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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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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