Following the implementation of the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act on February 1st 1968, the École de recrues des Forces canadiennes (ERFC) was created on April 1st of the same year with the mandate of conducting basic training for French-speaking Non-Commissioned Members. A detachment at Camp Farnham was also created for field training. Originally, the Recruit Course was seven weeks and Major-General Dextraze, who would later become the Chief of Defence Staff , presided over the first graduation ceremony. The School’s establishment at this time was composed of six Officers and 45 Non-Commissioned Members.
On April 27th 1979, the School moved into the new General-Jean-Victor-Allard complex. By then, the staff had grown to eight Officers and 103 Non-Commissioned Members. The recruits were organized into three companies, one of which comprised two female platoons. The integration of female and male candidates during training was completed in 1987.
In 1994, with the closure of the Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis in Nova Scotia, the responsibility of training English-speaking Non-Commissioned Members was transferred to ERFC Saint-Jean, which then became a fully bilingual unit and was also given an English name: Canadian Forces Recruit School (CFRS). At that time, the staff was composed of nine Officers, 127 Non-Commissioned Members and four civilian employees. In addition to its main mandate, CFRS also developed a General Military Training Course which aimed to prepare its own instructors for their duties at the School.
With the closure of the Canadian Forces Base Chiliwack in British-Columbia, the Canadian Forces Officer-Candidate School was transferred to CFRS Saint-Jean. On September 20th 1996, the School was renamed the “Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School” (CFLRS), and its mandate was to conduct basic training for all personnel entering the Regular Force, both Officers and Non-Commissioned Members.
In 2011, CFLRS was mandated with the development and the delivery of the Canadian Forces Primary Leadership Qualification (PLQ) Distance Learning, and with the delivery of the PLQ Residency for the Chief – Military Personnel occupations.
In 2012, CFLRS was tasked with the development and delivery of the seven Distance Learning courses of the new Canadian Forces Junior Officer Development Programme. On December 1st of the same year, the Non-Commissioned Member Professional Development (NCMPD) Centre, a Saint-Jean detachment of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, became a Division of CFLRS. In August 2014, the NCMPD Division was transferred from CFLRS to the Royal Military College Saint-Jean.
Today, CFLRS’ mission is to train and professionally develop the next CAF generation morally, mentally, physically and intellectually in order to uphold excellence in the profession of arms and to meet CAF intake requirements. The School’s establishment is now composed of more than 500 military members of all ranks and elements, and of over 100 civilian employees. Every year, more than 5000 people start their military career at CFLRS while 3000 military members train via Distance Learning.