Canadian Armed Forces creates new officer occupation for Physician Assistants

News Release

June 3, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) today announced the creation of a new officer occupation for Physician Assistants (PA).

This is the first time in CAF history that an occupation has gone from a non-commissioned member occupation to an officer occupation. There are 171 PAs in the CAF and the first to be commissioned and promoted to the rank of captain are as follows: 

  • Chief Warrant Officer Danyal Beale of 1 Canadian Field Hospital;
  • Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Stringfellow of 1 Field Ambulance;
  • Chief Petty Officer 1 Raymond Racine of Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Halifax); and
  • Master Warrant Officer Mario Gulin of Canadian Forces Health Services Group (Headquarters Ottawa).


“Today’s ceremony represents a meaningful first for the Canadian Armed Forces as the Physician Assistants move from non-commissioned members to officers as a result of the entire trade being commissioned. It is with great pride that I congratulate all of its members for their vital service.”

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

“Today we mark a significant event for the Canadian Forces Health Services Group with the long-awaited creation of this officer occupation. I am proud of the men and women who serve as members of our health-care team every day to ensure our members receive the best care possible.”

Brigadier General H.C MacKay, Surgeon General

Quick Facts

  • Serving in both domestic and international operations, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has been training and employing military Physician Assistants (PAs) since the 1960s.
  • PAs have the skills and experience to deal with the daily health-care needs of CAF patients and can also function effectively in various specialty-practice environments.
  • A PA’s activities may include the following: conducting patient interviews; documenting health histories; performing comprehensive physical examinations; performing selected diagnostic and therapeutic interventions; counseling patients on preventive healthcare; assisting the supervising physician in developing and implementing patient management plans; prescribing medication in accordance with medical directives; and other tasks as directed by the supervising physician.

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Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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