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Stats Canada - On guard for thee: serving in the Canadian Armed Forces


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Stats Canada has spoken! (for the first time in 50 years....)

On guard for thee: serving in the Canadian Armed Forces​

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Released: 2022-07-13

Canada has a proud military tradition​

According to new data from the census, in the spring of 2021, 97,625 Canadians were counted as serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and 461,240 were counted as Veterans. This is the first census profile of Canada's military in half a century. Currently serving CAF personnel were younger on average than the employed population overall and almost one in five were women. While more than 4 in 10 Veterans were seniors aged 65 and older, almost one-third were in the core working age group of 25 to 54.

Once a decade from 1951 up to 1971, Statistics Canada asked Canadians about their military service (see note to readers). However, the 2021 Census marks the first time Statistics Canada asked Canadians whether they were active CAF members serving in the Regular Force or Primary Reserve Force.


In 2021, 97,625 Canadians were reported in the census as serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as members of the Regular Force or Primary Reserve Force.

For more than 100 years, women have contributed to Canada's military heritage and, in 2021, almost one-fifth of currently serving Canadian military personnel enumerated in the census were women.

The CAF were younger on average (36.2 years old) than the employed labour force overall (41.9), but currently serving women were older than their male counterparts.

Ontario (35.4%) and Quebec (20.2%) had the highest share of currently serving military personnel.

Belleville–Quinte West and Kingston had the largest share of military personnel among Canada's census metropolitan areas, given that they are both in close proximity to military bases.

In 2021, 461,240 Canadians were counted as Veterans in the census.