Canadian Rangers

Canadian Rangers
Rangers canadiens
Badge of the Canadian Rangers
Country Canada
Branch Canadian Army
TypeNiche element, scouting role
RoleDomestic operations; surveillance and sovereignty patrols, first response
Part of Canadian Army
  • Canadian Ranger National Authority, Canadian Army Staff, Ottawa
  • 1 CRPG: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia
  • 2 CRPG: Quebec
  • 3 CRPG: Ontario
  • 4 CRPG: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
  • 5 CRPG: Newfoundland and Labrador
Motto(s)Vigilans ("Watching")
ColorsRed and green
EngagementsSecond World War
Lieutenant General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander of the Canadian Army

The Canadian Rangers (French: Rangers canadiens) (sometimes mistakenly called the Arctic Rangers[1]) are a 5,000-strong sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces reserve that provide a limited military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas where it would not be economically or practically viable to have conventional Army units. Formally established on May 23, 1947, a primary role of this part-time force is to conduct surveillance or sovereignty patrols (SOV PATS) as required. Some Canadian Rangers also conduct inspections of the North Warning System (NWS) sites and act as guides, scouts, and subject-matter experts in such disciplines as wilderness survival when other forces (such as Army units of the Regular Force or Primary Reserve) are in their area of operations.


The Canadian Rangers are a volunteer force made up of Inuit, First Nations, Métis and non-Aboriginals; however, it is a common misconception[by whom?] that the organization is a First Nations entity. The ethnic make-up of the numerous patrols across Canada is entirely an element of geography and while there is a heavy First Nations membership in many Canadian Ranger patrols (many being entirely First Nations), there also exist many mixed race patrols and some entirely non-aboriginal patrols, simply due to where the patrols reside.

The Canadian Rangers provide a limited military presence in Canada's remote areas and receive 12 days or so per year of formal training (often more days of training are offered but attendance is not mandatory), albeit they are considered to be somewhat always on duty, observing and reporting as part of their daily lives. Canadian Rangers are paid when formally on duty according to the rank they hold within their patrol and when present on operations or during training events. They are paid in accordance with the standard rates of pay for Class-A (part-time) or Class-B (full-time) Reserve forces, except when they are called out for search and rescue missions or domestic operations (such as fighting floods and wildfires), when they are paid as Class-C Reserves and receive the full Regular Force pay and benefits.

The 5000 Canadian Rangers are split between five Canadian Ranger patrol groups (CRPGs), commanded by lieutenant colonels and each allocated to a Canadian division (except 1 CRPG, which is currently allocated to Joint Task Force North). Each CRPG is unique in its make-up, according to its area of responsibility, its geography, and its ethnic make-up. For instance, 3 CRPG, headquartered in Borden, Ontario, has a single province as its area of operations (AO), while 4 CRPG with its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia, has four provinces. Thus the unit structures between 3 CRPG and 4 CRPG are very different. 3 CRPG has a unit HQ that contains all its full-time staff and has a number of Canadian Ranger patrols throughout the northern region of its province, whereas 4 CRPG has a unit HQ, a number of traditional sub-units ("companies"), and each company has a number of Canadian Ranger patrols. In all cases, it is the job of the Army full-time staff (mostly Class-B Reserve personnel, except for 1 CRPG whose full-time staff are predominantly Regular Force) allocated to the CRPGs to lead and administer the Canadian Ranger patrols in their unit. The patrols themselves are located in various remote, isolated, and/or coastal communities around Canada and each Canadian Ranger patrol is based on such a community. Canadian Ranger patrols are (on average) approximately 30 members strong (the equivalent of a platoon in a conventional Canadian Army unit) and are led by sergeants. The patrols are further divided into the patrol HQ consisting of the patrol commander (sergeant) and the patrol second-in-command (2/i/c - a master corporal) and three 10-member sections, each commanded by a master corporal who is assisted by a corporal.

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