Canadian Army feeling squeeze of more demands, fewer soldiers

OTTAWA — The head of the Canadian Army says his force is facing more demands at home and in Europe even as the number of soldiers under his command continues to shrink.

Lt.-Gen. Joe Paul says the squeeze is forcing the Army to take a closer look at some long-established assumptions and ways of doing things to see where it can be more efficient.

Commanders across the whole of the Canadian Armed Forces have been sounding the alarm about a personnel crisis that has left thousands of positions vacant.

Paul says the Army shrunk by 1,200 soldiers last year — and possibly another 800 this year due to recruiting and retention challenges.

At the same time, troops are dealing with more calls for assistance in response to natural disasters here at home, while also gearing up to expand Canada's presence in Latvia.

There are already hundreds of Canadian soldiers working with a NATO battlegroup there, and Paul says the Army will respond as the military alliance moves to grow the force next year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press