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

Warrant Officers

Warrant Officers are soldiers senior to Non-Commissioned Officers in the Canadian Army and junior to Commissioned Officers. While term "Warrant Officer" can be used to collectively refer to a warrant officers of any grade, it also became the post-Unification term for the most junior grade of Warrant Officer - a usage historically also used up until 1915.


Warrant Officers were generally introduced to the British Army (and consequently, to the Canadian Army which patterned itself after it) under Army Order 70 of 1915, although some appointments such as Regimental Sergeant Major had been warranted earlier (beginning in fact in 1879, and the warranting of Conductors of Stores and Supplies).

Appointments for soldiers with the specific rank of Warrant Officer up to 1915 included:

  • Sergeant Major

  • Bandmaster

  • Sergeant Major CAMC

In May 1915, appointments previously warranted were given the rank of Warrant Officer Class I (the senior grade), while some appointees previously ranked as senior Sergeants now became graded as Warrant Officer Class II. The new rank of WO II was not recognized in Canada, however.

No warrant officers, class "1", have been, or will be appointed in the CEF in Canada.


There is not, nor has there ever been, any such rank as warrant officer Class "2" in Canada. Therefore, NCOs who have held warrant rank Class "2" overseas, automatically lose the same on return to Canada.

Warrant officers Class "1", who have received their warrants in the field, are permitted to retain their rank in the CEF, in Canada, provided they do not accept an appointment lower than that for which the warrant was granted.1

Second World War

At the start of the Second World War, the Canadian Army introduced the rank of Warrant Officer Class III to mirror British practice; while officially the rank remained on the books, the rank effectively ceased to exist in 1940 though it was not officially abolished until unification.


After Unification of the services, there were once again three grades of warrant officer, though they were renamed. In order from junior to senior, they were:

  • Warrant Officer

  • Master Warrant Officer

  • Chief Warrant Officer

The duties of the the specific rank of Warrant Officer included those previously held by Staff Sergeants and Sergeants, including appointments such as Battery/Squadron/Company Quartermaster Sergeant and second-in-command of an Infantry Platoon (previously called a Platoon Sergeant but after Unification retitled Platoon Warrant Officer, or more familiarly, Platoon Second-in Command).

The responsibilities of the soldiers holding higher grades in units changed little; Chief Warrant Officers in infantry battalions or armoured regiments, for example, were generally appointed to the same roles of the former WOs I Class - such as Regimental Sergeant Major; MWOs took on the roles of the former WOs II Class, such as Company Sergeant Major or Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.

However, higher grades of Chief Warrant Officer were also introduced, which are discussed in detail in that article, which expanded the authority that CWOs were able to exercise.


1. CEF Orders, Ottawa, reprinted in: Law, Clive M. Khaki: Uniforms of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Service Publications, Nepean, ON, 1997). ISBN 0969984545

The crown was a common insignia device for a Warrant Officer throughout the 20th Century.

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