Lieutenant General Omer Lavoie was born and raised in Marathon, Ontario. His early humble upbringing prepared him well for a career in the infantry. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1983 as a private soldier in the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment. Upon high school graduation, he transferred to the Regular Force and attended Royal Roads Military College, in Victoria, from 1985 – 1989. His formal education includes an Honours degree in Military Leadership and Applied Psychology from Royal Roads Military College (RMCC) Victoria and a Master’s degree in Defence Studies from Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston.
Upon completion of infantry phase training, he was posted to Second Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. Lieutenant General Lavoie’s regimental employment includes service with 2 RCR, 1 RCR and as the Regimental Adjutant. As a member of 2 RCR, he was employed as a platoon commander, Officer Commanding reconnaissance platoon and as a company second-in-command. While posted to 1 RCR, he served as the Battle Group Operations Officer, Officer Commanding the Duke of Edinburgh’s Company and Commanding Officer.
Lieutenant General Lavoie’s extra regimental service has included postings to Canadian Forces Northern Area Headquarters in Yellowknife, Director General Strategic Planning at NDHQ, the first commander of the Canadian Forces Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, as the Director General Defence Force Planning within Chief of Programme, and as the Director of Staff in the Strategic Joint Staff. He has served in all three of the Canadian Army’s mechanized brigade groups.
Lieutenant General Lavoie’s operational experience includes employment as a rifle platoon commander during the OKA Crisis, as a company second-in-command in Croatia and Bosnia in 1992/1993, as a battle group operations officer in Kosovo in 1999/2000 and as a Battle Group Commanding Officer of the 1RCR Battle Group in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2006/2007.
Lieutenant General Lavoie has been awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for his role in leading the First Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group in Afghanistan and has been awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for leading NATO’s first offensive ground operation at the Battle Group level, OPERATION MEDUSA.
Lieutenant General Lavoie has been privileged and honoured to have commanded troops at all rank levels from platoon to division. His formation level command appointments include Commander 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Commander Land Force Central Area, Commander of 4th Canadian Division and Commander of 1st Canadian Division in Kingston.
Lieutenant General Lavoie was promoted to his current rank in June 2019 and assumed responsibilities as the Deputy Commander of Joint Force Command Naples.