What is The CF Payscale in Canada?



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cfa payscale

There are different job sectors in Canada, and each sector has its requirement and payscales. The Canadian Force (CF) is one of the significant workforces in Canada. To qualify for any of the divisions in the Force, you must meet the eligibility requirements.

Once you qualify, you can start earning. However, unlike other sectors with a gender pay gap, the CF payscale is neutral.

That is, it uses a pay equity procedure when determining the pay rate. Also, your pay will depend on your rank in the Force. This article will be reviewing the Canadian Force’s payscale and what it entails.

What is the Canadian Force Payscale?

The Canadian Force payscale is the determining scale the Canadian Force uses to calculate wages. However, unlike the pay scale of other Canadian workforces, where they calculate their wages per hour, week, or monthly basis, the pay scale for the Canadian Forces is quite different.

The CF also uses different factors to determine their payscales. And we would discuss them below.

Factors that Determine CF Payscale

Here are some of the factors that the Canadian Force uses to determine payscale:


This factor compares the pay rate of the CF to that of federal public servants. This was added to the factors so that members of the CF can benefit from collective bargaining and also have the federal government serve as their employer.

Team Concept

Team concept refers to how pay rates are calculated based on the average value of work performed by members of the same rank or team. That is, each member of the same rank or team will receive the same wages.

Total Compensation analysis

This factor ensures that members of the CF get the equal value of compensation and benefits as federal public servants. Compensation like overtime, severance pay, acting pay.

Also, there are benefits each member is entitled to, such as a pension, sick leave and annual leave put into consideration.

Military Factor

This factor evaluates the nature of the job each member of the CF does. However, the military factor has sub-factors such as;

  • Personal Limitation and liability, i.e. giving up certain personal liberties.
  • Imposed separation
  • Posting turbulence, i.e. uprooting a family and constant moving due to posting to different locations
  • Acting pay, i.e. compensation for taking on a higher rank in the absence of a superior
  • Overtime, i.e. compensation for working extra hours due to operational obligations

Note that not all of the factors above apply to all the ranks. This now brings us to the different pay groups in the CF.

CF Pay Groups

Within the CF, there are different pay groups. They are:

Non-commissioned Members (NCM)

Non-commissioned members have their pay rates calculated based on total compensation analysis. They receive automatic annual pay increases (Pay increments (PI) ) based on experience, skill, and knowledge advancements. Also, the pay rates for this pay group varies according to 3 sub-groups;

  • Standard
  • Specialist 1
  • Specialist 2

The last two sub-groups consist of Fire control Systems Technicians, Flight Engineers, Biomedical Electronics Technicians and Marine Engineering Artificers.

General Service Officers

General Service Officers are officers below the rank of colonel except for pilots and specialist officers. The Canadian government also calculates their wages based on the total compensation analysis.

Also, they get pay increments, although theirs is usually more than the non-commissioned members’ due to the duration it takes to reach the maximum job rate for their rank. 


Pilots receive the same rates as general service officers and a pilot differential recognized by the private sector market factors.

Senior Officers 

Senior Officers(colonels and general officers) use the same pay rates as the executive category of the public service. They also receive the same benefits.

Legal Officers

Except for military judges, legal officers are also paid based on their public service counterparts (law group).

Military Judges

The Canadian government pays Military Judges based on recommendations of the Military Judges Compensation Committee. Also, their pay rates need approval by both the Minister of National Defence and the Treasury Board.

Medical and Dental Officers

Medical and Dental Officers are paid based on the total compensation analysis of the pay rates of private practice practitioners.

There are different pay levels within these pay groups, and these pay levels are classified based on the entry plans of the members of the CF into the Force.

CF Pay Level in Canada

The following are the pay levels for the CF members, excluding the non-commissioned members;

  • Level A- Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP)
  • Level B- Officer Candidate Training Plan – No Former Service (OCTP-NFS)
  • Level C- Direct Entry Officer (DEO)
  • Level D- University Training Plan Non-Commissioned Officer (UTP-NCM) and Officer Candidate Plan – Former Service (OCP-FS)
  • Level E- Commissioned From the Ranks (CFR)

However, the pay rates differ per pay level, and so does the pay increment.

Special Military Differential Rates

Below is the rate difference in certain ranks’ annual wages and pay groups in the Canadian Forces.

  • CA$15,000 – for pharmacy officers at the rank of captain and above as of April 2018.
  • CA$17,078 – for legal officers at the rank of lieutenant-colonel effective from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2016
  • CA$21,786 – for legal officers at the rank of colonel effective from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2016.
  • CA$39,000 – for medical officers at the rank of captain and higher as of April 2018.
  • CA$19,000 – for dental officers at the rank of captain and above as of April 2018.

Pay Statement

CF members receive pay statements, even though these statements are not the same for all of them. That is, the statement varies in layout and deductions. Also, you can view the pay statements electronically via the Employee Member Access Application (EMAA).

CF Compensations

The CF offers a competitive salary like other workforces. However, to start earning big, you have to undergo some specific training, which will impact your salary.

As a new direct entry recruit, your average salary would be between CA35,820 – CA$62,424 yearly.  In addition, once you complete your training, your salary will increase based on your years in service, rank and acquired skills.

Also, you can apply to one of the paid education plans. Once you sign up, you will receive an average of CA$20,000 while you round up your education.

There are some sign-up bonuses you may be eligible for if you enrol in some occupational training. However, to be eligible for a sign-up bonus, you must meet the eligibility criteria for the occupation.

Although these criteria differ per occupation, it is advisable to contact your recruiter if you have any questions.

CF Benefits

There are benefits members of the Forces enjoy; some of them include:

Medical Care

This medical care includes dental and vision coverage. Once you are in the Force, you and your family will receive coverage throughout your career. However, if you sign-up as a part-time member, you may be eligible only for medical and dental coverage during specific periods. Also, your coverage as a part-timer depends on the status of your duty.


Your retirement will be hassle-free as there are pension plans available to cater for when you retire. These pension plans apply to both full-timers and part-timers.


You get to enjoy some time off from work. For full-timers, your starting vacation duration is 20 paid vacations days yearly. Also, as you advance in your career, your vacation duration will increase to a maximum of 30 days.

However, if you sign-up as a part-timer, you will only receive one paid vacation day for 15 consecutive calendar days.

Maternity and Parental Leave

As a member of the CF, you get maternity and parental leave benefits to spend time with your latest family member. Most times, you get 93% of your regular salary alongside this benefit.


The CF pay scale is quite different from the conventional pay scale most non-military organizations use, and many factors determine the pay rates. Also, the pay rate depends on your ranking, and your ranking depends on your years of services and courses/training acquired during that duration.

Although there are pay increments available once you meet the eligibility criteria, however, these pay increments vary between pay levels with the same pay groups.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.