Information for families

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is made up of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. There is no job more challenging or rewarding than working in the CAF. Canadians take part in defending their country and get involved in world events. They change their lives and the lives of the people they are helping. This is why we take care of our members and ensure that they are maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Career opportunities

There are over 100 job options in the CAF along with excellent pay and benefits. CAF members receive training throughout their career. Their abilities will be developed and rewarded, which will also help them to have a successful career after they leave.

Find out more about career options in the CAF.

Terms of service

Terms of service start at three years, but can be longer depending on the type and amount of training required. Members who join through a Paid Education program, will be required to serve two months for every month of paid education.

Members may be offered an extended contract if they want to continue their career in the CAF beyond the initial contract.

Paid education

The Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) or the Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Education Plan (NCM SEP) are programs that pay for college or university education.

The CAF pays for classes, books and equipment. While they are in school, CAF members are paid a salary and have health benefits. When they graduate, they are guaranteed a job.

After graduation, CAF members work for two months for every month they were in the program.

Read more about our paid education programs.

Salary and benefits

The CAF offers competitive incomes, pensions, and dental and health care benefits. These are often better than many other jobs.

Pay rates in the CAF are based on occupation and rank. All service men and women are paid on the same scale. Learn more about the kind of salary you can expect from the CAF.

Members receive 20 vacation days per year which increases to 25 days per year after five years, as well as comprehensive medical benefits.

The CAF pension plan provides a retirement income that is one of the best and safest pension plans in Canada. Learn more.

Life on a base

Housing

New recruits live on-base during their initial training, 10 weeks for NCM and 32 weeks for officers. After training, Regular Force members live near or on the base, and rent or own their own house or apartment. When work requires CAF members to move, we cover the costs.

Find more information about moving and relocation in the CAF.

Meals

There are lots of food choices on bases. There are restaurants as well as the base cafeteria. Cafeterias on CAF bases provide members with healthy and nutritious options. CAF members must pay for their own food while on or off-base.

Family time

CAF members have time to spend with their family and friends. Members usually work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, and have evenings and weekends free. Family members are also always welcome on bases.

Social life

All bases have sports and activities, including league sports. Most bases have swimming pools, gyms, and sports fields. Some bases have skating rinks, golf courses, and fishing and gun clubs. There are also libraries and community centres that have clubs and activities.
CAF members build friendships that last their entire lives.

Staying in touch

For the first five weeks of training, members stay on the base and don’t receive visitors. They can contact friends and family at the end of the training day, after 6PM, by phone or email. After five weeks, members are able to leave the base on the weekend and can have visitors.

Family and friends can send mail and parcels to CAF members that are living outside of Canada.

Send questions about the Canadian Forces Postal Services to: postal_question_postale@forces.gc.ca.

Religious practice

The CAF does all it can to help members practice their religion.

Support services

Every base has a Military Family Resource Centre to provide services to military families. Some services they provide are:

  • community orientation
  • low-cost sports and physical fitness facilities
  • a wide variety of leisure activities
  • youth services and programs
  • child care facilities and emergency child care
  • employment assistance and second language training for partners
  • relocation benefits and services, and cost-of-living allowances
  • an education management program for children of families living abroad or moving to a different province
  • travel in Canada and family-care related benefits
  • morale and psychological support, including a member assistance program, operational trauma and stress support centres, family separation and reunion counseling, and self-help groups
  • retail stores on bases
  • financial services such as insurance, financial planning and income tax preparation

If you have any other questions about life in the CAF, talk to a recruiter. They are here to help.

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