Canadian Armed Forces Ranks – Navy, Army and Air Force

Ranks and appointment

Canadian Armed Forces Ranks | Ranks in the Canadian Forces mark a person’s position in its hierarchical structure. As people gain more responsibility and authority, they earn promotions in rank.

The formal rank structure within the Forces is essential for:

  • passing orders in operations
  • ensuring clarity of command
  • maintaining order and discipline

Insignia, the badges worn on uniforms, show the person’s rank. You can see the insignia for each rank at:

  • Royal Canadian Navy ranks and badges
  • Canadian Army ranks and badges
  • Royal Canadian Air Force ranks and badges

Here are the Navy, Army and Air Force ranks with classifications and acronyms:


Ranks Royal Canadian Navy Canadian Army / Royal Canadian Air Force
General/Flag Officers Admiral (Adm) General (Gen)
Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Lieutenant-General (LGen)
Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Major-General (MGen)
Commodore (Cmdre) Brigadier-General (BGen)
Senior Officers Captain(N) (Capt(N)) Colonel (Col)
Commander (Cdr) Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol)
Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Major (Maj)
Junior Officers Lieutenant(N) (Lt(N)) Captain (Capt)
Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Lieutenant (Lt)
Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A/SLt) Second Lieutenant (2Lt)
Subordinate Officer Naval Cadet (NCdt) Officer Cadet (OCdt)
Warrant Officers, Petty Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Chief Petty Officer 1st class (CPO 1) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)
Chief Petty Officer 2nd class(CPO 2) Master Warrant Officer (MWO)
Petty Officer 1st class(PO 1) Warrant Officer (WO)
Petty Officer 2nd class(PO 2) Sergeant (Sgt)
Junior Non-Commissioned Members Master Sailor (MS) Master Corporal (MCpl)
Sailor First Class (S1) Corporal (Cpl)
Sailor Second Class (S2) Private (Trained) (Pte (T)) / Aviator (Trained) (Avr (T))
Sailor Third Class (S3) Private (Basic) (Pte (B)) / Aviator (Basic) (Avr (B))
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