by David Bercuson
October 16, 2018
Late last spring there was discussion in the press about Canada’s policy disallowing non-Canadian citizens from joining the Canadian Armed Forces. One view put forward was that the current problem of maintaining enough recruits to keep the military at levels put forward by Strong, Secure, Engaged—Canada’s Defence Policy (SSE), published in early June 2017, would be easier if the restriction was lifted. The problem referred to was that the military is having great difficulty maintaining current personnel levels, let alone increasing both the reserves and the regular force by 5,000 as called for in SSE.
There is no reason why landed immigrants should be excluded from the Canadian Armed Forces, provided that they are properly vetted, which is done anyway before they are allowed to take the oath of citizenship. But changing that policy will do very little to solve the problem of recruitment that plagues the Canadian military today. Put simply, the CAF is trying to climb a very steep mountain to attract the additional young men and women who are needed to maintain current numbers, let alone increase them.
There are a number of reasons for this.