Understanding military pay 

How pay rates are determined for ranks, occupations, and types of service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Forces, including the Reserves.

On this page

Finding your rate of pay

Your rate of pay is based on your rank, occupation group, years of experience, class of service, and your entry plan to the Canadian Armed Forces. Some in-demand occupations and ranks also receive special military differential pay.

Pay increments

Pay increments are pay increases within each rank. Members may move up a pay increment when they meet performance standards and complete one year of qualifying service. Pay increments also recognize qualifying service, academic, or other special qualifications on enrolment, transfer, or change in class of Reserve Service.

Pay levels

Pay levels apply to some ranks and are based on entry plans to the Canadian Armed Forces:

More information about pay levels: CBI 204.211.

Reserve Force types of service

Reserve Force members are paid based on their type of service, as defined in Chapter 9 Section 3 of QR&O. The three types of service are:

Pay groups for specialist non-commissioned members

Specialist non-commissioned members are paid according to the occupation’s designated pay trade group. You can find the pay trade group using these tables.

Pay rates for specialist non-commissioned members:

Special military differentials

Special military differentials are additional payments for some occupational groups and ranks.

additional payments
Occupation group or rank Annual rate Daily rate
Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer $4,374 n/a
Pharmacy officer $15,000 $42
Dental officer $19,000 $52
Medical officer $39,000 $107
Legal officer – Lieutenant-Colonel $17,078 n/a
Legal officer – Colonel $21,786 n/a

Back to top

Factors determining military pay

Comparability

Comparability is when the dollar per hour worked for the Canadian Armed Forces is equal to the dollar per hour worked for the Public Service. The Department of National Defence and the Treasury Board Secretariat use the principle of comparability between the Canadian Armed Forces and the Public Service so that:

Team concept

The Canadian Armed Forces uses a rank-based team concept or institutional approach to determine pay. In this method, pay is calculated based on the average value of the work performed by all members of a specific rank level. This is different from the more common Public Service method where an individual is paid based on the worth of their position.

In some cases, some military occupations are considered separately from the majority of Canadian Armed Forces members due to market factors. Even though these occupations are considered separate, the team concept is still applied within these special occupation groups. These occupations include:

The team concept is used as much as possible due to the nature of the military's work. It may be difficult to calculate when comparing to organizations that use an occupational or job-specific approach.

Total compensation analysis

Total compensation analysis ensures that the full value of compensation and benefits made available by the employer to federal public servants is considered in negotiations with unions. It also determines the dollar value of the unique aspects of service.

The method includes salary, but also evaluates benefits such as:

This analysis compares the compensation and benefits available to one group of employees to that of another group. The analysis provides a net value, which is the dollars paid per hour actually worked for one group of employees, compared to the net value of the dollars paid per hour actually worked for a different group. Pay increases or decreases in a given year is the percentage difference between these two values.

Military factor

The military factor puts a compensation value on these aspects of military service:

Personal limitation and liability

Compensation for giving up certain personal freedoms that civilian Canadians enjoy. Regular Force and Reserve Force members receive compensation for personal limitation and liability compensation.

Imposed separation

Compensation for the separation forced upon members by operational requirements such as deployments. Only Regular Force receive compensation for imposed separation. Reserve Force members on voluntary Class A or B service are not eligible.

Posting turbulence

Compensation for the turbulence that comes from uprooting family and regularly moving as part of your employment in the Canadian Armed Forces. Only Regular Force members receive compensation for posting turbulence.

Acting pay

Compensation for times when members are required to perform the role of a superior while under ranked. Regular and Reserve Force members below the rank of Colonel receive acting pay. Members at the rank of Colonel or above are benchmarked off the Public Service Executive and do not receive acting pay.

Overtime

Compensation for times when members are required to work extra hours due to operational requirements. Regular and Reserve Force members below the rank of Colonel receive acting pay. Members at the rank of Colonel or above are benchmarked off the Public Service Executive and do not receive overtime.

Regular Force
Military factor Non-commissioned member General service officer Colonel to Lieutenant-General
Personal limitation and liability 1.50% 1.50% 2.50%
Imposed separation 2.50% 2.50% 2.00%
Posting turbulence 4.70% 4.70% 2.00%
Acting pay 0.51% 0.66% 0.00%
Overtime 6.00% 4.00% 0.00%
Total 15.21% 13.36% 6.50%
Reserve Force
Military factor Non-commissioned member General service officer Colonel to Lieutenant-General
Personal limitation and liability 1.50% 1.50% See note 1
Acting pay 0.51% 0.66% 0.00%
Overtime 6.00% 4.00% 0.00%
Total 8.01% 6.16% See note 1

Back to top

Page details

Date modified: