During the early days of World War II. France had fallen, the Low Countries had been invaded, and Britain was under heavy attack from the air. The critical need was for planes and more planes - and for trained young men to fly them in defense of freedom. Against this background there grew in Canada the idea of a select corps of teen-aged youths who would devote some of their spare time to preparing for the day when they would take their places as aircrew in the ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1940, Air Minister Power, who was very much aware of the need for this type of Air Cadet training, called in a group of influential civilians and asked them to set up a country-wide voluntary organization to sponsor and develop this growing movement. The response was immediate, and a civilian organization was soon created to work on a partnership basis with the RCAF. As it later developed, this partnership was to be the main reason for the striking success of the Air Cadet Movement in Canada. On the 11th of November, 1940, Order-in-Council PC 6647 was passed. This order authorized the formation of the Air Cadet League of Canada and set forth the responsibilities of the civilian body and of the RCAF. On April 9, 1941, the Air Cadet League of Canada was granted a Dominion Charter authorizing it to operate as a charitable, non-profit corporation.
An administrative headquarters was established in Ottawa, and the stage was set for a concentrated appeal for sponsors and volunteers throughout the provinces. In the early part of 1941, a national board of key men was chosen and it met for the first time in Ottawa on June 2nd of that year. One of the first acts of the national directors was to appoint an outstanding Chairman in each of nine provinces. The Provincial Chairmen in turn set up their committees and these gentlemen traveled widely, talking to public minded citizens and recruiting local sponsorship for the squadrons. The organization of squadrons proceeded through the fall months of 1941 and by the end of the year there were 79 squadrons affiliated across the country. By May, 1942, there were 135 squadrons and 10,000 cadets; and a year later, 315 squadrons with 23,000 cadets.
Air cadet officers were initially civilians who were granted "warrants" from the Air Cadet League of Canada. Their uniforms were the same as those of the cadets, except RCAF style officer and warrant officer rank insignia were worn. Begining in 1943, The RCAF began granting King's Commissions in the "Air Cadet Corps," a special reserve component of the RCAF responsible for the Air Cadet program. They wore uniforms identical to all other members of the RCAF with the exception of badges, composed of the letters ACC, worn on the shoulders and lapels. The League-commissioned officers and warrant officers and the RCAF-commissioned officers co-existed until approx 1946 when the former were phased out.
With the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, the officer cadre underwent a period of reorganization. It reappeared as the tri-service Cadet Instructors List (CIL) at the National Defense Headquaters. In July 1994 it was renamed the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC).
On June 2, 2009 the CIC sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserves was renamed the Cadet Organizations Administation and Training Service (COATS). The Cadet Instructors Cadre is a CF Personnel Branch and a CF occupation within COATS and is the largest officer branch in the Canadian Forces.
On June 14, 1941 W.W. Ireland, of the Model Aircraft League of Edmonton, wrote to the newly formed Air Cadet League for further information about Air Cadets. A group of prominent Edmonton businessmen, led by W.H.W Brookes, were looking at starting a committee of Air Cadets in Edmonton. This was the start of 12 Edmonton Squadron and of Air Cadets in Edmonton.
12 Edmonton Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron received its official Charter on the 24 September, 1941. The Sqn has been in continuous operation ever since.
During WW2, 12 squadron was located with No. 4 Initial Training School. Part of the BCATP which was held at the south wing of the Edmonton Normal School, which was later renamed E.A. Corbett Hall located at the U of A
12 Edmonton Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Today
In 2000, 12 RCACS moved to a closed school in Edmonton, the former Haythorne School. The former school was filled with several non profit groups, including other Cadet Corps / Squadrons. The building during this this time was home home to 2073 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, after their move to Debney Armoury, 12 RCACS was the only Cadet Corps / Squadron until 238 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corp moved to the building. In 2012, 152 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corp joined 12 RCACS and 238 RCSCC. 12 RCACS operated in the former Haythorne School. The building hosted several RDA events including Marksmanship, Drill and Music events. In 2012, 12 City of Edmonton Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron was awarded a Regional Cadet Support Unit (Prairie) Commander's Certificate of Achievement as the Top Air Cadet Squadron in Regional Cadet Support Unit (Prairie)
In 2013, the former Haythorne School was sold to a new owner and was set for demolition. 12 RCACS struggled to secure a new parade location. As the demolition date came closer, 570 Sir Winston Churchill Royal Canadian Squadron came to the aid of 12 RCACS. 570 RCACS offered to allow 12 RCACS to move into their facilities until new facilities could be secured. With both Squadron's parading on Thursday Nights, for the 2013-2014 training years, 12 RCACS and 570 RCACS coordinated their efforts.