Informe sobre el país: Canada

Ultima revisión: 07 Mayo 1998
07 Mayo 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

The Canadian Forces (CF) are an all-volunteer, professional force. The Canadian Constitution does not expressly address the issue of conscription. At present there are no national laws that entitle the government to launch a conscription or compulsory military service scheme. Nor is there any system of national registration for a potential draft. [3]


Enlistment in the armed forces is voluntary for men and women. The minimum age for enlistment is 17. Sixteen-year-olds may enlist either as officer cadets in the reserve Force or as apprentices in the Regular Force. If they are under 18 they must have the written consent of parent or guardian. [6]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no national legislation on conscientious objection. [3] [4]

According to the government, professional serving members of the Canadian Forces, who would not otherwise be entitled to release on request may apply for release as conscientious objectors if they become firm, sincere objectors to war in general or to the bearing and use of arms as a military service requirement. The conscientious objection must be based on religious or moral study and belief and must be general. Objection to participation in or the use of arms in a particular conflict does not qualify an individual to be recognised as a CO. Similarly, a politically motivated objection is not accepted. [3]

To obtain recognition as a CO a professional serving CF-member must submit an application to the commanding officer, who considers it and weighs up whether it is valid. The findings are then sent to a career review board which decides on the application. [3]

The CF is at present busy drafting a policy on conscientious objection. [3]

On 11 February 1991 a CO (an Acting Sub Lieutenant in the Navy) was honourably discharged from the CF. He had requested discharge in August 1990, but had merely been transferred to a non-combat position ashore. His superior officers had told him "he was free to believe what he wanted, but would have to complete his four years of Obligatory Service, and that anybody under any other type of CF contract would have been released if they made a similar request on similar grounds". He resumed release proceedings in November 1990 and this time was successful. [2]

3 Desertion


Desertion is an offence under section 88 of the National Defence Act. The maximum punishment for desertion by a soldier who is not on active service or under orders may not exceed 5 years' imprisonment. Desertion while on active service or under orders is punishable by from two years' to life imprisonment, if the soldier concerned is tried by a general court martial. If the soldier is tried by a standing or disciplinary court martial the maximum punishment is less than two years' imprisonment. [3]


No information available.

5 History

During both the First and Second World War Canada employed a system of mandatory registration and compulsory military service that applied only during these wars. In the First World War there were limited provisions for religious COs. In the Second World War provision was made for COs to perform substitute service, but there were much local variations over the granting of CO status. Jehovah's Witnesses were on the whole not recognised as COs. During the war approximately 10,000 COs were acknowledged and some 400 imprisoned. Since the Second World War there has not been conscription in Canada. [1] [3]

6 Annual statistics

In 1997 the armed forces were 61,000-strong - that is, about 0.21 percent of the population. [5] [3]

In 1997 they recruited 3545 individuals, of whom 24 (1 percent) were 16-year-olds, 204 (6 percent) were 17 and 3317 (94 percent) were over 18. [6]


[1] Prasad, D., T. Smythe 1968. Conscription: a world survey, compulsory military service and resistance to it. War Resisters' International, London. [2] Conscience Canada 1991. News release, 20 February 1991. [3] Canadian Department of National Defence 1996. Reply to CONCODOC questionnaire, 2 August 1996. [4] UN Commission on Human Rights 1991. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1989/59. United Nations, Geneva. [5] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK. [6] Embassy of Canada in Geneva 1997. Response to an information request of 11 November 1997 from the Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Canada

29 Sep 2008

En las últimas semanas, se ha ordenado a varios resistentes a la guerra estadounidenses que se han refugiado en Canadá a que salgan del país. El 16 de agosto se anunció al resistente estadounidense a la guerra de Irak Jeremy Hinzman que la petición de su familia para permanecer en Canadá había sido rechazada. Se dijo a Hinzman que no califica para el programa de Canadá de Análisis de Riesgo del Pre-Retiro (PRRA) después de una revisión por un oficial del Departamento de Ciudadanía e Inmigración.

29 Sep 2008

Turquía continúa acaparando la atención de este número del Informe-OC, después de que ya abriéramos la edición pasada con un largo artículo sobre Turquía. Por desgracia, las buenas noticias de la edición pasada no se pueden repetir. Esta vez tenemos que informar que la tortura y el abuso de un objetor de conciencia en una prisión militar turca no lleva necesariamente al enjuiciamiento - o si esto ocurre, se trata del enjuiciamiento de la víctima. También hay malas noticias de las que informar de Canadá.

01 Oct 2006

Con el número de los soldados canadienses que se ausentan sin declarar (AWOL) en aumento, y el papel cada vez más agresivo que desempeña el ejército canadiense en Afganistán y Haití, los militares canadienses también parecen tener problemas para reclutar nuevos soldados. Según "London Free Press", "el número de los soldados canadienses que se han ausentado sin permiso ha doblado en los últimos seis años...

08 Nov 1991

Comunicación No. 446/1991 : Canada.

CCPR/C/43/D/446/1991. (Jurisprudence)

Comité de Derechos Humanos 43° período de sesiones

Decision del Comite de Derechos Humanos con arreglo al Protocolo Facultativo del Pacto Internacional De Derechos Civiles y Politicos - 43°

Periodo de Sesiones relativa a la Comunicación No 446/1991

Presentada por: Dra. J. P. (se suprime el nombre)
Fecha de la comunicación: 21 de febrero de 1991
(presentación inicial)

Presunta víctima: La autora
Estado Parte interesado: Canadá

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