Occupational transfer

An occupational transfer involves transferring a Canadian Armed Forces member from one military occupation to another. Occupational transfers may have professional or personal implications. For answers to common questions about occupational transfers, review the Frequently Asked Questions below. If you don’t find information specific to your situation, contact us.

  • I have been advised that a compulsory occupational transfer (COT) has been initiated. I want to contest it. What must I do?

    A compulsory occupational transfer can be due to the deletion of an occupation, changes to the occupation’s requirements, Administrative Review (AR)Footnote 1  decisions, or other reasons such as a member’s inability to meet academic or military standards.

    If you are advised that a COT has been initiated, you may speak with your chain of command to get clarification from your career manager. You may also discuss your situation with your Base or Wing Human Resources Administrator (HRA).

    If you remain unsatisfied with the decision, you can submit a grievance. Refer to our Redress of Grievance information for more details.

    If there are exceptional reasons that prevent you from addressing your concerns through regular channels such as time sensitivity, health, security, or financial concerns for you or your family, you can contact our office by phone or in writing. We can assist when there are compelling circumstances to ensure all relevant parties know about your circumstances, and that the proper process is being followed to assist the appropriate authority in taking an informed decision.

    For more information on occupational transfers, refer to the Canadian Forces Administrative Orders 11-12 - Occupation Transfer of non-commissioned members - Regular Force (INTRANET) and Canadian Forces Administrative Orders 10-1 - Officer Transfer - Military Occupation Regular Force (INTRANET).

  • I want to request a voluntary occupational transfer (VOT). What must I do?

    A voluntary occupational transfer (VOT) occurs when a member voluntarily requests to change occupations.

    An untrained officer or non-commissioned member who has not completed training in their current occupation can seek a VOT. This involves the choice of up to three occupations as well as a willingness to accept an offer to any of the desired occupations. For more information on VOT eligibility for untrained personnel, the application deadlines, the required documents, and the additional criteria, review CANFORGEN 055/19, which is accessible only on the Defence Team Intranet.

    Trained personnel looking to request a VOT can submit a written request (memorandum) through their chain of command. Your commanding officer will make a recommendation to the approving authority, Director Military Careers Policy and Grievances 5 within Director General Military Careers. They will consider your application according to military requirements as well as general and specific eligibility criteria that depend on the occupation for which you apply.

    The VOT application process involve several steps described in the annual CANFORGENS. You must submit your application to your local Wing or Base Personnel Selection Office. You may be required to undergo a medical examination to assess whether you meet the appropriate category for your requested occupation. You will need to undergo personnel selection assessment to determine whether you are suited to the occupation. A recommendation from your commanding officer will be required to speak to your performance and potential. Once all the processing steps involved in your application have been completed, your request and supporting documents are forwarded to Director Military Careers Policy and Grievances 5 by your local Base or Wing Personnel Selection Office for review and final selection. If you are selected, you and your unit will be advised in writing.

    While your request is being considered, you may discuss questions or updates with your chain of command as well as with your local Wing or Base Personnel Selection Office. Your chain of command can outline the steps you must follow and the information you must provide to support your request.

    If more detailed recommendations are required about personal, sensitive, or medical information, your Commanding Officer may refer you to a social worker. The social worker will draft a report for your Commanding Officer to make a recommendation and to forward to the Director Military Careers authority for consideration.

    Note: Depending on your circumstances, you may find it helpful to contact other support resources such as your padre, a Military Family Resource Center family liaison officerr, a Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) financial counselor, or your local CAF Transition Unit.

    If your request is denied, you can request clarification through your chain of command or through your local Base or Wing Personnel Selection Office. If you are unsatisfied with the decision and if you can demonstrate your file was not processed or assessed fairly, you may submit a grievance. Refer to our Redress of Grievance information for more details.

    If there are exceptional reasons that prevent you from addressing your concerns through regular channels such as time sensitivity, health, security, or financial concerns for you or your family, you can contact our office by phone or in writing. We can assist when there are compelling circumstances to ensure all relevant parties know about your circumstances, and that the proper process is being followed to assist the appropriate authority in taking an informed decision.

    Note: Normally, a member who has incurred obligatory service or has received training for which release is restricted will not receive approval for a VOT application. However, exceptions may be considered.

    For more information on occupational transfers, refer to the Canadian Forces Administrative Orders 11-12 - Occupation Transfer of non-commissioned members - Regular Force and the Canadian Forces Administrative Orders 10-1 - Officer Transfer - Military Occupation Regular Force that are accessible only on the Defence Team Intranet. You may also discuss your situation with your Base or Wing Human Resources Administrator (HRA).


Note: You should not use this webpage as your sole information source on career management. This page is intended to provide information for your consideration in planning your CAF career. For more information on career questions and for policy clarification, consult your chain of command and career manager.

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