Canadian Cadet Organizations Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Cadet_Organizations

Canadian Cadet Organizations
Organisations de cadets du Canada
Commander flag - Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers.png
Commander's flag of Cadets and
Junior Canadian Rangers
Country Canada
TypeQuasi-military youth organization
Size54,325 Cadets (as of March 1, 2020)
Part ofDepartment of National Defence
Brigadier-General Jamie Speiser-Blanchet

The Canadian Cadet Organizations, marketed under the name of Cadets Canada, are a youth program known as the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and Royal Canadian Air Cadets. The program is sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces and funded through the Department of National Defence (DND), with additional support from the civilian Navy League, the Army Cadet League and the Air Cadet League, as well as local community sponsors that include service organizations and parent sponsoring groups supervised by the Leagues. [1]


Cadet corps and squadrons exist in communities large and small from coast to coast to coast.[2] Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor is the program a prerequisite for military service. Adult leadership is provided primarily by the Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve. Members of the Cadet Instructors Cadre Branch are assisted by Regular Force, Primary Reserve and retired members of all Branches, as well as Civilian Instructors and volunteers who have gone through a thorough screening process.

All elements of the CCO are under the command of the Commander National Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group. The Commander is directly responsible to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.


Cadets from 655 Richmond Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron marching during their ACR.

In 1862, five years before Confederation, "drill associations" were set up in Canada as a response to the Fenian Raids and the American Civil War. These early drill associations served to train militia and were open to people over the age of 13.

In 1879, the government authorized the creation of 74 "Association[s] for Drill in Educational Institutions", drill associations that were open to male youth over the age of 14 and which did not entail active service in the military. The Riel Rebellion of 1885 motivated increased support to these youth drill associations. By 1887, they were called the cadet corps and were open to boys over the age of 12.[3]

It was not until July 30, 1970 (the result of a change in legislation) that girls were officially permitted to join government-supported cadet corps and squadrons. Until then, girls paraded as "Wrennettes" supported by the Navy League and Air "Cadettes" supported by the Air Cadet League. On rare occasions, girls paraded unofficially with army cadets.

Musical groups[edit]

Cadet musicians of the 226 Air Cadet Pipeband at their annual review at the Colisée de Trois-Rivières in Quebec in May 2008.
An Army Cadet band during a parade in Vancouver in 2014.

The three Cadet organizations maintain a number of volunteer bands, typically assisted by members of Canadian military bands in the Regular Force and Primary Reserve. The bands are primarily staffed by cadets from their respective organizations. The music program of Cadet Canada supports only three types of marching bands: military bands, bugle bands, and pipe bands. The drum major of these bands use a different command style from their counterparts in the CF, with different commands including countermarch and marktime.

Corps and squadron that choose to create a cadet marching band must consult with their sponsoring committee which responsible for the maintenance of corps/squadron owned or loaned instruments.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Backgrounder: The Canadian Cadet Organizations". Department of National Defence. July 16, 1998. Archived from the original on July 8, 2003. Retrieved May 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Cadets | Cadet Unit Directory Archived 2007-01-09 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Cadets | About Us | History". Archived from the original on November 30, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2008.

External links[edit]