"[The SA] provided the reassuring link between the fighting man and his world of peace and kindness and sanity."
- Scott Young

In November 1939, Ottawa accorded the Salvation Army official status as a Canadian War Auxiliary Service, a distinction also awarded the Canadian Legion, the Young Men’s Christian Association, and the Knights of Columbus.

The SA understood that Ottawa’s co-ordination of all Auxiliary War Services would eliminate duplication of effort in matters affecting military welfare. In 1942, each group agreed to specialize in certain fields, with the SA assuming responsibility for canteens and the showing of films.

Other responsibilities included organizing recreational activities such as concerts or sporting events, providing reading material and stationery, comforting the wounded, or even helping bury the dead. In short, they did whatever was necessary to help maintain military morale. The SA instructed its supervisors to "care for the body, mind and soul of every [service person] irrespective of...creed or personality."

Red Shield supervisors retained their status as civilians but held military rank equivalent to an army captain. In 1940, Ottawa issued each the uniform (minus rank insignia) of their respective service and units with the addition of Red Shield and Auxiliary War Services badges.

During Canadian training exercises in Britain, the SA’s mobile canteens supplied tired men with coffee, donuts, chocolates, and cigarettes. By early 1944, 70 Red Shield supervisors operated 30 centres and 55 mobile canteens in support of Canadian army and air force units. Moreover, the SA film service’s 375 projectors in Britain showed two complete programs weekly.