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

Colonel Commandant

Colonel-Commandant was both a rank and an honorary appointment.


The rank of Colonel-Commandant was introduced in 1922 into the British Army (and many Commonwealth militaries) to replace the rank of Brigadier General. It existed as a rank until 1928, when renamed Brigadier.


The appointment of Colonel-Commandant evolved similar to that of Colonel of the Regiment, in the British Army and subsequently the Canadian Army, generally in corps/regiments/branches which had originated as "families" of tactical units.

Colonel-Commandant is a centuries-old tradition that Branches of the Canadian Forces have chosen to inherit from the British.

The exact origin of this appointment is somewhat vague but has been traced as an honorary appointment in 1722 to the Royal Artillery. When the title was first adopted by the British infantry in 1756 with the 2nd Green jackets, the King's Rifle Corps, it was a commanding officer's position. Their Colonel-Commandant commanded each of that Regiment's four battalions until 1759. From 1921 to 1928, Colonel-Commandant along with "Colonel of the Staff" became an official rank. The two replaced Brigadier in the British Army for that period.

The personnel given this appointment were not always active military officers. Retired military officers and prominent citizens of the community also have been so appointed.


As an honorary appointment, the first Colonel-Commandant in the Canadian Army was appointed for the Royal Canadian Artillery in Jan 1925 and in Dec 1947 each corps of the Canadian Army was permitted to have its own Colonel-Commandant.

Canadian Forces Administrative Orders were eventually promulgated, which indicated that a Colonel-Commandant could be appointed for any branch of the CF, with the Chaplain Branch permitted two, one for Chaplain (P) and one for Chaplain (RC) (ie one Protestant and one Roman Catholic) as well as one for the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

Appointment as Colonel-Commandant was restricted to former officers of the Canadian Forces who, normally, held the rank of colonel or above on retirement. Recommendations could be initiated only by the Branch Adviser of a Branch, or by the Director General Reserves and Cadets (DGRC) and only for the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and nominations were subject to the approval of the Minister of National Defence.


The tenure Colonels Commandant was established by CFAOs as normally being three years, with extensions possible at the discretion of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of a Colonel Commandant included:

  • fostering esprit de corps throughout his organization;

  • advising NDHQ on:

    • matters of significance to the organization they represented

    • the administration and disposition of appropriate funds and property

    • Branch or cadet corps charities, organizations and memorials, as appropriate

  • liaising between the units of the Regular Force and Reserve Force within that branch

  • liaising with allied or affiliated formations, regiments and units

  • advising military associations or unit commanders in order to maintain uniformity in such matters as dress and custom within their affiliations

Channels of Communication

A direct channel of communication was authorized between a Colonel Commandant and Branch Adviser or NDHQ/DGRC, as appropriate, on matters falling within the terms of reference above.

Colonels Commandant were also permitted to communicate with:

  • the private secretary of his Colonel-in-Chief or Captain General regarding significant Branch or cadet corps activities and exchange of birthday or similar greetings

  • commanders of commands, when appropriate; and

  • the Chief of the Defence Staff, when appropriate.


Colonels Commandant were permitted, in the performance of his duties, to:

  • visit the appropriate CF school;

  • in consultation with the Branch Adviser, visit Branch units of the Regular Force or Reserve Force on appropriate occasions;
    attend meetings of his military association; and

  • visit NDHQ for consultation with the CDS.

(The Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, in consultation with NDHQ/DGRC, was permitted to visit cadet camps and make other visits necessary to perform his duties)


  • Colonel-Commandant Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

  • Colonel-Commandant Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

  • Colonel-Commandant Land Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch

  • Colonel-Commandant Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

  • Colonel-Commandant Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

  • Colonel-Commandant Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps

  • Colonel-Commandant Logistics Branch

  • Colonel-Commandant Legal Branch

  • Colonel-Commandant Chaplain Branch

  • Honorary Colonel-Commandant Royal Canadian Engineers

  • Colonel-Commandant Canadian Military Engineers

  • Colonel-Commandant Intelligence Branch

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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