The role of Infantry in battle is to close with and destroy the enemy. You will develop the skills and confidence required to perform a wide range of duties, from commanding and leading soldiers as part of a Combat Arms team to occupying various staff positions.
What They Do
Infantry Officers are commissioned members of Canada’s Infantry regiments, which (like the Armour, Artillery and Combat Engineers) belong to the Combat Arms. The role of Infantry in battle is to close with and destroy the enemy.
At the beginning of your career as an Infantry Officer, you will serve either in a mechanized battalion equipped with the LAV III armoured fighting vehicle, or a light infantry battalion. You will be a Platoon Leader in command of 30 to 35 soldiers, and you will be responsible for their training and combat efficiency, discipline, morale, physical condition and well-being, often under the most demanding circumstances. During the course of your career as an Infantry Officer, you will develop the skills and confidence required to perform a wide range of duties, from commanding and leading soldiers as part of a Combat Arms team to occupying various staff positions involving planning, training, intelligence, logistics and personnel administration.
Service in the Infantry calls for the highest dedication to the chain of command, to peers and, especially, to subordinates, as Infantry Officers must be able to lead troops in close combat under the most challenging of circumstances. You will often be called upon to perform many difficult physical and mental tasks at the same time, and to go without sleep and with little food for extended periods. To complete an operational mission successfully, you will need to be not only highly motivated, but also prepared to put your soldiers’ safety and well-being ahead of your own. To succeed in this career, therefore, you must be physically robust, mentally resilient, resourceful, methodical, efficient, and able to perform steadily under great stress. You will also need initiative, imagination, courage and common sense.
You must meet Canadian Forces medical standards, and successfully complete a selection process that includes interviews and a wide range of examinations. If you are not qualified for Direct Entry, you must be qualified for either the Regular Officer Training Plan or (if it is available) the Continuing Education Officer Training Plan.
Direct Entry applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited Canadian university.
The Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) comprises a full undergraduate education (to the Bachelor’s degree level) at the Royal Military College of Canada or another accredited Canadian university, followed by four years of obligatory service in the Regular component of the Canadian Forces. To qualify for ROTP, you must have completed high school with the appropriate university-oriented credits, or be in Grade 12 in an appropriate program with full expectation of successful completion. You must also be willing to complete four years of obligatory service after graduation from university.
The Continuing Education Officer Training Plan (CEOTP) is open only when recruiting objectives are not met through other officer entry plans. To qualify for CEOTP, you must be prepared not only to complete a Bachelor’s degree in your own time, but also to make satisfactory progress in your university program before the end of your initial engagement.
The training program described here is designed to prepare you both physically and mentally to lead soldiers in critical and life-threatening situations. Since the Infantry does not fight alone, you will be introduced during your training to the characteristics, tactics and deployment of tactical and close-support aircraft as well as the other Combat Arms.
Phase I: Initial Assessment and Basic Officer Training
Initial Assessment and Basic Officer Training are conducted at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. During Phase I, you will learn the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the service, basic weapons handling, and first aid. You will also take part in a rigorous program of sports and fitness training, and may receive second-language training as well.
Phase II: Common Army Phase
For Phase II, the “Common Army Phase” of officer training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick. During Phase II, you will build upon the leadership training you received in Phase I and you will learn the skills required of all Combat Arms soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, fieldcraft, and section-level tactics.
Phase III: Basic Infantry Officer Training I
During Phase III, you will acquire the skills, knowledge and experience to command and lead a platoon in dismounted operations. You will learn the characteristics and uses of weapons, and how to command a dismounted platoon in all phases of war both in theory, in the classroom, and in practice in the field. You will be assessed in leadership roles while conducting arduous field exercises.
Phase IV: Basic Infantry Officer Training II
During Phase IV, you will learn to command and lead a mechanized Infantry platoon equipped with the LAV III armoured personnel carrier. This phase concentrates on more advanced platoon tactics, and the techniques of co-operating with the other Combat Arms in fast-paced, skill-testing field exercises. Your ability to command troops and solve complex tactical problems will be confirmed. Phase IV completes your Basic Infantry Officer Training. As you will be ready to take command of your first platoon, you will at this point be commissioned into an Infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces at the rank of Second Lieutenant.
Article on Infantry Training
Your first posting will be to one of the following battalions:
- The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR)
- 1stBattalion (1 RCR): Petawawa, Ontario
- 2ndBattalion (2 RCR): Gagetown, New-Brunswick
- 3rdBattalion (3 RCR): Petawawa, Ontario
- Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
- 1stBattalion (1 PPCLI): Edmonton, Alberta
- 2ndBattalion (2 PPCLI): Shilo, Manitoba
- 3rdBattalion (3 PPCLI): Edmonton, Alberta
- The Royal 22eRégiment (R22eR)
- 1stBattalion (1 R22eR): Valcartier, Quebec
- 2ndBattalion (2 R22eR): The Citadel, Québec City, Quebec
- 3rdBattalion (3 R22eR): Valcartier, Québec City, Quebec
The ability to lead is the hallmark of an Infantry Officer; at all times and in all places, you will be dealing with people, not mere paper and machines. As an Infantry Officer, you must provide not only supervision, but leadership by example, and your integrity must be beyond reproach. Your potential for promotion will be limited only by your own actions and abilities. While on regimental duty, you will serve both in garrison and in the field.
Garrison Duties. Taking up about 65 percent of your time, garrison duties include physical training, office work and supervision, interspersed with instructing and outdoor field and weapons training. Office work is focussed on personnel administration and maintenance of weapons, equipment and vehicles, and generally conforms to the “eight-to-four” routine of the civilian world. In times of emergency and concentrated activity, however, you will work until the crisis is over or the job is finished. In such circumstances, your prime concern will not be the clock, but your team’s ability to meet the challenge.
Field Duties. In an operational unit, field duties take up only about 35 percent of your time but are your primary focus. All the activities you trained for take place in the field, where the work is always physically and mentally demanding and you have little chance for rest. You will be expected to perform excellently at all times of the day or night, in all kinds of weather and terrain, from the Arctic to the tropics. Appropriate training, environmental clothing and equipment are provided, and Infantry Officers’ health, safety and morale are closely monitored.