Canadian Navy offers ‘no strings attached’ program amid recruitment woes – National

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Canadian citizens and permanent residents can join the navy on a part-time basis under the new program. This has been updated to state that the one-year contract is full-time. Global News regrets this error.

The Royal Canadian Navy is offering a one-year trial period for Canadians to join with “no strings attached” as it faces a major recruitment challenge and unprecedented personnel shortage.

Under the new program launched Friday, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can join the navy full-time on a year-long contract and then leave if they wish to after that.

Those who decide to stay on will be transferred to a naval trade.

Applications are open to people aged 16 to 57 years.

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New recruits will undergo an eight-week basic military training and naval environmental training, in either Halifax, NS, or Esquimalt, BC, according to a media release by the Royal Canadian Navy.

“Life in the Navy can be demanding and challenging at times – it’s not for everyone and that’s why the new Naval Experience Program gives participants the chance to experience life in the Navy, for one year, no strings attached,” said navy commander Vice -Adm. Angus Topshee, in a statement.

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The salary will be equivalent to entry-level positions within the private sector, with paid ratios and quarters, the RCN said.

The Canadian Armed Forces are in the midst of a recruiting crisis, with officials admitting that the number of applicants coming forward each month is about half what the military needs to meet its targets.

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In an interview with The Canadian Press last year, Topshee said about 17 per cent of navy positions – equivalent to about 1,400 sailors – were vacant, as of September 2022.

“We need more people. We need them as quickly as we can get them,” he said at the time.

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Military recruiting issues may be ‘more serious’ than senior ranks letting on: Hillier

Amid the staffing crunch, the navy has started deploying less-experienced sailors on operations and eliminating certain positions as it struggles.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Forces in recent years have also been shaken by what experts have called a sexual misconduct “crisis.”

Defense Minister Anita Anand pledged to reform the military’s culture in “an ambitious roadmap” that was unveiled in December.

A review was formally launched in response to exclusive reporting by Global News into allegations of sexual misconduct at the highest ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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