QR&Os: Volume I - Chapter 3
Rank, Seniority, Command and Precedence

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Amendment List:

History:

Section 1 – Rank and Seniority

3.01 - RANKS AND DESIGNATIONS OF RANK

(1) The ranks of officers and non-commissioned members shall be as set out in Column I of the Schedule to the National Defence Act, which provides:

I

OFFICERS

  1. General
  2. Lieutenant-General
  3. Major-General
  4. Brigadier-General
  5. Colonel
  6. Lieutenant-Colonel
  7. Major
  8. Captain
  9. Lieutenant
  10. Second Lieutenant
  11. Officer Cadet

II

NON-COMMISSIONED MEMBERS

  1. Chief Warrant Officer
  2. Master Warrant Officer
  3. Warrant Officer
  4. Sergeant
  5. Corporal
  6. Private

(2) An officer or non-commissioned member who, on or after the date this article comes into force (18 September 1986), holds a rank in the Canadian Forces set out in paragraph (1) and who, in accordance with orders and instructions issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff wears a naval uniform, shall use and be referred to by the designation of rank set out in Column II of the Schedule to the National Defence Act having the same serial number as that of his rank in paragraph (1), and reference in this paragraph to the rank held by an officer or non-commissioned member includes any rank to which the member may be promoted, reduced or reverted from time to time.

(3) Except in accordance with paragraph (2), no officer or non-commissioned member shall, after the coming into force of this article, use or be referred to by a designation of rank other than as set out in Column I of the Schedule to the National Defence Act.

(4) The ranks set out in paragraph (1) shall be used in all official communications within the Canadian Forces, except with respect to officers and non-commissioned members referred to in paragraph (2) for whom the rank designations set out in Column II of the Schedule to the National Defence Act shall be used.

(G)

3.02 - TYPES OF RANK

The ranks enumerated in article 3.01 (Ranks and Designations of Rank), depending upon the conditions under which they are held, shall be:

  1. substantive;
  2. temporary;
  3. acting; or
  4. honorary.

(M)

3.03 - SUBSTANTIVE RANK

(1) The substantive rank of an officer is the officer's confirmed rank.

(2) The substantive rank of a non-commissioned member is that rank below which the member cannot be reduced otherwise than by:

  1. a sentence of a service tribunal; or
  2. reversion for inefficiency or misconduct. (See articles 11.10 - Reversion and Remustering for Inefficiency and 11.11 - Reversion upon Conviction by a Civil Authority).

(M)


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3.04 - TEMPORARY RANK

An officer or non-commissioned member who is on active service may be authorized, in accordance with orders issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff, to hold, in addition to the member's substantive rank, a higher temporary rank.

(M)

3.05 - ACTING RANK

(1) An officer or non-commissioned member may be granted an acting rank higher than the member's substantive rank:

  1. for an indefinite period; or
  2. for the period during which the member is filling a position on an establishment for which a rank higher than the member's substantive or temporary rank is authorized.

(2) An officer or non-commissioned member granted an acting rank is liable to be posted or transferred in the member's substantive rank at any time.

(M)

3.06 - HONORARY APPOINTMENTS

(1) For the purpose of this article “travel and living expenses” are the following expenses that shall be paid or reimbursed out of public funds, at the same rates and under the same conditions as those established for a General Service Officer holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel travelling on temporary duty:

  1. the actual and reasonable costs of transportation;
  2. the actual and reasonable costs of accommodation;
  3. a meal allowance; and
  4. an incidental expense allowance.

(2) The Minister, on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff, may appoint an honorary colonel or lieutenant-colonel for a unit, element, combination of elements or an organization of officers and non-commissioned members.

(3) The honorary colonel or lieutenant-colonel bears, for the duration of the appointment, that title or any other title that the Minister directs at the time of the appointment.

(4) To be eligible for the appointment a person shall

  1. be an officer, a former officer of any of Her Majesty’s Forces, a Canadian citizen or a British subject; and
  2. meet any other conditions that the Minister considers reasonable.

(5) The appointment does not

  1. in itself cause the appointed person to become a member of the Canadian Forces;
  2. confer any right of command; or
  3. subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), involve any expenditure of public funds.

(6) An honorary colonel or lieutenant-colonel, who is not an officer, is entitled to have their travel and living expenses paid or reimbursed, for no more than 35 travel days per fiscal year, when their presence is required by the Chief of the Defence Staff or the commanding officer of — or the officer commanding — the unit, element, combination of elements or the organization of officers and non-commissioned members for which the appointment is made.

(7) The Chief of the Defence Staff may increase the maximum number of travel days referred to in paragraph (6) if

  1. the unit, element, combination of elements or the organization of officers and non-commissioned members, for which the appointment is made, is scattered over a large geographical area; and
  2. the Chief of the Defence Staff considers that increasing the number of travel days is in the best interest of the Canadian Forces.

(M) [3.06: repealed on 15 June 2012]

(G) [P.C. 2012-0767 effective 15 June 2012]


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3.07 - HONORARY RANK

(1) The Minister, on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff, may grant honorary rank to a person who has rendered distinguished service to the Canadian Forces or who, from an educational or administrative point of view, is likely to promote the general efficiency of the Canadian Forces.

(2) The grant of an honorary rank under paragraph (1) shall not:

  1. in itself cause a person to become a member of the Canadian Forces;
  2. confer any right of command; and
  3. involve any expense to the public, unless the Minister on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff otherwise directs.

(G)

3.08 - MASTER CORPORAL APPOINTMENT

(1) The Chief of the Defence Staff or such officer as he may designate may appoint a corporal as a master corporal.

(2) The rank of a master corporal remains that of corporal.

(3) Master corporals have seniority among themselves in their order of seniority as corporals.

(4) Master corporals have authority and powers of command over all other corporals.

(M)

3.09 - ORDER OF SENIORITY

(1) An officer takes seniority over all non-commissioned members.

(2) Subject to article 3.10 (Seniority Between Types of Rank), officers take seniority among themselves and non-commissioned members among themselves in accordance with the order of ranks prescribed in article 3.01 (Ranks and Designations of Rank).

(3) Subject to article 3.10, an officer or non-commissioned member shall take seniority in rank from the date of enrolment in or promotion to that rank as applicable, except that:

  1. the Chief of the Defence Staff, or such officer as he may designate, may grant additional seniority;
  2. the Chief of the Defence Staff may prescribe the conditions under which seniority may be adjusted on:
    1. reduction or reversion,
    2. promotion after reduction or reversion,
    3. transfer from the Reserve Force to the Regular Force, or
    4. transfer between sub-components of the Reserve Force;
  3. seniority may be forfeited by reason of the sentence of a service tribunal (see article 104.11 - Forfeiture of Seniority); and (1 September 1999)
  4. periods of leave without pay and allowances do not count for seniority (see article 16.25 - Leave Without Pay and Allowances).

(M) (1 September 1999)


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3.10 - SENIORITY BETWEEN TYPES OF RANK

(1) Officers and non-commissioned members who hold acting rank have no seniority in that rank. They have seniority among themselves in their order of seniority in their substantive rank.

(2) When any part of the Canadian Forces is on active service, substantive and temporary ranks shall be regarded as equal for purposes of determining seniority.

(M)

3.11 - SENIORITY FROM SAME DATE

(1) Where officers and non-commissioned members hold the same substantive rank with the same date of seniority, their seniority among themselves shall be determined:

  1. by their seniorities in their next lower rank;
  2. when their seniorities in the next lower rank are the same, by date of birth; or
  3. if they have no next lower rank, by the Chief of Defence Staff.

(2) Unless the Chief of the Defence Staff otherwise directs, the order in which the names of officers appear in the current Canadian Forces Officers' List is evidence of their relative seniorities.

(M)

3.12 - SENIORITY OF PERSONNEL ATTACHED OR SECONDED TO THE CANADIAN FORCES

An officer or non-commissioned member of another Commonwealth force who is attached or seconded to the Canadian Forces shall have the same seniority in rank in the Canadian Forces as the member holds in the force to which the member belongs.

(M)

3.13 - USE OF RANK BY MEMBERS OF THE SUPPLEMENTARY RESERVE

No officer or non-commissioned member of the Supplementary Reserve shall use his rank without the suffix "Retd" or the word "Retired", unless the member is on duty or engaged in matters directly related to the member's military duties.

(M) (27 September 1997)

(3.14 TO 3.19 INCLUSIVE: NOT ALLOCATED)


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Section 2 - Command

3.20 - COMMAND GENERALLY

In cases not otherwise provided for in QR&O, command shall be exercised by:

  1. the senior officer present;
  2. in the absence of an officer, the senior non-commissioned member present; or
  3. any other officer or non-commissioned member, where specifically authorized by the Chief of the Defence Staff, an officer commanding a command or formation or a commanding officer.

(M)

3.21 - COMMAND OF COMMANDS

(1) Unless the Chief of the Defence Staff otherwise directs, an officer commanding a command shall exercise command over all formations, bases, units and elements allocated to the command.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3) and unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command concerned otherwise directs, in the absence of the officer commanding the command, his command shall be assumed by the next senior Regular Force officer on the General List on the staff at the command headquarters.

(3) Command of a command shall not, unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command so directs, be assumed by an officer who is on temporary duty at, or attached to, the command headquarters.

(M)

3.22 - COMMAND OF FORMATIONS

(1) Unless the Chief of the Defence Staff otherwise directs, an officer commanding a formation shall exercise command over all bases, units and elements allocated to the formation.

(2) Unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command or formation concerned otherwise directs, in the absence of the officer commanding the formation, his command shall be assumed by the next senior Regular Force officer on the staff of the formation headquarters.

(3) Command of a formation shall not, unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command or formation so directs, be assumed by an officer who is on temporary duty at, or attached to, the formation headquarters.

(M)

3.23 - COMMAND OF BASES AND OTHER UNITS

(1) Unless the Chief of the Defence Staff otherwise directs, the officer in command of a base or other unit shall exercise command over all officers and non-commissioned members, at the base or other unit.

(2) Subject to articles 3.235 (Command of Ships) and 3.25 (Where Commanding Officer of a Ship is Absent or Ceases to Exercise Command) and to paragraph (3), unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command, formation, base or unit concerned otherwise directs, in the absence of the officer in command of the base or other unit, the officer's command shall be assumed by the next senior officer who is on strength of and present at the base or other unit.

(3) Command of a base or other unit shall not, unless the Chief of the Defence Staff or the officer commanding the command, formation, base or unit so directs, be assumed by an officer who is on a course of instruction at, on temporary duty at or attached to the base or other unit.

(M)


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3.235 - COMMAND OF SHIPS

(1) On all occasions, the following officers take command over all other officers and over all non-commissioned members who serve in the same ship:

  1. the commanding officer;
  2. the executive officer; and
  3. the officer of the watch.

(2) This article does not limit the head of a department's responsibility and direct access to the commanding officer concerning matters connected with the operational readiness of the department.

(M)

3.24 - COMMAND WHEN SHIP WRECKED OR LOST

Where a ship has been wrecked or otherwise lost or destroyed, or has been taken by the enemy, the order of command among the commanding officer and the officers and non-commissioned members of the crew shall remain unchanged until higher authority otherwise directs.

(M)

3.25 - WHERE COMMANDING OFFICER OF A SHIP IS ABSENT OR CEASES TO EXERCISE COMMAND

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) and to article 3.26 (Officer of the Watch), command of a ship shall be assumed under the circumstances given in the order following:

  1. when the commanding officer has ceased to exercise command, the executive officer shall assume full powers and duties as if the executive officer had been appointed in command; and
  2. when the commanding officer is temporarily absent, the executive officer shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of the commanding officer on behalf of the commanding officer.

(2) In sea-going ships command shall descend in accordance with paragraph (1) and thence, unless the commanding officer otherwise directs, by rank and seniority through those officers who hold an upper deck watchkeeping certificate and thence by order of rank and seniority through all other officers.

(M)

3.26 - OFFICER OF THE WATCH

In the performance of the duties with which the officer of the watch is charged, that officer shall exercise command over all persons on board a ship except:

  1. the commanding officer; and
  2. the executive officer.

(M)

(3.27: NOT ALLOCATED)

3.283 - HEADQUARTERS OF COMMANDS AND FORMATIONS AT UNITS

(1) Except as may otherwise be directed by the Chief the Defence Staff, an officer commanding a command or formation, whose headquarters is located in a ship, base, unit or element of which he is not the commanding officer, and the officers on his staff, hold the same relation to that ship, base, unit or element as they do to the other ships, bases, units or elements in that command or formation.

(2) In all matters of general discipline, members of the staff of an officer commanding a command or formation mentioned in paragraph (1) are subject to the orders and routine of the ship, base, unit or element at which they are present.

(M)


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3.284 - COMMAND IN SHIPS

(1) Section 106 of the National Defence Act provides:

"106. (1) Every person who, when in a ship, disobeys any lawful command given by the captain of the ship in relation to the navigation or handling of the ship or affecting the safety of the ship, whether or not the captain is subject to the Code of Service Discipline, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

(2) For the purposes of this section, every person of whatever rank shall, when the person is in a ship, be under the command, in respect of all matters relating to the navigation or handling of the ship or affecting the safety of the ship, of the captain of the ship, whether or not the captain is subject to the Code of Service Discipline."

(2) Where an officer commanding a sea-going formation, who is also the commanding officer of a ship, embarks in another ship which is under his command, in circumstances that make it desirable to post him to that other ship, he shall be posted for the particular service for the performance of which he embarked and, while so posted, his relation to that other ship shall be as prescribed in article 3.283 (Headquarters of Commands and Formations at Units).

(3) An officer or non-commissioned member shall:

  1. when posted to a ship supernumerary to the ship's establishment for no specific duty, exercise command as if he were holding an established position in that ship;
  2. when posted to a ship supernumerary to the ship's establishment for a specified duty, assume only that command required for the purpose of the specific duty, subject to
    1. articles 4.02 (General Responsibilities of Officers) and 5.01 (General Responsibilities of Non-commissioned Members), and
    2. contrary instructions from the Chief of the Defence Staff;
  3. subject to article 10.015 (Liability to Serve), when taking passage in a ship, exercise command as though he were holding an established position in that ship but only if required to do any duty under paragraph (4).

(4) Subject to article 10.015, an officer taking passage in a ship may be ordered to do duty provided the officer is junior to the executive officer.

(5) Subject to article 10.015, where the normal duties of a non-commissioned member taking passage in a ship include duties as a member of the crew of a ship, he may be employed as if he held an established position in that ship.

(6) Unless instructed by the Chief of the Defence Staff or the commanding officer to do so:

  1. no officer who is taking passage in a ship shall assume command under article 3.25 (Where Commanding Officer of a Ship is Absent or Ceases to Exercise Command); and
  2. no officer or non-commissioned member whose normal duties do not include duties as a member of the crew of a ship has power or command in relation to the operation or safety of the ship or to any other matter concerning the routine or management of the ship.

(C)


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3.295 - COMMAND BY A MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN RANGERS

No member of the Canadian Rangers shall have power of command over any member of a component or a sub-component other than the Canadian Rangers, except where:

  1. the member is called out on service or placed on active service; and
  2. the officer commanding the command so directs.

(M)

3.30 - COMMAND IN AIRCRAFT

Section 110 of the National Defence Act provides:

"110. (1) Every person who, when in an aircraft, disobeys any lawful command given by the captain of the aircraft in relation to the flying or handling of the aircraft or affecting the safety of the aircraft, whether or not the captain is subject to the Code of Service Discipline, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

(2) For the purposes of this section,

  1. every person of whatever rank shall, when the person is in an aircraft, be under the command, in respect of all matters relating to the flying or handling of the aircraft or affecting the safety of the aircraft, of the captain of the aircraft, whether or not the captain is subject to the Code of Service Discipline; and
  2. if the aircraft is a glider and is being towed by another aircraft, the captain of the glider shall, so long as the glider is being towed, be under the command, in respect of all matters relating to the flying or handling of the glider or affecting the safety of glider, of the captain of the towing aircraft, whether or not the captain of the towing aircraft is subject to the Code of Service Discipline."

(C)

3.31 - CHAPLAINS EXCLUDED FROM COMMAND

No chaplain shall exercise command over any officer or non-commissioned member.

(M)

(3.32: NOT ALLOCATED)

3.33 - COMMAND IN THE CANADIAN FORCES MEDICAL SERVICE

No officer who is not a medical officer shall exercise command over a medical officer in respect of his treatment of a patient.

(M)(3 January 2003)

3.34 - COMMAND WHEN COMMONWEALTH FORCES ARE SERVING TOGETHER OR ACTING IN COMBINATION

Part VI of the Visiting Forces Act, Chapter V-2 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, governs mutual powers of command when certain Commonwealth forces are serving together or acting in combination. (See QR&O Volume IV, Appendix 2.1.)

(M)

(3.35 TO 3.40 INCLUSIVE: NOT ALLOCATED)


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Section 3 - Precedence

3.41 - PRECEDENCE OF OFFICERS AND NON-COMMISSIONED MEMBERS

(1) Officers take precedence over all non-commissioned members.

(2) The Chief of the Defence Staff takes precedence over all other officers.

(3) An officer commanding a command, an officer commanding a formation, an officer in command of a base or other unit, and an executive officer in a ship take precedence over all officers over whom they exercise command.

(4) In cases not specifically provided for in this article, the senior member takes precedence over the junior.

(M)

(3.42: NOT ALLOCATED)

3.43 - PRECEDENCE AT PARADES AND CEREMONIES

(1) An officer ordering a parade shall determine the precedence of units and other elements and of members participating in the parade.

(2) In determining precedence, the officer ordering the parade shall be guided, in so far as the officer considers practical, by the traditional precedence within the former Services.

(3) Precedence at ceremonies shall be determined in accordance with paragraph (2) by the officer responsible for the military participation.

(C)

(3.44 TO 3.99 INCLUSIVE: NOT ALLOCATED)