There are so many ranks in the Canadian Army. For some people, what each rank means and the order in which they progress can be confusing.
I will outline a simple guide to Canadian Army ranks in order in this article.
Canadian Army Ranks in Order
As of today, the ranks in the Canadian Army, in ascending order, are as follows:
Canadian Army Enlisted Ranks
- Private (Pte)
- Corporal (Cpl)
- Master Corporal (MCpl)
- Sergeant (Sgt)
- Warrant Officer (WO)
- Master Warrant Officer (MWO)
- Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)
Canadian Army Officer Ranks
- Officer Cadet (OCdt)
- Second Lieutenant (2Lt)
- Lieutenant (Lt)
- Captain (Capt)
- Major (Maj)
- Lieutenant Colonel (LCol)
- Colonel (Col)
- Brigadier-General (BGen)
- Major-General (MGen)
- Lieutenant-General (LGen)
- General (Gen)
Canadian Army Enlisted Ranks
Below are the ranks for enlisted members of the Canadian Army.
The rank of Private Basic is given to new recruits within the Canadian Army.
These soldiers will be going through training and learning the ropes when it comes to life within the organization.
This rank of private is reserved for the lowest-ranked soldiers who are trained and qualified as members of the army.
They are responsible for carrying out orders and performing a variety of tasks such as security, transport, and logistics.
Privates typically don’t have command responsibilities and serve as part of a larger unit.
Corporals are considered junior noncommissioned officers in the Canadian Army.
They are responsible for leading a small group of soldiers and carrying out orders from those of higher ranks.
Corporals may be in charge of a section of eight to 10 soldiers.
Master Corporals are again junior, noncommissioned officers in the army.
They have a similar role and responsibility as a corporal. A Master Corporal will be in charge of a section.
A sergeant is considered a senior NCO. They are responsible for leading a squad of soldiers, overseeing their training, and carrying out orders from higher-ranked officers.
Sergeants will usually have more than 10 years of experience in the army.
Warrant Officers are among the highest-ranked NCOs in the Canadian Army.
They are responsible for leading a company of soldiers and overseeing their training and operations.
Master Warrant Officer
A Master Warrant Officer assumes many of the same responsibilities as a regular warrant officer.
Their focus will usually be on the training and discipline of the soldiers under their command.
They can often take on roles within training facilities.
Chief Warrant Officer
This rank is seen as the most senior NCO rank.
The rank is responsible for ensuring all issues for NCOs and soldiers alike are raised and dealt with by the commissioned officers.
Canadian Army Officer Ranks
Below are the ranks for officers of the Canadian Army.
An officer cadet is a rank held by a soldier while attending the Royal Military College of Canada and prior to becoming a commissioned officer.
When people acknowledge them, they are never to be referred to as sir or ma’am.
A second lieutenant is the lowest rank among the commissioned officers in the army. This is the first rank upon completion of officer training.
They will usually be in charge of a platoon, but at this stage, they are still learning and developing their leadership skills.
The rank of First Lieutenant will be issued to an officer who has shown good leadership abilities.
They will have proven to their superiors that they are capable of taking command of a group of soldiers. They may assume the role of second in command of a company.
Captains are commissioned officers in the Canadian Army who are usually in command of a company.
At this level, they will have anywhere from 7 to 12 years of experience and can also take on roles in training and administrative areas.
A major is the lowest of the field-grade officer ranks in the army. They will typically have 12 to 15 years of experience.
Majors are responsible for the training, welfare, and discipline of the soldiers under their command, and they also play a key role in developing and implementing operational plans.
The Lieutenant Colonel is a field-grade officer. They typically have 16 to 20 years of experience and are responsible for leading a battalion of 800 to 1200 soldiers.
Lieutenant colonels provide operational and strategic leadership to their soldiers and are involved in the planning and execution of military operations.
A colonel is a field-grade officer rank in the Canadian Army. They typically have 20 to 25 years of experience and are responsible for leading a Brigade of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
Colonels provide strategic leadership and direction to the soldiers under their command, and they also play a key role in shaping the future of the Canadian Army.
A Brigadier General is a General Officer rank in the army. They typically have 25 to 30 years of experience and are responsible for leading a Brigade of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
Brigadier generals provide operational and strategic leadership to the soldiers under their command and, much like a Colonel, can help direct the future of the Canadian Army.
A major general is a general officer of rank who will have around 30 to 35 years of experience and is responsible for leading a division of 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers.
Major generals will have a high influence on the direction of the army and begin to play a much more political role.
The Lieutenant General is the second-highest rank in the Canadian Army. They typically have 35 to 40 years of experience and are responsible for leading a core of 20,000 to 50,000 soldiers.
At this rank, they will deal with government officials and assist with policies directly affecting the army.
A general is the highest rank in the Canadian Army. They are responsible for leading the entire army.
They are responsible for leading the entire army. It typically takes an officer 40 or more years to reach this rank.
They will usually serve within the Department of National Defense and deal with all things related to the army.
Canadian Army Ranks List 2023
|Private Basic||Trainee Soldier|
|Private Trained||Lowest ranked soldiers (trained & qualified)|
|Corporal||Leads a small group of soldiers|
|Master Corporal||Similar role & responsibility as a corporal|
|Sergeant||Oversees Training & Carries out orders|
|Warrant Officer||Leads a Company of Soldiers|
|Master Warrant Officer||Training & Discipline of Soldiers|
|Chief Warrant Officer||Ensure all issues for NCOs and soldiers are addressed|
|Officer Cadet||Attend the Royal Military College of Canada|
|2nd Lieutenant||In charge of a platoon|
|1st Lieutenant||Commands a Group of soldiers|
|Captain||Commands a Company|
|Major||Training, Welfare, & Discipline of Soldiers|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Commands a Battalion|
|Colonel||Commands a Brigade|
|Brigadier General||Commands a Brigade|
|Major General||Commands a Division|
|Lieutenant General||Commands a Corps|
|General||Leading the entire army|
Comparison Table: Canadian vs US Army Ranks
|Canadian Army Ranks||US Army Ranks|
|Warrant Officer||Sergeant First Class|
|Master Warrant Officer||Master Sergeant/First Sergeant|
|Chief Warrant Officer||Sergeant Major|
|Second Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Lieutenant Colonel|
Canadian Army Rank Progression Chart
|Years of Service||Expected Rank|
|Entry Level||Private Basic/Recruit|
|After Basic Training||Private (Trained)|
|After 2-3 Years||Corporal|
|After 4-5 Years||Master Corporal|
|After 6-8 Years||Sergeant|
|After 10-12 Years||Warrant Officer|
|After 13-16 Years||Master Warrant Officer|
|After 17-20 Years||Chief Warrant Officer|
|After Officer Training||Officer Cadet|
|After Commissioning||Second Lieutenant|
|After 2-3 Years as Officer||Lieutenant|
|After 4-7 Years as Officer||Captain|
|After 8-12 Years as Officer||Major|
|After 13-16 Years as Officer||Lieutenant Colonel|
|After 17-20 Years as Officer||Colonel|
|After 20-25 Years as Officer||Brigadier-General|
|After 25-30 Years as Officer||Major-General|
|After 30-35 Years as Officer||Lieutenant-General|
|After 35+ Years as Officer||General|
Canadian Army: Conclusion
Perhaps you or a family member has served in or is serving in the Canadian Army. If so, which rank do you think is the backbone of the army?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below. As always, guys, thanks for reading.