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Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time

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Stewards provide hospitality services within the Navy. However, stewards may also become a Flight Steward in the Air Force. Duties are varied and range from food and beverage services, to financial management and administration.

They may work alongside Cooks and some food preparation will comprise part of their duties. The primary responsibilities of the position are to:

  • Serve food and beverages on formal and informal occasions at sea and ashore as well as on board military aircraft, including VIP flights
  • Prepare light meals, snacks and hors-d’oeuvres on ships and aircraft
  • Operate military warehouses at sea and in deployed operations
  • Operate ship borne convenience stores
  • Maintain records, financial accounts and filing systems for activities relating to the use of public and non-public funds
  • Operate military clubs, including allocation and control of facilities, mess fund accounting, bar management and staff supervision
  • Manage military accommodations, including room allocation, reception, furnishings, key control, cleaning and maintenance
  • Provide non-public funds management on all ships

Work environment

Stewards must be prepared to work in very diverse settings from offices to a mess environment, on ships and aircraft. The Steward trade in the Navy is a sea-going trade where members spend most of their time at sea. In addition, Stewards may serve with Canadian troops supporting International commitments.

Stewards may also volunteer to fill Flight Attendant positions on board Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) aircraft. There are specific medical criteria for aircrew members. Flight Attendants have additional responsibilities including:

  • Passenger comfort and safety
  • Onboard emergency response
  • Aircraft ancillary, emergency and survival equipment operation
  • In-flight duties as assigned by the Captain or Loadmaster of the aircraft
  • In-flight food service
  • Pre-flight duties, such as assisting passengers

Career Overview




DURANT: I don’t get up in the morning and go “Aah, I gotta go to work today”. It’s “I can’t wait to go to work, where am I going and who am I going to get to meet?”.

EHLER: When I first heard of it, I said well that’s for me, that’s something I want to do. I went and did the training, I’ve loved it and I’ve done it for 6 years now.

Hi, I’m Leading Seaman Steven Ehler and I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I’m a Steward in the Canadian Forces.

I’m Master Seaman Nicole Durant from Clarienville, Newfoundland, and I’ve been a steward for 17 years.


DURANT: As anyone familiar with the hospitality industry knows, it’s the details that make all the difference.

Whether it’s a prompt dinner service, a well-prepared drink, or making sure everyone’s got a room when they arrive.

In the Canadian Forces, those details are left to us, the Stewards.

Our duties cover everything from food and beverage services to financial management, retail merchandising and administration.

We’re experts at fostering morale in the demanding military environment.

EHLER: We work primarily on the vessels of the Canadian Navy, but you’ll also find us on bases and wings across the country, and on Canadian Forces flights.


When you’re on a ship, or whether you’re on an aircraft, the places you get to see are amazing. I’ve basically been around the world as a steward. It’s been remarkable.

EHLER: I’ve been to San Juan, was my first port, Greece, Malta, Dubai, Ireland and still more to come. I never thought I’d be half the places I’ve been but through the Navy, being a Steward, I’ve gotten to see these places and I’m thankful for that!

Basically what it comes down to is whether or not you like to work with people.

DURANT: You never know who you’re going to meet. Presidents from different states, the Prime Minister of Canada, right to our own Chief of Defence Staff.

EHLER: As a steward, your interpersonal skills are paramount.

DURANT: This career will come naturally to anyone who has a hospitality background, whether that’s been working in restaurants and hotels or even in the retail sector.

And it certainly helps if you consider yourself a self-motivated multitasker willing to learn.

If you’ve taken post-secondary training in tourism or hotel and resort management, the Canadian Forces might be just the place to kick-start your career.

Any management or administrative experience is going to work in your favour.

We apply modern business and accounting practices to manage Non-Public Fund operations.

EHLER: For instance, onboard ships, we operate convenience stores called Ship Exchanges, where personnel can buy the things they need while they’re away from home.

DURANT: This is a sea-going trade, and so your initial posting will be onboard a ship.

EHLER: And whenever you’re working onboard a naval vessel, you’re a sailor first.

DURANT: That means you pull together with everyone else in the ship’s company to keep it clean, safe and operational.

EHLER: You’ll be tasked with daily cleaning stations, store ship and watch-keeping duties.

DURANT: As a Steward onboard the ship, you’ll have some secondary duties as well whether it’s casualty clearing, fire fighting, Naval Boarding or you can become a ship’s team diver just like I did.

EHLER: I’ve done many Boardings and I’ve been to the Gulf twice. It’s very rewarding because you get to work as a close crew with the rest of your members. You’re always watching your friends back, he’s watching yours. You can be a little anxious sometimes because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but the thrill of it all is irreplaceable.

DURANT: As a military Steward, your career begins the same way it does for everyone else who joins the Canadian Forces, with the basic military qualification course.

EHLER: After that you’ll be off to either the east or west coast to attend the Naval Environmental Training Program.

DURANT: Among other things this course introduces you to the basics of seamanship and the rich history and traditions of the Canadian Navy.

After that you’ll be off to the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in CFB Borden, Ontario for Basic Military Occupational training.

During this phase, which is twelve weeks, you’ll learn the Steward trade in a combination of classroom and hands-on training.

You’ll learn everything from safe food handling practices to the etiquette and long-standing traditions of the formal mess dinner.

EHLER: Unlike the private sector, the Canadian Forces offers a great variety of career advancement and training courses.

You can extend your reach with courses in Administrative Support and Financial and Personnel Management.

DURANT: The cost of all your training is covered and you’re on salary with benefits the entire time, that’s pretty hard to beat.

When it comes to careers, it’s all about what you want. If you want to meet interesting people, have rewarding experiences and travel the world – if you do, join the Canadian Forces and become a Steward.


Related Civilian Occupations

  • Flight Attendant
  • Hotel Front Desk Clerk
  • Head Bartender and Barkeeper
  • Accommodation Services Manager
  • Restaurant and Food Services Manager


The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Stewards attend the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Training takes approximately 59 days and includes:

  • Food handling hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Dining room services (formal and informal)
  • Beverage services
  • Basic monetary operations and accounting
  • Short-order cooking
  • Etiquette and protocol
  • Maintenance of equipment and facilities
  • Basic office computer skills

Stewards may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Instructional Techniques
  • Flight Steward
  • Submarine Duties
  • First Aid Instructor

As they progress in their career, Stewards who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Administrative Support and Financial Management
  • Warehouse Administration and Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Accommodation
  • VIP Food and Beverage Services

Entry plans

The minimum required education for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.