An internal National Defence report has questioned the need for the military’s cadet program, highlighting that it has recently swollen with managers whose salaries consume the majority of the budget, which is supposed to be used to support youth. Essentially, the cadet program is aimed to promote the youth aged 12 to 18 to participate in various activities while learning about the Canadian Forces. There are approximately 52,000 cadets in units across the country.
However, the evaluation conducted by an internal auditor of the Department of National Defence revealed that the cost for the cadet program has increased by 40 per cent in last 20 years, while the number of participants decreased by 15 per cent. The evaluation approved by DND’s Chief of Review Services also examined the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) program, which is for youth in remote and isolated communities. The program received high marks, as it was underlined that “there is evidence of need for the JCR Program and less evidence of continued need for the Cadet Program.” Estimates of almost 3,700 young people are currently enrolled in JCR.