Life in the Canadian Forces

Video / September 17, 2013

MALE NARRATOR: Welcome to a life of honour, service, teamwork and pride. Welcome to the Canadian Forces.

FEMALE NARRATOR: More than ninety thousand Canadians serve in our Army, Navy and Air Force in more than 100 trades and professions. They’re men and women just like you who accepted the challenge – and mastered the skills – to prove themselves in one of the world’s most elite military forces.

MALE NARRATOR: Across Canada and around the world, in times of war and national need, the Canadian Forces are always ready to defend, to help and to serve.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Members of the Canadian Forces span a wide range of careers and commitments, from part-time service in the Reserves to full time occupations in the Regular Force.

NARRATOR: At home bases in Canada, aboard ship, or on deployment overseas, all Canadian Forces members enjoy the security of a stable job, many benefits and a great working environment.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Regardless of whether you’re in the Army, Navy or Air Force, every member of the Forces starts their military career with Basic Training. For the Regular Force, this takes place at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

MALE NARRATOR: Basic Training teaches you the basic skills and knowledge common to all trades. It will make you physically and mentally fit and leave you with a great sense of achievement, purpose and confidence.

LAURA HAMELIN: Compared how I was before to now, yes I have changed drastically. I have a lot more confidence in myself; I know that if I put my mind to something, I could achieve it.

FEMALE NARRATOR: For the Reserves, Basic Training may be conducted locally, at your home unit. These courses are held on weekends, spread out over several months.

MALE NARRATOR: For officers and non-commissioned members alike, when you’re done at St-Jean, the next stages of your training will depend on whether you’re in the Army, Navy or Air Force, and on the specific occupation you’ve chosen.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Throughout your training, you’ll be housed in dormitory-style barracks -- you’ll wear your uniform during working hours, and you’ll be fed at the base kitchen.

MALE NARRATOR: Once your training is complete, members of the Regular Force will be posted to one of the Canadian Forces bases across the country.

FEMALE NARRATOR: At work, you’ll wear your uniform at all times. But at home, your dress and your lifestyle will be the same as most Canadians.

MALE NARRATOR: Many members who are single, choose to reside on base, in barracks like these, although you can’t always count on space being available. The rent is reasonable, and meals are offered at the base kitchen, again at a reasonable cost.

RYAN KELLY: The advantages, I guess, would be saving money, and just the convenience of living on base. You have the gym right there, you can stay in shape; there’s lots of guys looking for people to play various sports, whether it be basketball, volleyball, badminton, squash, hockey. I could literally play hockey every day if I wanted. The food is surprisingly good – I’m actually a pretty big fan of it, it’s going to be hard to move out and have to cook for myself afterwards.

MALE NARRATOR: For personnel with a spouse and/or children, there may also be on-base housing available for rent, even if only one of you is a member of the Forces.

FEMALE NARRATOR: But many members choose to live off base in private housing that they rent or own.

REUBEN YADAV: I’d like to think I have a normal life. I have a wife and two kids – we live currently off-base. I think I have the best of both worlds: I have a job that I can play out in the field, be in the sandbox, if you may. At home, I get to be a father and get to see my kids grow up.

MALE NARRATOR: Whether you live on base or off, you’ll find schools, hospitals, sports and recreation facilities, family resource centres, and other community organizations that enhance the quality of military life for both single people, as well as families.

FEMALE NARRATOR: In fact, many Canadian Forces members are actively involved in their local communities.

MALE NARRATOR: Members of the Reserves continue to live at home in their communities, working part-time with their Reserve unit, or full time joining regular units for exercises and deployments -- or serving full-time for limited periods under terms of service that can last from two weeks to three years.

FEMALE NARRATOR: In the Regular Force, you’ll get four weeks off per year -- with pay! -- right from the start. After five years of service, that goes up to five weeks of paid holidays. By then, a commissioned officer’s annual salary could top $70,000 -- and other ranks could be earning over $50,000 a year.

CHRISTOPHER GLIBBERY: Having a good, steady salary was always something in the back of my head. Aside from the travel and patriotic side, to be able to do all that and be paid at the same time, it was a healthy career choice for me, the pay is absolutely fantastic.

BRAD CHAPMAN: I wouldn’t be very honest if I didn’t say that the pay wasn’t an incentive. It’s a great pay structure with the Canadian military, the pension is fantastic, and I can sail away from home knowing that my loved ones are taken care of as well when I’m gone.

MALE NARRATOR: Reserve Force personnel are paid a daily rate for the days they are on duty. They may also be eligible for a Transportation Assistance Allowance depending on the distance between their residence and their unit.

You’ll also receive free medical and dental care as well as prescription drugs. And you can apply to have your dependents covered under the Public Service Health and Dental Care plan. As for your pension plan, it matches the program of other members of the federal public service.

FEMALE NARRATOR: While they’re under contract, Reservists are also entitled to free medical and dental care. And they’re entitled to participate in the Public Service Health and Dental Care plan to provide coverage for their families.

FEMALE NARRATOR: Keeping fit is a big part of the Canadian Forces lifestyle -- whether it’s in team sports like basketball, softball, soccer and hockey, or individual workouts at some of the best-equipped gyms in Canada. Many bases also have swimming pools and arenas and all of these facilities are also available to your spouse and children at a minimum cost.

YADAV: The military fitness centre that is dedicated to the soldiers is also dedicated to the family here. My kids get to use the same facilities that I use in my training.

MALE NARRATOR: Whether you’ve just moved to a new posting across the country or you’re about to leave on a six-month deployment overseas, it’s a stressful time for you and your family. No matter what you or your family needs help with, information and assistance is available through the Military Family Resource Centre located on every Canadian base. You’ll find trained professionals and dedicated volunteers to help you with counselling and referrals, even employment assistance for your spouse.

ERIN ROBERTS: The people here were so friendly, they right away grabbed a bunch of pamphlets on “What do you need to know? Tell me the dynamics of your family. How old are your children? What programs would you want to use?”

MERCY YEBOAH-AMPADU: What the military is trying to do is show that they really are a family and they do take care of their people.

CLINT MACK: The military has been very good to me. I had a daughter who had special needs and required me to be home almost 200 days of the year to take care of her in the hospital. And the military is the only job in the world where they’ll give me the time off and pay me and support me the whole way through.

MALE NARRATOR: A career in the Canadian Forces is so much more than making a living.

STEPHANE LAJEUNESSE: The career in the Canadian Forces allows you to see things that you normally wouldn’t get to see in the civilian world and experience things that you wouldn’t. So you’re part of a much bigger thing when you’re in the Canadian Forces.

CHRIS TIDD: I’ve made some of the best friendships in my life here in the military, whether it be from the training you go through together, or whether it be when you’re overseas – the stuff you go through. You form some really strong friendships.

CHRIS POWER: Since I joined the military, I’ve progressed and I’ve done different jobs. I’ve been very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’m 28 years old now, and most 28-year-olds that I know, they don’t have the responsibility that I do at this point.

ANDREW ARMSTRONG: There’s other things as well, being part of the military. Things like going on adventure training, the whole camaraderie, esprit de corps, having a team that you’re working with all the time. And then feeling like you’re really making a difference when you get to participate in some of these activities like deployments and things like that.

HESHAN MODARAGAMAGE: I wanted to serve in the Canadian Forces. I was not born in this country, I actually immigrated to this country, so I wanted to give something back.

JESSICA HEWETT: My calling, personally, was definitely to contribute to Canada as a whole. And the experiences that I’ve gone through thus far have really made me the person that I am today and better prepared for anything that comes my way from here on in.

MALE NARRATOR: There is no career more challenging or rewarding: an opportunity to take part in defending our country and participate in world events that will change your life and the lives of the people you are helping.

FEMALE NARRATOR: You’ll obtain world-class qualifications. You’ll gain skills and leadership. You’ll visit more destinations than most people will see in a lifetime and make great friends along the way.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Title: Life in the Canadian Forces

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