Canadian Forces Primary Reserve

Canadian Forces Primary Reserve

The Primary Reserve is a reserve force of the Canadian Forces. It is the largest of four components to the CF reserves; those being the Primary Reserve, the Supplementary Reserve, the Canadian Rangers, and the Cadet Instructors Cadre.

The reserve force is represented, though not commanded, at the national level by the Chief of Reserves and Cadets. This is usually a Major General or Rear Admiral.

The Primary Reserve comprises citizen soldiers, sailors, and aircrew who train and are posted to CF operations or duties on a casual or on-going basis. Each reserve force is operationally and administratively responsible to its corresponding environmental command; those being, Maritime Command (the navy), Land Forces Command (the army) and Air Command (the air force).

Primary reservists number approximately 25,000 cite web|url =|title = About DND/CF|accessdate = 2008-08-19|last = Department of National Defence|authorlink = |year = 2007|month = August] (all ranks, all services). The CF maintains a "total force" policy as outlined in both the 1987 and 1994 Defence White Papers, where reservists are trained to the level of and interchangeable with their regular force counterparts. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the reserves to sustaining CF operations, particularly following the defence budget cuts and increased operational tempo of the 1990s.


Naval Reserve

The Naval Reserve (NAVRES) is the reserve formation of Maritime Command (MARCOM). It is organized into 24 Naval Reserve Divisions (NRDs), shore-based training facilities located in communities across the country. Each NRD has a small cadre of full-time reservists and regular force members to coordinate training and administration, but is for the most part directed by the division's part-time leadership. Training is conducted year round with regular force counterparts at the three Canadian Forces Fleet Schools and reservists frequently deploy on regular force ships to augment ships' companies. The Naval Reserve supplies all personnel (except two Electricians and one Naval Electronics Technician) for the 12 Kingston Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), which are used for patrol, minesweeping and bottom-inspection operations. The Naval Reserve has a funded manning level of 4,000 with a current strength of approximately 3,200.

Land Forces Reserve

The Land Forces Reserve (LFR), unofficially termed the Army Reserve, is the reserve element of Land Force Command (LF). It is is often referred to by the original constitutionally established name of the Canadian Army until 1940, the Militia. The LFR is organized into under-strength brigades (for purposes of administration) along geographic lines. The LFR is very active and has participated heavily in all LF deployments in the last decade, in some cases contributing as much as 40 per cent of each deployment in either individual augmentation, as well as occasional formed sub-units (companies). LFR regiments have the theoretical administrative capacity to support an entire battalion, but typically only having the deployable manpower of one or two platoons. They are perpetuated as such for the timely absorption of recruits during times of war. Current strength of the LFR is approximately 15,000, and DND committed to an increase to 18,500 in 2000. As of April 1, 2008 Land Forces Reserve now also encompasses the units of the now defunct Communication Reserve.

Air Reserve

The Air Reserve is the reserve element of Air Command (AIRCOM). It is organized into flights or squadrons that are attached to wings at various bases. Air Reserve personnel conduct training to support Wing operations; such units are specialized in various areas of surveillance, engineering, and airfield construction. Personnel also conduct further training at AIRCOM bases and can deploy with Regular Force AIRCOM crews around the world in support of CF missions. Unlike the NAVRES and LFR, the Air Reserve is composed principally of former members of the Regular Force, though this does not reflect any official policy.

Health Services Reserve

The 1,500-strong Health Services Reserve (HSR) provides essential health services in the Canadian Forces. Health services reservists serve the Canadian Forces in a wide range of health care professions, including medicine, nursing and social work. Reserve paramedical personnel who are not civilian trained and employed are trained, as a minimum, to the level of emergency medical responder.

Training and employment

The level of activity associated with being a reservist varies from formation to formation. There are three classes of employment available to Reservists:

;Class A

This is the most common form of employment for members of the Primary Reserves. Members are employed on a part-time basis within their unit. This form of employment is entirely voluntary, provides no job security and fewer benefits (medical and dental, e.g.) than the other classes of service. Class A reservists are generally limited to a certain number of paid days per year.

Most units provide employment for training in the form of one evening per week or two full days a month during the training year (September - April). Units also normally provide one additional evening a week for administration purposes. Aside from scheduled training and administration, reservists can be employed on a casual basis to assist in unit operational or administrative activities.

Reservists are obliged to accumulate a minimum of 14 full days of service per year in order to maintain status in the Primary Reserve. Those performing less, or those missing three obligatory training periods in a row, can be deemed to be Non-Effective Strength and can be subject to administrative action.

;Class B

This form of employment is for Reservists employed full-time in a non operational capacity. The length of the employment is dependant on the Reservist's availability and the needs of the Canadian Forces. Reservists on Class B employment receive many of the same benefits as members of the Regular Force, and, for members on contracts longer than six months duration, almost exactly the same benefits aside from pay. Members on Class B are paid 85% of the counterparts on Class C and in the regular force.

;Class C

This is the operational level of employment. Reservists on Class C employment receive an increase in pay to the level that a Regular Force member in the same position would be expected to receive (Reservists employed in either of the other classes earn 85% of the amount their Regular Force counterparts receive). Additionally all benefits are awarded to the Reservist without any time constraint on the contract length. Examples of Class C positions include but are not limited to, deployments to operational areas and core crew positions on Canadian warships.


Overseas deployment is voluntary. Members of the Primary Reserve have to be selected after volunteering and undergo workup training before being deployed overseas. In case of a severe national emergency, an Order In Council may be signed by the Governor General of Canada acting under the advisement of the federal cabinet to call reserve members of the Canadian Forces into active service. Members of the reserve have not been called to involuntary active service in foreign operations since the Second World War.



External links

* [ CF Primary Reserve]

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