The Canadian Navy today has its largest concentration of sailors on the east and west coasts, with smaller numbers on reserve bases in major cities across the country. Overall, there are nearly 9,000 sailors in the Regular Force and approximately 4,500 in the Naval Reserve.
Women in the Navy
In 1914, women served unofficially in the Canadian Navy as nurses. Now they can be assigned any role in the Navy, including duty on submarines. The United States Navy — the largest navy in the world — began allowing female sailors to serve on submarines in 2010. Canada’s top female sailor is Commodore Jennifer J. Bennett, Commander of the Naval Reserve. As well, there are currently two women serving as Commanding Officers of Canadian warships. Almost 15 percent of the Regular Force are women, while nearly 30 percent of naval reservists are women.
Canada’s Armed Forces have been involved in the conflict in Afghanistan since late 2001. A majority of the nearly 3,000 Canadians serving in the landlocked country are from the Army and, to a lesser extent, the Air Force. However, about four percent of Canada’s military presence is from the Navy. Naval divers are trained in mine clearance and have been called on to bring their expertise to the dusty roads of Kandahar province to deal with roadside bombs. Sailors also serve in many support roles, including clerks, cooks and medical technicians.
Piracy is a growing marine problem, especially in the major shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa. Pirates are often armed men from Somalia or other countries who raid ships and hold their crews and cargo for ransom. Canadian naval vessels have joined other navies and international organizations such as NATO to combat this burgeoning threat. Providing escorts to ships carrying food supplies to Africa and dispatching Sea King helicopters to patrol the waters are two ways the Canadian Navy is involved in the fight against illegal activities at sea.
This piece features two separate graphs that users can select, explaining the member capacity of the DND and Canadian Forces from the era of 1925-1929, compared with that of 2009.