Canadian Cadet Organizations

Canadian Cadet Organizations
Organisations de Cadets du Canada
Country Canada
Type Youth Organization
Size 52 890 Cadets (as of 4 April 2016)
Brigadier General Kelly Woiden

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 support from civilian groups, namely the Navy League, the Army Cadet League and the Air Cadet League, as well as local community sponsors that include service organizations and parents of cadets.[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.


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.

See also


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