Military Wiki
Canadian Rangers
Shield of the Canadian Rangers
Active March 3, 1942 - present
Country  Canada
Branch Army
Type Niche element, Light Infantry, Scouting Role
Role Domestic operations; surveillance and sovereignty patrols, first response
Size 5000+
Part of Canadian Army
Garrison/HQ Canadian Ranger National Authority, Land 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 (The watchers)
Engagements Second World War
Cold War
LGen Leslie

The Canadian Rangers (often mistakenly called the Arctic Rangers) are a sub-component of the Canadian Forces reserve that provide a military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas. 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 that the organization is a First Nations entity. The ethnic make-up of the numerous patrols across Canada is entirely an element of geography. Canadian Rangers are paid according to the rank they hold within their patrol and when present on operations or during training events.


Modern Canadian Rangers can trace their history back to the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers (PCMR). Formed on March 3, 1942, the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were volunteers who patrolled, performed military surveillance, and provided local defence of the coastline of British Columbia and in the Yukon against the wartime threat of a possible Japanese invasion. At their height, the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers consisted of 15,000 volunteers in 138 companies. The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were officially disbanded on September 30, 1945.

Patrol area of the PCMR

The PCMR was composed of 138 companies under three major patrol areas, which were Vancouver Island, the lower Fraser Valley and the Bridge River area. Some of the principal officers of the PCMR were Lieutenant-Colonel C.W. Peck, Lieutenant-Colonel A.L. Coote and Major H. Ashby.

There are currently approximately 5000 Rangers serving in various communities around Canada.


Canadian Rangers, 2011.

Each Canadian Ranger is issued a red Canadian Ranger sweatshirt, CADPAT pants, combat boots, baseball cap, safety vest, rifle and navigation aids. They are expected to be mostly self-reliant regarding equipment. However, they are also provided with a small amount of patrol-level stores (mostly camp stores - tents, stoves, lanterns, axes, etc.). They are reimbursed for the use of personal vehicles and equipment and are paid for this use according to the nationally-established equipment usage rates. Items that a Canadian Ranger could be reimbursed for include snowmobiles (called light over-snow vehicles, or LOSVs, in the military), all-terrain vehicles, watercraft, trailers, pack horses, sled dog teams, and a variety of tools and equipment (such as radios, chainsaws, generators, and the like).

Make Type Quantity Year entered service Details
Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle rifle N/A 1941 using .303 British
Astrocompass N/A N/A N/A
ParaComm PCX 250 High Frequency shortwave radio N/A N/A


Canadian Rangers are issued the .303 British calibre Lee Enfield No 4 rifle, with each user being provided with 200 rounds of ammunition every year.

While the bolt action Lee-Enfield has been out of general service in the Canadian military since the 1950s, it has proven to be reliable in the Arctic environment. Canadian Rangers carry the weapon primarily for subsistence and protection against predators rather than with the expectation of engaging an enemy force.

Rifle replacement

Owing to the decreasing availability of spare parts, the replacement of the Lee-Enfield rifle had long been expected and in August 2011 after user requirements had been determined,[1][2]

Chain of command

The Canadian Rangers became part of the Canadian Army in October 2007, having previously been under the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces. The Commander of the Canadian Army is the Canadian Ranger National Authority (CRNA). The Commander of the Canadian Army has a small cadre of CRNA staff in Ottawa. These CRNA staff act as a conduit for information, assist with general development and improvement, assist in generating, modifying, and maintaining policy which addresses the unique nature of the Canadian Rangers (including administrative policy, unit establishment and structure, training policy, and logistical policy), and with the financing of the Canadian Rangers. These staff are not directly within the chain of command, but are instead seen as the technical and advisory link between the Canadian Ranger units and the Commander of the Canadian Army.

Command and control of the respective Canadian Ranger units (known as Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups (or CRPGs)) is devolved from the Commander of the Canadian Army down to his subordinate commanders of the various regional divisions. There are five CRPGs and each CRPG corresponds to one of the regional divisions (as seen below). The CRPGs tend to be provincially oriented, apart from 1 CRPG, which covers the whole of northern Canada north of the 60th parallel, and 4 CRPG which covers the four western provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Each CRPG has a headquarters and a number of patrols. The patrols tend to be centred on remote communities throughout Canada and are frequently named after the town or village they are from (the Terrace Patrol, in British Columbia, for instance).

Patrol areas

There are five main patrol areas of the Canadian Rangers. Each patrol area is directly controlled by the headquarters unit of a Canadian Ranger patrol group or CRPG (in French, groupe de patrouilles des Rangers canadiens or GPRC).

Patrol group Region Part of Patrols Rangers Junior Rangers Headquarters
1 CRPG Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Nunavut Joint Task Force North 56 1,500+ 1,500+ CFNA HQ Yellowknife, NT[3]
2 CRPG Quebec 2nd Canadian Division 23 696 585 CFB Saint-Jean, QC[4]
3 CRPG Ontario 4th Canadian Division 15 422 440 CFB Borden, ON[5]
4 CRPG Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta 3rd Canadian Division 42 1,000+ 750+ Victoria, BC[6]
5 CRPG Newfoundland and Labrador 5th Canadian Division 29 715 n/a Gander, NL[7][8]

Junior Canadian Rangers

The Junior Canadian Rangers Programme was created on May 31, 1996, and consists of more than 3,400 members in 119 locations. Under the supervision of the Canadian Rangers, the Junior Canadian Ranger Programme is open to young Canadians, from ages 12 to 18.[9]

Issued on September 1, 1942, the training publication, The Ranger, was in circulation for the PCMR, as it contained such articles as "Know where to shoot", "Edible plants of BC", "What can you do with a tarp?", and "Dig or die".

The Canadian Rangers' motto is "Vigilans".

See also


External links

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