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Can I Join?

There are certain requirements you must meet in order to join the Canadian Armed Forces. In some cases, you may still be able to join even if you do not meet the basic requirements.

To join as a
Non-Commissioned Member (NCM)

To join as an
Officer

You are a minimum of 17* years of age.

The maximum age is based on the age of 60 less the minimum years of service required for the career chosen. Ask a recruiter for the minimum number of years.


The consent of a custodial parent or legal guardian is required for the enrolment of an applicant who is under the age of 18 on the day of enrolment.


*For complete information read the full Qualifications for Enrolment.

You are a minimum of 16* years of age.

The maximum age is based on the age of 60 less the minimum years of service required for the career chosen. Ask a recruiter for the minimum number of years.


The consent of a custodial parent or legal guardian is required for the enrolment of an applicant who is under the age of 18 on the day of enrolment.


*For complete information read the full Qualifications for Enrolment.

You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You have completed Grade 10 or 24 credits of Secondary IV (Quebec).

If you have completed your education outside Canada, you must have your Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) completed for your high school and highest level of education prior to submitting your application.

You have completed Grade 12 or Secondary V (Quebec) and you have, or are working towards, a Bachelor's Degree.

If you do not meet this requirement, you may be eligible for one of our Paid Education programs.


If you have completed your education outside Canada, you must have your Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) completed for your high school and highest level of education prior to submitting your application.

Eligibility requirements to join the Canadian Armed Forces

To join as a
Non-Commissioned Member (NCM)

You are a minimum of 17* years of age.

The maximum age is based on the age of 60 less the minimum years of service required for the career chosen. Ask a recruiter for the minimum number of years.

You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You have completed Grade 10 or 24 credits of Secondary IV (Quebec).

To join as an
Officer

You are a minimum of 17* years of age.

The maximum age is based on the age of 60 less the minimum years of service required for the career chosen. Ask a recruiter for the minimum number of years.

You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

You have completed Grade 10 or 24 credits of Secondary IV (Quebec).

If you have completed your education outside Canada, you must have your Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) completed for your high school and highest level of education prior to submitting your application.

You have completed Grade 12 or Secondary V (Quebec) and you have, or are working towards, a Bachelor's Degree.

If you do not meet this requirement, you may be eligible for one of our Paid Education programs.


If you have completed your education outside Canada, you must have your Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) completed for your high school and highest level of education prior to submitting your application.

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Ways to Join
Steps to Join
Basic Training

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Ways to Join
Steps to Join
Basic Training

Ways to Join

There are several ways to join the Canadian Armed Forces. Your skills, qualification, background, and ambition will influence your way of entry. Get in touch with a recruiter by visiting our Help Centre to find out which entry option is best for you.

Regular force member

Join the Regular Force (Full-Time)

Members of the Regular Force serve full time protecting Canada and defending our sovereignty. They contribute to international peace and security, and work with the United States to defend North America. They are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to threats, natural disasters or humanitarian crises at home and around the world.

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Reserve force member

Join the Reserves (Part-Time)

Members of the Reserve Force serve part time in the CAF. Their main role is to support the Regular Force at home and abroad. Reservists typically serve one or more evenings a week and/or during weekends at locations close to home. Some Reservists may volunteer to be deployed on operations, if there are positions available.

Browse positions
TEST

Naval Experience Program

The Naval Experience Program will provide you with enough exposure to life in the Royal Canadian Navy to decide if it is right for you.

Following an accelerated enrollment, eight week basic military training and four week naval training, you will join the Navy fleet on either the East or West coast. Over the course of several months, you will learn the ropes of being a sailor by shadowing a variety of jobs and gaining exposure to a number of skills. The program culminates with going to sea portion, so you can get a sense of the adventure found in a naval career.

Learn more
Forces member in a education dorm

Paid Education

The CAF will help you to unlock your potential by providing a variety of opportunities for training to gain leadership skills, resourcefulness, and marketable and transferable skills. The Reserve Force also offers many summer job and co-op opportunities, especially for students. For the first four years of your career, you are guaranteed full-time summer employment (FTSE) with the Reserves. Deployments are not mandatory, but there are opportunities if you are interested. There is also the possibility of working full time.

Learn more
Indigenous forces members discussing a task

Programs for Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Leadership Opportunity Year

A one-year educational program offered to Indigenous peoples through the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC)

Summer training programs

Summer Indigenous programs provide an opportunity to discover Military culture and training.

Canadian Armed Forces Indigenous Entry Program

A special three-week program for Indigenous peoples who are considering a career in the CAF.

Learn more

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Steps to Join
Basic Training

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Steps to Join
Basic Training

Steps to Join

There are 5 primary steps in the application process. Each step requires your input and dedication. Make sure you are prepared and provide all required documents in a timely manner. Get in touch with a recruiter by visiting our Help Centre if you need help during the process.

  • 1

    Submit your application 1 Submit your application

    You will need to provide original copies of your birth certificate, government issued photo ID, transcripts from your highest level of education completed, proof of trade qualifications and professional licenses, and any additional forms required for the trade or job you selected. All overseas education must be presented with a Canadian equivalency from Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada

  • 2

    Submit your application 2 Background Check

    You will fill out reliability screening forms. This background check will ensure that you are trustworthy with sensitive information. The Canadian Armed Forces will verify all the forms you submit so be completely honest when filling out the required forms.

  • 3

    Submit your application 3 Aptitude test and Personality Assessment

    A trial is being conducted where some Regular Force applicants to certain occupations will not be required to write the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test (CFAT) and Trait Self Descriptor - Personality Inventory (TSD-PI) before enrolment.

    To be eligible for the Expedited Application Trial, applicants to qualifying occupations must meet one of the following criteria:

    For Officers:

    • Have completed a degree from a Canadian university or completed an assessed equivalency to enrol as an Officer.

    For Non-Commissioned Members:

    • Have completed a degree from a Canadian university or equivalency.
    • Have completed a College Diploma on the Military Occupation List. Speak to a recruiter to see if your diploma qualifies.
    • Meet the target occupation ideal entry standard.
    • Meet the necessary Scored Employment Application Form criteria.

    The occupations included in this trial are based on internal requirements, as well as the complexity of the occupation or if higher education is required. Since this is a trial, highly complex occupations or those occupations requiring higher CFAT scores were not included.

    To determine the effectiveness of this trial and future success of occupation training, applicants who qualify for this trial will still write the CFAT and TSD-PI during the start of Basic Military Qualification /Basic Military Officer Qualification. However, the results of the CFAT and TSD-PI will have no bearing on the future career progression of the applicant in their chosen occupation.

    For those occupations that do not qualify for this trial, or for those who wish to write the CFAT:

    You will complete an aptitude test to assist in determining which military occupations you may be best suited for. The 60 minute aptitude test will evaluate your verbal skills, spatial ability, and problem solving. Writing exams can be stressful for some people, you are strongly encouraged to complete the official Practice Canadian Forces Aptitude Test prior to the testing session at a Recruiting Centre near you. For more detailed information, visit the “How do I prepare for the CFAT?” article in the Forces.ca Help Centre.

    During the same testing session visit, you will also complete a 30 minute personality inventory, which provides information on your personal characteristics and qualities. To learn more about your personality and how it may influence military occupation choices, check out this personality assessment.

  • 4

    Submit your application 4 Medical exam

    You will then take a two-part medical exam: First there is a medical history questionnaire including specific information on your medication. Then the medical staff will conduct a physical exam to measure your height, weight, evaluate your vision, colour perception and hearing. The second step is a medical file review to determine any limitations that will affect your training and career.

  • 5

    Submit your application 5 Interview

    The next step is an interview with a military career counsellor; it is your official job interview and a very important step. The application process is very competitive and you will be asked questions about your work history, knowledge of the Canadian Armed Forces, and understanding of the job you selected.

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Ways to Join
Basic Training

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Ways to Join
Basic Training

Basic Training

Basic training, also known as Basic Military Qualification (BMQ), will teach you the core skills and knowledge to succeed in a military environment. Throughout this course, you will be mentored by leaders who have diverse experiences and background. The four pillars of BMQ training are: professional conduct, resiliency, physical fitness, and military skills. By building inclusive teams and working together to overcome obstacles; you will build resilience and be provided every opportunity to learn the skills necessary to be successful as you transition from a civilian to a military team member. As you progress through basic training, you will learn how to conduct drill, properly handle a weapon, and apply first aid. You will also get to spend time in outside environments, where you will be given the opportunity to practice fieldcraft and apply everything you have learned in a classroom environment. Most importantly, you will live and work with other candidates of your platoon for nine weeks, working collaboratively towards the goal of being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Length
9 weeks
Class Time
67%
Field Time
15%
Physical Training
18%

Where does Basic Training take Place?

For the majority of full-time regular force candidates, the Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) training takes place at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, approximately 20 minutes outside of Montréal.

Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec

All part-time candidates joining their local Primary Reserve unit will undergo similar BMQ training objectives. Reserve units will conduct their basic training either at the local reserve unit location or at a Canadian Armed Forces training centre. Locations vary depending on units. Talk to a Primary Reserve unit recruiter for more information on their basic training program.

9 Week Training Timeline

Basic Training

Your training starts as soon as you walk through the green doors of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. Commonly known as the gateway to the profession of arms, you will be welcomed by a skilled team of military personnel and instructors that will help you transition to this new and exciting experience; they will be with you and mentor you through all challenges. Your instructors are professional military members who have diverse backgrounds and experiences and want to see you succeed.

During your first week, much of your administration will be completed during class time. You will also receive your equipment for which you will be responsible for the duration of your training. You will have to complete an Initial Fitness Screening assessment that includes three components: walking, speed/agility, and strength/power.

The 9 week Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) training is designed to build truly inclusive teams with foundational excellence in professional culture and conduct, individual and team resilience, physical fitness and core military skills.
The 9 week Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) training is designed to build truly inclusive teams with foundational excellence in professional culture and conduct, individual and team resilience, physical fitness and core military skills.

A typical day at basic training starts at 5 a.m. The day often consists of physical training and lessons of all types (lectures, practical or physical) such as weapon handling, drill movements, first aid, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Training, CAF professional conduct and culture, etc. Every lesson achieves an objective from one of the four training pillars. The training day ends between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Most evenings are spent studying or preparing for the next day’s learning. Daily, we ask candidates to be in their bed no later than 11 p.m. to ensure candidates have the necessary time for physical and mental rest for the next training day.

During the final week of basic training, you will practice your parade movements with your instructors and a music ensemble to get ready for your first official military parade. After nine weeks of hard work, you can enjoy this rite of passage marking the beginning of the rest of your military career in front of family and friends during the graduation ceremony.

Officer candidates do everything that BMQ candidates do, but they explore how to effectively lead their own small teams towards a common goal. Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) candidates are expected to demonstrate leadership abilities as they complete their training. They will learn how to properly delegate tasks, teach lessons and mentor team members, while maintaining a command presence. This portion of the training is an additional four weeks in length. BMOQ candidates complete training on the 12 principles of leadership and the 16 steps of battle procedure in order to be able to conduct field training tasks, such as: section attacks, defensives, raids and reconnaissance missions.

Physical fitness evaluation & preparation

Physical performance is an essential component of operational readiness. In order to perform at your best, you need to be trained and fit, properly fueled, well-rested, and free from injury. The decision to be active, eat healthy, adopt proper sleep habits or train safely lies with you. Your instructors and fellow recruits will be supporting and encouraging you throughout this process. In order to better prepare your fitness for basic training, please click on the following link to download our Pre-Basic Military Training (PRE-BMT) Fitness Training Program. The program aims to help you establish a minimum level of physical fitness needed to optimize performance and reduce the injury risk during your basic training course. Improving personal fitness requires a consistent routine and sufficient time to build your abilities.

You will be required to meet the standard of the FORCE evaluation during week six of your basic training course.

The FORCE fitness test includes four components:

  • 20-metre rushes
  • sandbag lift
  • intermittent loaded shuttles
  • sandbag drag

Take a look at these examples of the four components.

Physical fitness evaluation & preparation

What happens after basic training?

In the last week of your basic training, you will receive information about your next assignment. Dependent on your branch and occupation, you will be sent to your trade school to complete your next career course. Following that, you will be posted with your home unit.

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Ways to Join
Steps to Join

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Can I Join
Ways to Join
Steps to Join