The Department of National Defence and the Canadian military have announced that the compulsory retirement age, or CRA, for all new regular force and primary reserve members has been increased by five years to age 60.
A statement from National Defence says any personnel who were serving on June 30 this year will be able to choose to change to CRA 60 or retain their current mandatory retirement age of 55. The retirement age for other sub-components of the reserve force—Cadet Instructors Cadre, Canadian Rangers and supplementary reserve—will remain unchanged for now.
The age limit restricts service beyond the set age, but Forces members may retire earlier. Extensions past that age remain possible with the authorization of either the chief of defence staff or the minister of National Defence.
The statement says the military is changing the compulsory retirement age to reflect changes in Canadian society and to enable the forces to use the skills of its members for a longer time. Canadian work patterns have changed. People are now entering the workforce at a later age and the Forces also faced a shrinking youth population, the traditional recruiting base.
In 1981 the average age of a CF recruit was 20, in 1999 it was 23 and in 2002 it climbed to 24.5.
The military says the 55-age limit does not permit the older entrants to serve enough time to either maximize their pensions or, in some cases, even to earn a reasonable pension. The changes mean the military is moving into line with similar organizations such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Coast Guard.
The change would also help the forces to better use its members’ skills, especially those in technical occupations whose skills are in high demand and difficult to replace.
The statement says the cap on pensionable years of service will remain at 35 as studies have indicated this is usually the maximum length of a military career. Few regular force members remain past this maximum pension point, regardless of age. Health, fitness and performance standards would continue to be applied to ensure that members will remain able to perform their operational roles.
“These measures will ensure that the operational effectiveness of the Forces is not impaired, that all occupations are properly managed and that opportunities for promotion are not adversely affected by the change to CRA 60,” says the statement.