Rank and Responsibility

Table of Ranks & Responsibilities

Table of Ranks & Appointments

Staff Officers

Rank & Appt Abbreviations



►►Lieutenant General

►►Major General

►►Brigadier General

►►Brigadier (1928-1968)

►►Col.-Commandant (1922-1928)


►►Lieutenant Colonel




►►2nd Lieutenant

►►Officer Cadet

Warrant Officers

►►Chief Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class I (1915-1968)

►►Master Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class II (1915-1968)

►►Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class III (1939-1945)

Non-Commissioned Officers

►►Staff Sergeant (1900-1968)


►►Lance Sergeant (1900-1968)

►►Master Corporal (1968-2000+)


►►Lance Corporal  (1900-1968)

Non-Commissioned Mbrs (Men)




Master Gunner

Platoon Sergeant Major

Honorary Ranks


Colonel of the Regiment

Honorary Colonel

Colonel Commandant

2nd Lieutenant

Lieutenant was a rank predating the 20th Century in the Canadian Army held by commissioned officers. The word itself comes from the French language; lieu meaning "place" (as in the noun, meaning a position) and tenant referring to the act of filling a position - thus the word "lieutenant" literally means someone holding a position (as in the absence of a superior). The word is used in Canadian titles such as Lieutenant Governor (the monarch's representative in Canadian provinces) and is common in other nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The sense of a person being a deputy can also be seen in the titles Lieutenant Colonel or Lieutenant General.


In Canadian English the word was pronounced as if to say "lef-tenant" whereas in American usage the word sounds like "lootenant" (though this unique pronunciation only phased itself in during the latter half of the 1800's). The spelling is the same in both countries, and this pronunciation was also a reflection of British heritage in the Canadian military.


Widespread use of the rank of 2nd Lieutenant dates to 1871 when it was introduced throughout the British Army, replacing the rank of Ensign (called Cornet in the cavalry). The rank had been used, however, in the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Fusilier regiments before 1871.

Rank Insignia

The rank originally bore no specific insignia; at a time when officers' uniforms differed dramatically from that of other ranks, identification was not a problem. Nonetheless in November 1902, a single rank star was introduced to designate a 2nd Lieutenant; a Lieutenant gained an additional rank star, now having two, and a Captain's insignia changed from two stars to three. This insignia sequence would remain in use up to Unification.

After Unification, the Canadian Forces designated a 2nd Lieutenant by one thick stripe of gold braid.



Battle Dress

Service Dress

Combat Clothing

Garrison Dress

Duties and Responsibilities

The rank of 2nd Lieutenant was granted to an officer newly commissioned. Once fully trained (for example, as a platoon commander in the infantry), promotion was generally made to Lieutenant.

In the later years of the 20th Century, when it became common to commission long-serving soldiers from the ranks, the rank of 2nd Lieutenant was often skipped.

Subaltern was another designation for a soldier ranked Lieutenant or 2nd Lieutenant.

Forms of Address

Lieutenants were addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am".

Canadian Army Ranks/Appointments
Non-Commissioned Ranks
Private  | Lance Corporal | Corporal | Master Corporal | Lance Sergeant | Sergeant | Staff Sergeant
Warrant Officers




Warrant Officer | Warrant Officer Class III | Warrant Officer Class II Warrant Officer Class I |  Warrant Officer | Master Warrant Officer | Chief Warrant Officer
Officer Cadet  | 2nd Lieutenant | Lieutenant | Captain | Major | Lieutenant Colonel | Colonel | Colonel Commandant | Brigadier
 Brigadier General | Major General | Lieutenant General | General


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