Regulations and Orders

National Defence Act

The National Defence Act was an act of Canadian Parliament in 1923 that merged the Ministry of Militia and Defence with the Ministry of the Naval Service and the newly created Ministry of Aviation into one ministry, the Ministry of National Defence. The ministry was headed by the Minister of National Defence.

A new National Defence Act (NDA) of 1950 consolidated all purely defence-related statutes under one authority and charged the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee with "achieving integration of functions and commonality in pay, regulations, service conditions and a code of service discipline."

The Chiefs of Staff Committee, now including the Deputy Minister (DM), was mandated to advise the Government on military matters such as defence policy, strategy, inter-service training, plans and operations, and service rank structures. The committee was intended to operate by consensus and refer disagreements the Minister of National Defence (MND). The new act confirmed and reinforced the independent authority of the three service chiefs for the administration and operation of their services as well as their direct access to the MND. The DM chaired a new Estimates and Review Committee consisting of the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Secretary of the Treasury Board, and the DM of Defence Production, with the intent that they would ensure only approved programs appeared in the budget estimates. Later initiatives included the amalgamation of the service colleges and integration of the medical, postal and chaplains' services as part of the eventual process of Unification.

King's/Queen's Regulations and Orders

The Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O) was a publication of the Department of National Defence containing orders and regulations governing the Canadian Army and was considered the primary document of military law and regulations. QR&O were amplified by Canadian Forces Administrative Orders.

The QR&O was preceded by King's Regulations and Orders, and replaced that document after the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne in 1953.


The QR&O were issued under the authority of Section 12 of the National Defence Act (NDA), the governing statute of the Canadian Forces, which gave the Governor in Council (the Governor-General of Canada|Governor-General acting on the advice of Cabinet) and the Minister of National Defence the authority to promulgate regulations for the "organization, training, discipline, efficiency, administration, and government of the Forces" so long as such regulations were consistent with the NDA. It also permitted the Treasury Board to make regulations concerning pay and allowances.


The QR&O were organized into chapters and paragraphs, with references given in a decimalized format, for example QR&O 1.35 refers to section 35 of chapter 1 of the QR&O.

The issuing authorities (Governor in Council, Minister, Treasury Board, or CDS) was indicated by a letter in parentheses following each regulation or order; (G), (M), (T), and (C), respectively.


The QR&O were divided into four volumes:

  • Volume I – Administrative (Chapters 1 through 100)

  • Volume II – Disciplinary (Chapters 101 through 200)

  • Volume III – Financial (Chapters 201 through 300)

  • Volume IV - Appendices

Volume I - Administrative

Volume I contained the most wide-ranging regulations and orders:

Ch. 1 - Introduction and Definitions

Ch. 2 - Government and Organization

Ch. 3 - Rank, Seniority, Command and Precedence

Ch. 4 - Duties and Responsibilities of officers

Ch. 5 - Duties and Responsibilities of Non-Commissioned Members

Ch. 6 - Enrolment and Re-Engagement

Ch. 7 - Grievances

Ch. 8 - (Not Allocated)

Ch. 9 - Reserve Service

Ch. 10 - Transfer, Attachment, Secondment and Loan

Ch. 11 - Promotion, Reversion and Compulsory Remustering

Ch. 12 - Promotion of Officers

Ch. 13 - (Not Allocated)

Ch. 14 - Promotion and Reclassification of Non-Commissioned Members

Ch. 15 - Release

Ch. 16 - Leave

Ch. 17 - Dress and Appearance

Ch. 18 - Honours

Ch. 19 - Conduct and Discipline

Ch. 20 - Canadian Forces Drug Control Program

Ch. 21 - Summary Investigations and Boards of Inquiry

Ch. 22 - Military Police and Reports on Persons in Custody

Ch. 23 - Duties in Aid of the Civil Power

Ch. 24 - Casualties and Funerals

Ch. 25 - Service Estates and Personal Belongings

Ch. 26 - Personal Records and Documents

Ch. 27 - Messes, Canteens and Institutes

Ch. 28 - Allotment and Occupation of Quarters

Ch. 29 - Works and Buildings

Ch. 30 - Fire Protection Services

Ch. 31 - (Repealed)

Ch. 32 - Bands

Ch. 33 - Chaplain Services

Ch. 34 - Medical Services

Ch. 35 - Dental Services

Ch. 36 - Materiel and Provision of Services

Ch. 37 - (Not Allocated)

Ch. 38 - Liability for Public and Non-Public Property

Ch. 39 to 100 (Not Allocated)

Volume II - Disciplinary

Volume II amplified the Code of Service Discipline and was the authoritative manual for military law in Canada, containing the regulations explaining service offences and the prosecution and punishment thereof:

Ch. 101 - General Provisions Respecting the Code of Service Discipline

Ch. 102 - Disciplinary Jurisdiction

Ch. 103 - Service Offences

Ch. 104 - Punishments and Sentences

Ch. 105 - Arrest and Pre-trial Custody

Ch. 106 - Investigation of Service Offences

Ch. 107 - Preparation, Laying and Referral of Charges

Ch. 108 - Summary Proceedings

Ch. 109 - Application for Referral Authority for Disposal of a Charge

Ch. 110 - Action by Director of Military Prosecutions in Respect of Charges

Ch. 111 - Convening of Courts Martial and Pre-trial Administration

Ch. 112 - Procedure at Courts Martial

Ch. 113 - Special General Courts Martial And Standing Courts Martial

Ch. 114 - General Provisions Respecting Imprisonment and Detention

Ch. 115 - Appeals from Courts Martial

Ch. 116 - Review Of Findings and Punishments

Ch. 117 - New Trials

Ch. 118 - Release from Detention or Imprisonment Pending Appeal from Court Martial

Ch. 119 - Mental Disorder

Ch. 120 to 200 (Not Allocated)

Volume III - Financial

Volume III laid the framework of regulations governing financial issues:

Ch. 201 - Duties and Responsibilities of Accounting Officers

Ch. 202 - Cash Accounts and Banking Arrangements

Ch. 203 - Financial Benefits - Generally

Ch. 204 - Financial Benefits and Pay of Military Judgesamended

Ch. 205 - Allowances for Officers and Non-Commissioned Members

Ch. 206 - Pension Deductions, Contributions and Gratuities

Ch. 207 - Pay Allotments and Compulsory Payments

Ch. 208 - Fines, Forfeitures And Deductions

Ch. 209 - Transportation and Travelling Expenses

Ch. 210 - Miscellaneous Entitlements and Grants

Volume IV - Appendices

Volume IV contained supplementary rules and regulations as well as the text of the NDA and other applicable Acts of Parliament:


1.1 - National Defence Act

1.2 - Court Martial Appeal Rules

1.3 - Military Rules of Evidence

1.4 - Regulations for Service Prisons and Detention Barracks

1.5 - Prisoner-of-War Status Determination Regulations

1.6 - National Defence Claims Regulations, 1970


2.1 - Visiting Forces Act

2.2 - Visiting Forces Regulations

2.3 - Visiting Forces Attachment and Serving Together Regulations

2.4 - Agreement Between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Regarding the Status of their Forces


3.1 - Security of Information Act

3.2 - Defence Controlled Access Area Regulations

3.3 - Inspection and Search Defence Regulations

3.4 - Government Property Traffic Regulations


4.1 - Charges for Family Housing Regulations

4.2 - (REPEALED)

4.3 - (REPEALED)

4.4 - Retroactive Remuneration Regulations – Canadian Forces


5.1 - Canadian Forces Superannuation Act

5.2 - Canadian Forces Superannuation Regulations

5.3 - Supplementary Retirement Benefits Act


6.1 - Queen΄s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Military Colleges (new format)


7.1 - Military Police Professional Code of Conduct

7.2 - Complaints About the Conduct of Members of the Military Police Regulations

General Orders

General Orders were the means by which were the means by which Regulations, Orders, and other types of instructions or information were promulgated and issued to the Canadian Army, on the authority of the Minister of Militia and Defence until 1921 and the Minister of National Defence thereafter, by Command of the Adjutant-General.

General Orders covered a wide range of topics, including the authorization of insignia, amendments to the King's Regulations and Orders (later Queen's Regulations and Orders, Localization of Units, War Establishments, etc.


General Orders were numbered within the year they were introduced. They also sometimes specified a date from which they were considered to take effect.

For example, General Order 12/1922 (Effective 13 Jan 1922) was the 12th General Order promulgated in the year 1922, taking effect from the 13th of January that year.

The short form would be "G.O. 12/1922".


The first General Order was issued on 1 Jan 1898.

General Orders were superceded by Canadian Army Orders in Jan 1947, and the last General Order was G.O. 295/46 dated 30 Dec 1946.

Canadian Army Orders

Canadian Army Orders were the means by which Regulations, Orders, and other types of instructions or information were promulgated and issued to the Canadian Army, on the authority of the Minister of National Defence, by command of the Adjutant-General.

Canadian Army Orders covered a wide range of topics, including the authorization of insignia, amendments to the King's Regulations and Orders (later Queen's Regulations and Orders), Localization of Units, War Establishments, etc.


Canadian Army Orders were divided into chapters, sections and paragraphs. For example, Canadian Army Order No 33-1 was entitled BATTLE HONOURS - UNITED NATIONS OPERATIONS - KOREA 1950-53 and promulgated in the late 1950s. It was the first section of chapter 33.

The number of the paragraph or section was unrelated to the date of issue.

Canadian Army Orders were replaced by Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAOs).


Canadian Army Orders superseded General Orders in Jan 1947, and the last Canadian Army Order published was dated 31 Dec 1964.

Canadian Forces Administrative Orders

Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAOs) were issued to supplement and amplify the Queen's Regulations and Orders (QR&O).


New CFAOs and CFAO changes (CHs) were generally issued every other week.

Unless indicated by an effective date shown in the text or at the end of the CFAO, the CFAO was effective from the date of issue.


CFAOs contained administrative policy, procedures and information of continuing effect.


Like the Canadian Army Orders that they replaced, CFAOs were identified by chapter, paragraph and section numbers which did not correspond to the date of promulgation.

The following items were included after the last paragraph in each CFAO:

  • the letter (M) if the order was Ministerial; otherwise the letter (C) appeared indicating a Chief of the Defence Staff order

  • the relevant NDHQ file number followed by the designation of the sponsor

  • date of issue and detail of any superceded orders or instructions

  • the effective date where required

  • indexing references


The implementation of CFAOs and related instructions was subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and other relevant federal legislation.

Emergency Applicability

Each CFAO was to be annotated as to its usage during periods of peace, tension and war. The following categories were used:

  • PEACETIME (P). Routine orders or instructions approved for operation and administration in peacetime

  • TENSION (T). Orders and instructions during periods of increasing tension, such as --

  • a declaration of the State of Military Vigilance or a stage of the Canadian Military Alert System

  • a major internal security operation of national proportions

  • a major operation involving most elements of the Canadian Forces

  • WARTIME (W). Orders and instructions required during war involving Canada

Each order could have from one to three annotations to indicate the varying circumstances of applications. Transition from one category to another was to be by order of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) on the advice of the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (DCDS). Implementation was to be by a CANFORGEN message.

War Measures Act

The War Measures Act (enacted in August 1914, replaced by the Emergencies Act in 1988) was a Canadian statute that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers. It was patterned after the British Defence of the Realm Act enacted about the same time. When the act was invoked, citizens could be arrested and imprisoned without the benefit of trial or even a stated explanation. Some wrongly claimed that it created a state of martial law throughout the country. Martial law is characterized by the assumption of powers of trial and punishment by the Armed Forces which did not apply under this act.

The Act compelled enemy aliens to register with the government and was used against Ukrainian Canadians, Germans and Slavs in the First World War and Italian, German and Japanese Canadians in the Second World War.

The act was invoked three times in Canadian history:

First World War

Thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans were interned in 25 internment camps across Canada as a result of the War Measures Act between 1914 and 1920. These enemy aliens were imprisoned and thousands more were forced to carry identity documents and report regularly to the authorities. Those who were jailed were also subjected to various state-sanctioned censures, including restrictions on their freedom of movement, association and free speech and, in 1917, to disenfranchisement. The internment operations continued until Jun 1920, nearly 2 years after the end of the war.

Second World War

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, and Canada's subsequent declaration of war on Japan, the federal government used the Act as justification for the internment of Canadian citizens of Japanese descent.

The FLQ Crisis

In 1970, Quebec nationalists and FLQ members kidnapped British diplomat James Cross and Quebec provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte, who was later murdered. What is now referred to as the October Crisis raised fears in Canada of a militant terrorist faction rising up against the government. At the request of the Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, and the government of the Province of Quebec, and in response to general threats and demands made by the FLQ, the federal Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau invoked the act. He did this so police had more power in arrest and detention, so they could find and stop the FLQ members.


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