The Canadian Armed Forces modernizes military ranks in French

February 3, 2022 - Defence Stories


The Canadian Armed Forces modernized military ranks in French.
Masculine Ranks and Feminine Ranks

Sergente, Majore, Lieutenante: these words will soon become common-place in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) French vocabulary. Beginning this month, members can be addressed by the French version of the rank that they feel best represents their gender identity.

The change towards inclusive ranks in French is a long-awaited move that will further demonstrate the CAF’s commitment to inclusivity and gender diversity.

For example, in April 2021, the CAF announced the creation of the new position of Chief Professional Conduct and Culture, but at that time, in French, the head of the organization, “le lieutenant-général Jennie Carignan,” could only be addressed by the masculine rank.

Now, a new list of inclusive military ranks will become available to Canadians, and will be officially recognized for administrative use by the CAF beginning this month.

The beginnings of feminisation for official Francophone titles in Canada date back to the 1960s.

At the Canadian political level, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson (1999-2005) was the first Governor General to be addressed with a feminine designation. But inclusive ranks in French have not been implemented in the Canadian military until now, and all members have only been addressed by masculine ranks.

“The modernization of military ranks ensures that CAF members have options, and can be addressed in a way that reflects who they are.” said MGen Lise Bourgon, Acting Chief of Military Personnel. “Having inclusive ranks reflects our commitment to the military ethos, ‘Respect for the dignity of all persons.’”

The option to feminize your rank in French, as well as apply changes such as modifying the article or adjective, will be available to all CAF members, ensuring each has the opportunity to choose the version that they feel best represents who they are and how they are recognized.

Modernizing the ranks in French is one of a number of initiatives being undertaken by the Defence Team in order to help us achieve an environment in which all members see and experience the respect they deserve.

New ranks

Members who wear the Army or Air Force uniform

Ranks, masculine
(in French)
Ranks, feminine
(in French)
(no change)
le général la générale gén
le lieutenant-général la lieutenante-générale lgén
le major-général la majore-générale mgén
le brigadier-général la brigadière-générale bgén
le colonel la colonelle col
le lieutenant-colonel la lieutenante-colonelle lcol
le major la majore maj
le capitaine la capitaine capt
le lieutenant la lieutenante lt
le sous-lieutenant la sous-lieutenante slt
l’élève-officier l’élève-officière élof
l’adjudant-chef l’adjudante-chef adjuc
l’adjudant-maître l’adjudante-maître adjum
l’adjudant l’adjudante adj
le sergent la sergente sgt
le caporal la caporale cpl
le soldat la soldate sdt
l’aviateur l’aviatrice avr 
le bombardier la bombardière bdr
le cavalier la cavalière cvr
l’artilleur l’artilleuse artil
le sapeur la sapeuse sap
le signaleur la signaleuse sig
le garde la garde gd
le fusilier la fusilière fus
le carabinier la carabinière car
le voltigeur la voltigeuse volt
l’artisan l’artisane art
le musicien la musicienne mus
le cornemuseur la cornemuseuse cornmsr
le batteur la batteuse btr
le ranger la ranger rgr

Members who wear the Navy uniform

Ranks, masculine
(in French)
Ranks, feminine
(in French)
(no change)
l’amiral l’amirale am
le vice-amiral la vice-amirale vam
le contre-amiral la contre-amirale cam
le commodore la commodore cmdre
le capitaine de vaisseau la capitaine de vaisseau capv
le capitaine de frégate la capitaine de frégate capf
le capitaine de corvette la capitaine de corvette capc
le lieutenant de vaisseau la lieutenante de vaisseau ltv
l’enseigne de vaisseau de première classe l’enseigne de vaisseau de première classe ens 1
l’enseigne de vaisseau de deuxième classe l’enseigne de vaisseau de deuxième classe ens 2
l’aspirant de marine l’aspirante de marine aspm
le premier maître de première classe la première maître de première classe pm 1
le premier maître de deuxième classe la première maître de deuxième classe pm 2
le maître de première classe la maître de première classe m 1
le maître de deuxième classe la maître de deuxième classe m 2
le matelot de première classe la matelot de première classe mat 1
le matelot de deuxième classe la matelot de deuxième classe mat 2
le matelot de troisième classe la matelot de troisième classe mat 3


Ranks, masculine
(in French)
Ranks, feminine
(in French)
(no change)
un officier une officière off
un sous-officier une sous-officière s-off
le caporal-chef la caporale-chef cplc
le matelot-chef la matelot-chef matc
le soldat recrue la soldatrecrue sdt (recrue)
l’aviateur recrue l’aviatrice recrue avr (recrue)

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