ARCHIVED - The Reserve Force And Reserve Classes Of Service

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Backgrounder / May 2, 2002 / Project number: BG-02.012

The Reserve Force

The Regular Force and the Reserve Force are components of the Canadian Forces. Service in the Reserve Force is voluntary and is for an indefinite period of service. Reservists are enrolled to serve on a part-time basis but they may volunteer for full time employment in the Canadian Forces; in such cases they sign employment agreements for specified periods of time. A mandatory call-up of Canada's Reserve Force would require an Order-in-Council, an action of the Privy Council. This has not occurred since 1939.

The 1994 Defence White Paper states that "the Reserves are a national institution and provide a vital link between the Canadian Forces and local communities. Their primary role will be the augmentation, sustainment, and support of deployed forces." The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff's Force Structure Guidance, published in 2000, further outlines that the Reserve Force will expand as directed in the event of mobilization.

The Reserve Force augments Regular Force units for operational commitments, such as the Canadian contingent in Bosnia. Reservists also provide assistance during national emergencies or disasters such as the Ice Storm of 1998 and Swissair Flight 111 recovery operations. Thousands were standing by in the event of disruptions following the Year 2000 rollover. In addition, reservists often participate in cultural, festive and other public events across the country.

Reservists come from all walks of life, and include professionals, students, civil servants, labourers, business people and academics. Many are also former members of the Regular Force.

Organization of the Reserve Force

The Reserve Force is organized into four sub-components:

The Primary Reserve is the largest sub-component of the Reserve Force. Its approximately 23,000 officers and non-commissioned members train regularly on a part-time basis with occasional periods of full-time service. The Primary Reserve is divided into four elements: the Naval Reserve, the Militia or Army Reserve, the Air Reserve and the Communication Reserve.

The Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) consists of more than 5000 commissioned officers of the sea, land and air environments who are responsible for the safety, supervision, administration and training of cadets, aged 12 to 18 years.

Canadian Rangers provide a military presence in those sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada that cannot conveniently or economically be provided by other components of the Canadian Forces. They also support the Junior Canadian Ranger program, a Forces' program for youths aged 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities. There are about 3500 Canadian Rangers.

The Supplementary Reserve consists of about 57,000 officers and non-commissioned members who are former members of the Canadian Forces. The primary purpose of the Supplementary Reserve is to augment the other components and sub-components of the CF with previously trained personnel in times of national emergency or mobilization. Its secondary purpose is to augment the Canadian Forces during normal peacetime situations.

Classes of Reserve Service

There are three classes of service in the Reserve Force. The class of service under which an individual serves determines whether the employment is full- or part-time as well as the rate of pay the reservist will receive. Reservists may serve on more than one class of service at various times throughout their time in the Reserve Force.

Reserve classes of service are being realigned under the auspices of the Reserve Force Employment Project to define Class B and Class C service as non-operational and operational service respectively.

Reservists serving on class A and Class B service receive Reserve Force rates of pay. This is benchmarked at 85% of Regular Force rates of pay.

Reservists serving on Class C service receive Regular Force rates of pay.

The changes resulted from an identified need to simplify the classes of service to better reflect the contemporary nature of reserve employment. The realignment of classes of reserve service reflects the overarching principle of Primacy of Operations and rationalizes the differences in pay between the classes of full-time reserve service.

The new employment framework for reservists is under development and will take effect after 31 March 2003, along with all the associated regulations, orders and instructions. A transition policy was promulgated on 13 March 2002 that reflects the realignment. The definitions that follow are based upon that transitional policy.

Class A service is the part-time employment most often associated with service in the Reserve Force. The vast majority of reservists in all sub-components serve on this basis. In the primary reserve, this is generally associated with a training level of about one evening a week and one weekend a month.

Class B service is full-time service - that is to say, 13 or more consecutive days - that is not operational in nature. Examples of this range from employment as staff at training establishments for cadets or members of the Reserve Force, attendance at training courses, or other full-time, non-operational duties when it is not practical to employ members of the Regular Force.

Class C service is normally for service on approved contingency or routine operations, whether international or domestic. The Chief of the Defence Staff determines which operational scenarios warrant Class C service.

Examples of routine or contingency operations that will entitle reservists to Class C service include, but are not limited to, collective defence as part of NATO, peace support operations, national sovereignty/interest enforcement such as drug interdiction, evacuation of Canadians overseas, surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches such as naval control of shipping, international humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, search and rescue and assistance to federal or provincial law enforcement.

Crews of the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs) will now serve on a Class C, rather than Class B, basis.


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