Better know a Canadian institution: The Personnel Branches of the Canadian Forces

Cap badges of the Canadian Forces personnel branches.

Cap badges of the Canadian Forces personnel branches.

In the 1960s, Canada merged its army, navy, and air force into one body, the Canadian Forces. In doing so, it had to merge together a lot of redundant jobs across the three services: three signal corps, three sets of chaplains, three sets of military police, and so forth. To deal with this, in 1968 the Forces established Personnel Branches: job categories to which everyone in the Forces up to the rank of Colonel (or Captain, in the Navy) is assigned.

A lot of the more specialized positions in the Forces, like the Dental Corps or the Legal Branch, treat their branch like a regiment: each branch has an official cap badge and marching song, and hold over traditions from before unification.

In order of precedence, the Canadian Forces Personnel Branches are:

  1. The Naval Operations Branch (sailors)
  2. The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (soldiers in tanks)
  3. The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (soldiers with cannons)
  4. The Canadian Military Engineers (military Public Works, land surveyors, and fire & rescue services)
  5. The Communications and Electronics Branch (signal corps and tech support)
  6. The Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (foot soldiers)
  7. The Air Operations Branch (pilots and flight crew)
  8. The Logistics Branch (transport, supplies, pay corps, postal services, and administration)
  9. The Royal Canadian Medical Service (doctors and nurses)
  10. The Royal Canadian Dental Corps (dentists)
  11. The Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (mechanics, electricians, carpenters, and repairmen)
  12. The Chaplain Branch (priests and priest equivalents)
  13. The Canadian Forces Military Police (soldier cops)
  14. The Legal Branch (lawyers, like the TV show JAG)
  15. The Music Branch (marching bands)
  16. The Personnel Selection Branch (recruitment, aptitude testing and civilian readjustment services)
  17. The Training Development Branch (boot camps and training courses)
  18. The Public Affairs Branch (PR and advertising)
  19. The Intelligence Branch (research and reconnaissance)
  20. The Cadet Instructors Cadre (armed Scoutmasters, basically)
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One comment

  1. Don Chipman

    Hi Jeremy. Good work here, however, the Canadian Military Engineers have bee short changed. Their first and most important role, the only one that cannot be fulfilled by a civilian, is combat engineering. That means helping our troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield. Their second role is to fight as infantry in the defense.

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