Life as a Reservist


The primary role of the Reserve Force is to augment, sustain, and support the Regular Force at home and abroad.

Length of Service

Service in the Reserve Force is voluntary and is for an undefined period. Most Reservists are enrolled to serve on a part-time basis and have full-time careers outside the Canadian Forces or are full-time students, but some volunteer for full time employment in the military. This employment is normally under a specified contract period of 3 years or less.

Service Locations & Deployment

Reservists train and work close to home. Reserve Force units are located in hundreds of communities across Canada. They are not obliged to serve overseas, but many choose to do so. Currently, over 400 reserve personnel are serving on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world. In the past, up to 40 per cent of all peacekeepers have been reservists.
Deployments can last a few days or weeks when responding to a disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti, or up to six months as part of a long-term commitment such as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Education and Training

You must meet the minimum education requirements for your entry plan and occupation, which can vary from Grade 10 to a university degree. Reservists usually train on evenings and weekends, however, most of them need two weeks of full-time service every year to keep their qualifications current. From time to time, they also need to attend courses to progress in rank, or to prepare for operational missions. Also, Reserve members who pursue a degree or diploma at a university, college or other approved education institution may be eligible to be reimbursed up to 50% of education expenses, to a maximum of $2,000 per academic year, not to exceed $8,000.

Pay and Benefits

Your pay as a Reservist is based on your occupation and rank and on the number of hours you work. You will enjoy many benefits such as accommodations and meals, vacations, a retirement gratuity, personnel support, medical and dental care, etc. Find out more about Reserve Force Pay & Benefits.

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