Ranks and appointment


Ranks in the Canadian Forces mark a person's position in its hierarchical structure. As people gain more responsibility and authority, they earn promotions in rank.

The formal rank structure within the Forces is essential for:

  • passing orders in operations
  • ensuring clarity of command
  • maintaining order and discipline

Insignia, the badges worn on uniforms, show the person's rank. You can see the insignia for each rank at:

Here are the Navy, Army and Air Force ranks with classifications and acronyms:


RanksRoyal Canadian Navy Canadian Army / Royal Canadian Air Force
General/Flag Officers Admiral (Adm) General (Gen)
Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Lieutenant-General (LGen)
Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Major-General (MGen)
Commodore (Cmdre) Brigadier-General (BGen)
Senior Officers Captain(N) (Capt(N)) Colonel (Col)
Commander (Cdr) Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol)
Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Major (Maj)
Junior Officers Lieutenant(N) (Lt(N)) Captain (Capt)
Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Lieutenant (Lt)
Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A/SLt) Second Lieutenant (2Lt)
Subordinate Officer Naval Cadet (NCdt) Officer Cadet (OCdt)

Warrant Officers, Petty Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers

Chief Petty Officer 1st class (CPO 1) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)
Chief Petty Officer 2nd class(CPO 2) Master Warrant Officer (MWO)
Petty Officer 1st class(PO 1) Warrant Officer (WO)
Petty Officer 2nd class(PO 2) Sergeant (Sgt)
Junior Non-Commissioned Members Master Seaman (MS) Master Corporal (MCpl)
Leading Seaman (LS) Corporal (Cpl)
Able Seaman (AB) Private (Trained) (Pte (T)) / Aviator (Trained) (Avr (T))
Ordinary Seaman (OS)

Private (Basic) (Pte (B)) / Aviator (Basic) (Avr (B))

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