The Canadian Provost Corps
1946 - 1968

"Discipline By Example"

Brief History

  In 1946, the Canadian Government decided that the maximum strength of the Canadian Army Active Service Force (soon to be titled "Regular") would be set at 25,000. The Canadian Provost Corps (Regular) establishment was set at 239 all ranks. This number was reduced even further in 1947. It was soon evident that these numbers were somewhat less than sufficient. The strength of the Army and the Provost Corps were substantially increased over the following years. The Reserves were not ignored and 12 Militia Provost Companies were formed, staffed primarily by former Active Force officers and senior NCOs.

  In the early post war years the structure of the Canadian Army was altered dramatically. Instead of multiple county based Military Districts, a system of Commands was set up, covering the entire country. These Commands and their areas were:

Western Command Alberta and British Columbia. Later, the Yukon and the North West Highway System was taken under control.
Prairie CommandManitoba and Saskatchewan. Prairie Command was disbanded in 1959 and absorbed by Western Command.
Central Command Ontario
Quebec Command Quebec
Eastern Command New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and after 1949, Newfoundland.
Each Command had a Command Provost Company, broken down into platoons and detachments in cities and Army Camps. As well as Provost Detachments, there were Detention Barracks and Special Investigation Units in each command. Outside of Canada, a Canadian Infantry Brigade (later a Division) with it's own Provost Company was based in Germany. Provost detachments were located in select Canadian Embassies and High Commissions and Canadian Provost were well represented in virtually every United Nations mission.

New Responsibilities

During the Second World War the Canadian Provost Corps was geared towards military operations with traffic control and maintenance of security and discipline as primary functions. For the postwar Provost, these duties were still important, but now additional responsibilities would have to be undertaken.
Military Camps were expanded and modernised and families moved in to "PMQs" or "Permanent Married Quarters". Along with the families came the required infrastructure to support them, stores and shops , banks and service stations, schools and recreational facilities. Military Camps became towns, some larger than the towns that had previously supported them. Provost became the town police, with all of the duties and responsibilities of a civilian police force. (The same thing was happening on RCAF bases, requiring similar changes to the duties of RCAF Service Police.)


Provost on school crossing guard duty.


"Shaking hands with doorknobs".... checking for insecure premises on a base circa 1959.

Upon the formation of the unified Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Provost Corps was disbanded in 1968 and it's members integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces Security Branch.

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