About the Reserve Force

Canada cannot meet its defence needs at home and abroad without the dedicated, motivated and highly skilled people who work tirelessly to defend Canada and promote Canadian values and interests abroad.

There are two components of the Canadian Armed Forces: the Regular Force and the Reserve Force.  The Reserve Force is an integral component of the Canadian Armed Forces. Reservists come from all walks of life including students, civil servants, labourers, business people, academics and former members of the Regular Force. These are, truly, citizen soldiers.

While the Reserve Force is primarily part-time service, reservists may volunteer for full-time employment.

 Reserve Force organization

The Reserve Force is organized into four sub-components:

  • The Primary Reserve is the largest sub-component of the Reserve Force. Reservists train regularly on a part-time basis with occasional periods of full-time service.
  • Cadet Organization Administration & Training Service (COATS) - supervise, administer & train Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers across Canada.
  • Canadian Rangers - provide a military presence in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas. They also support the Junior Canadian Ranger program, a Forces' program for youths aged 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities.
  •  Supplementary Reserve - members with past service, but not required to undertake military training or duty except in times of national emergency by order in council.
Types of Reserve service and rates of pay

There are three types of service in the Reserve Force. The type of service under which an individual serves determines whether the employment is full- or part-time as well as the compensation and benefits the reservist will receive. Reservists may serve on more than one type of service at various times throughout their time in the Reserve Force. 

The Canadian Armed Forces continually reviews remuneration and benefits of Regular and Reserve personnel to ensure that military personnel receive fair compensation for their service to Canada. 

In recognition of these new roles and responsibilities, as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged, Reserve Force pay is now better aligned with that of the Regular Force.  Currently reservists serving on class A and Class B service receive Reserve Force rates of pay. 

Reservists serving on Class C service receive Regular Force rates of pay.

Class A service is the part-time employment most often associated with service in the Reserve Force. The vast majority of reservists in all sub-components serve on this basis. In the primary Reserve, this is generally associated with a training level of about one evening a week and one weekend a month.

Class B service is full-time service - that is to say, more than 12 consecutive days - that is not operational in nature. Examples of this range from employment as staff at training establishments, attendance at training courses, or duties of a temporary nature when it is not practical to employ members of the Regular Force on those duties.

Class C service is full-time service – in a Regular Force establishment position or supernumerary to Regular Force establishment; or for service on approved contingency or routine operations, whether international or domestic. This type of service must be approved by or on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff. 

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