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Canadian Rangers

The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserve. They provide patrols and detachments for national-security and public-safety missions in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada that can not conveniently or economically be covered by other parts of the CAF.

The Canadian Rangers protect Canada's sovereignty by:

  • Reporting unusual activities or sightings;
  • Collecting local data of significance to the CAF; and
  • Conducting surveillance or sovereignty patrols as required.

Canadian Rangers by the numbers:

  • Approximately 5000 – current number of Canadian Rangers;
  • Over 200 – number of communities where Canadian Rangers live; and
  • 26 – dialects/languages spoken by Canadian Rangers, many of whom are Aboriginal.

The Rangers’ Tasks

The Canadian Rangers are the military’s eyes and ears in the sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada. Appropriately, their motto is Vigilans, meaning “The Watchers.”

As members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Canadian Rangers

  • Conduct and support sovereignty operations:
    • Conduct sovereignty and surveillance patrols and training
    • Conduct North Warning Site patrols
    • Report suspicious and unusual activities
    • Collect local data of military significance
  • Conduct and assist in CAF domestic operations:
    • Conduct coastal and inland water surveillance
    • Provide local knowledge and expertise
    • Participate in search and rescue operations
    • Provide support in response to natural or man-made disasters and humanitarian operations
    • Provide assistance to federal, provincial/territorial or municipal authorities
  • Maintain CAF presence in the local community:
    • Instruct and supervise youth in the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) Program, a program that has significantly improved the quality of life of young people in the most isolated areas of Canada
    • Support and participate in events in the local community (such as Yukon Quest, Canada Day, and Remembrance Day)

Canadian Rangers in the past have

  • Conducted routine search and rescue operations;
  • Provided assistance during the avalanche at Kangiqsualujjuaq in northern Québec;
  • Provided support during the drinking water crisis in Kashechewan, Ontario; and
  • The Rangers perform their tasks exceptionally well and are extremely valuable to the CAF.

You can visit their web site here

The Soldiers of the North

Who Patrols Canada’s North? The Rangers on the Northern Frontier
Sgt Jean Tsannie shares her experience as a Canadian Ranger and reflects on what the organization means to her.

2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Rangers. Originally formed to protect Canadian sovereignty in the North, today they support national security and public safety operations in over 200 remote and isolated communities.

Through the experiences of Sgt Jean Tsannie of the Wollaston Lake Ranger Patrol, this video shares the story of the Rangers, the distinct features that set them apart from other Canadian military presences, and the important role they play today in protecting and supporting Canada’s Northern communities.

This video provides educators an opportunity to present oral history as a valuable source and incorporate firsthand accounts into classroom activities and discussions.

Produced by the Memory Project. For more stories of service, visit

Listen to a podcast about them at:

Visit their web site at:

Return to our Armed Forces Page

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