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CAF ACE - Frequently Asked Questions


[15 March 2023] The 2022/2023 version of the MOL – NCMSTEP and PIRA has been updated as of 15 March 2023 to reflect removal of NES OP RA and ATIS TECH from NCMSTEP, and now includes 33 Reg F NCM occupations offering Pay Increments to Unskilled applicants (please refer to Annex J of the MOL). Please note that the “Browse Accredited Programmes” directory is under construction, and the MOL document in PDF published on this website is the only approved source for up-to-date information on subsidized training and education programming, pay increments, and recruitment allowances, and must be accessed via a CAF ACE account. For any questions, please use the "Contact Us" tab in the menu above.

What is CAF ACE?
The CAF ACE acronym stands for ‘’Canadian Armed Forces Accreditation, Certification, and Equivalency’’ and it aims to identify and recognize programs of study offered by Canadian post-secondary institutions (PSIs) that align with training and education requirements in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
What Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) occupations does CAF ACE deal with?

CAF ACE deals primarily with occupations that are 'understrength', or in urgent need of increasing their numbers of trained/functional personnel in order to meet the operational requirements of the CAF.

These occupations have access to CAF incentive programs which can help attract applicants, particularly those who already possess skills, knowledge, and experience relevant to the job (also known as semi-skilled or skilled applicants).

CAF ACE team assists these occupations in identifying Canadian post-secondary programs compatible with CAF occupational training.

What do skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled mean?

We use these terms to refer to categories of applicants to the CAF.

A skilled applicant will have already received training in a specific occupation from the CAF. These can be members who have departed the CAF but have chosen to return within 5 years of departure, or fully-trained Reserve Force members who may be interested in transferring into the same occupation in the Regular Force.

A semi-skilled applicant has completed education and/or training in a civilian environment that has been determined to be equivalent to CAF occupational training. Semi-skilled applicants typically possess diplomas or degrees from Canadian post-secondary institutions, and/or certifications (such a Red Seal). Their prior learning/experience usually enables them to bypass some component(s) of CAF occupational training.

An unskilled applicant has not completed education and/or training relevant to a specific CAF occupation, thus all of their occupational training will be delivered through the CAF’s own Training Establishments.

What incentives exist to attract skilled/semi-skilled applicants?

There are 2 incentive programs that exist to attract skilled/semi-skilled applicants: Pay Increments (PI) and Recruitment Allowances (RA).

Pay Increments: The CAF offers rank-based or pay-based incentives for CAF applicants to some occupations. For example, an applicant with a relevant diploma/degree/certification may be eligible for an increase in pay and/or rank when joining a particular CAF occupation, and some occupations may also offer time credit towards promotion to semi-skilled applicants.

Recruitment Allowances: The CAF offers signing bonuses to skilled and semi-skilled applicants to a specific list of CAF occupations. These occupations have been identified as eligible to offer RA by the Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS). The list of eligible occupations is updated annually, and each of these occupations identifies applicant eligibility criteria and amounts of RA on the Military Occupation List (MOL) – Pay Increments and Recruitment Allowances (PIRA).

Are there any incentive programs for unskilled applicants?

The Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Plan (NCMSTEP): The CAF subsidizes full-time education for eligible applicants to specific CAF Non-Commissioned Member (NCM) occupations. The list of post-secondary programs approved for this funding is updated annually, and program eligibility can vary year to year, as content and accreditation statuses of programs change.

For new applicants to the CAF, please contact your local Recruitment Centre for more information on eligible programs and participating occupations.

For Regular Force members interested in Occupational Transfer (OT), please contact your local Personnel Selection Officer (PSO) for more information.

For Reserve Force members interested in Component Transfer (CT), please contact your Orderly Room, who will put you in touch with CT personnel.

What is the Military Occupation List (MOL)?

The MOL lists CAF occupations that offer incentives to applicants. There are 2 lists (updated annually):

The MOL – Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Plan (NCMSTEP; which lists post-secondary programs for which applicants to specific occupations may qualify for CAF funding).

The MOL – Pay Increments and Recruitment Allowances (PIRA; which lists the rank, pay, and/or signing bonus incentives offered by specific CAF occupations to skilled and semi-skilled applicants).

Where is the list of programs approved for CAF incentives found?

The list of programs approved for CAF incentives (the Military Occupation List, or MOL) is published as a pdf annually on this website. Only Defense Team members who have registered for an account are permitted access to the MOL. If you are applying to the CAF and are interested in finding out more about incentives, please contact your local Recruitment Centre for more information.

What if a diploma is not on the list of approved programs for incentives?

Recruiters would need to contact the relevant Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Occupation Authority (OA) to determine whether the applicant’s credentials (prior learning and experience) meet the occupation’s requirements, and/or qualify for incentives.

What if a program is not on the list of programs approved for CAF funding?

As per DAOD 5002-7, Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Plan (NCMSTEP) – Regular Force, the Military Occupation List (MOL) contains the CAF occupations and Canadian post-secondary institution programs authorized for funding. If a program is not listed on the MOL – NCMSTEP, it is not eligible for funding under the NCMSTEP.

How is a post-secondary institution’s program/diploma recognized by the CAF as qualifying for incentives?

The CAF compares their training with civilian academic programs. A CAF occupation must compare their training against the curriculum for a similar program of study offered by a Canadian post-secondary institution. If the post-secondary program is determined to be sufficiently compatible with that occupation’s training requirements, then the program/diploma may be recognized as eligible for one or more of our incentive programs.

Who contacts post-secondary institutions about getting new programs recognized for incentives?

The CAF ACE Team contacts post-secondary institutions to obtain information on programs of study aligned with CAF occupational training, and to request curriculum documentation for comparison with a CAF occupation’s training requirements.

How frequently is the Military Occupation List (MOL) updated?

The MOL is updated annually, with a new version published each spring. Amendments may include (but are not limited to) changes to occupational eligibility or to post-secondary program accreditation statuses. The timeline for amendments is determined by a number of factors, including annual occupational and budget reviews. Please see the infographic below for additional detail.

Military Occupation List (MOL) Amendments Timeline
How do I register for an account on the CAF ACE web portal?

On the right-hand side of the homepage, click the “Register” button. Complete the online form by selecting the account type most applicable to your role and filling in your contact and positional details. Once complete, click “Save User” at the bottom of the form, and wait for the site administrator to activate your account (you will receive a notification of account activation via e-mail).

CAF Training Manager accounts are for those who work with CAF training documentation, and will be uploading CAF Training Requirements (TRs). This account type is able to access the MOL document, and upload/edit TRs related to occupations under their purview.

CAF Recruiter accounts are for personnel who work in recruitment, component/occupational transfers, and/or Personnel Selection. This account type is able to access the MOL document.

CAF Subsidized Education Manager accounts are for those who work at CDA and manage CAF members on the Basic Training List.

College, CÉGEP, or Other Institution Representative accounts are for those involved in the delivery and/or management of post-secondary training and education programs. This account type is able to upload/edit curricular documentation from the post-secondary institution with which the account holder is involved, and review CAF TRs for comparison with their institution’s programming.

Mailing List accounts may receive mailings from the CAF ACE portal.

Why is the Military Occupation List (MOL) only available as a pdf?

The MOL is available as a pdf only to maintain version control. We are committed to the quality, consistency, and accuracy of our data.

What is the process for adding programs to the list?

Step 1: A CAF occupation recognizes its need to recruit semi-skilled applicants.

Step 2: The occupation enters its Training Requirement(s) into the CAF ACE database.

Step 3: The CAF ACE Team contacts post-secondary institutions to request their curriculum for programs that align with the CAF occupation.

Step 4: Occupational Subject Matter Experts engage in comparative analysis of curriculum. If there is sufficient match to CAF training content, continue to next step.

Step 5: The post-secondary program/diploma is recommended for addition to the Military Occupation List (MOL) by the Occupation Authority (OA).

Step 6: Annual approval process for MOL amendment:

  1. CAF ACE/DPGR (reviews content of request for amendment of the MOL);
  2. DPPD (verifies that request for amendment is in accordance with policy); and
  3. CMP/CDS (approves request and confirms that associated funding is authorized).

Step 7: The MOL is approved and published on the CAF ACE web portal.