Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Canadian citizens and permanent residents could join the navy on a part-time basis under the new program. This has been updated to state that the contract is one year full time. Global News regrets this error.
The Royal Canadian Navy is offering Canadians a one-year probationary period to join with no strings attached as it faces major recruitment challenges and an unprecedented shortage of personnel.
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 choose after that.
Those who decide to stay will be transferred to the naval trade.
Applications are open to persons aged 16 to 57 years.
The recruits will undergo eight weeks of basic military training and naval environmental training, either in 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 Navy Experience Program gives participants the opportunity to experience life in the Navy, for one year, with no strings attached,” said Deputy Navy Commander -Adm. Angus Tophee, in a statement.
Global News Exclusive: The Canadian Navy is strengthening Arctic defenses amid a changing political landscape
The salary will be equivalent to an entry-level position in the private sector, with paid rations and quarters, said the RCN.
The most striking and elegant dress at the coronation of King Charles
Albertans lean on each other during fire evacuations; 4 homes missing around Drayton Valley
The Canadian Armed Forces is in the midst of a recruiting crisis, with officials admitting that the number of applicants turning in each month is about half of the military’s needs to meet its targets.
In an interview with The Canadian Press last year, Tophee said about 17 percent of naval positions – the equivalent of about 1,400 seafarers – were vacant, as of September 2022.
“We need more people. We need them as fast as we can get them,” he said at the time.
Amid staff shortages, the navy has begun deploying sailors less experienced in operations and removing certain positions while fighting.
Meanwhile, Canadian Forces have in recent years also been shaken by what experts call a sexual misconduct “crisis.”
Defense Minister Anita Anand vowed to reform military culture in an “ambitious roadmap” unveiled in December.
The review was officially launched in response to exclusive reporting by Global News of allegations of sexual misconduct at the highest levels of the Canadian Armed Forces.
— with files from The Canadian Press
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.