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One academic year


Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), Kingston, ON

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Program Overview

The Indigenous Leadership Opportunity Year (ILOY) gives you a highly positive and productive academic year of educational and leadership experience at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario.

RMC is situated on Point Frederick just east of downtown Kingston, Ontario. It is a beautiful location, overlooking the city, the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

What You Will Learn

As part of the program, you will be enrolled at the RMC for one academic year as an Officer Cadet in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). During this time you will be paid at your rank level and receive free tuition and books. You may request to leave the program at any time.

The ILOY program includes:

  • Sports
  • Field trips
  • Leadership development
  • Military training
  • Cultural support activities

Individual Learning Plans: Through these learning plans, you will take part in individual and small group tutorials for pre-university (non-credit) and first-year university courses.

Upon Completion

At the end of the academic year, provided you meet the academic requirements, you will be given the opportunity to apply to continue at RMC in a degree program as a member of the CAF, under the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) or you can apply to become a Non-Commissioned member (NCM) of the CAF.

How to Apply

Applicants must meet the following:

  • Be an Indigenous person (First Nation {Status or Non-Status}, Métis or Inuit);
  • Be a Canadian citizen;
  • Be at least 16 years of age;
  • All applicants under the age of 18 must obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian to participate in this exciting opportunity.
  • Have completed Grade 12, Secondary V, or the GED in the current academic year.

Applications are accepted starting in November of each year. For best success, submit your application early (preferably before the end of February) to ensure that all the arrangements can be made for the beginning of the school year. In addition to filling out the online application, you must also submit the ILOY Application Package and Candidate Questionnaire (PDF, 283 KB).

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Contact Information

For more information about our program or how to apply Contact a Recruiter near you or visit our Help Centre.
(MM) Even though Canada hasn't had the greatest reputation and relationship with First Nations, I still feel that it's my responsibility, because it's my homeland, to serve it at the utmost respect and honour.(SC) People often ask me, do you think there’s really a need for the ILOY program? But then those people are probably disconnected from the reality of what it's like in an Indigenous community. So, I think the ILOY program is a great trial year to see what the military could be like. (GE) I wanted to try the military and I was like, well, this is like an introduction year. So, if I want to try the military, this is probably the best way to do it. (JB) It's a big step to take and it is a great opportunity. And if you have that calling inside saying you want to go, like do something a bit different or big, then this is a good chance to do it. Like, you come and you travel around, you meet all kinds of different walks of life. It's just an opportunity to get out and see what you can do. And that’s what I really love about ILOY. (CL) It gives them an insight to what they’re capable of and what they can do. And that can do attitude can take people a lot of places, whether it's in the military or on the civilian side. (JB) The major incentive, to come here and not pay for education, that was huge for myself. (MM) ILOY is an Indigenous Leadership Opportunity Year, and opportunity should be highlighted more because it's nothing but opportunity. (SC) One of the things that I see for candidates coming in, a lot of them don't really know what RMC is. So, you’re kind of coming in blind a lot of the time. And a big thing that kind of takes people out off the bat is the culture shock. (CL) It's the switching of the gears from what they’re used to. So, that is the biggest challenge, waking up early, you know, doing physical training, going to class, doing military training, and then having just your hours dictated to you. (GE) It was very overwhelming. (CL) The first few weeks within RMC during ILOY, we call it orientation period. It’s a military training. So, it’s very scheduled. From 0530 to 1100 at night, their day is busy. (MM) I think the first thing that went through my mind, and my peers’ mind was, well, what did I get myself into? But after a little while, as I started to catch on to our daily program and the disciplines of RMC, then I felt that I was in good hands. I had faith in my leaders. (CL) I relayed to them right away that they have an opportunity and they have the potential to be an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. And that potential piece comes from them, but it's also there on me to get it from them, to get their potential. Go! (MM) Education at RMC is a lot of time management. It's the ability to learn every single day. (GE) So, we had tutors throughout the whole year. So, if we were struggling with our classes, like we had math, chemistry, English, they could help us with that. (MM) RMC's academics, in regards to our professors, our mentors, our tutors and our peers, are some of the best in our nation. (MM) I spent a lot of time in the gym because our gym facilities are excellent. Like, probably the best gym I've ever been to. (MM) As these opportunities, chances to travel, chances to experience new things, and take challenges to a new level, that encouraged more participation. (GE) I really like the cultural aspect. I got to learn about smudging and sweat lodges. (CL) The elders, they offer a lot of teachings. Teach the students how to smudge, we conduct ceremonies like sweats, we go to Pow Wows. And recently, we just finished making our hand drums and we’re going to do a birthing ceremony. (JB) What really drew me to ILOY, initially, was the one year contract. It seemed like a good deal because I wasn't sure how far I wanted to go with it and jumping straight into, say, ROTP, was a really big commitment at the time. (SC) It’s a free year. There’s nothing, there’s no obligations. You don't owe anybody anything. You’re doing this for you. (MM) Who knows what ILOY is supposed to be? Each year is unique to itself. (SC) These programs are, even though they’re not perfect right now and you know, they’re always being worked on, they’re improving, they’re always an open door for people to come by. (MM) Year by year, brick by brick, it’ll become what it’s supposed to be. (GE) I say just try it out. Try the ILOY program, because we get so many opportunities here. (MM) I've woken up many mornings and thought, how much can I achieve today? Don't let your days at RMC go by fast. Don't let your days at ILOY go by fast, because they’re some of the best.
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