The Royal Canadian Cadet Corps – Squadrons

There are numerous problems within the Cadet organization and I’d be the first to admit budge 001that. From my own 12 years of serving in the CIL/CIC I saw more abuses,outrages,and dreadful deportment of other so called commissioned officers. They wore the uniform of a Canadian Forces officer in one of the three branches of service. How they wore that uniform left much to be desired. Over weight, Wearing ill fitting jackets and pants , scruffy shoes, badly needing hair cuts, sloppy dirty uniform shirts with collars open and ties slack were just a few of the things that troubled me. I can only imagine what our regular forces NCO members thought, they had to salute and address them as Sir/Maam. I served 12 years in the Royal Navy and had long since learned the pride one must have while wearing the nations military uniforms. I recall visiting the British Carrier HMS Ark Royal in 1989. On the flight deck there was a variety of CIL uniforms. The ship was open to visitors. It was summer and the correct officer dress of the day was navy pants, white summer short sleeve uniform shirt with shoulder boards. However we had some CIC in long sleeve winter shirts without a tie! others in same shirt with sleeves rolled up. One had a brass metal cap badge that had turned green. I was not only ashamed I was sorely embarrassed to represent the same unit. The report below refers to career CIC officers, and yes I knew a few, some of who are still serving. They were mostly found at the Regional Cadet HQ’s which was grossly over staffed . Many times when we deployed with cadets we  stayed under canvas, while these career types stayed in local motels often with their wives. Regional cadet HQ’s  seemed to be staffed by an unusually high number of recently retired senior NCO’s.  Strangely they had little or no cadet background but within a few months of joining the CIL they were given senior rank as L.Cdr’s/Majors with full time jobs at Regional Cadet HQ’s. It appeared as a question of who you knew. Allow me to give one blatant example that occurred on PEI. Out of the blue we had a newly appointed ACIC officer(three year appt), in the rank Major. No one in the PEI cadet world knew this guy. He had certainly never had any connection with our cadets, but suddenly he is the islands senior cadet officer, his name was Ken Burgeron.  When he completed his three year term guess what? His best buddy Kip Holloway walked into the job next, he had no cadet connection previous to his appointment. In both cases neither of these two men rose above the of rank Lt (N) or Capt in the regular force.  They connived, cheated and pulled strings to usurp Corps officers more deserving and very much more familiar with  the cadet organization. Promotions that should have gone to serving CIC officers was stolen from under their noses. These two characters had no actual interest in the Cadets, they just so badly wanted that extra half stripe on their sleeves. The word patronage comes to mind, this is an example of Regional Cadet HQ’s rewarding members of the old boys club. This is just a brief account listing a few highlights of the mismanagement that I witnessed. Indeed there was much wrong with the cadet organization during my time 1987 to 1999. Apparently not much has changed, Below is a list of proposals to change the policies and procedures. I wish them success.


(1)     the severance of the cadet program from The National Defence Act and a separate Cadet Act being passed by the Liberal government;

(2)     the elimination of Regional Cadet Headquarters, and a requirement that no more than 100 full-time cadet officer staff are employed across the country, with the money being directed to employ more staff or run more programming for kids in communities at the local level; and

(3)     Making one of the following changes to the Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC), the Canadian Forces officer branch which is composed of 5,000 cadet officer (technically Canadian Armed Forces) members and which runs the cadet program in Canada:

(i)     That the CIC becomes primarily a non-commissioned member branch, and that any CIC officers are required to meet the usual enrollment and commissioning standards in the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces; or

(ii)     That the CIC is completely civilianized; or

(iii)     That the CIC is disbanded entirely and the cadet program is run by reserve force and regular force members who volunteer or serve with additional incentive pay; or

(iv)     That members of the CIC are required to complete actual military training involving regular service weapons (like the rest of the military), and that the branch becomes subject to universality of service provisions, educational standards, and fitness standards equal to those of other Canadian Armed Forces officers.


(A) The Growth of the Full-Time Cadet Program Bureaucracy

Many of the problems in the cadet program stem from the growth of full-time career cadet officers who have created large bureaucratic cadet headquarters in five centres across the country, plus a national headquarters in Ottawa. The Chief Review Services notes:

“The staffing levels in the Cadet Program appear high when compared to allied programs. After adjusting to an estimated full-time equivalent, the total ratio of paid staff to Canadian cadets is 1:23, compared to 1:104 and 1:151 in the case of two allied nations’ cadet programs. This means that Canada’s program has between four and six times the number of full-time staff per cadet as other allied programs.”6

The ratio of full-time staff to cadets is higher than the ratio of teachers to students in some Canadian schools, even though cadets are in a part-time, one-night-a-week youth group program.

The CRS notes that the bureaucracy in the cadet program has grown at a rate of 159% over the past two decades. The cost of the program is 40% higher than it was in the early 1990s, and this is attributed to the tripling of full-time staffing in the program.7 More than 60% of all program expenditures are on pay and benefits which amounted to $147.8 million in 2010/11.8

A Cadet Program Renewal update on March 27, 2014 by the former Chief Reserves and Cadets, Rear Admiral Bennett (now in charge of Operation HONOUR) indicated that half of the full-time positions in the cadet program would be cut.9 This has not happened to date,

This is a sad state of affairs for a once amazing youth organization.

God Bless and keep reading


About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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