Structure of the RCN

The Royal Canadian Navy is directed through Naval Staff Headquarters by the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy whose mission is to lead the strategic development and generation of Combat Capable Multi-purpose Maritime Forces and to provide advice in support of Maritime operations. 

Three formations – Maritime Forces Pacific, Maritime Forces Atlantic, and the Naval Reserve – are directly responsible to the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Maritime Forces Pacific and Maritime Forces Atlantic are responsible to generate, maintain, and sustain an armed capability to guard Canada’s Pacific and Atlantic maritime approaches respectively and to contribute forces to meet national, domestic and overseas commitments, in order to enhance international peace and security.

Maritime Forces Pacific, home to the 15 ships and submarines of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, is headquartered in Esquimalt, British Columbia on Vancouver Island and employs roughly 4,000 military and 2,000 civilian personnel.  

Maritime Forces Atlantic, home to the 18 ships and submarines of the Canadian Atlantic Fleet, is headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia and employs more than 5,000 military and 2,000 civilian personnel.

The Naval Reserve, headquartered in Québec City, is made up of 24 Naval Reserve Divisions (of up to 150-200 personnel each) located across Canada. Its goal is also to help generate trained individuals and teams for Canadian Armed Forces operations including domestic safety operations as well as security and defence missions, while at the same time supporting the Navy's efforts in connecting with Canadians through the maintenance of a broad national presence.

A fourth formation, the Canadian Armed Forces Maritime Warfare Centre, develops and delivers maritime tactics and operational manoeuvre doctrine in support of Canada’s maritime forces, through operation operational analysis, operational test and evaluation, modeling and simulation, war gaming and naval concept development and experimentation in order to support the development of future maritime forces.