RAVEN: A Canadian Armed Forces Indigenous Initiative

Are you a Canadian that identifies as an Indigenous person? Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding opportunity over the summer months and potentially beyond? Then Raven is exactly what you’re looking for!

In the summer of 2003, the Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific implemented the first Raven Aboriginal Youth Employment Program and it has since grown into so much more.

This outreach program is designed to build bridges into Indigenous communities throughout Canada and show young Indigenous people potential for part-time employment or a fulltime career with the Canadian Armed Forces.


Raven is conducted at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt in Victoria, BC from early July to late August each year. The recruits are enrolled in the CAF at the beginning of the course and then travel to Nanoose Bay to commence a three and a half day Culture Camp. Here the recruits learn traditional Indigenous values and teachings. This is taught by Elders and cultural staff. The Culture Camp serves two purposes: It helps the candidates understand the need for self-discipline and teamwork and also instils pride through Indigenous traditions within military service. When the candidates return from Culture Camp, they are turned over to their military instructors and commence a six week Basic Military Qualification (BMQ).

During the BMQ course, candidates learn what every new recruit requires: military knowledge, inspections, physical training, weapons handling, navigation with a map and compass, first aid, drill, outdoor field craft and a confidence building obstacle course. With Raven having a naval focus, we include a day sail onboard one of our ships where the candidates will experience life at sea. Here we introduce sea elements such as firefighting, flood containment and damage control. Former Raven graduates have commented that this was their favourite day of the course and for some, their first time on a ship or touching the ocean waves.


 Throughout Raven you will grow and learn about yourself through dynamic training, determination and teamwork. The Raven program brings together Indigenous peoples from all over Canada and by the end of the 6-weeks, great bonds amongst the recruits have been formed.

Furthermore, the following will be included in the course:

  • all travel expenses to and from CFB Esquimalt
  • meals and accommodations
  • military clothing and equipment
  • a salary of roughly $4,200

As well, upon completion of the training, there is potential to claim the course as credits towards High School and College diplomas. There is also opportunity to continue a full-time or part-time career with the Canadian Armed Forces. 


By the start of course you must:

  • have completed Grade 10
  • be a minimum age of 16 (there is no maximum age limit)
  • consider yourself an Indigenous person (First Nations, Métis, Inuit or non-status)
  • be a Canadian citizen

Once your nearest Recruiting Center receives your application, they will work with you to determine if you qualify for the course.

How to apply

Applications have already begun and are processed until all positions are filled. The online process is laid out below however if there are any issues please get in contact with your nearest Recruiting Center through the link below or call 1-800-856-8488.


Online Application Process:

  1. Go to www.forces.ca and click the “Apply Now” button. From there click the “Start Application Now”.
  2. You will need to register for a GCKey to access the application documents. Choose “Continue to GCKey” and click “Sign Up”. Once you’ve registered for a GCKey you can begin the application process.
  3. Read over the different steps to submit your forms – it is all submitted online. Be sure to choose “Raven" as your Program Choice.

The nearest Canadian Forces Recruiting Center will get in touch once your online application has been submitted. It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete this online application. The sooner you submit the online form, the greater chance you will have of joining Raven for an incredible summer.

If you don’t hear an update on your application after 10 days please get in contact with your nearest Recruiting Center through the link below or call 1-800-856-8488.


Contact RAVEN

  • If you have any further questions about the Raven Program please feel free to email us.
  • If you would like to promote Raven in your organization or community, we would be happy to mail you pamphlets and posters.
  • If you would like to request a Raven representative to come to your community or organization to give a presentation about the course, please email us a detailed request.

All correspondence can be emailed to the Raven team at: P-ESQRAVEN@FORCES.GC.CA

You can find us on Facebook at: RAVEN@Canadian.Armed.Forces.Raven.Program