By Captain Donna Riguidel, Canadian Forces Liaison Council
To make sure Reservist employers and educators know they are appreciated, the Canadian Forces Liaison Council presents 22 different awards every two years to deserving employers of Canadian Armed Forces Reserves members. Nominated by their Reservist employees and students, kudos are given to the most supportive national and provincial/territorial employers or educators, to the most supportive organization that provided special support to international and domestic operations and to small employers who do big things for Reservists.
Ottawa, Ontario — “I found a family, and I learned to lead.”
Senior Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas was sincere and earnest as she addressed the crowd at the Canadian Forces Liaison Council 2017 Awards Dinner on May 25, 2017.
The Awards are held every two years to recognize those employers and educators who go “above and beyond” in supporting reservists. This year, the day-long event included a luncheon, the afternoon provincial awards ceremony at Cartier Square Drill Hall, and then the national award ceremony dinner at the Canadian War Museum.
Canadian entertainer, Tom Jackson delighted the crowd with music and heartfelt comments.
“We are all driven to serve,” he said to the crowd, before launching into a warm rendition of O Canada.”
Winner of the Most Supportive Employer in Canada, VIA Rail Canada, received its award at the gala dinner, to resounding applause. VIA Rail Canada not only offers Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members a discount, but also, among several other CAF-centric policies, has an employment program to help members transition from uniformed life.
“We continue to recognize the value of employing someone currently serving or having served in the CAF,” said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada.
During the evening program, Major-General Paul Bury, Chief Reserves and Cadets, spoke of sacrifice and how the weight of deployment can be heavy, in a different way, for those who serve part time.
“Knowing that programs and policies like these allow our members to effectively press ‘pause’ on their lives, and still have school or a civilian career waiting for them back home. The value of that support cannot be measured,” MGen Bury said.
Competition for these awards was fierce. Going beyond merely accommodating requests for time off to train or deploy, many employers and educators offered top-up of pay, benefit extension, flexible scheduling, and some provided corporate facilities for training and even volunteered to help at mess events.
Fireweed RV Services Ltd., a company with just four employees, won in the special award category for small organizations. Fireweed RV employee and Cadet Instructor, Lieutenant John Robertson (2685 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, The Yukon Regiment), has not only gotten time off for training, but his employer offers its place of business to the local cadet unit to use.
Although accommodating time off can leave his business short-staffed by 25%, Fireweed RV owner David Robertson is proud to support his employee and the CAF.
Acting Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Rear-Admiral Ron Lloyd explained how important that pride and cooperation can be to the overall picture. “The Canadian Armed Forces makes a difference. The Reserves, as a part of the CAF, make a difference in lives all over the world. You, as a part of that team, make a difference. Thank you.”
Looking for a great full time career? The Canadian Armed Forces is hiring. Check out the opportunities here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/campaigns/in-demand-jobs.html
And remember, you could also serve part time: one night a week and one weekend a month, with the Canadian Army Reserve.
To join the Army Reserve, start by dropping by the local armoury in your community or region. If you are looking for a particular trade, you must join a unit that offers that type of work.
Browse this listing of Reserve units to find one near you: http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/en/reserve/index.page#unit
Article / August 25, 2017 / Project number: 17-0217