The Ontario Provincial Committee (OPC) is responsible in the Province of Ontario (except the Ottawa Valley area), for the support, organization, and administration of the Air Cadet element of Cadets Canada, as delivered by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), through an affiliation agreement with the Air Cadet League of Canada. Every province and Territory has a similar structure.
There are 119 local Squadrons located in Ontario Communities. Each has a local Squadron Sponsoring Committee (SSC) where more than 2,000 volunteers raise funds to keep the program available without cost to youth between 12 and 18 regardless of their means.
While the program, as funded and delivered by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is free of charge to all participants, the Air Cadet League of Canada, Ontario Provincial Committee has undertaken to provide accommodations for training, transportation, food and lodging, squadron administration and financial management that is not provided by the CAF. In 2019-2020, OPC and their SSC raised $250 per cadet over and above the funds raised by Cadets through annual tagging or reimbursements by CAF for expenses.
Air Cadets is one of the best kept secrets in Canada. It is an excellent youth development program that has been in continual operation since 1941. Air Cadets learn about aviation technologies, air crew survival, and how to fly. It is a program that inspires poise, confidence and leadership in young people to become good citizens of their world. It advances equity and inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. It is not a recruiting program for the Canadian military although a number of cadets do go on to military careers, including current Veteran’s Ombudsperson and OPC Governor, Colonel (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine CD.
Over one million young Canadians have participated in the program since its inception. It is estimated that more than 60% of commercial pilots in Canada have participated in the program. Our best known and highest-flying former cadet is Colonel (Ret’d) Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield CD. “The first Canadian to walk in space.”