[<< wikipedia] Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia
This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Canadian Armed Forces is officially bilingual, the French language ranks are presented following the English (in italics).


== Commander-in-Chief insignia ==
The Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces (French: Commandant en chef des Forces armées canadiennes) rank insignia is a special sleeve braid embellished with the crest of the Royal arms of Canada and this same embroidered crest is worn on the shoulder straps.The rank insignia for the Commander-in-Chief.


== Officer rank insignia ==

The rank insignia for commissioned officers for the navy, army, and air force.


== Non-commissioned member (NCM) rank insignia ==
The rank insignia for non-commissioned members for the navy, army and air force respectively.
NCM rank insignia for the rank of petty officer 1st class/warrant officer and above are worn on the lower sleeve, while those for the rank of petty officer 2nd class/sergeant and below are worn on the upper sleeve. The Royal Canadian Navy has directed its personnel to use the English rank titles for OR-1 through OR-5, but they are not yet legally in force pursuant to the National Defence Act, as they are not yet updated in the Queen's Regulations and Orders issued by the Governor-in-Council.


== Rank slip-ons ==

The tables above describe the rank insignia worn on the service dress jacket. On DEU shirts, sweaters, and outerwear; and operational dress shirts and jackets, rank insignia are worn on slip-ons with the word "CANADA" or a regimental/branch title embroidered underneath. Flag/general officers' slip-ons include only the crown, crossed sabre and baton, and maple leaves worn on the shoulder straps; they do not include the braid worn on the sleeve. Army NCM slip-ons for DEU shirts, sweaters, and outerwear display only the word "CANADA" or a regimental/branch title, rank insignia being worn instead as enamelled metal pins on collar points or lapels.


== Service stripes ==
From 1955 to 1968 Militia personnel were permitted to wear service insignia on the right jacket sleeve. There were one to five silver chevrons on drab backing for every two years of service or a maple leaf in silver thread on a drab cloth circle to represent 10 years of service. Chevron points were worn either up or down; even official documents and photos were confused on the matter. Further awards after 10 years were believed covered by the Canadian Forces Decoration, which was awarded after 12 years and a clasp added for every 10 years afterwards.
Qualifying service could include prior active service in the active reserves of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force or the regular or territorial forces of a fellow Commonwealth member nation. Service in Canadian Army reserve forces units (like the regular reserve, supplementary reserve and reserve militia) did not count. The awarding of Service Stripes ceased in 1968 after the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces.


== Canadian Army distinctive corps insignia ==
Every branch or corps of the Canadian Army uses a distinctive colour. Applicable only to officers, they are indicated by coloured borders of rank insignia on DEU shirt and sweater slip-ons and on mess dress.


== Distinctive rank names ==
Some branches and regiments use distinctive job titles for privates in those regiments:

Additionally, the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery uses "bombardier" for corporals and "master bombardier" for master corporal. In the guard regiments, warrant officers are known as "colour sergeants" and second lieutenants are known as "ensigns".

Except for those who acquired the Canadian Forces mess dress between 1968 and 2010, naval officers have always worn the Royal Navy-style executive curl rank insignia on mess uniforms (see Royal Navy officer rank insignia). The colour designations for specialist officers are not used except for naval medical officers who may use a variant of the standard rank slip-ons and shoulder boards incorporating a scarlet red background between the gold braid of their rank insignia and naval medical service officers (nursing officers, pharmacy officers, health care administration officers, social work officers, physiotherapy officers, and bioscience officers) who have shoulder boards incorporating a dull cherry red background between the strips of their rank.


== Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Navy rank and insignia ==
When the Canadian Navy was established in 1910 it was natural to adopt the same straight rings with the executive curl for the permanent navy that was designated as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in August 1911 and subsequently the "wavy" shaped rings for the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) and the rings of narrow interwoven gold lace for the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (RCNR). Other variations in rank insignia included sky blue lace with a diamond shaped loop for officers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, and warranted Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps officers, who had a small anchor in place of the executive curl.
Following the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy was reorganized with a single reserve component. In 1946 the distinctive wavy gold braid of the reserves gave way to the straight braided executive curl of the regular force until 1968. With the integration of the Canadian Forces the sea element was designated as Canadian Forces Maritime Command. Unembellished straight braid became the common rank insignia for officers of both the regular and reserve forces. The executive curl rank insignia has been in continuous use in the Royal Canadian Navy, but from 1968 to 2010 it appeared only on navy mess dress.
On 5 March 2010, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion (moved by Guy Lauzon) recommending the executive curl be reinstated on the Canadian navy uniform. Subsequently, in recognition of the Canadian Naval centennial, Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, authorized the use of the executive curl for the Canadian Navy on 2 May 2010. The insignia became effective on 11 June 2010, on the occasion of the Pacific Canadian Naval International Fleet Review parade of nations in Victoria, B.C.More than 54 countries including Canada and 18 other of the 22 Commonwealth navies use the insignia. Most navies that do not use the executive curl insignia substitute a star or other national device above the top row of lace such as the United States Navy and the French Navy.


=== Timeline of changes (sleeves only) ===


== Reinstatement of Canadian Army ranks and insignia ==
The Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, announced on 8 July 2013 the intention to reintroduce a more traditional style Canadian Army officers' rank insignia. Instead of the sleeve stripe rank insignia used since unification, officers would use the older St Edward's Crown and Star of the Order of the Bath insignia, commonly called "pips and crowns". The traditional gorget patches were also restored for officers of the rank of colonel or higher. The reinstated insignia for officers, instead of using the current British rank insignia for brigadier (used in the Canadian Army until 1968), had the pre-1920 brigadier-general insignia (crossed sabre and baton) instead.

On 2 April 2016, the Commander of the Canadian Army announced that general officers would revert to the unification-era rank insignia worn between 1968 and 2013. This rank insignia is based on the shoulder board rank insignia of Royal Canadian Navy flag officers. The rank insignia of general officers now consists of a crown, crossed sabre and baton, and a series of maple leaves on shoulder straps. Additionally, general officers wear one broad gold band on each of the lower sleeves of the service dress tunic.On the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9 April 2017, the Bath Star pip was replaced by the "Vimy Star". It depicts a maple leaf and is surrounded by the Latin motto vigilamus pro te ("we stand on guard for thee"). Commissioned officers of the household guard regiments (Governor General's Foot Guards, Canadian Grenadier Guards, and Governor General's Horse Guards), plus Army personnel stationed to the seasonal Ceremonial Guard, use the Guards Star in place of the Vimy Star on their shoulder boards.


=== Timeline of changes ===


== Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Air Force rank and insignia ==

In April 2015, the Royal Canadian Air Force adopted new rank insignia reminiscent of the pre-unification RCAF system. The new officer rank insignia uses pearl-grey-on-black rank stripes instead of gold. Non-commissioned members (NCMs) rank insignia is pearl grey instead of gold. The colour gold found elsewhere on the uniform was also changed to pearl-grey. The air force rank of private, formerly indicated by one chevron, became aviator (Fr: aviateur), and is indicated by a horizontally-aligned two-bladed propeller. All other ranks titles remain as they were.


=== Timeline of changes ===


=== Mess Dress ===
Contrary to the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, mess dress uniform ranks for officers of the Royal Canadian Air Force follow the naval pattern, without the executive curl. General officers do not wear shoulder straps with this order of dress.


== See also ==

Former ranks of the Canadian Forces
Historic Royal Canadian Air Force ranks (1924–1968)
Ranks and insignia of NATO
List of comparative military ranks
Comparative army officer ranks of the Americas
Uniforms of the Canadian Armed Forces
Cadets Canada Elemental Ranks


== References ==


== External links ==
Canadian Armed Forces ranks and appointment insignia – official site with images of rank insignia for Navy, Army and Air Force.