What’s in your paycheque?


Twice every month, Regular Force military members are paid for the work they do serving Canada. But how is that bi-monthly amount is calculated?

Military salary begins with a base pay determined by the member’s corps (officer or non-commissioned member); rank (corporal, captain, etc.); and time spent at that rank. That base pay also aligns with the salary earned by public servants in comparable groups and levels (such as type of work or position, and civilian “rank”). In addition to this base pay, the Government of Canada recognizes that being in the Canadian Armed Forces means certain sacrifices are made by members and their families every day, that aren’t required by most public servants. This is compensated by what is known as the Military Factor.

The Military Factor is a percentage added to the base salaries of Canadian Armed Forces members, calculated using three military and two additional elements. The military considerations are: personal limitation and liability (for example, personal freedoms given up by members under the Code of Service Discipline); separation (time away from families for operations, deployments and training); and posting turbulence (the personal and financial uncertainly and stress that goes along with geographic postings).

The other two elements come into play because Canadian Armed Forces members do not receive additional money for overtime, although they often work extra hours for duty, operations, deployments, and exercises, or for acting for their for supervisors for short periods of time, such as when their supervisors are sick or on leave. In this latter case, members perform the duties temporarily, but do not assume the higher rank.

Currently, for members of the Reserve Force, pay is calculated using a formula that gives them 85 percent of what their counterparts in the Regular Force receive. However, as outlined in Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces is reevaluating how Reserve Force members are paid, in order to align more closely with the Regular Force in a way that recognizes their unique contribution to the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole. This is to ensure all Canadian Armed Forces members receive fair compensation for their service to Canada. More to follow!

When members do assume all the duties and wear a rank higher than their substantive ranks, they receive the rate of pay for that higher rank. This applies to members acting while so employed (when a member is deployed on an operation to a position that would normally be filled by someone of a rank higher) or acting/lacking (when a member is promoted, but still needs to finish a course to become substantive in the higher rank).

Image gallery

Date modified: