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Officer to NCM

I've noticed there's plenty of information on this site about going from NCM to Officer, but not much about going in the reverse direction. I've been through the process, and answered a few PMs and personal conversations, and I thought I would get some of the information out there for those who are considering relinquishing their commissions.

First, some background: I enrolled as an Aerospace Controller (AEC) in 2006 under ROTP, and failed DP1 IFR training in 2011. I relinquished my commission and reassigned to AC Op in 2012, spent 4 years in trade, and was promoted to MCpl in 2016.

1. Why would I (or someone) relinquish their commission?

More often than not, it's a choice made after failing occupation training. If you're not recommended for a recourse in-trade, you have to either select a new occupation, or release. In my case, I made the choice to relinquish because the officer occupations available for reassignment at the time were Infantry or MARS, neither of which I had an interest in. AC Op was open, and allowed me to stay in the world I knew.

Rarely, some qualified officers do choose of their own volition to transfer to an NCM occupation. Just the same as why someone would choose to go from NCM to Officer, some choose to go from Officer to NCM for their own reasons. It's rare, but it does happen.

2. What's involved in relinquishing?

It's the same as a VOT: you choose from available trades, go for PSO interview(s), applicable medicals, and receive an offer message from DGMC which you can either accept or reject*. The added twist is one extra form which requests permission from the CDS to relinquish your commission.

There's no "demotion" ceremony for relinquishing, it's all done quietly. On the effective date, you put on your new ranks, take your tunic to the tailor, clear out of the officers mess, and clear into the JR's mess.

Footnote: Training failures rejecting an offer from DGMC will more than likely be released.

3. What rank will I be?

I can't give an accurate answer to this. Your rank on reassignment will be determined by DGMC in Ottawa. Best as I can determine, for ab initio training failures reassigning to NCM, they try to put your rank and time credit to where it would be as if you had initially enrolled as an NCM. I had nearly 6 years in when I reassigned, so I was given Cpl IPC1 with 8 months credit to IPC2. Four others I know who reassigned were either CEOTP or DEO with a year in, and were given Pte with appropriate time credits to Cpl.

4. Do I get to keep my pay?

No. Since relinquishing is a voluntary decision, you do not get vested rights to pay. If you are reassigning from 2Lt to Pte, there will be a substantial drop in pay. If you're lucky enough to reassign to Cpl, there may be a slight to substantial pay raise.

For medical reassignments, there may be a different answer to this question, but I'm as of right now, I'm unsure.

5. As a former-officer-now-NCM, will I be looked down upon? Will I be shunned by fellow NCMs?

Not really. I got some ribbing from time to time on QL3, but it comes with the territory. If you don't make a big deal out of it and don't make a point of bringing it up, most people will generally forget about it. If you stick your nose up at your new peer group, don't expect to make many friends.

6. Will my time as an officer negatively affect my promotion prospects?

The promotion boards do not look down upon former service as an officer - they only look at performance/potential as narrated on your PERs. Perform well, show potential, and you will be promoted.

If nothing, time as an officer might be a bit of a boon. With a BMOQ qualification, you can apply to CDA for a PLAR for CF PLQ*. For Navy and Air trades, that's a pretty good check in the box to have for promotion to MCpl. Having a degree and/or second language profile also boosts scores at promotion boards.

Footnote: Ok, notwithstanding what I said above about not being looked down upon, this is one case where your peers will be insanely jealous.

7. Can I get my commission back later?

Yes. You are eligible to compete in the In-service commissioning programs. You may be restricted from re-entering your previous officer occupation if you were a training failure, but otherwise you can enter the competitions for any other officer trade you meet the entrance standards for. Folks with degrees can compete for SCP, and those without can compete for UTPNCM and CEOTP. There is no "black-balling" because of your relinquishing either - you are treated the same as any other applicant.

8. Any other advice for escaping the dark side becoming an NCM?

Go in with a good attitude, and leave the past behind you. Being bitter and sticking your nose up won't get you ahead. There's lots of good trades and lots of good work to do as an NCM, and there is no shame in being an NCM, even with a degree.
Have a friend who was a Captain in the Combat Engineers.  They're now a MCpl SARTECH.
Great post and good information.

I will add one bit of information for those contemplating such a move.  Relinquishment current applies only those officers who have not reached OFP. Specifically you are not trained in an officer occupation and wish to continue to serve as an NCM.  We see a lot these request for personnel who are linked to a commissioning program (CEOTP, ROTP, UTPNCM) and have either failed academics or training but wish to continue to serve as an NCM.  If you have reached OFP (you are trained in an officer MOSID) there is currently no mechanism which allows you to OT to an NCM occupation.  Yes, I am aware there have been cases in the past where this has occurred (SAR Tech comes to mind) but these flew low under the radar and were not noticed until they were done so they were permitted to continue - this avenue has been closed for the time being.  However, changes to the OT structure may change that . . . wait and shoot.  :)

In addition, relinquishment is voluntary in that you cannot be forced to relinquish your rank and it must be approved IAW with QR&Os and CFAOs by the CDS personally (currently under JAG review as to devolving that authority down).  If you are not OFP and wish to relinquish, it is best to talk to your PSO and get the process correct rather than get stalled out by paperwork.


Good afternoon everyone,

I thought I would take a stab at this, as there doesn't seem to be any recent information on the site with regards to relinquishment of commission for a Reg-F Officer.

I am currently an untrained 2Lt and am looking to relinquish my commission to an NCM trade.

My relinquishment memo and waiver have gone to the CDS recently, however, nobody seems to be able to give any kind of timeline (aside from someone on here who completed this process several years ago). I also attempted this in the past however the attempt stalled as D Mil C was unaware of who the legal authority was to approve it. That issue has since been ironed out and the process has apparently improved. The idea of relinquishing ones commission still seems to be somewhat confusing.

All I am looking for is a timeframe (estimated?) for how long it usually takes for the relinquishment approval or denial to come back? I realize I am at the mercy of the CDS and the massive amount of paperwork that I am sure comes across his desk daily.

If someone has that information from their experience it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance! :)

I personally went through this process a few years ago and I remember being surprised at how quickly it went (about two weeks). In my case, my relinquishment did not go all the way up to the CDS but to one of his delegates who had been granted authority. There's been a CANFORGEN published recently on this. Hopefully this goes just as quickly for you and you get the trade you want.
The timeline might also be dependant on the method in which you earned your commission and whether there is obligatory service attached.
captloadie said:
The timeline might also be dependant on the method in which you earned your commission and whether there is obligatory service attached.

Interesting. Thanks
Another quick question about this less than transparent process.

Once the waiver for relinquishment has been sent off to Ottawa/DPGR/CDS how is the location of the waiver tracked?

I have heard of many of these just floating off into the wind...

Many thanks again for all of your input on this matter.
Good afternoon everyone,

I was wondering if there were any PSO’s, DPGR or DMCPG people on here that I could pm with a question.

Hope everyone is enjoying their boots and beards!
I am none of the above, but know many who are, if you wish to ask via a proxy.
Has anyone done this lately? I'm looking to relinquish to NCM and want to get a general idea of what my NCM rank may be. I'm not OFP but I have 6 years in including time at RMC.