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My CIC Application Odyssey

LittleBlackDevil

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I've searched and found a number of threads talking about various peoples' journeys and how long it takes, the process, etc., but nothing CIC related more recent than 2015. So I thought I'd share my own odyssey as an example, to seek advice where appropriate, and to perhaps give some ideas of how to proceed to others interested in CIC. It seemed appropriate to do this in the CIC sub-forum rather than "Recruiting Process" since it seems things are a little different for CIC and not as generally applicable.

Just a very brief bit of background -- from 1998 to 2002 I served as an Infantry Officer with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, doing time as the Assistant Adjutant and Finance Officer, then a Platoon Commander. I got out when I was in first year Law School because it was impossible to do both school and army at the same time. Over the years I've often felt the itch to get back in, but never could make it work. Now with my oldest son in cadets I decided to join.

Wanting to help with the corps while waiting to get into CIC, I signed up as a Civilian Volunteer and the CO asked me to act as Supply Officer since they hadn't had one in some time and were in great need.

Getting in as a CV was easy. I just got a vulnerable sector record check from my local police department and handed it into the Cadet League of Canada folks along with my application and photocopies of ID. It took about 3 weeks to get my approval.

Applying for CIC has been interesting. The CO at my corps seemed not to know how to apply, perhaps because her own application was so long ago.

I started looking online at Canada.ca and clicked the "APPLY NOW!" button here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/caf-jobs/career-options/fields-work/other-specialty-occupations/cadet-instructor.html

Which is apparently the wrong way to apply, because after I filled out the application I called the local CFRC to see what the next step was. For about two weeks I was told to call back in a few days because no one really seemed to know what to do. The fourth recruiter I spoke to finally told me I was supposed to do my application through RCSU and put me in touch with the right person who gave me the application package. I filled this out and sent it in and on December 17th, 2019 it was sent back to my CFRC.

I touched base with the local CFRC just before Christmas 2019 and was told they would contact me once they had the package to do the physical. When I hadn't heard anything by January 9th, 2020 I decided to give them a ring to see what's what. The recruiter in charge of my file set me up right away with a Medical for January 16th.

Today at 6:23 pm I received a barrage of four emails all stating the same:

Your appointment(Medical - Part I & II) has been deleted!
Your appointment on 2020-Jan-16 at 10:00:00 has been cancelled (deleted). If you have any questions please contact your recruiting detachment.
Thank you again for your interest in joining the Canadian Armed Forces.

So now I'm waiting until 8 am or so tomorrow so I can call my recruiter back and see what this is all about and hopefully get another Medical in short order. Although considering I had to book a whole day off for this given how far away my "local" CFRC is, it may be a few weeks. I am starting to see that this may be death by a thousand cuts of a few weeks wasted here (the canada.ca site giving wrong application info) and a few weeks wasted there (Medical being randomly unilaterally cancelled by CFRC).

I wonder how many applicants they lose due to the process? They won't get rid of me easily though because I really want to do this, and my experience as a CV has only given me more determination because I enjoy it and I can also see the great need for CIC officer (I'm told that CIC is at about 50% of what it should be across the board and my corps is especially understaffed ... by the fall there may actually be zero uniform CIC officers (because the two we have are just "pinch hitting" as it is), although I assume they'll parachute someone in from a neighbouring unit.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Update ... I spoke to the recruiter handling my file and I'm told that my appointment is still a go for Thursday.

The speculation is that the medical staff changed who my appointment is with and this triggered the "your appointment has been deleted!" emails.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Did my medical last week. All was well, but since I'm 40 years old, I need to get my family doctor to fill out a form they gave me stating that I'm fit to serve, plus I have to get an EKG, a fasting lipids test, and fasting glucose test. I'm going to see my family doctor about that today.

I am overall in better physical shape than I was in my 20s, quite frankly. I work out 5 times per week so I consider myself in excellent shape for my age. My one concern is getting bounced because I have hypothyroidism. I've seen in the medical forum some posters saying this prevented them from CAF service but I am hopeful that since I'm applying to be CIC not infantry, and since my hypothyroidism is well under control, that this won't be a barrier in my case.

I was told after my medical that they are going to start checking my references and doing background check and that this should take approximately two months, then they will schedule me for my interview. So things seem to be moving along at a decent pace thus far.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Just a brief update ... I still have Hypothyroidism of course, but otherwise passed all my medical tests with flying colours. My physician wrote me a good report saying that he sees no issues with the Hypothyroidism impacting CAF service so hopefully the CAF physicians in Ottawa agree. But my cholesterol, glucose, etc. all "perfect", so now it's just the waiting game for my references to be checked (as of today they all say they have not been contacted yet).

In the mean time I've been continuing work as Sup O with my corps, and just completed my first FTX with the corps last weekend. It was a combined FTX with another corps, and the other corps was running the show so I didn't have to do any of the weekend stores ordering. I have been in contact with the supply folks in London though and am getting sorted out on how to order stores for our spring FTX in May. I really enjoyed the winter FTX including sleeping out in the arctic tents with the cadets (all the other officers stayed in the cabin).

The more I work with the cadets the more impatient I get for my application process to be completed.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=LittleBlackDevil] I really enjoyed the winter FTX including sleeping out in the arctic tents with the cadets (all the other officers stayed in the cabin).

[/quote]

I think that's a great example of (you) leading by example and sharing hardships.

Take care that you're not setting yourself up to be in a mom vs dad situation with your peers. You don't want the cadets seeing you as the good guy (in the context the other officers suck) or their buddy.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Jarnhamar said:
I think that's a great example of (you) leading by example and sharing hardships.

Take care that you're not setting yourself up to be in a mom vs dad situation with your peers. You don't want the cadets seeing you as the good guy (in the context the other officers suck) or their buddy.

Thanks.

Maybe it's my infantry background but I believe firmly in sharing in the hardships of my "troops" or cadets.

That is a good point to make sure I don't get seen as their buddy or good guy vs the other officers. It's definitely something I'll remain vigilant with. So far, I don't think that's an issue ... partly it is just my general demeanour, I tend to be a more formal and reserved person. But I am still just a CV very new to cadets and trying to learn on the job (and asking the CO lots of questions -- fortunately she instructs several CIC courses so she's a great resource). I'm looking forward to getting some actual training.

One of the other CI's was joking that I'm the "mean" staff member because I hand out the most "red chits" (but I'm also generous with "green chits"). I try to let the cadets know when I issue them chits that I have high standards but I'm not doing it just to be "tough" -- I want to help them to be the best they can be.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=LittleBlackDevil]
But I am still just a CV very new to cadets and trying to learn on the job[/quote]

[quote author=LittleBlackDevil]I'm the "mean" staff member because I hand out the most "red chits"
[/quote]
I really don't know how cadets operate. Is it normal that a civilian volunteer who is admittedly new to the system to be handing out chits to cadets? As the supply officer what do you hand out all those chits for?
 

LittleBlackDevil

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It's probably not normal, but my corps is woefully understaffed (we have the CO and an officer cadet, plus a couple CIs and me the CV).

What we're using is actually called a "record of behaviour" but I have seen other cadet corps use red and green chits for the same thing. It's more of a record keeping system to record when cadets have been praised or corrected rather than a formal reprimand.

Just as an example (this is not the system my corps uses, but similar) here is a "red chit": http://www.608dukes.com/uploads/8/5/5/1/8551447/chit_-_red.pdf

And a "green chit" (also called a blue chit elsewhere apparently): http://www.608dukes.com/uploads/8/5/5/1/8551447/chit_-_green.pdf

Mostly I've issued these outside my role as SupO ... for example on the FTX the other corps' SupO was managing stores and I was assisting with teaching the snowshoeing course and general supervision. I have issued "Records of Behaviour" for things like a cadet making strong sexual innuendo in front of other cadets that I had to take him aside and talk to him about (especially since he was a section 2IC). Or I've issued positive ROBs for a Section Commander who filmed "how to care for your uniform" videos for the new cadets who've recently been issued their kit which I felt was worthy of an "exceeded expectations".

These "chits" are the lowest level of discipline, before anyone gets into verbal warnings or formal cautions. My reading of CATO 15-22 is that you work your way up the ladder if behaviour continues after correction.

Again, I think a CV would not normally be involved in these things, but given the exigencies of the situation at our unit, my prior military experience, the fact I'm in the process of applying, the CO assessed the situation and has given me more responsibility than my position would normally have.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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I've been informed by my references that they have been called and had their discussion with the people from CIS.

So that is another "box checked" and I am getting ever closer. Next step is my interview. I'll give the CFRC a couple weeks and if I don't hear from them about that I'll call and ask for an update on my status. Worked last time with getting a fast medical.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Just got off the phone with my file manager. Although things were going well, it's all come to a crashing halt and it looks like I'm being <REDACTED> over by the medical situation -- i.e. I'm over 40 so therefore medical officers in Ottawa have to review my perfect blood pressure, lipids, EKG, etc. before my process can move ahead. File manager says she has no ETA just that they are "extremely backlogged" and it will be many months.

It's quite disappointing because things seemed to be moving along smoothly and relatively quickly until this little hiccup. They also won't even review the results of my reference checks or do the background check until the medical approval comes. So I'm on indefinite hold with no end in sight. I had hoped to be in uniform before the Cadets broke for the summer but this appears to have been foolish optimism.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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To my great surprise, "many months" turned into only six weeks somehow, despite the COVID-19 situation to boot. I just got an email from my file manager advising that my file was reviewed and I have been deemed medically fit last week. Also was told that my background check has been completed (that was done at warp speed given I was told it wouldn't be looked at until medical was signed-off on).

Last step is the interview. This, obviously, is on hold for now but once things improve to the point that CFRC's are open to the public again I'll be able to do that. 
 

Colin Parkinson

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Congrats for persevering through the red tape. I think I am going to stick with Navy League volunteering to avoid the DND side of things. Your trials reinforces that view as not worth it at this stage for me.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Thanks! There's a bit of persevering yet to do, but there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.
 

Gunnar

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I started the application process last winter, and saw little action due to the CAF’s exacting reference requirements.  As I describe it, basically someone who’s known you well for over five years, but still doesn’t like you well enough to be a friend.  Can’t be a friend, relative, family friend or co-worker.  Makes it hard if you’re an introvert working for a small company.  Anyway, finally got the required references, and things were quick after that.  Interview and medical within a week, followed by additional tests because I am old, blind and fat.  (Glucose, lipids, ecg).  For my age, I seem to be relatively ok.  Submitted the additional tests on Friday, will wait to hear what’s next...
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Gunnar said:
I started the application process last winter, and saw little action due to the CAF’s exacting reference requirements.  As I describe it, basically someone who’s known you well for over five years, but still doesn’t like you well enough to be a friend.  Can’t be a friend, relative, family friend or co-worker.  Makes it hard if you’re an introvert working for a small company.  Anyway, finally got the required references, and things were quick after that.  Interview and medical within a week, followed by additional tests because I am old, blind and fat.  (Glucose, lipids, ecg).  For my age, I seem to be relatively ok.  Submitted the additional tests on Friday, will wait to hear what’s next...

Seems like the process is different at different recruiting centres?

Because they wouldn't let me do the interview until after everything else (medical, background) checked out. Both of those were cleared back in May, but I've been waiting since then for interview because I am told CFRC Hamilton is not doing CIC interviews (yet) with no timeline given on when those will resume.

I hear you on the references ... I am self employed and an introvert/too busy running a business and with my family to have a lot of people that qualify. Plus then they rejected one reference because he wasn't a supervisor of me despite the fact that it's not required that ALL THREE references be supervisors. But fortunately I was able to come up with a third person and that's all behind me.

Just waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ... to be able to do my interview which I am told is the last step, at least for me.

In the mean time, due to COVID I am taking on more and more responsibilities at my corps, but as a CV I have no access to DLN/Fortress/Logistiks and this makes it much more difficult and reduces how much I am able to do. I could do so much more to help my corps in these times if I had that access.
 

Gunnar

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When you submitted medical information, how long did it take them to get back to you?  I've emailed the required tests to them as of last week, and have as  yet heard nothing.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Gunnar said:
When you submitted medical information, how long did it take them to get back to you?  I've emailed the required tests to them as of last week, and have as  yet heard nothing.

I submitted my medical information on 21 January 2020, including the "Medical Information for Recruitment Form" completed by my physician, ECG results, and my lab results for cholesterol, glucose, and lipids tests. On the 8th of May I was advised by my file manager that I'd been deemed "medically fit". I was warned at the beginning that it could be up to six months.

Keep in mind that the whole COVID situation exploded and the lockdowns first occurred in mid-March, a little under 60 days of my submission of documents. So I'm not sure how this impacted things as there was a lot of confusion in those early days whereas more systems are in place now.

In terms of hearing back from CFRC Hamilton, I basically just followed-up with them with a phone call or email every 4 weeks or so and when I did my May 8th follow-up I was told that my medical fitness had been approved by Ottawa.
 

Gunnar

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So, apparently they get back to you more rapidly when you send your information to the right email address.  Damn long-ass bilingual email addresses.  What I found surprising was there was no bounceback message indicating I'd sent it to an address that didn't exist.  Probably a security thing.  I did request receipt confirmation on one of my first emails, and it stated that the receiver didn't send confirmation messages....ironically, since there would be no other reason to send such a confirmation.

In any case, with the correct address, and a terse explanation of my error from someone at medical, the information has been forwarded to Ottawa, where apparently things are slowed down due to COVID.  I read this as being largely due to the CAF ads running on TV, the pointy end trades are being prioritized and once again CIC has been shuffled to the bottom.  Hurry up and wait.  Sounds like a motto....
 

LittleBlackDevil

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Gunnar said:
In any case, with the correct address, and a terse explanation of my error from someone at medical, the information has been forwarded to Ottawa, where apparently things are slowed down due to COVID.  I read this as being largely due to the CAF ads running on TV, the pointy end trades are being prioritized and once again CIC has been shuffled to the bottom.  Hurry up and wait.  Sounds like a motto....

Yes this seems to indeed be the case, and it depends on which recruiting centre you're at on how far to the bottom CIC is shuffled.

At CFRC Hamilton they are not even doing interviews for CIC, despite the fact that my CO has been told by her COC that all recruiting centres are supposed to be processing a certain number of CIC applications every month. Some recruiting centres are filling their allotment, others are not I guess ... although I am still waiting to hear back from my Military Career Counsellor and File Manager after I emailed them what I had been told by my CO.

I was also instructed to stay on the recruiting centre and be the greasy wheel. My corps is in dire need of more officers and my ability to assist is greatly impaired as a CV. When we attend in-person training I am told I may not even be able to attend as a CV so another reason to try to make CIC happen somehow.
 

Burrows

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LittleBlackDevil said:
I was also instructed to stay on the recruiting centre and be the greasy wheel. My corps is in dire need of more officers and my ability to assist is greatly impaired as a CV. When we attend in-person training I am told I may not even be able to attend as a CV so another reason to try to make CIC happen somehow.

If there is an open position available to you at the unit, have your CO inquire with your RCSU about a Civilian Instructor (Generalist) contract.  This would make you a paid employee of DND (not the CAF) vs. a Volunteer with the Army Cadet League.

Best advice I can give outside the above is to stay on your file - it will definitely take some time.  Many of the CFRC folks are working remotely and managing what files they can.
 
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