The Legion's branches are organized into Commands. There are 10 autonomous Provincial Commands with their own presidents and executives. However, national policy is developed by Dominion Command in Ottawa through the Dominion Executive Council (DEC) which is composed of representatives from each of the Commands.
The DEC meets twice a year in Ottawa and must therefore be represented on a more frequent basis by the Senior Elected Officers (SEO) being the Dominion President, Dominion First Vice-President, three Dominion Vice-Presidents, a Dominion Chairman,
a Dominion Treasurer and the Immediate Past Dominion President. These officers meet once a year and at the call of the Dominion President, at Legion House in Ottawa, to resolve issues as presented.
All members of the DEC and Senior Elected Officers are volunteers and together, form the executive of Dominion Command.
The 48 staff members of Dominion Command, including Legion Magazine, are headed by the Dominion Secretary functioning as the Chief Administrative Officer who runs the organization on a day-to-day basis and who is responsible for the implementation of policy directives.
The major governing body of the Legion is the Dominion Convention which convenes every two years. The Dominion Executive Council (DEC), made up of representatives from each of the Provincial Commands, meets twice a year. The Senior Elected Officers meet at the call of the Dominion President. SEO or subject matter experts chair Legion Dominion committees which include: Veterans Service and Seniors; Poppy & Remembrance; Membership; Public Relations; Constitution and Laws; Defence; Ritual and Awards; Sports; National Honours; Dominion Convention; Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League; Finance; and Veterans' Unity.
Dominion Command national headquarters, located in Ottawa, implements policy approved by Dominion Convention, manages major Legion programs, liaises with Veterans Affairs Canada and other federal agencies, administers the organization and handles activities such as supply, veteran services and membership.
Dominion Command operates similar to a private corporation. The SEO is
the Board of Directors and the Dominion Secretary is the Chief Administrative Officer. The Dominion Command paid staff is responsible to the Dominion Secretary and is organized into the following departments, each led by a Director:
- Service Bureau
- Legion Magazine
The yearly operating budget of the organization is approximately $10 million. This includes personnel staffing costs and the operations of Dominion Command Committees. However, it does not include the funds associated with the annual Poppy Campaign (the monies raised locally by the Branches and donated for community projects) or the staffing costs at the Branch and Command level. It does, however, include the funds earned each year through sales from the Dominion Command Supply Department.
The old Legion House, located at 359 Kent Street in Ottawa, was the Legion's headquarters and the home of Dominion Command until the Command moved in 2006 to a newly constructed Legion House at 86 Aird Place in Ottawa (Kanata).
The Legion Magazine is the fourth largest in the country with a paid circulation of approximately 400,000 and a production cycle of six issues per year. It is based in Legion House and is composed of nine staff members.
The Service Bureau is a unique department of four officers and support staff committed to providing service support to veterans, still serving military and RCMP personnel, and dependants in
obtaining disability pensions or benefits. This support includes the complete documentation of a case and its submission to government and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board as necessary.
This confidential service is provided without charge to the clients. Legion membership is not a requirement.
Each province has an office known as a Command of The Royal Canadian Legion as granted under the Dominion Charter or Act of Parliament.
Each Command is subject to the jurisdiction of Dominion Command, under the provisions of the Act of Incorporation and the General By-Laws of The Royal Canadian Legion. They are structured along the same lines as Dominion Command with a governing executive body and committees to manage specific programs. They are responsible for conducting Legion business and implementing Legion programs at the provincial level.
Some Commands, either because of their geographic area or the number of branches they must administer, group branches into zones and zones into districts. Officers are elected to fill leadership appointments at those levels.
The branch is the most important element in the Legion structure. That is because the Legion is driven by its membership and much of its good work is accomplished at the branch level. Each branch elects a slate of executive officers who in turn chair committees which actually manage the branch's involvement in Legion programs.
At the branch level, members have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of activities, all of which will relate either directly or indirectly to major programs. In addition, they enjoy privileges of membership: access to branch sports and social events and the wonderful feeling of comradeship and being part of a long history of service.
Each branch, although under the jurisdiction of Provincial Command and the Dominion Command General By-Laws, must conform to the municipal by-laws of the city, town or district in which it is situated. Branches must conform to all local zoning regulations and are subject to such taxation as may be imposed.
Despite its vast size, the Legion is a democratic organization providing members, who demonstrate ability and dedication, opportunities to advance to the highest positions of authority.