Q:

How do you gain access to Canadian military service records?

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Quick Answer

To access open military records, visit the Library and Archives Canada official website and search the online database in the Military Heritage section. All records prior to 1918 and records for soldiers who died during World War II are open to the public. To request restricted records, send a request to the Access to Information and Privacy and Personnel Records Division. Any records after 1918, including for soldiers who survived World War II, are subject to restrictions.

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Full Answer

Open military records include World War I court martials, Royal Canadian Navy service ledgers, digital personnel service files for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and soldier diaries from World War I. The project to digitize records is ongoing, as of 2015, and individuals can request copies of any files not available in the digital database. The organization uploads new documents biweekly.

To submit a request for restricted records, download the Application for Military Service Information form and submit it via mail or fax, or send a written letter with the full name of the service member along with the date of birth and service or social insurance number.

Living service members and veterans must provide signed consent for the organization to release records. The immediate family members can request limited information within 20 years of the service member’s death by providing proof of their relationship and proof of death. After 20 years, anyone can request information by providing proof of death.

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