As global threats continue to create cause for concern, Canada’s military is having a difficult time reaching its recruiting goals as many Canadians are choosing to avoid service.
In 2017, the Trudeau government announced a significant increase in military spending to expand troop capacity and remain competitive in the face of increasing global challenges.
Despite this, the Canadian military is reportedly only receiving about half the number of applications that it would need to achieve its recruitment goals.
Possible reasons suggested for the decrease in applicants include a number of scandals involving leadership and military culture, Canada not being currently involved in a major conflict, and a push for ‘diversity.’
As reported by the Montreal Gazette, “Recruiters are given targets to meet, with spots divvied up by trade, as well as minimum targets for female recruits and maximums for men. There is also a high-level push for what the military still refers to as ‘visible minorities' and Indigenous people.”
The publication also reported, “’We’re really seeing even places like Kingston that used to have a huge population of applicants, we’re seeing the well drying out,’ says Maj. Simon Rocheleau, who is responsible for managing recruiting efforts across northern and eastern Ontario."
"Rocheleau has a number of theories to explain the situation, including the state of the economy, the lack of a major mission like Afghanistan to drive awareness, and concerns about sexual misconduct," reported the outlet.
As potential threats from adversarial nations such as China, Russia, and Iran continue to rise, Canada's plan to expand its military capabilities and numbers appears to be falling short. Approximately 10% of the Canadian military's positions are reportedly currently unfilled.