In 1793, the British government decided to recruit regiments in British North America. This led to the creation of the Royal Nova Scotia Regiment and the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment.
The Royal Nova Scotia Regiment was composed of volunteers from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It was created to aid in the defence of the British Atlantic colonies. In Lower Canada, Lord Dorchester established the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment. The 1st Battalion, stationed in Quebec, was composed of French-Canadian recruits. Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Dominique Le Moyne, Baron de Longueil, commanded the 1st Battalion. The 2nd Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John McDonnell, was recruited from English-Canadian volunteers in Lower Canada. It was posted to Montreal.
In 1799, British General Hunter inspected the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment. He reported that both battalions had a high desertion rate. The 2nd Battalion had 289 men missing from its rolls, and no less than 317 had deserted from the 1st Battalion. As a result, the British government decided to disband the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment in 1803.