In September 1961 the Canadian government ordered 190 examples of the production variant, CL-41A for the RCAF as the CT-114 Tutor. The Tutor served for over thirty years as a primary trainer. In 1976, the Canadian Forces modified 113 remaining aircraft with upgraded avionics and provisions for two belly-mounted 41 US gal (155 l) external fuel tanks.
Canadair also developed an armament training and light attack variant, the CL-41G, with an uprated engine and underwing hard points to allow the carriage of external stores (up to 4,000 lb (1814 kg) of weapons) and drop tanks. In March 1966, the Royal Malaysian Air Force ordered twenty (serials M-22-01 to M22-11) examples of the CL-41G-5 Tebuan (which means Wasp in the Malay language) aircraft as counterinsurgency (COIN) aircraft. The Tebuan entered service in Malaysia in 1967, serving for over twenty years, before being phased out in June 1986 and replaced by the Aermacchi MB-339A.
One other variant was developed, the CL-41R which was fitted with an F-104 Starfighter nose as a proposed electronic systems trainer for future RCAF CF-104 pilots. The R model never went into production.
In 1967, ten Tutors were modified for use as a formation aerobatic aircraft by the RCAF (and later the unified Canadian Forces) display team, the Golden Centennaires to celebrate Canada's centennial year. The display team was disbanded after the 1967 season. In 1971 a formation team was formed at 2CFFTS (Two Canadian Forces Flying Training School) at CFB Moose Jaw. In 1972 the name "Snowbirds," was chosen and in 1978 the team gained squadron status as 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, who continue to perform at air shows and special events including the annual flypast on Canada Day over the capital city, Ottawa.
Modifications for the Snowbirds include: a smoke generating system, a unique paint scheme for added crowd appeal, and a highly tuned engine to enhance engine response in low level flying.