training 6,468 6,596
Subtotal Attributed 252,067 257,421
Subtotal Primary Reserve Operating 1,252,806 1,258,802
Dedicated Capital 57,700 52,017
Shared Capital 33,870 64,855
Subtotal Capital 91,570 116,872
Total Primary Reserve Cost 1,344,376 1,375,674

Source: Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff Group / Assistant Deputy Minister (Finance and Corporate Services) Group
* Due to rounding, figures may not add up to totals shown.


  1. Direct pay and operating amounts do not reflect forecasted/planned spending involving members of the Canadian Rangers, the Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service (COATS) personnel or the Supplementary Reserve sub-components. They do however include the cost of employing Primary Reservists in positions that would normally be occupied by the Regular Force.
  2. DPM data for equipment usage has not been updated, as new data will not be available before project deadline. FY 2011-12 data has been inflated using the most current Economic Model (EM 2013-14).
Human Resources
The table below reflects the planned strength for the next three years.
Primary Reserve total strength (All Classes) 30,000 30,000 30,000
Primary Reserve paid strength (All Classes) 27,000 27,000 27,000
Cadet Organizations Administration and
Training Service (COATS)
8,000 8,000 8,000
Canadian Rangers 5,000 5,000 5,000

Sources: Vice-Chief Defence Staff Group / Chief Military Personnel

Page details

Date modified: