Canada looks to replace “seaman” with “sailor” in ranks


The Royal Canadian Navy has is looking to replace the rank titles of those with the word ‘Seaman’ (Ordinary, Able, Leading and Master Seaman) with gender-neutral terms. The RCN is engaging serving and retired members, stakeholders, and other interested Canadians to receive their feedback on this initiative. The potential alternative rank designations developed by a focus group of Non-Commissioned Members, and were reviewed by the Directorate of Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion using Gender Based Analysis.

Options for consideration are replacing “Seaman” with “Sailor” meaning ranks would be Ordinary Sailor, Able Sailor, Leading Sailor and Master Sailor and would maintain their current abbreviated titles (OS, AB, LS and MS); and Sailor classes such as Sailor 3rd Class (S3), Sailor 2nd Class (S2), Sailor 1st Class (S1) and Master Sailor (MS).

The results of the engagement  will be considered before making the final decision to effect changes to these rank designations later this year as part of the 110th Anniversary of the RCN and the 20th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This change is viewed as an opportunity for the RCN to reinforce its commitment to being an inclusive and diverse organization. In the officer ranks the RCN has the rank of Naval Cadet rather than Midshipman.


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