The Salvation Army’s status in Canada was entrenched in law in 1909 when parliament passed an Act giving the organization legal standing, its governance to be conducted by The Governing Council of The Salvation Army in Canada, a structure that continues to this day. An Act to incorporate the Governing Council of The Salvation Army in Canada received Royal Assent on 19 May 1909.

Structured on a quasi-military structure, the Salvation Army is led by a Territorial Commander (TC) (Leaders) who are in turn assisted by The Chief Secretary (Chief) and various Cabinet Secretaries. The TC, Chief, and Cabinet Secretaries form the Territorial Cabinet and also are members of the Territorial Management Board (TMB), and the Governing Council, along with members in various other boards, committees and ad hoc groups. They provide ecclesiastical and administrative oversight to the Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda.

Territorial Commander and Chief Secretary
The Territorial Commander (TC) and Chief Secretary are appointed by the General. Their role is to oversee and administer the work of The Salvation Army within their territory. They are assisted by various other Secretaries (departmental heads) who are, in turn, responsible for overseeing their various branches of Army activity.

The Territorial Commander is responsible for the territory's overall operation and mission, and the Chief Secretary is responsible for the territory's administration and daily operations. Senior executive officers are, on the recommendation of the Territorial Commander, also appointed by the General. All other officer appointments within a territory are the responsibility of the Territorial Commander and the Cabinet.

Divisional Structure

The Canada and Bermuda Territory is divided into geographical regions known as a Division led by a Divisional Commander. Currently the Territory has eight Divisional Offices as follows: British Columbia, Alberta, Prairies (Saskatchewan, Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador and Bermuda. Each Divisional Commander reports to the Chief Secretary. 

Ministry Units

Broadly categorized, the local work of the Salvation Army is conducted by various Ministry Units which conduct their efforts in a local geographical region such as a city/town or part of a city. Ministry Units can be primarily focused on social service delivery with work primarily concentrated on providing shelter to the homeless or those in need of emergency housing, or services to those in the criminal justice system. Some work focuses on providing food, clothing and other material assistance through Family Services Offices or Thrift Stores.

Other work focuses on our religious efforts through the ministry to congregants (Soldiers, adherents and friends of the Salvation Army) and to their general community at large. These Churches (Corps) offer a varied number of spiritual and social services to the  communities they serve. Typically, a Corps is led by a Corps Officer (CO), and a Social Service unit is led by an Executive Director (ED).

Salvation Army Glossary of Terms


The following is a list of more commonly used terms with the Salvation Army.


A person who regards The Salvation Army as his/her spiritual home but has not made a commitment to soldiership. (More about becoming an adherent member.)

Advisory Board

A group of influential citizens who, believing in the Army’s programme of spiritual, moral and physical rehabilitation and amelioration, assist in promoting and supporting Army projects.

Articles of War (Soldier’s Covenant)

The statement of beliefs and promises which every intending soldier is required to sign before enrolment.


A mature Salvationist beyond the age limit for full officer-training, who holds a warrant of appointment as distinct from commissioned rank, and who may undertake corps or social work similar to that of a commissioned officer.

Balance Sheet or Statement of Accounts

Published annually with respect to the Army’s central funds. A similar statement is issued annually for the social fund, and for each territorial fund. In every corps a statement of accounts is prepared annually.

‘Blood and Fire’

The Army’s motto; refers to the blood of Jesus Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit.


A cadet is a Salvationist Solidier in training for officership.


A soldier who has been accepted for officer training.

Census Board

Established in a corps; responsible for the addition of names to, and removal of names from, the rolls.

Chief of the Staff

The officer second in command of the Army throughout the world.

Chief Secretary

The officer second in command of a Territory. Click here for a complete list of Officers who have been appointed as Chief Secretary in The Canada and Bermuda Territory.


A hall used for worship.


The tricolour flag of the Army. Its colours symbolise the blood of Jesus Christ (red), the fire of the Holy Spirit (yellow) and the purity of God (blue).


A smaller type of territory, directed by an officer commanding.


A document conferring authority upon an officer, or upon an unpaid local officer, eg secretary, treasurer, bandmaster, etc.

Community Care Ministries

Salvationists who visit prisons, hospitals and needy homes, in their own time, bringing the gospel and rendering practical aid.


Central gatherings often held annually and attended by most officers and many soldiers of a territory, region or division.


A Salvation Army unit (Church) established for the preaching of the gospel and service in the community.

Corps Cadet

A young Salvationist who undertakes a course of study and practical training in his or her corps, with a view to becoming efficient in Salvation Army service.

Corps Sergeant-Major

The chief local officer for public work who assists the corps officer with meetings and usually takes command in their absence.

Dedication Service

The public presentation of infants to the Lord. This differs from christening or infant baptism in that the main emphasis is upon specific vows made by the parents concerning the child’s upbringing.


A number of corps grouped together, under the direction of a divisional commander.


A local officer whose duty is to visit corps, societies and outposts, for the purpose of conducting meetings. An envoy may be appointed in charge of any such unit.


The officer elected to the supreme command of the Army throughout the world. All appointments are made, and all regulations issued, under the General’s authority (see under High Council). Click here for a complete list of Generals of The Salvation Army.

Half-way House

A centre for the rehabilitation of alcoholics or parolees (USA). Harbour-Light Centre. A reclamation centre, usually located in inner city areas.

High Council

Composed of the Chief of the Staff, all active commissioners, except the spouse of the General, and all territorial commanders. The High Council elects the General in accordance with the Salvation Army Act 1980.

Home League

A fellowship designed to influence women in the creation and development of Christian standards in personal home life.

International Headquarters (IHQ)

The offices in which the business connected with the command of the worldwide Army is transacted.

International Secretary

An officer appointed by the General to supervise and represent, at International Headquarters, Army work mainly overseas.

Junior Soldier

A boy or girl who, having professed conversion and having signed the junior soldier’s promise, becomes a Salvationist.

League of Mercy see Community Care Ministries

Local Officer

A soldier appointed to a position of responsibility and authority in the corps; carries out the duties of the appointment without being separated from regular employment or receiving remuneration from the Army.

Medical Fellowship

An international fellowship of dedicated medical personnel.

Mercy Seat or Penitent Form

A bench provided as a place where people can kneel to pray, seeking salvation or sanctification, or making a special consecration to God’s will and service. The mercy seat is usually situated between the platform and main area of Army halls as a focal point to remind all of God’s reconciling and redeeming presence.


A Salvationist who has left secular concerns at God’s call and has been trained, commissioned and ordained to service and leadership. An officer is a recognised minister of religion.

Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service

An order created to mark the Army's appreciation of distinguished service rendered by non-Salvationists who have helped further its work in a variety of ways. Click here for more information.

Order of the Founder

The highest honour given for distinguished service within The Salvation Army. Click here for more information.


A locality in which Army work is carried on and where it is hoped a society or corps will develop.

Promotion to Glory

The Army’s description of the death of Salvationists.

Ranks of officers

lieutenant, captain, major, lieut-colonel, colonel, commissioner, general.

Red Shield

A symbol identifying a wide range of Army social and emergency services.

Red Shield Appeal

An annual financial appeal to the general public.

Red Shield Centre

A club for military personnel.


The work of grace which God accomplishes in a repentant person whose trust is in Christ as Saviour, forgiving sin, giving meaning and new direction to life, and strength to live as God desires. The deeper experience of this grace, known as holiness or sanctification, is the outcome of wholehearted commitment to God and enables the living of a Christlike life.

Self-Denial Appeal

An annual effort to raise funds for the Army’s worldwide operations; also known as the annual appeal in some countries.


A local officer appointed for specific duty, usually in a corps.


A converted person at least 14 years of age who has, with the approval of the census board, been enrolled as a member of The Salvation Army after signing the articles of war (soldier's covenant).


Public enrolment of Salvation Army soldiers.


A country, part of a country or several countries combined, in which Salvation Army work is organised under a territorial commander.

Territorial Commander

The leader of a geographic area, country, multiple countries or part of a country; who is responsible for the oversight of the work of the Salvation Army in that area. Typically territorial commanders will hold the rank of commissioner, but in smaller territories the leader may hold the rank of colonel or lieut-colonel.

Territorial Headquarters

The offices in which the business connected with the command of the Army within a Territorial is transacted.

Young People’s Sergeant-Major

A local officer responsible for the young people’s work, under the commanding officer.


Salvation Army Acronyms

Acronym ˈakrəˌnim’ is defined as an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g. TC, DC, CO, etc.). In the Salvation Army, we are often accused of having our own language because of the many acronyms we use. Here is a collection of them that have been used over the years:

AC – Area Commander

ACSAL – Advisory Council of Salvation Army Laymen

ARC - Adult Rehabilitation Centers

BM – Band Master

CCC – Corps Cadet Councillor

CCM - Community Care Ministries

CO  - Corps Officer, Commanding Officer

CS – Corps Secretary

CSB - Canadian Staff Band

CSM – Corps Sargent Major

CSS – Canadian Staff Songsters

CT – Corps Treasurer

DC – Divisional Commander

DM – District Manager

ED – Executive Director

EDS - Emergency Disaster Services

FIS - Family Intervention Service

HLS – Home League Secretary

ICO – International College of Officers

IES - International Emergency Services

ISB – International Staff Band

ISJC - International Social Justice Commission

ISS - International Staff Songsters

LO – Local Officer

LOM – League of Mercy

LOMS – League of Mercy Secretary

O&R – Orders and Regulations

ORB – Officer Review Board

QM – Quarter Master

RS – Recruiting Sargent

SA – Salvation Army

SAFE - Salvation Army Fellowship of Endeavour

SAGALA - Salvation Army Guards and Legions Association

SAHA - Salvation Army Housing Association

SAMF – Salvation Army Medical Fellowship

SATERN - Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network

SAWSO - Salvation Army World Service Office

SBA – Secretary for Business Administration

SL - Songster Leader

TC – Territorial Commander

TMB – Territorial Management Board

TMS – Territorial Missions Secretary

TSA – The Salvation Army

YPSM – Young Peoples Sargent Major