Heritage Structure | Chapter 8 – Alliances, affiliations and partnerships

Table of contents

Alternate format

(Temporarily unavailable)


  1. Officially-sanctioned links can be established to foster continuous fraternal connections between military organizations beyond the close, professional relationships which are always encouraged.
  2. Three types of official links are maintained by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF):
    1. an alliance – between Canadian and Commonwealth units or branches/corps;
    2. an affiliation – between two Canadian units; and
    3. a partnership – an informal bond of friendship (partnership) between a Canadian unit and a unit from an allied country, such as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Partnerships include "jumelages" (the twinning of Canadian and French units), "partnerschafts" (the twinning of Canadian and German units), and similar bonds.


  1. A Canadian branch or corps is one of the CAF personnel branches or corps described in Chapter 1. Its equivalent in the armed forces of another member of the Commonwealth may be titled as a department, corps or branch.
  2. A Canadian unit is a commissioned ship, regiment, flying squadron, or equivalent. Sub-units shall not be authorized alliances, affiliations or partnerships.
  3. Since official links create a social obligation to welcome members into each other's "families", they should only be requested if the organizations concerned are prepared to maintain contact over time.
  4. In general, requests to forge these links may be made when:
    1. close ties and personal relationships have developed between units through combined participation in operations or training, regular exchange of personnel on exercises, special meets, parades, competitions, etc.;
    2. there is a historical or geographical link between the units; or
    3. there is commonality of history, traditions, customs, etc.


  1. Alliances. Alliances are approved by Her Majesty The Queen or, for those countries of the Commonwealth for which The Queen is not head of state, by their head of state.
    1. Initial proposals to form alliances with the military forces of a Commonwealth country where no such links exist, requires prior inter–government agreement. This is achieved through National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) liaison with Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
    2. Once an initial alliance has been formed with a military unit of a country, further alliances may be formed, or existing ones amended, in accordance with normal military practices and the precedent already established, without further reference to GAC.
  2. Affiliations. Affiliations are approved by the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).
  3. Partnerships. Partnerships are approved by Commanders of Commands.


  1. It is no longer the practice for branches, corps or units to be authorized an alliance with more than one branch, corps or unit in each specific Commonwealth country, because this reduces the significance of alliances. Multiple alliances are only authorized as a result of Canadian or Commonwealth unit or branch/corps amalgamations.
  2. It is the custom for functional units of a branch/corps to share the branch/corps alliance, except in the Armour and Infantry corps, where regimental alliances are maintained. A few unique artillery and engineer alliances exist based on a past British practice and branch/corps conversions, but no future alliances of this nature are possible.
  3. Procedure to Form an Alliance Initiated by Canadian Units or Branches/Corps. Branches/corps or units must obtain permission from NDHQ before they enter into negotiations with a unit of another Commonwealth country to form an alliance. The request, including reasons for the proposed alliance, shall be forwarded through the chain of command to NDHQ/DHH. NDHQ will determine the propriety of the request, and then the branch/corps or unit will be advised of the procedure to be followed, through the chain of command, if the alliance can be pursued.
  4. Procedure to Form an Alliance Initiated by a Commonwealth Unit. When a Canadian branch/corps or unit receives a proposal from a unit of another Commonwealth country to form an alliance, the Canadian branch/corps or unit shall forward copies of all relevant correspondence through the chain of command to NDHQ/DHH. The Canadian branch/corps or unit will be informed through the chain of command of what further action is to be taken.
  5. Procedure to Terminate an Alliance. The procedures outlined in paragraphs 12 and 13 shall also be followed to terminate an alliance.
  6. Change in Branch/Corps or Unit Status. When Commonwealth or Canadian branches/corps or units are disbanded, amalgamated or placed on the Supplementary Order of Battle (SOB), all previous alliances automatically lapse and NDHQ/DHH will inform the Commonwealth unit affected. The Queen's approval must be obtained if amalgamated units wish to maintain existing alliances. Requests shall be forwarded through the chain of command to NDHQ/DHH.
  7. Approved Alliances. Approved alliances are listed in Annex A.


  1. When two units consider that an affiliation would be beneficial, informal correspondence shall be exchanged between the colonels of the regiments, honorary colonels or commanding officers, as applicable.
  2. When agreement to affiliate has been reached, both units shall forward a fully substantiated request, through the chain of command, to NDHQ/DHH.
  3. The CDS will consider the requests and the units will be informed of the CDS's decision through the chain of command.
  4. Procedure to Terminate an Affiliation. The procedures outlined in paragraphs 17 and 18 shall be followed to the extent possible to terminate an affiliation.
  5. Change in Unit Status. When a unit is disbanded, amalgamated or placed on the SOB, an affiliation automatically lapses. Should an amalgamated unit wish to maintain an affiliation, a request shall be forwarded through the chain of command to NDHQ/DHH for the CDS's consideration.
  6. Approved Affiliations.
    1. Approved affiliations between CAF units are listed in Annex B.
    2. Affiliations between CAF units and cadet corps/squadrons, which parallel CAF customs, are in individual unit and cadet records.


  1. CAF units may create informal contacts with units of allied nations without recourse to higher authority.
  2. When relationships have developed beyond casual contact and a regular commitment of time and effort is involved, units shall forward a fully substantiated request, through the chain of command, to their command headquarters for authority to enter into a partnership.
  3. Partnerships shall not commit the Government of Canada to any financial or legal obligations.
  4. Procedure to Terminate a Partnership. The procedure outlined in paragraph 24 shall be followed to terminate a partnership.
  5. Change in Unit Status. When a unit is disbanded, amalgamated, or placed on the SOB, a partnership automatically lapses.
  6. Approved Partnerships. Commands shall establish their own procedures to record official partnerships, with information copies to NDHQ/DHH for central permanent files.

Page details

Date modified: