RCN ranks naming

RCN Rank Designation Change Decision

RCN Public Affairs, 28 August 2020.

RCN Rank Change Initiative Poll Results & Rank Designation Change Decision


Thank you for participating so enthusiastically in our poll seeking your advice with regards to more gender inclusive rank designations for the English rank titles of our most junior sailors. […]

Having contemplated all of this advice, I share that I welcome and celebrate the strong endorsement for this change (>75%) expressed. This demonstrates that ours is indeed a modern Service that prides itself on continuously evolving in-step with the nation and which is living-up to its recent recognition as one of Canada’s top employers. Additionally, I share that my decision as to the selected option was profoundly shaped by the clear preference of our junior ranks for sailor classes. Further, it’s convenient that such an approach aligns with extant designations in French. […]

Opinion Poll Results (17,950)
Opinion Poll Results (17,950)

As a result, I am incredibly pleased and excited to announce that the English designation of our junior ranks will shortly be known as Sailor Third Class (formerly Ordinary Seaman), Sailor Second Class (formerly Able Seaman), Sailor First Class (formerly Leading Seaman) and Master Sailor (formerly Master Seaman). All will be simply referred to as “sailor” (except Master Sailor, which always merits of the full rank title “Master Sailor”) in routine conversation unless formality or need for specificity drives the more fulsome title. […]

These new rank designations will be effective upon the issuance of a CANFORGEN on Friday 4 September. At that point, as we begin referring to shipmates using the new rank designations, we will have taken another in our incremental steps to build a more inclusive workplace that appropriately represents our values as a Navy, Force and Nation. Meanwhile, there will of course be a formal process running in the background to codify the change in our orders, regulations, publications and forms. This process is expected to take several years. Amplifying information will roll-out as this process unfolds. […]

Yours Aye,

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald
Commander Royal Canadian Navy


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