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 continue to learn and receive training throughout their career. This helps personnel to further develop their skills and become more knowledgeable within their occupation. Ultimately, enabling members to have a long and successful career in and out of a military environment.

Discover our available 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.

Upon graduating from post-secondary, members will be posted to their new units and begin working in their chosen occupation.

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 12 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

Cafeterias are located on bases and wings around Canada, offering a wide variety of healthy, nutritious meal options in order to better serve our diverse military. Members are required to pay for meals while on or off-base. However, in special circumstances, meals will be covered at no extra cost to the individual for reasons that may include, while on some training courses or if required to travel.

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.

Diversity and religious support

The CAF welcomes individuals of all genders, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. We provide an environment where you will be respected and feel accepted. This creates an opportunity to learn from one another by enhancing productivity and broadening our talent pool, strengthening the forces capability to better defend Canada.

Diversity and Religious Support

By recognizing our diverse workforce, the military currently accommodates its members by offering and accepting the following:

  • Meals for those with dietary restrictions (i.e. vegetarian, kosher meals and more);
  • Religious support (i.e. chaplains offer guidance and support to you and your family);
  • Clothing items (i.e. turbans, hijabs and beards are allowed with modifications);
  • Religious jewellery (i.e. basic Christian cross necklace).

A soldier must be able to wear equipment that complies with the Canadian Armed Forces safety regulations, such as a helmet or gas mask based on operational and occupational requirements.

The Canadian military enhances awareness by organizing activities for Black History Month as well as Asian and Islamic Heritage Month. Our inclusion and acceptance of individuals with different backgrounds and religious beliefs allows for an accurate representation of Canadian society.

Diversity and Religious Support

Support services

Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) are located on Canadian Armed Forces Bases and Wings. They provide support programs and services to both personnel and family while encouraging community development by providing the following:

  • Information Services (local resources and local community)
  • Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Deployment Support
  • Integration and Support Programmers
  • Family Counselling services
  • Special Needs referrals
  • Social Workers
  • Casual Child Care and Emergency Child Care
  • Private Home Day Care
  • Employment assistance and second language training for partners

In addition to MFRC, the CAF offers other support services which include Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP), Personnel Support Provider (PSP) and more. These are the services that are provided by the aforementioned providers and others.

  • Low-cost sports and physical fitness facilities
  • Variety of leisure activities
  • Relocation benefits and services
  • Cost-of-living allowances
  • Education management program for children of families living abroad or moving to another province or territory
  • Travel in Canada and family-care related benefits
  • Morale and psychological support, including member assistance programs such as; Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres, family reunion counseling, and self-help groups
  • Retail stores on all bases and wings such as, Canex
  • Financial services such as insurance, financial planning and income tax preparation

For any questions or concerns you may have about life in the CAF, please speak to your local recruiter today to learn more.

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