Parliamentary Secretary McCrimmon and Member of Parliament Alleslev Highlight Recruitment and Retention in the Canadian Armed Forces

News Release

June 9, 2017 - Ottawa - Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces

Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada's new defence policy, recognizes that the long-term success of Canada's military depends on the women and men who make up the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Our people, across all ranks, and from all walks of life, are our most important asset, and they are at the core of the new policy.

Today, at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, on behalf of Defence Minister Sajjan, Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and Leona Alleslev, Member of Parliament for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, highlighted the importance of people to Canada's long-term defence goals, as well as new initiatives that will improve the recruitment and retention of CAF members as a result of the new policy.

Our military and civilian workforce will benefit from an inclusive, positive, fair, and supportive workplace. Under Strong, Secure, Engaged we will resource the CAF sufficiently, with the right number of personnel possessing the right skills to get the job done. We will rethink 'how' we recruit, as well as increase the volume, skill sets, and diversity of 'who' we recruit. Diversity is the strength of Canada's population and is essential to our military's operational effectiveness and long-term success.

Military service offers over one hundred exciting and fulfilling employment opportunities. To attract high-calibre recruits into the military we will significantly reduce the time the CAF recruiting process takes - from enrolment to basic recruit training - by reforming all aspects of military recruiting, promoting the complete range of the unique full- and part-time career opportunities, and supporting key recruitment priorities. This includes hiring more women, increasing diversity, meeting Reserve Force requirements, and improved recruitment campaigns to better promote priority occupations and the needs of the Reserve Force.

Once recruited, members need modern, high quality training that puts them on a solid foundation to succeed. We will adapt training to meet the highly technical requirements of modern militaries, as well as demonstrate that the military offers competitive training and technical certification on par with, or exceeding, the standards of industry and the private sector.

Defence needs to reflect Canadian ideals of diversity, respect, and inclusion. We will build a workforce that leverages all that Canadian society has to offer, to make Canada strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.


"The women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces represent the best of Canada. They are our most important capability and our number one priority. Strong, Secure, Engaged will ensure we have the right people with the right skills doing the jobs." 

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan

"As a retired CAF member, I have directly seen the efforts made to attract new recruits, in particular women, into the Forces. I'm proud of the steps we are taking to make the military the employer of choice for all Canadians of all backgrounds." 

Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

"The Government of Canada strongly believes that diversity is our strength. Which is why it's only right that the organization responsible for defending Canada, its citizens, and its interests, better reflect this diversity. By building a more inclusive military, and by improving recruitment and retention programs the CAF will become a stronger and more agile organization that is better able to respond to an increasingly complex world." 

Leona Alleslev, Member of Parliament for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill

Quick Facts

  • Through Canada's Defence Policy, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will:

    • Reduce the time the CAF recruiting process takes - from enrolment to basic recruit training - by reforming all aspects of military recruiting; and making sure that new recruits do not get lost in the system.
    • Implement a comprehensive CAF Retention Strategy to ensure talented people in uniform remain satisfied and motivated;
    • Undertake a detailed review of conditions of service and career paths to allow members much more personalized career choices and flexibility;
    • Focus on the recruitment and retention of members of under-represented populations, including Indigenous peoples, and members of visible minorities;
    • Provide diversity training to all personnel, and integrate Gender-Based Analysis Plus into all operations, so the CAF can improve its operational effectiveness by better responding to the specific needs and circumstances of groups and populations that are affected by its activities.
    • Grow the size of the Reserve Force, which is already more diverse than the CAF in general, by 1,500 to 30,000.
    • Restore the Collège Militaire Royal in St-Jean as a full degree-granting institution to help prepare the next generation of CAF leaders for success;
    • Increase the capacity of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School to accommodate growing the Forces and the influx of recruits;
    • Evolve the quality of all training and education to meet or exceed the highest industry standards and receive full trade standards accreditation across Canada; and
    • Modernize and tailor our approaches to attract and retain the best and brightest Canadians. We have to meet the CAF's future needs by inviting Canadians with the aptitudes and skill-sets required in a variety of highly technical domains to join and stay with us.  
  • The launch of Strong, Secure, Engaged concludes the most comprehensive review process in Canadian defence and security history - a year-long review process that included open and transparent consultations with Canadians, parliamentarians, defence experts, allies, and partners.

Associated Links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

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