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Before this country stretched to the shores of three oceans, there was nonetheless a Canadian Army - men who volunteered to protect their families and their communities from dangers, both foreign and domestic, volunteers battled in the War of 1812 and fought in the rebellion of 1837.

Then, the army was called the Canadian Militia, a name that remains for our current Reserve Army. The Militia Act of 1846 marked the first time that Canadian authorities recognized the volunteer principle; the Militia Act of 1855 provided for 5,000 volunteers to be equipped and trained at public expense for 10 days a year. The first federal Militia Act of 1868 authorized an active militia of 40,000 volunteers, which increased to 45,000 in 1871. The first permanent active militia militia units - "A" and "B" Batteries, Canadian artillery - were formed in 1871; other permanent cavalry and infantry units were formed in 1883.

Land Force Western Area was established on September 1st, 1991 to take command of all regular and reserve army units in Western Canada. LFWA is one of four army area commands. The Land Staff, located at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, oversees the four area commands: Land Force Atlantic Area HQ - Halifax; Land Force Quebec Area HQ - Montreal; Land Force Central Area HQ - Toronto, and Land Force Western Area HQ - Edmonton. LFWA consists of three Reserve Brigade Groups, One Regular Mechanized Brigade Group, One Area Support Group, the Western Area Training Centre, CFB Suffield, Alberta.

LFWA's three Reserve Brigades, 38 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in Winnipeg, 39 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in Vancouver, and 41 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in Calgary, roughly correspond to the provinces they are headquartered in. 38 Canadian Brigade Group includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the portion of Ontario west of Thunder Bay. The regular brigade, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group consists of the regular units in Winnipeg, Shilo, Man., and Edmonton.

LFWA is larger than all but five countries in the United Nations. It includes more than 6,000 regular force and 4,900 reserve force members, and 1,100 civilian employees.

The implementation of "Total Force" in Canada's Army has unified organization and operations of both regular and reserve elements. This change has enabled the Army to take forces needed for operational deployment from supporting infrastructure of bases, schools and training facilities. Visible proof of this important achievement is LFWA's high level of participation in United Nations operations.


 Site last updated: 17-07-2001